Smartwatches have come a long way. Nowadays, you can hardly go wrong with any smartwatch above Rs 2,000. But some brands still do it better than others. One of them is Redmi, whose Watch 3 Active has been on my wrist for a week now. And I love it. It’s ridiculously easy to use, is packed with features, and has an interface that makes you wonder if you really need a full-fledged smartwatch. Here’s my review.
Design and fit
Let’s start with the design. The Redmi Watch 3 Active has a solid metal frame that feels durable and premium. Its display is the kind that doesn’t sit flush into the frame – it pops out a little which gives it a more premium look. The watch comes in two colours – black and off-white – but you can also spice things up with an olive green strap for Rs 499 (that’s like a sixth of the watch’s price itself) if you’re feeling adventurous. I got the black one for review and I like its sleek and minimalist look.
The Redmi Watch 3 Active has a solid metal frame that feels durable and premium. (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/Indian Express)
But while I liked the design, the fit could’ve been friendlier. The watch has an unconventional strap mechanism that requires you to tuck in the strap rather than pull it out when wearing it. I have skinny wrists and this turned out to be a hassle. See the picture below to get what I mean. Perhaps people with thicker wrists won’t have this problem. Still, this snag is sort of compensated by the fact that the watch is surprisingly easy to take off.
The picture below. (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/Indian Express)
Unfortunately, the strap saga continued when I tried to swap the black strap for the olive one. It took me some serious wrestling to get it done. But the result was worth it – the watch looked like a whole new device. Now I just need to find an outfit that matches the green.
Software and display
The Redmi Watch 3 Active has a beautiful interface that makes using it a joy. The scrolling is buttery smooth thanks to the 60Hz refresh rate, the touch is super responsive, and the software feels like a proper operating system in itself. It’s got a control center, a list of apps, and shortcuts to various functions that are just a swipe away.
The software feels like a proper operating system in itself. (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/Indian Express)
The same goes for the Mi Fitness app, which is elegant and easy to use but without being light on features. The app lets you customise everything from the watch face to the widget order. Speaking of watch faces, the Watch 3 Active has plenty of them to choose from, and they look like Xiaomi actually put in the effort to design them. They do not have that ‘cheap’ vibe to them and suit different occasions and moods. My favourite is “Sports Green”, which goes really well with the olive strap.
The Mi Fitness app lets you customize everything from the watch face to the widget order. (Express image)
How good the watch faces look also has to do with the 1.83″ display, which is crisp and colourful. The resolution is 240×280, which is decent for this size, but there’s no AMOLED, so legibility under bright sunlight is really not that great. Otherwise, it performs well in most situations. There’s also a slight chin at the bottom that ruins the symmetry a bit, but that’s forgivable for the price range.
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Overall, the interface of the watch has a very MIUI-esque vibe to it, and if you have a Xiaomi phone to pair it with, you’ll feel right at home.
The watch doesn’t skimp on features when it comes to health and fitness tracking. It monitors your heart rate automatically and tracks your sleep with impressive accuracy. It even detects your short naps, which isn’t very common in this category. The only thing missing is GPS and swim tracking – a bummer, considering the watch can withstand water pressure up to 5ATM.
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The watch is very light, weighing only 42g. You’ll barely notice it on your wrist. (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/Indian Express)
Strap woes aside, the Redmi Watch 3 Active is a no-brainer in this segment. It has everything you could ask for and more. Plus, the interface is so intuitive and easy to use that even a newbie can get the hang of it. Then there’s even Bluetooth calling to seal the deal, which works as you’d expect.
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