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Xiaomi Mi Watch Revolve Active Review: An Upgrade That Feels Akin To Two Steps Forward

Xiaomi Mi Watch Revolve Active Review: An Upgrade That Feels Akin To Two Steps Forward

The Xiaomi Mi Watch Revolve Active, priced at Rs 8,999 for the moment, feels like an update that simply adds what was missing, such as blood oxygen monitoring and the Alexa assistant.

Smartwatches are serious business, and Xiaomi clearly doesn’t seem to be taking this lightly. Not one bit. The second addition to Mi Watch lineup and the third watch for the company in India is the new Mi Watch Revolve Active. This will now sit alongside the Mi Watch Revolve and indeed the Redmi Watch GPS. The new watch has a really good sense of time and place too, because there is the addition of the blood oxygen monitor, or SpO2, which the elder sibling doesn’t have. And that is around which the upgrades to health monitoring and wellness are built, with activity and healthy lifestyle getting on the radar of more and more folks who have been cooped up at home for months now. The price of the new Mi Watch Revolve Active? That’ll be Rs8,999 for the time being.

It has been a while since I experienced the Mi Watch Revolve last, but there seems a distinct similarity in the design that the Mi Watch Revolve Active carries forward. It is a mix of symmetry, smooth textures and a rather well-balanced mix of sophistication and youthfulness. This is a 46mm watch, which means you’ll need to consider your wrist dimensions and perchance for large watch dials too—I like large dials, and therefore the Mi Watch Revolve Active ticks off the personality aspect, in totality. The choices for colour are between Beige, Black and Navy Blue, and you can add some more colour with a bunch of vibrant watch faces too, that’ll adorn the 1.39-inch AMOLED screen. What you see photographed here is the Beige colorway, and in a way, this is definitely a fresher take on smartwatches which usually aren’t seen in such bright colours.

The only buttons breaking the nicely curved and sculpted rounded watch frame are sitting on the right side, as you wear the watch. For once, they are labeled too, and it isn’t exactly the same as attempting to give your brain cells some extra workload every time you need to do something on the watch and attempt to remember what which one does. The higher placed one is the Home key, while the second key is called Sport, which in itself gives a hint as to what it does—this is the quick access to the workouts. The Mi Watch Revolve Active has 22mm watch straps, much like its elder sibling, which should make colour choices even wider for you in case you’re in the mood for some fancy colour play. The Mi Watch Revolve can be had in Midnight Black in leather, Neptune Blue, Cosmic Dust Maroon, Space Black and Astral Olive, depending on availability, and those strap options could add contrast now, with the Active iteration. In fact, the Mi Watch Revolve Active weighs around 32 grams, which is a good 8 grams lighter than before. There is one observation about the straps that registers every time I wear or take off the Mi Watch Revolve Active. The straps, at least on the variant that I received, seem to have too much frictional resistance, which means you have to struggle a bit to thread the strap as it grazes the other layer and when it’s time to go through the two holders too.

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The 1.39-inch display is the AMOLED real estate just better than what you perhaps expected, admit it. This screen is bright, colourful and crisp. There is also the Always On display mode if that is what you want to keep active—I don’t, to be fair. The raise wrist to wake the display option works pretty well for me—while something very simple, it often doesn’t work as well on a lot of watches. The Mi Watch Revolve Active’s display is rated at 450nits of brightness, and effectively negates the bright sunlight induced glares and reflections. Yes, you may have to move your wrist ever so slightly at times to eliminate a really persistent reflection, but that’s about it. Something that I had noticed with the Mi Watch Revolve, and it is very true for the Mi Watch Revolve Active too—the display seems to catch fingerprints a bit too easily though. That’ll be a bit annoying if you like your gadgets clean and spotless. This screen is large, it is vivid, and it simply gets the job done without you ever needing to prod at the glass more than once.

The same is true for the software as well. It never gets in the way of what you set out to do. There are familiar aspects to what Google Wear OS does, what Xiaomi’s previous smartwatch has shown and what Fitbit fitness focused watches bring to the table. Mind you, this is absolutely not a criticism—it is all about simplicity, and it is good that Xiaomi isn’t attempting to redesign the wheel. No matter which smartwatch you are switching from, you should get used to the Mi Watch Revolve Active’s software quite quickly. Swipe right or left on the beautiful watch face (there are more than options to choose from) and you will toggle through widget screens that tell you your heart rate, body energy (this is my favorite, and often illustrates beautifully how exhausted I am at the time), sleep data, stress level and the weather details. Now the blood oxygen monitor is there too. All of these are beautifully laid out with very readable font styles and sizes.

That being said, the app drawer while nicely formatted, isn’t perhaps the slickest to use. While laid out as simply as possible, the icons don’t always give you a hint of what a particular app is for—and I didn’t see the option to add text. And I’d have liked to see more customization and controls available for the elements within the different watch faces. That just really isn’t an option at this time, which means what you see is what you get, with no flexibility to customize the finer elements on the Mi Watch Revolve Active.

Xiaomi is deploying the new LifeQ Health Information algorithm, which should make the fitness and health reading more accurate. This specifically improves heart rate monitoring, SpO2 readings and sleep tracking. There are more data calculation points available, which means the readings you get will be more accurate and the suggestions will be more in tune with what you need. The SpO2, or blood oxygen monitor, wasn’t exactly the fanciest feature in smartwatches, till the coronavirus came around. Now, everyone wants something they can track their blood oxygen stats with. Yes, these statistics and readings often are an early and crucial indicator if you have COVID-19 or even some other illnesses and can often be the early call that gets you to get in touch with your doctor. In my case, the readings from the Mi Watch Revolve Active’s blood oxygen monitor were with a point of the standalone Dr. Morepen blood oxygen monitor device—the Mi Watch Revolve Active being on the higher side most of the time.

Mind you, smartwatches and no smartwatch including the Mi Watch Revolve Active claim to be absolutely accurate and comparable with medical grade devices. But a slightly off reading multiple times, can give you a fair idea that something is indeed wrong.

The one feature that I absolutely continue to love is the body energy monitoring. This returns a calculation and a figure of the energy value in real time, by understanding the various data and metrics that the Xiaomi Mi Watch Revolve Active and the gamut of sensors collect about a person’s health. For me, this worked out quite accurately because the score that I saw pretty well matched how I was generally feeling at the time. There is also the Stress Monitoring, which takes heart rate variability stats and runs complex calculations to indicate when you may be stressed. If nothing else, a graph of this data just tells you how you are wasting your life, not that you can do much about it with bills to pay. Sports and workouts get a boost with the Mi Watch Revolve Active, with about 117 sports modes available, and these include professional workouts too including high intensity training, yoga and triathlons. Since the watch is water resistance, with the 5ATM rating, and that makes the Mi Watch Revolve Active ready for swimming sessions too.

Last but not least is the addition of Amazon Alexa, to the Mi Watch Revolve Active. Now you simply need to call out to Alexa on your wrist, and simply order it for a variety of usage scenarios—alarms, to-do lists, calendar management and even control any smart home devices at your home. Mind you, if you buy the Mi Watch Revolve Active and Alexa isn’t built-in, you’ll simply need to do a software update since this functionality rolled out later. Nice addition to have, if you have an Alexa ecosystem at home, complete with smart speakers and smart devices. Yet, this isn’t solely why you’d want to splurge on the new smartwatch.

The Last Word: Mi Watch Revolve Active Is An Incremental Yet Important Update

Smartwatches aren’t usually as exhaustive with the features list, as the Mi Watch Revolve Active. The good thing is that the basics remain strong with the Mi Watch Revolve Active which succeeds the impressive Mi Watch Revolve just a few months later. The big additions being the SpO2 monitor and the updates to the fitness functionality. Yet, the really good looking design, the very usable software, the vivid display, strong battery life that should last you a couple of weeks in most cases, and a sprinkling of interesting functionality such as stress detection, really do make this an even stronger proposition. The Mi Watch Revolve price was recently reduced to Rs 7,999 to make space for this, and the Mi Watch Revolve Active becomes a smartwatch worth considering if, you are using an Android phone in particular, and don’t exactly want to spend a lot of money that would take you into the Samsung Galaxy Watch or the Fitbit territory. At Rs 8,999 for the moment and eventually for Rs 9,999 for a smartwatch, the Mi Watch Revolve Active doesn’t really throw any curveballs.

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