Xiaomi continues to flood the market with its activity bracelets and connected watches. The latest is the Watch S3, an entry-level model that shines with its endurance and customization options.

Xiaomi continues to flood the market with its activity bracelets

Xiaomi continues to flood the market with its activity bracelets and connected watches. The latest is the Watch S3, an entry-level model that shines with its endurance and customization options.

Entry-level connected watches seem to be the crux of the matter for many manufacturers. And Xiaomi is well placed to know it. The Chinese giant has been releasing models for several years. And for this Watch S3, it pushes the customization options a notch above the competition. In fact, Xiaomi offers not simply to find a dial to your taste, but also to personalize the bezel around the screen (and to equip the tocante with the matching bracelet). The result is a watch that you can change the look of as you wish. Good idea. Enough to erase its main faults linked in part to HyperOS, the brand new in-house operating system? We were able to test this Xiaomi Watch S3 for several weeks. Here is our verdict.

Xiaomi Watch S3: CCM’s opinion
  • Case customization
  • Excellent autonomy
  • Comfortable screen
  • Very reasonable price
  • Price of accessories
  • Unresponsive light sensor
  • Inaccurate heart rate monitor
  • Lack of openness of HyperOS

Xiaomi Watch S3: a design focused on personalization

In the world of smartwatches which has more and more participants every year, Xiaomi is not a beginner. The Chinese giant has several generations of this type of device under its belt and applies a well-established method to each renewal. Also, for the Watch S3, Xiaomi takes some characteristics from previous models but slightly changes the recipe. In order to stand out from the competition, the S3 relies on a high degree of customization. The bezel of the watch which surrounds the screen is in fact removable. By rotating slightly to the left, it is possible to separate it from the case in order to exchange it with another and thus vary the styles. A very good idea, especially since the operation turns out to be extremely simple.


As soon as the new bezel is in place and locked, a new matching dial appears on the screen. For a watch at this price, the principle is original and clever.


Xiaomi therefore offers four different glasses to vary the pleasure. The bad news? The price. Each glasses costs 40 euros. And if you want to take advantage of the matching bracelet, you will have to pay between 10 and 13 euros. In short, the bill can quickly add up. However, by browsing the shelves of AliExpress a little, you can already find compatible glasses for less than 7 euros. As for the bracelets, since the attachment system is standard, you can easily adopt any 22 mm model.


Beyond this vanity, the Watch S3 – delivered as standard with a uniform bezel and a fluorinated rubber strap – adopts a very classic design with its two large buttons on the right side.


It is rather light at 44 g and pleasant to wear. Be careful though, this is a large model designed for generous wrists. The diameter of the case is in fact 47 mm with a thickness of 12 mm. Finally, note that the watch is waterproof to 5 ATM. You can therefore wear it for swimming in the pool.

Xiaomi Watch S3: a comfortable screen but lacking punch

This large watch therefore has a large screen: a 1.43-inch Amoled panel. It offers a definition of 466 x 466 pixels for a resolution of 326 ppi. It is sufficiently precise for the vast majority of uses. And if the panel turns out to be quite bright in most situations, the brightness sensor seems to suffer from the same difficulties as the Smart Band 8 Pro bracelet that we tested last month. Indeed, the screen seriously lacks responsiveness. You sometimes have to wait several seconds for the screen to come out of its lethargy by going from shadow to light in order to read an SMS that has just arrived, for example. And pressing the buttons doesn’t change anything. One solution is to deactivate automatic brightness… to the detriment of the battery. Damage.


Xiaomi Watch S3: a light interface but not neat enough

The Watch S3 is powered by Xiaomi’s HyperOS system, a variation of which can be found on its recent smartphones (Xiaomi 14 and Poco). The interface is quite simple and intuitive but would have benefited from a little more care on the part of the manufacturer. The icons sometimes appear crude. Furthermore, to navigate the menus, no touch wheel assists you. It’s a shame that Xiaomi hasn’t adopted the principle of Samsung’s rotating bezel. Finally, HyperOS remains a hermetic system. Unlike Google’s WearOS, which we still find on other Xiaomi watch models (like the Watch 2 for example), HyperOS does not allow you to install any additional apps. You will therefore have to make do with those provided by Xiaomi.

Finally, we deplore the presence of a single voice assistant. In this case, Xiaomi turned to Amazon’s Alexa. It’s a little frustrating, especially since it’s not always very responsive. In short, there are still a few improvements to be made for HyperOS to join the ranks of operating systems for reliable and efficient connected watches and bracelets.

On the smartphone, the Mi Fitness companion app (iOS and Android) is responsible for linking with the watch. It is readable and clear for observing your progress in sporting activities but also making some adjustments to the watch. Note that it is also not possible to respond to messages (SMS, WhatsApp, etc.) directly from the watch. You will have to take the smartphone out of your pocket for that.


Xiaomi Watch S3: sports tracking that deserves more precision

This Watch S3 offers the entire traditional range of sports monitoring to which is added some exotic activities (square dancing, belly dancing, Basque pelota, dodgeball, etc.) or more surprisingly, card and game games. company to know the number of calories spent during a furious game of chess. Why not.


For more traditional activities, the watch is quite up to the task. The GPS tracking is exemplary. Our comparison test with an Apple Watch Ultra only reveals a few meters difference in the distance traveled. Not bad.


However, it is different for heart rate monitoring. The Watch S3 indeed seems to have difficulty starting and getting into the right rhythm. It sometimes presented more than 15 BPM difference with the Apple Watch Ultra on fairly smooth and regular activity. Reliability is therefore not entirely there for those who monitor their sporting performances with great precision.


Xiaomi Watch S3: impressive autonomy

If there’s one area where the Watch S3 stands out, it’s endurance. Xiaomi announces 15 days of autonomy. In reality, by keeping the watch on your wrist day and night with the Always On screen active, the S3 only required recharging after 7 days of use. An excellent performance (and a nice slap in the face for Apple).

For charging, Xiaomi provides a magnetic charger with a USB-A cord and not USB-C as has become the standard with other manufacturers today. This does not prevent the watch from refueling very quickly. In one hour, you go from 0 to 100% even with a low capacity charger. It is very pleasant.


Xiaomi Watch S3: should you go for Xiaomi’s entry-level watch?

For the asking price, Xiaomi makes a very interesting proposition with the Watch S3. We have a watch that can be personalized beyond simply modifying the dial, which changes a little. The finishes remain impeccable and the tocante is really pleasant to wear. Autonomy is very comfortable. There is absolutely no need to carry the charger around with you all the time just in case, even if you go away for several days. The autonomy management is astonishing. The monitoring of sports activities is not of the best level but will be sufficient for most of those who are content with a morning jog and a few other activities during the week. On the other hand, we deplore the lack of responsiveness of the brightness sensor against which we frequently complain so that the screen displays the desired information quickly. A small flaw that spoils the overall satisfactory experience. The Watch S3 thus presents itself as a watch with very good value for money which only requires a little effort on the software to be perfect. Nothing insurmountable if Xiaomi takes the trouble.