Realme Watch vs Mi Band 4: Is it Worth Paying Extra?
Realme had been teasing its smartwatch for a very long time during its launch events as well as on social media and today, along with the Realme TV, Buds Air Neo, and a newer Power Bank, the Realme Watch has been officially announced and will retail for a price of Rs. 3,999 in India. However, despite being a “smartwatch”, the core working of the Realme Watch is essentially just like a fitness tracker with some added functionality, and of course, with the outer casing of a watch instead of a band.
We spent a few days with the Realme Watch and decided to compare it with the Mi Band 4 which retails for nearly half the price but offers similar core functionality. Should you get the Realme Watch or save half the money and get yourself the Mi Smart Band 4? We will help you decide.
Design and Build Quality
Upon unboxing the Realme Watch, the first thing we instinctively felt was that it looked better than we expected. That’s thanks in large to the chrome sides on the casing giving it a slight Apple Watch-esque look. The watch is very light-weight but feels solid when worn. The right edge of the Realme Watch has a single button that acts as a sleep/wake-up key and as a back button when navigating through the watch’s menus.
The straps, however, are quite flimsy and not as flexible as we would want them to be. When strapped onto your wrist, though, the straps on the Realme Watch feel comfortable and do not cause any sort of irritation. The straps are also interchangeable with multiple color options directly from Realme.
The Mi Smart Band 4, on the other hand, has a much sleeker look given that it’s more of a “band” than a “watch”, at least by design. The Mi Band 4 also occupies lesser space on your wrist and feels more comfortable when worn for long durations. In fact, you can have the Mi Band 4 on all day and just forget about it, whereas that’s not the case with the Realme Watch.
It eventually comes down to whether you really want something that looks like a conventional watch or the Mi Band 4’s fitness tracker look is something you don’t mind. Both wearables are built well and look good in their own respective ways.
Personally, I would pick the stealthier and sleeker look of the Mi Band 4. But the bright watch-like display might appeal to many others.
Realme Watch vs Mi Band 4: Display
This is one of the major differences between the Realme Watch and Mi Band 4. The Realme Watch, due to a larger casing, gets a much larger display when compared to the Mi Band 4. This makes it easier and faster to interact with the UI elements. Speaking of the quality of the panel, Realme seems to be using an LCD display instead of an OLED panel. While that’s okay for most situations, under direct sunlight is where the Realme Watch suffers the most. The sharpness looks adequate for a watch and the rounded corners make the display aesthetically pleasing to look at.
The touch sensitivity is good, but not the best but it probably feels like that due to the poor frame rates while navigating through the UI which we’ll address later. The bezel beneath the display is thicker than the other three sides and houses the Realme branding which is very subtly imprinted. You won’t notice it until there’s a light source falling on it directly which is good. The asymmetric bezels take away from the overall look of the Realme Watch but given the price point, we can’t complain much.
The Mi Band 4, being a fitness tracker has a much smaller display in comparison to the Realme Watch, along with a touch-capacitive button to help with navigation. The Mi Band 4, however, uses an OLED panel that looks better than the Realme Watch, but outdoor visibility is still very similar to that of the Realme Watch. Unlike the Realme Watch, the touch sensitivity on the Mi Band 4 is very responsive. Just like the Realme Watch, the Mi Band 4 also has 2.5D curved edges but the display itself is rectangular with squared-off corners.
While the display panel itself is bigger on the Realme Watch, hence letting you view more information, the quality of the panel is better on the Mi Band 4 so it’s up to you to decide which one is more important to you.
Let’s call this a tie.
The Realme Watch has 14 different activity and sports modes apart from the usual step counting and running routines. However, there’s no specific mode for swimming. In terms of step-tracking, we found that the Realme Watch slightly under-counted the number of steps whereas the Mi Band 4 was more accurate. The difference, though, is minimal and will not affect your daily usage patterns. Both the Mi Band 4 as well as the Realme Watch counted additional steps while driving a car with the Realme Watch counting fewer additional steps than the Mi Band 4.
While the Mi Band 4 gets fewer activity modes, you get swimming which is a nice addition and should’ve been included on the Realme Watch as well given that it even has an IP68 rating. Heart rate monitoring was found to be equally accurate on both devices and both of them have the ability to monitor your heart rate continuously. The Realme Watch gets an additional SpO2 monitor in order to measure Blood Oxygen levels. Sleep data on the Mi Band 4 was found to be more accurate than the Realme Watch.
Apart from the health and fitness aspects of both devices, both the Realme Watch and the Mi Band 4 can display weather, show you your phone’s calls and notifications, set alarms, and timers, find your phone, and can even control your music playback. The Realme Watch gets the additional functionality of being able to act as a camera shutter to take pictures which can come in handy at times. While both the Realme Watch and Mi Band 4 have sedentary reminders, the Realme Watch can also remind you to drink water at regular intervals.
The Realme Watch clearly has more functionality other than the fact that you can’t track your swims, but hopefully, Realme can add this through an OTA update.
Watch faces and User Interface
The Realme Watch comes with 12 in-built watch faces that you can choose from and Realme says that they will be adding hundreds of new watch faces at a later stage to the Realme Link app. The Mi Smart Band 4 has a plethora of watch faces to choose from and if you tinker around a bit, you can even get watch faces from third-party developers to work on the Mi Band 4 which makes it more customizable than the Realme Watch, at least at the time of writing.
The User interface on both devices is quite different mainly due to the fact that Realme Watch has a bigger display so it can show more information. You can swipe in multiple directions on the Realme Watch to bring up different menus and modes and while it surely feels more intuitive than the Mi Band 4’s touch-capacitive button to navigate around, the UI itself feels ever-so-slightly sluggish on the Realme Watch compared to the Mi Band 4. This is probably due to a low refresh-rate screen or due to some optimization issues, but the Mi Band 4 just feels more snappy when using.
Undoubtedly, the Mi Band 4 takes this one.
App Support and Sync
The Realme Watch pairs with your smartphone through the Realme Link app whereas the Mi Band 4 uses the Mi Fit app in order to connect to your smartphone. A very important thing to note here is that the Realme Link app is only available on Android as of now so if you use an iPhone or any iOS device, you’re out of luck. Mi Fit, on the other hand, works flawlessly on iOS too along with all its functionality. The Realme Link app is good and makes it easy to find all the required settings and data. You can also update the firmware of the Realme Watch from the app itself.
Mi Fit is also equally good at displaying your health data and managing the Mi Band 4’s settings. We feel Mi Fit is slightly more polished when compared to Realme Link and the way it displays data is slightly more intuitive than Realme Link. The fact that it’s also available on iOS makes it more compatible if you decide to switch phones sometime in the future.
In this regard too, the Mi Band 4 does slightly better.
The Mi Band 4 promises a battery life of about 20 days whereas, in reality, we’ve constantly been getting over than number with continuous heart-rate monitoring disabled. For a wearable and the kind of features that it offers, that’s incredible battery life. The Realme Watch claims to offer up to 9 days of battery life with continuous heart-rate monitoring disabled and while we haven’t had the time to use it for those many days, the watch has dropped 38% in 4 days which means the claimed battery life can be achieved with ease. Given the larger display on the Realme Watch, about 10 days of battery life is still quite good. Both the Realme Watch and the Mi Band 4 charge using proprietary connectors.
Again, the Mi Band 4 does better in terms of battery life as well.
Realme Watch vs Mi Band 4: Which one should you get?
For a price of Rs. 2,199, you just cannot go wrong with the Mi Band 4. Yes, the Realme Band has a larger display but other than the ability to see slightly more info on one screen instead of swiping through multiple panes on the Mi Band 4, there’s not much use to the bigger display. If there was the ability to use third-party apps or even reply to notifications, it would’ve been a different case. However, keeping in mind the price point, it isn’t fair to expect those kinds of features from the Realme Watch.
The Mi Band 4 just offers better value if you can live with a smaller display and if the SpO2 sensor is not so important for you. The Realme Watch is priced well at Rs. 3,999 considering the competition, but it doesn’t offer a lot more than what the Mi Band 4 does, for nearly half the price which makes it hard to recommend unless you really want something that looks like a conventional watch rather than a fitness tracker.