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Xiaomi S1 Active : Third Party Ability Could be Better

If you are someone who places a high priority on the ability to use third-party applications when selecting a smartwatch, then this article may be of interest to you. The purpose of this article is to test the Xiaomi S1 Active’s ability to support third-party apps.

I tested the Xiaomi S1 Active’s ability to support third-party apps in three different categories and assigned a rating for each. If you were considering purchasing this smartwatch, I’m sorry to say that it performed poorly in all three categories. Please see below for a breakdown of its performance in each category.

FeatureResult
Connection TypeBluetooth
App Stores2/5
In Direct Ability0/5
Direct Ability1/5
Final Score3/15

When I reflect on the score that I have given, the 3 out of 15 rating is indeed fair based on my testing and user experience. It’s definelty the lowest score that I have given to a device, which completely took me by surprise because I was expecting better based on the reviews that I have read on line.

I will go into detail for each category and the reasons why I think the results are fair. I have also tested many other watch’s so I can provide a ranking table that allows you to see how the S1 Active ranks across the market.

App Stores : 2 out of 5

With the app stores testing, the things that I look for is does it have it’s own app gallery and how does it go about managing those apps. Two crucial things that are very valid when it comes to your user experience. My final score below.

Test CriteriaRating
Own app galleryYes
App manager Yes
Ability to synchronise Apps2/5

I have to say, the app gallery for the S1 Active isn’t the greatest, and I have taken a snap shot below of the apps that are available to transfer to your watch.

Only 3 apps available in the app gallery

The app gallery isn’t at the same level as google play, Garmin connect/IQ or apple store. Which is the reason why I think the S1 Active deserves it’s rating of 2 out of 5 for this category. I do wonder anyone would use these types of apps.

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In Direct Ability : 0 out of 5

GPS tracking is very reliable

In direct method is my favourite method when interacting with third party apps. If you are not familiar with the term, it’s where you allow the third party application permissions to use the tracking data from the Xiaomi Health app. One of the key things that I look for during this test is the devices ability to synchronise the tracking data, and the time it takes to do so.

I have to say I wasn’t very impressed with the final result. Here is a quick summary of my testing results.

Name of AppTypeSubscriptionResult
StravaGPS TrackingFree0/5

Normally when I do this test, I would look for at least three of the top fitness apps in Google play and check within the settings if there is a partnership with the Xiaomi brand. Unfortunately I could not find many third party apps that have a partnership with Xiaomi, so I could only test one third party app.

In the end I found the whole experience very frustrating. When I would track my GPS workouts using the Xiaomi workout modes, the tracking data would take three days to allow Strava to use the tracking for information against it’s own. Other occasions it didn’t do it at all.

I also used the Strava app directly of the phone, and see if the tracking data from the Strava app transferred to the Xiaomi Health app, unfortunately it did nothing.

Verdict : The S1 Active deserves it’s final rating of 0 out of 5 for this category. So if you are someone who has a premium level subscription, then the S1 Active is not the device for you.

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Direct Ability : 1 out of 5

Heart rate zones: useful tracking information to gauge your workout intensity

If you are not familiar with the term, direct ability is where you can control a app directly from your watch. This is very useful, however in this case it’s not quite at the same level as a Galaxy watch, Apple Watch or a Garmin device, which are the three main brands that excel in the category.

There are three things that I look for in this category and unfortunately the S1 Active have 2 of the 3 things to test for.

AvailableNot Available
Ability to download or synchronise directly to watchAll apps in App gallery is compatible with more than one ecosystem.
Ability to use app from own gallery without phone

Ability to download or synchronise directly to watch : This worked really well, considering there were only three apps to choose from within the app gallery. In the end I downloaded nutpuzzle app and the note app for testing. The nutpuzzle app worked fine, no real issues there, but the note app did cause some problems. The app would disconnect it’s Bluetooth, and ask me to re connect all the time. I found that very annoying, and during my testing I didn’t get to use the app at all because it would crash or Bluetooth disconnect.

Ability to use app from own gallery without phone : Since I could not get the note app to function because of the technical bugs and glitches, I just used the nutpuzzle app instead. All I did was placed my phone outside Bluetooth range from my watch, and the puzzle game still worked like charm. Just be aware that the nutpuzzle game burns a lot of battery life.

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Verdict : The final rating of 1 out of 5 is a fair rating. Since there is only three apps to choose from within the app gallery, only the nutpuzzle app was the one app that performed reliably and consistently. The note app had bugs and glitches, where as the My tuner app, isn’t for New Zealand, so technically I was only have two apps to use

How Does The Xiaomi S1 Rank in The Market.

So far it is early day’s because a lot of the devices in this ranking table have been retested, so eventually this ranking table will grow over time. Since I do believe that the final rating of the S1 Active was fair based on my testing criteria, the device is currently ranked last.

If I was to compare the first placed device against the S1 active based on this ability, the key difference is working reliably and consistently. To be fair, that is a reasonable expectation when you are buying a device that’s promised to help you achieve your goals. I guess some devices do it better than others.

RankWatchSpecialityScore
1Garmin Forerunner 55Multi Sport15
2Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 ProSmart Apps14
3Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 & 5Smart Apps14
4Huawei GT3 PROFitness tracking11
5Huawei GT3 ActiveFitness tracking11
6Huawei Watch Fit 2Fitness Tracking11
7Huawei Band 7Fitness Tracking7
8Fitbit Charge 5 Health7
9Polar Ignite 3Fitness Tracking5
10Xiaomi S1 ActiveSmart Apps3

Final Conclusion

Thank you so much for reading and I hope that you have learnt a lot about the S1 Active’s third party ability. I strongly believe that the final score of 3 out of 15 is a fair score based on my testing and user experience. I would say that the device performed quite poorly across the three categories that I test for.

The App gallery was very small, and you only get to use three apps, neither are useful in my opinion. I do wonder if anyone would download and use any of the apps in the gallery. The whole point of having applications is to provide some level of convenience that the watch does not provide, however I do think they missed the mark on that part.

In direct method, underperformed and if you are someone that has a premium level subscription, then I would suggest not to use the S1 Active. Refer to the ranking table that I have shown to you earlier. Any device that scores a 7 or higher is worth considering.

As for the direct method, only one app performed reliably and consistently which is the nutpuzzle app. Not the most useful app to have so you can use that app if you want. Thank you for reading