Xiaomi goes big on "smarts" at its annual Mi Smarter Living event.
Xiaomi launched a slew of smart devices during its 2021 edition of Mi Smarter Living virtual keynote event on Tuesday. The devices include its first smartwatch and smart speaker in India, and the Mi Band 5, alongside the Mi Automatic Soap Dispenser, Mi Smart LED Bulb (White) and Mi Athleisure Shoes. All of them are typical Xiaomi products which means that they are punching way above their weight in terms of feature set without breaking the bank.
Xiaomi’s foray into the smart speaker and smartwatch categories is in line with the company’s vision for Mi brand, or Mi 2.0 as I like to call it, in 2020 and going forward. The focus will be on launching new but relevant products with the “intent of giving people a glimpse into what the brand is all about,” Raghu Reddy who is chief business officer for Mi India tells me. The Mi Smart Speaker and Mi Watch Revolve come close on the heels of the Mi Notebook, Xiaomi’s first laptop for the Indian market.
Xiaomi believes the Mi Smart Speaker and Mi Watch Revolve will be able to strike a chord with the general audience, an audience that is still warming up to the concept of smart speakers and smartwatches. Both the products have gone through “months and months” of rigorous testing and customization for the Indian market (though they’re still being imported and not made in India) and “we hope to live up to the expectation of our fans and enthusiasts,” Raghu says. That last bit is key for both Xiaomi as well as India’s smart speaker and smartwatch market.
For Xiaomi, launching just about anything without any thought or logic and not having that product perform well, is not an option. For India, smart speakers and smartwatches need to get more affordable, for them to attract more buyers.
The Mi Watch Revolve will have an inaugural price of Rs 9,999 till Diwali 2020, Xiaomi has announced, post which it will be available at a starting price of Rs 10,999. The Mi Smart Speaker will have an inaugural price of Rs 3,499 and it will be available at a price of Rs 3,999 later.
Mi Watch Revolve
The Mi Watch has been one of the most requested products from Xiaomi fans, Raghu says adding that “there’s a definitely a market there.” It is not a smartwatch in the conventional sense, meaning that you can’t use it as a standalone device something like say the Apple Watch. You can’t install apps on it because there’s no app store. You can’t respond to notifications directly from the watch either. But here’s the thing, smartwatches that let you do all that are a lot more expensive. The Mi Watch isn’t.
It can be considered as an extension to the Mi Band, its main selling point being that it looks like an actual watch and “beyond a point, you have a customer who wants the form factor of a conventional watch,” Raghu explains. “There are buyers who would want to pick it up over a Mi Band,” he adds.
The Mi Watch has a circular dial and the case is made of stainless steel. “We’ve spent a lot of time working on the fit and finish, getting the right set of straps,” Raghu says. Its 1.39-inch Super AMOLED display is another big highlight of the Mi Watch. It’s nice and colorful and it gets plenty bright with up to 450nits of brightness. Xiaomi has also thrown in Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection and always-on functionality into the mix. Moreover, over 110+ watch faces are available for personalisation.
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The Mi Watch can monitor your heart rate, stress levels and body energy, sleep and VO2 Max. It supports 10 professional sports modes including running, cycling, hiking, treadmill, and swimming. Speaking of which, the Mi Watch is also 5ATM-certified. Based on Xiaomi’s custom user interface, the Mi Watch also packs Firstbeat Motion algorithm for analyzing stress, recovery and exercise.
Rounding off the package is a 420mAh battery which is claimed to last for up to 2 weeks on a single charge.
Mi Smart Speaker
The Mi Smart Speaker is Xiaomi’s answer to the Amazon Echo. It is based on Google’s Home software which means that it answers to “Hey Google” or “Ok Google” voice commands and fires up the Google Assistant for assistance. But the biggest difference comes by way of use case. Xiaomi has tailored the Mi Smart Speaker to be a speaker first and the smart bit is just an icing on the cake.
The 12W speaker has a metal mesh with 10,531 “precise” sound holes and a 63.5mm sound driver. It comes with DTS Professional tuning and Texas Instruments’ TAS5805M Hi-Fi audio processor for 360-degree surround sound output. Multiple Mi Smart Speakers can be paired together in the same room for a cinematic stereo sound and there’s also a Chromecast built in.
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“In 2019, roughly about 8.5 lakh smart speakers were shipped to India and sold under the price of Rs 4,000 but they were only equipped to be smart and not something you could also enjoy listening to music on,” Raghu says. “The Mi Smart Speaker is designed to address the gap in the sub Rs 5,000 price segment when it comes to the need of good sounding smart speakers.”
Mi Band 5
Joining the Mi Watch and Mi Smart Speaker is the Mi Band 5, its main highlight being that its color OLED display has grown to 1.1 inch (Mi Band 4 had a 0.95-inch display) in size.
Xiaomi’s new fitness band has a six-axis accelerometer and it can also monitor your heart rate and sleep quality index in addition to recognizing your swimming strokes – the Mi Band 5 is 5ATM-certified.
The Mi Band 5 supports 11 professional modes. A Personal Activity Intelligence score will also give you insights into your workouts. It boasts of up to 14-day battery life on single charge and bundles in a new way of charging through a magnetic dock so you won’t need to take off the band to charge the device any more.
The Mi Band 5 has been launched in India at a price of Rs 2,499.