Poco has been in the smartphone game for a number of years and has now set its sights on building a larger ecosystem of products. We’ve already reviewed the company’s first pair of wireless earbuds, and now we turn our attention to the Poco Watch.
A compact, lightweight device that’s more like a smartband than a true smartwatch, the Poco Watch offers the usual mix of health tracking, dual-band GPS, and an AMOLED display. All this is topped with claims of up to two weeks of battery life and a price of €79. How good is Poco’s first smartwatch and where does it fit in the sea of fitness trackers and affordable smartwatches?
The first thing that strikes you about the Poco Watch is its weight. At 31 grams, Poco Watch is about 18 grams heavier than a Mi Band 5 but still feels very light on the wrist. Personally, I forgot I even strapped it on 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 smartbands. The case is made of plastic that has a matte finish on the back where you’ll find the optical sensor and the shagreen port.
You get a large 1.6-inch AMOLED touch display with a resolution of 320 x 360 pixels and always-on-display (AOD) functionality. While the display is large enough for most use cases, it doesn’t take up as much space and even looks tiny compared to some other smartwatches. The petite size is actually a bonus if you prefer ergonomics. Our review unit comes in black, but you can also buy the Poco watch in blue and ivory with tonal straps. A yellow option would have been nice considering it’s Poco’s de facto brand color.
Poco offers a non-standard soft silicone watch band measuring 125-205mm in length with a buckle and clasp for a secure fit. The band material feels quite soft, although the attachment points are proprietary so you won’t easily swap out bands on the go be able. Poco Watch is 50m water resistant (5ATM) and can easily track your swimming moves.
The retail package consists of the watch and a proprietary two-pronged magnetic charger terminating in a USB-A connector.
The hardware of the Poco Watch is identical to last year’s Redmi Watch 2 except for the size and proprietary operating system. 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 breath training app. You can track 100+ fitness modes with 17 professional modes and 100 advanced fitness modes.
There is standalone dual-band position tracking with support for GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and BeiDou satellite positioning. The watch can also send app notifications to your wrist, although you can’t interact with them and reject calls. There’s no way to answer calls on the watch due to the lack of a speaker and microphone. On the other hand, the vibration motor here is exceptionally powerful, which ensures that you get your notifications.
The watch’s AMOLED screen has auto-brightness capabilities. Alternatively, you can select one of the five manual brightness levels at any time. Poco Watch’s vibration motor is pretty strong by default, and you can even turn it up to an even higher level via the settings menu.
Poco Watch pairs via Bluetooth and you need the Mi Fitness app, available for both iOS and Android, to pair the watch and do pretty much everything. The watch supports customizable watch faces (you can save up to 14 styles at a time) and AOD watch faces that you can download from the Watch Face Store. Alternatively, you can create your own custom watch face using an image of your choice.
Xiaomi’s Mi Fitness app offers clear activity and health tracking metrics. You get daily, weekly and monthly charts 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 are also logged chronologically, and you can sync your stats to Strava. Poco Watch also supports automatic exercise detection and you can connect the watch face to your phone’s native health app or Strava.
Poco Watch runs a proprietary operating system that’s fairly minimalistic and not that far removed from the operating systems seen on smartbands. There’s no third-party app support, leaving you with twenty built-in apps. When you wake up the watch, your watch face with all its various complications will become visible. You can double-tap the screen to wake it up, or press the button on the right, or alternatively toggle the wrist rotation gesture. The AOD display is a nice option as you can see the time and date at a glance without it
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 a time, although there are nine optional widgets in the Mi Fitness app. A swipe from the top takes you to your notifications, while swiping in the opposite direction brings you to quick settings and the battery life gauge.
There is an obvious lag when scrolling through notifications, which becomes quite noticeable the more messages you pile up in the notifications. Still, the watch handles all kinds of notifications and languages, and they’re instantly synced from your paired phone.
The 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 diagnostic quality. In a direct comparison with a special pulse oximeter, the values of Poco Watch varied by only 1% for both SpO2 and heart rate measurements.
Sleep tracking results are only shown on the watch for the previous night and you can’t get a detailed comparison unless you go to the Mi Fitness app on your phone. The general sleep and wake times were spot on, although the watch failed to catch a few of my midnight water runs. The watch also does fast eye movement tracking (REM) with glitches
Fitness tracking is satisfactory, although it doesn’t offer much over a smartband. The only area of improvement compared to a Mi Band is that you can view more detailed workout metrics on the watch itself without having to go to the companion app on your phone. The integrated GPS is another benefit if you want to track your runs.
Poco Watch health and activity tracking data
GPS accuracy was generally on point, although my smartphone’s signal offered superior precision in most cases. The watch also processed swimming sessions with detailed SWOLF metrics and swimming style detection, all available on the watch itself post-workout.
Poco Watch packs a 225mAh battery capacity rated for 14 days of mixed use. In my tests, the watch lasted three to four days under heavy use. These included constant notifications, 24-hour heart rate, blood oxygen, sleep and stress tracking. With constant notifications, heart rate and SpO2 tracking enabled, the watch lasts for three full days.
With the more advanced and power-hungry options disabled, the Poco Watch lives up to its two-week battery claims, although that only involves checking the time and maybe a few workouts during the week.
Poco Watch charges magnetically via a proprietary two-pin charger. In my testing, it took 35 minutes to charge from 0 to 50%, while a full charge to 100% took 75 minutes.
Poco Watch is a well-built compact watch that’s more like a smartband than a true smartwatch in terms of features. It features a bright 1.6-inch AMOLED display sharp enough for everyday use and offers convenient AOD watch faces. The software experience isn’t the best and you can certainly notice the slow system animations, especially when dealing with notifications.
Health and activity tracking is on par with fitness bands, although you have the added benefit of having your exercise records stored on the watch. Battery life is by no means class-leading and can last between three and four days, with notifications alongside active health and activity tracking.
At €79, Poco Watch is a bit pricey for what it offers. If you want fitness tracker functionality and long battery life in a slightly larger form factor with a large and bright AMOLED screen, then the Poco Watch is worth a look. If you want to do smartwatch tasks like answering calls and replying to notifications from your wrist, you’ll need to up your budget and look elsewhere.