Poco has been in the smartphone game for a few years and has now set its eyes on building a larger ecosystem of products. We already reviewed the company’s first pair of wireless earbuds and now we turn out attention to the Poco Watch.
A compact, lightweight device more akin to a smart band than an actual smartwatch, Poco Watch brings the usual mix of health tracking, dual-band GPS and an AMOLED display. That’s all topped with claims of up to two weeks of battery life and a €79 pricetag. How good is Poco’s first smartwatch and where does it stack up in the sea of fitness trackers and affordable smartwatches?
The first thing you notice about the Poco Watch is its weight. At 31 grams, Poco Watch is about 18 grams heavier than a Mi Band 5 though it still feels really light on the wrist. I personally forgot I even had it strapped after a few minutes of use which is a bonus point in our book. The watch is just under 10mm thick, making it one of the thinnest smartwatches on the market and even slimmer than most smart bands. The casing is made from plastic which has a matte finish on the back where you find the optical sensor and chagrin port.
You get a big 1.6-inch AMOLED touch display with a 320 x 360px resolution with always-on display (AOD) functionality. While large enough for most use cases, the display does not take up that much space and even looks tiny compared to some other smartwatches. The petite size is actually a bonus if you favor ergonomics. Our review unit comes in black but you can also pick up the Poco Watch in blue and ivory colors with color-matched straps. A yellow option would have been nice to see given it’s the de-facto Poco brand color.
Poco is providing a non-standard 125–205 mm soft silicone watch strap with a buckle and clasp for a secure fit. The strap material is quite soft to the touch though the attachment points are proprietary so you won’t be able to easily swap bands on the go. Poco Watch is 50m water resistant (5ATM) and can track your swims without any hassle.
The retail package consists of the watch and a proprietary two-pin magnetic charger that ends in a USB-A port.
The hardware on the Poco Watch is identical to last year’s Redmi Watch 2 down to the size and proprietary OS. You get SpO2 measurements, 24-hour heart rate tracking, sleep and stress tracking. Poco also added a female health tracking option and a built-in breathing training app. You can track over 100 fitness modes with 17 professional modes and 100 expanded fitness ones.
There’s standalone dual-band position tracking with support for GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and BeiDou satellite positioning. The watch can also push app notifications to your wrist though you cannot interact with them and you are able to decline calls. There’s no way to take calls on the watch since it lacks speakers and a microphone. On the upside, the vibration motor here is exceptionally strong which ensures you get your notifications in.
The AMOLED screen on the watch comes with auto-brightness capabilities. Alternatively, you can select one of the five stages of manual brightness to be used at all times. Poco Watch’s vibration motor is quite strong on the default setting and you can even crank it up to an even higher level from the settings menu.
Poco Watch pairs via Bluetooth and you need the Mi Fitness app which is available on both iOS and Android to pair the watch and do just about anything. The watch supports customizable watch faces (you can store up to 14 styles at a time) and AOD watch faces which you can download from the watch face store. You can alternatively make your own custom watch face with an image of your choice.
Xiaomi’s Mi Fitness app provides well-laid-out metrics for activity and health tracking. You get daily, weekly and monthly graphs for your heart rate, blood oxygen and sleep levels. In addition, there are daily summaries and graphs with breakdowns for each category. Step tracking, calories burned and workout data is also logged chronologically and you can sync your stats with Strava. Poco Watch also supports automatic workout detection and you can connect the watch reading to your phone’s native health app or Strava.
Poco Watch runs a proprietary operating system that’s fairly minimalist and not that far off from the OSes seen on smart bands. There’s no third-party app support so you’re stuck with twenty built-in apps. Waking up the watch reveals your watch-face with all of its varying complications. You can double-tap on the screen to wake it up or press the button located on the right-hand side or alternatively toggle the wrist turn gesture. The AOD display is a nice option to have as you can check the time and date at a glance without
Swiping left or right takes you to your widgets and you can swipe through them or interact directly. You can only have a total of seven widgets at once despite the fact that there are nine optional widgets in the Mi Fitness app. Swiping from the top gets you to your notifications while going in the opposite direction reveals the quick settings toggles and battery life indicator.
There’s an apparent lag when scrolling through notifications which becomes pretty evident the more messages you pile up in the notifications. Still, the watch handles all sorts of notifications and languages and they sync instantaneously from your paired phone.
Health tracking is on par with other smart wearables in the class – meaning the measurements are good for personal reference but are in no way medical diagnosis grade. In a direct comparison with a dedicated pulse oximeter, Poco Watch’s values varied by a mere 1% for both SpO2 and heart rate measurements.
Sleep tracking results only appear for the previous night on the watch and you cannot get a detailed comparison unless you go into the Mi Fitness app on your phone. The general fall asleep and wake-up times were on point though the watch did not manage to catch a few of my midnight water runs. The watch also does rapid eye movement (REM) tracking with breakdowns
Fitness tracking is satisfactory though it does not offer much over a smart band. The only area of improvement compared to a Mi Band here is that you can have more detailed workout readings on the watch itself without needing to go into the companion app on your phone. Having onboard GPS is another benefit if you’re into tracking your runs.
GPS accuracy was generally on point though my smartphone’s sensor offered superior precision in most cases. The watch also handled swimming sessions with detailed SWOLF metrics and swim style recognition all available on the watch itself after the workout.
Poco Watch brings a 225 mAh battery capacity rated at 14 days of mixed usage. In my testing, the watch would last three to four days of heavy usage. This included constant notifications, 24-hour heart rate, blood oxygen, sleep and stress tracking. With constant notifications, heart rate and SpO2 tracking enabled the watch manages to last three full days.
With the more advanced and power-hungry options turned off, Poco Watch does live up to its two-week battery claims though that’s only with checking the time and maybe squeezing in a few workouts during the week.
Poco Watch charges magnetically via a proprietary two-pin charger. In my testing 0 to 50% charge took 35 minutes while a full top-up to 100% took 75 minutes.
Poco Watch is a well-built compact watch that more closely resembles a smart band than an actual smartwatch in terms of features. It packs a bright 1.6-inch AMOLED display which is sharp enough for daily use and brings convenient AOD watch faces. The software experience is not the best out there and you can certainly notice the slow system animations, especially when dealing with notifications.
Health and activity tracking are on par with fitness bands though you get the added benefit of having your workout records stored on the watch. Battery life is not class-leading by any means and can last between three to four days with notifications alongside active health and activity tracking.
At €79 Poco Watch is a bit expensive for what it offers. If you want fitness tracker functionality and long-lasting battery life in a slightly larger form factor with a big and bright AMOLED screen, then the Poco Watch is worth looking into. If you want to do smartwatch tasks like taking calls and replying to notifications from your wrist you’ll have to up your budget and look elsewhere.