With great (in terms of currency quantity) price tags come great smartwatches (Spiderman would get the logic). On the flip side, with low price tags, you tend to get slightly less great smartwatches. In fact, there are some who would say that as prices get low, smartwatches start morphing from a computer on your wrist to a fitness and health tracker. Xiaomi is looking to turn that equation on its head with the Redmi Watch 3 Active.
At Rs 2,999, this is definitely a super affordable smartwatch and is the most affordable Redmi Watch ever launched in India. But it does deliver a truckload of features for that price.
Redmi Watch 3 Active Design: Big display, clean design
The first thing that is going to strike you about the Redmi Watch 3 Active is its large display. The watch comes with a 1.83-inch, square-ish display. The display does have rather large bezels, but these become noticeable only if you have a light-coloured watch face. The display remains a large and bright one, nevertheless, and is made of what Xiaomi calls ‘high-strength glass.’
The frame of the watch is plastic but comes with NCVM coating, giving it a metallic touch. On the center of its right side is a slightly raised button, and on the lower part of its left side is a speaker grille. The back is plastic and has sensors and lights similar to those seen on other smartwatches.
There are two color variants, Charcoal Black and Platinum Grey. We think the Charcoal Black is the more premium-looking of the two, as the chrome finish on the Platinum Grey looks too shiny, giving it a slightly cheap appearance. The watch comes with a TPU strap with a matte finish. The strap can be attached easily to the watch thanks to a very good locking mechanism. You get one strap of the same color as the watch in the box, and you can also purchase an Olive Green one separately.
At close to 11 mm, the Redmi Watch 3 Active is on the thick side but is surprisingly light at about 42 grams with the strap. With the right watch face and strap in place, it can blend into both formal and informal scenarios (you can choose from dozens of watchfaces) and cuts a generally smart figure. It is mainly made of plastic but is very resilient, with a 5 ATM rating, which means you can actually take it swimming. In terms of overall appearance, it definitely looks more expensive than its price!
Redmi Watch 3 Active specs and features: It can do lots (and on the iPhone too)
The Redmi Watch 3 Active comes with a very impressive feature list. The display is LCD and not AMOLED, and the 240 x 280 px resolution might not sound very impressive, but its 450 nits brightness and 60 Hz refresh rate are good at this price point. The watch also comes with a heart rate sensor and a SpO2 sensor and supports Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity, although there is no GPS onboard (it uses the one on the phone it is connected to).
Most significantly, thanks to the loudspeaker and microphone, the watch lets you handle phone calls – something we have not seen in earlier Redmi Watches. Running it is a 290 mAh battery, which Xiaomi claims can last 12 days on a single charge.
The Redmi Watch 3 Active comes with round-the-clock heart rate and blood oxygen tracking, low and heart rate alerts, low blood oxygen alerts (rare at this price), sleep, stress monitoring, the ability to track more than a hundred sports, women’s cycle tracking, stand up alerts, as well as the usual step and calorie counts. There are some neat touches, too, such as the ability to unlock your phone from the watch itself.
Although there are no apps for the watch itself, it comes with support for widgets that let you control the camera and music from the watch and also show weather and other fitness data on the watch itself. The watch also shows notification alerts from your connected phone, although you are limited to only reading them.
Best of all, most of the features are compatible with Android as well as iOS (iPhones). That includes making and receiving calls.
Redmi Watch 3 Active UI: Easy to set up and use
Setting up and pairing the Redmi Watch 3 Active is easy. You switch on the watch, open the Mi Fitness app on your iPhone or Android device, log into it (you would need a Mi account), and select Add Device. What’s impressive is that you can actually connect the watch to another device (on the same account) without having to reset it or lose any data in the process. The attached strap is comfortable to wear throughout the day and even while sleeping, although we would recommend going for the black or green one, as the grey one picks up stains.
Using the Redmi Watch 3 Active is simple. The button on the right either takes you to the app and settings list or the home screen. Swiping to the right or left shows different bits of information, swiping down shows notifications, and swiping up shows some settings shortcuts. The display is bright and colorful, but as it is not an AMOLED one, you do not get the option of having it always on.
The watch does have a handy Raise to Wake option that wakes up the watch when you turn it towards you, but for some reason, this is not activated by default. Once you switch it on, it works remarkably well. The watch’s touchscreen also responds well to touch.
Redmi Watch 3 Active health and fitness tracking: A rock-solid performer
In terms of performance, the Redmi Watch 3 Active ticks most health and fitness boxes. The watch can track most physical activities, including running, walking, treadmill, cycling, jumping rope, and even sports like table tennis, badminton, and tennis. We tried it for running, walking, table tennis, and some basic workouts, and it turned into a very good performance, although it showed a very slight tendency to overcount steps (though never by much). The absence of GPS, however, meant that we needed to take our phone with us to track our outdoor runs, walks, and rides, which can be a bit of a bummer for some folks.
It also seemed to track heart rates and blood oxygen reasonably accurately. Sleep tracking at night was rather impressive, with detailed information like deep sleep, light sleep, REM, and so on. We (thankfully) did not get any high or low heart rate or low blood oxygen alerts, but it was handy to know that the option exists.
Redmi Watch 3 Active smart features and battery: Calling and notification joy, with decent battery life
The Redmi Watch 3 Active does reasonably well on its ‘smart’ side. You can actually receive and make calls from the watch, and the process works well as long as you keep the watch close to your face and the surroundings are not too noisy. It does not match the Galaxy Gear or the Apple Watch in this department, but it is definitely very handy at its price point. There are no dedicated apps for the watch, but there are a number of widgets, and you also get shortcuts to control music and the camera on the attached phone.
By and large, they work fine. Notifications from the phone, however, can be a little erratic, although they generally get fixed with a quick manual sync with the app on the phone or exiting and restarting the Mi Fitness app on the phone.
The battery life of the Redmi Watch 3 Active is easily between 10-12 days if you go by default settings. Switch on features like Advanced Monitoring and Breathing Score in Sleep, put Blood Oxygen measurement on All Day Tracking, and turn on notifications. I also use the watch extensively, and the watch still lasts for 5-6 days, which is rather impressive. You can get through a week on a single charge quite easily. Incidentally, the watch got charged in about 100 minutes using the charging cable and a 33W charger.
The cable connects magnetically to the watch and is a little on the short side, so if you are uncomfortable leaving the watch at ground level while charging, we would advise using either a power bank to charge the watch or using a power outlet at table level.
Redmi Watch 3 Active Review Verdict: Quite unmatched at its price
The pricing of the Redmi Watch 3 Active at Rs 2,999 is a pleasant surprise, making it the most affordable Redmi Watch to be launched in India. Xiaomi launched the Redmi Watch in India at Rs 3,999 in 2021, and the Redmi Watch 2 Lite at Rs 4,999 in 2022. The Redmi Watch 3 Active might lack GPS (which the Redmi Watch 2 Lite had), but it comes with a larger display and call handling, which its predecessors lacked, which makes it excellent value for money. It certainly is well ahead of most smart bands and smartwatches at its price point.
The OnePlus Nord Watch does cut a more elegant figure and comes with an AMOLED display, but it also lacks GPS and is more expensive at Rs 4,999. The Amazfit Bip 3 matches many features of the Redmi Watch 3 Active at a comparable price but has a smaller display.
We would have preferred an AMOLED display, onboard GPS, and third-party apps, but the price and performance of the device compensate for the absence of both. The watch tracks health and fitness works well, and the ability to handle calls can be a deal-maker for many folks. We also love the fact that it can actually work smoothly with both Android and iOS phones. All of which easily make it the best option for anyone looking for a smartwatch on a tight budget.
- Large display
- Easy to use
- Plenty of sensors
- Handles calls on iOS and Android
- No AMOLED display, hence no always on display
- No GPS
- No third-party apps