Being a tech reviewer and journalist, I have always had a special place for smartwatches in my heart. Not only do these look great as accessories that complement our usually geeky attire, but they make life a lot easier and interesting. The Apple Watch SE that I reviewed earlier made life a lot easier, even though we have been in our homes for the most time. Also Read - Top 5 smartphones with great battery life under Rs 20,000 in May 2021: Poco X3, Moto G60 and more
While I love the Apple Watch SE, it’s price eludes my ability to afford it. Hence, I am always interested in what’s happening in the affordable segments. Xiaomi impressed us a lot with the Mi Watch Revolve this year while Amazfit keeps churning out desirable timepieces with lots of tech. Realme now wants to be a part of this group with its own smartwatches. Yeah, this time, it is doing a proper smartwatch, not a fitness tracker. Also Read - Top smartwatches under Rs 10,000 in May 2021: Realme Watch S Pro, Amazfit GTS 2e and more
At exactly Rs 9,999, the Realme Watch S Pro is the best Realme can do now. On paper, it looks highly similar to the Mi Watch Revolve, as a package. You know, same fitness tracking functions, same basic smartwatch features, and decent battery life. Is it worthy of asking your money, basis the fact that the market already has some great options? Also Read - Realme Narzo 30 launch on May 18, specs and more details leaked
There’s only so much you can do with a smartwatch design. You can either go for the Apple Watch-esque rectangular display design, or you could attain the traditional circular design. Realme chose the latter and while it isn’t the most practical way to do a smartwatch display, it is certainly a stylish one.
The Realme Watch S Pro is bulky and that stainless steel body tips the scales at 63.5 grams. That’s some weight you are definitely going to notice somehow, it doesn’t slide around the wrist as is the case with other smartwatches. The display has a large bezel and Realme has concealed it cleverly by imprinting an analog dial on it. There are two crowns that act as buttons — one acts a back key and the other as a shortcut for all fitness features.
These crowns, or buttons, are tactile and are easy to operate. Realme sent me a bunch of colored silicon straps and while it only comes with the black one out of the box, I preferred the dark green strap. There are leather straps too but you will have to spend on them separately. The silicon strips are comfortable on the skin and they hold the bulk of the watch very well. The fit and finish of the Realme Watch S Pro is superb and up there with the best in business.
Now, design is a purely subjective matter and it is up to you to decide what works best for you. I feel the Watch S Pro is suited more for male hands than female hands. It tries to attain a more “macho” design theme instead of one that suits all. The chunky design with the crowns jutting out suits more on male wrists rather than female wrists. In comparison, the Mi Watch Revolve seems like a unisex design that has a broader visual appeal on all kinds of wrists. Female users should take note.
The Smart Stuff
Realme is stressing on the smart bits of this watch through its ad campaigns. One of the main reasons to do is the fairly big 1.39-inch AMOLED display. This is a large display by wearable standards and offers a lot of canvas to go creative. The two big advantages with the AMOLED display I see are doing colorful watch faces and an Always On Display function, both of which Realme has nailed.
There are over a 100 watch faces available out of the box and all of these make the most out of the OLED display. If you like colorful faces, you will find a dozen. If you like minimalist ones, feel free to help yourself through the catalog. In the mood for analog? There are a dozen faces available to try. The choice of watch faces is varied and customization lovers will find it pleasing. Sadly, you cannot add custom watch faces and add widgets, or complications to these faces – something where I feel Realme has some catching up to do. The AOD option gives the option to either choose analog or digital faces, both of which I found tasteful.
Once you are done playing with the watch faces, you will admire the UI of the Watch S Pro. Realme is sticking to a proprietary OS for the watch in pursuit of battery life. Hence, you do miss out on some expected “smart” features such as replying to messages, receiving calls, dealing with notifications and more. You can still see notifications and read messages (as long it’s in English). You can also reject or silence a call if you are connected via Bluetooth to your watch.
While the OS is quite limited in functionality, I appreciate Relame for getting the basics right. At Rs 9,999, the Realme Watch S Pro has one of the smoothest user interfaces I have seen in this category of watches. The dual-core processor onboard ensures that all animations are smooth and apps open without stutters. Whether I was checking the notifications or keeping an eye on my health stats while walking, the Watch S Pro stayed/stays fast and smooth. This is impressive, given that I was on a pre-release test build of the software.
There are some other nifty features to adore as well. The automatic brightness function is a big plus point once the world opens up. You can control music playback on your smartphone while a remote shutter button for your camera is also present. There’s a phone tracker function too if you are of the type that misplaces your phone frequently. Then there’s the usual watch stuff such as alarms, timer and weather data. All of these functions work as advertised and I didn’t notice any anomalies while using these.
All of these smart functions are based on the Realme Link companion app, which also controls other Realme IoT products. Right now, the iOS version isn’t compatible with the Watch S Pro and I had to rely on my secondary Android phone to test it. The app not only sets up the watch but is also key to all the aforementioned smart functions as well as health functions. The settings are easily accessible and so is the health data. You do need to make a Realme account to use it.
The Health Stuff
Fitness is another parameter on which the Realme Watch S Pro banks a lot. There are 15 sports tracking mode present on the watch and I am pretty sure there are more than one needs, even if you are a hyperactive person. In a COVID-19 altered world, I found the Indoor Walk, Indoor Run and Yoga modes quite helpful. I am no sportsperson and hence, I only used the Outdoor Walk mode for outdoor activities.
With the indoor sports modes, I observed fairly comparable step tracking and heart rate data to the Apple Watch SE. There was occasionally a difference of about 12-14 steps on an average between the two but that’s no big issue. I found the heart rate tracking data slightly inconsistent at times and Realme says there’s a bug-fix patch that should improve the accuracy. Realme lets you choose whether you want the watch to track heart rate during indoor activities – a nice touch for those who just want basic data.
Once you choose outdoor modes, the GPS kicks in and it starts tracking your whereabouts for you to later see on the in-app map. Realme lets you share the map data with friends and social media, if you want. There’s no way to turn off the GPS, which means privacy freaks like me will be left worried while we burn our calories.
The blood oxygen monitoring system, or SpO2, works reliably and is fast at throwing up the data, unlike the Amazfit GTR 2 that takes almost forever to show the data. The sensor itself is forgiving with the position of the hand too, which is something most smartwatches are quite serious about. I did not have a professional SpO2 tracking device to measure the accuracy of the device but it was consistently on par with what the Amazfit GTR 2 kept showing.
You can track sleep too and it comes up with fairly believable results. However, the massive size of the watch prevented me from wearing it to bed every night. The water reminder often keeps notifying at frequent intervals and so does the sedentary reminder. I never found time for the mediation time and nor did I get any motivation to use it. Wonder why? Because the Watch S Pro does not track stress and hence, I was unwilling to take time to meditate. Also, the breathing exercise does not keep a track of any health data. Maybe an update will fix these niggles?
The Realme Watch S Pro uses a 420mAh battery and Realme promises up to 14 days of battery life in the best cases. In my time with the watch (10 days to be precise), I found the Watch S Pro to last close to 8 days without the Always On Display option. Do note that It kept the watch connected to the phone all day and did not use sleep tracking regularly. With AOD switched ON, I had to hunt for the charger by the end of the second day.
Charging the Watch S Pro is an easy task with the bundled magnetic charging dock. It is easy to mount the watch on it and it sticks like a baby panda hugging its mother. It takes close to 2 hours to fully charge the battery, which is on par with most smartwatches at this price.
Let’s wrap up the entire piece. The Realme Watch S Pro looks handsome and is comfortable to wear. It has oodles of fitness tracking functions and a decent amount of smart functions. The battery life is fairly good too. The best bit about the Watch S Pro is the performance — the animations and transitions feel naturally smooth. The OS optimization is surely the best in this class I have seen so far.
It’s time for the Rs 10,000 question: Is the Realme Watch S Pro worth it? At Rs 9,999, the Realme Watch S Pro goes head-to-head with the Xiaomi Mi Watch Revolve for seeking your attention. There’s also the first-gen Amazfit GTS and GTR, as well as the newer GTS 2 and GTR 2, the latter two being more expensive by Rs 2,000. Frankly, all of these watches are equally good and it’s always merrier to have more options to choose from. The Mi Watch Revolve offers more fitness features over the Realme Watch S Pro and has compatibility with iPhones out of the box. Hence, it comes as a slightly better bet for many.
However, the Realme Watch S Pro makes a case for itself with the consistently smooth and interesting user experience, which should appeal to smartwatch enthusiasts. Plus, the classic sportswatch-inspired design enhances its appeal to many. If these things matter, go get it.