Realme as a company has had a quirky history, having debuted fairly recently in 2017 and catapulting to fame in the four years that have passed. Its smartphones have always been trading blows with Xiaomi, the segment leader which was one of the primary driving force for the sales that the company achieved.
When the company announced that it would be launching a smartwatch, everyone expected them to launch a product worthy of competing with the budget smartwatch champions, Amazfit. What followed was a shocker, to say the least. The Realme Watch was riddled with bugs, offered a poorly built chassis and the overall price to value proposition was far from competitive.
Fast forward to 2020, the company’s third year in the Indian market, with Realme deciding to give the smartwatch segment another try with the Realme Watch S. It is this product that I have been using on a daily basis for over two months.
So, let us see whether the product is worthy of competing with Redmi or Xiaomi and whether or not Realme has capitalised on the second chance that it had when it came to a smartwatch.
Realme Watch S Review: Design and Display
Realme has never been one for premium build and design since the company has usually chosen to go with cheaper materials and a decent build rather than go all out on the design, so, to our surprise, it was quite refreshing to hold the Realme Watch S.
From the strap to the 47mm aluminium casing, it is a breath of fresh air for us, especially considering how the last smartwatch that was our primary smartwatch was the Amazfit Bip U, which, whilst built ruggedly is nothing in front of the Watch S.
The entirety of the case weighs 48g, much more than the 1st gen Realme Watch. As a further testament to the better build quality, the entire casing has been paired with high quality 22mm silicone straps that are also interchangeable to your liking, from the normal straps to the leather strap.
As for the display, the Realme Watch S sports a 1.3-inch LCD panel with a resolution of 360 x 360. For protection, the company has opted for Gorilla Glass 3 on top. The display has a peak brightness of 600 nits, oddly higher than the more expensive Watch S Pro.
We think that the reason for the higher brightness could be the use of the backlight in LCD panels. Do note that the lack of an AMOLED means there is no always-on functionality and certain dark wallpapers don’t look as good as they do on the Watch S Pro.
Raise to wake works like a charm and there is an ambient light sensor at the 59’ mark which controls the brightness quite quickly. The auto-brightness functionality being so accurate was a bit of a surprise, considering the price.
As for the quality of the screen, despite having bashed the watch against a wall by accident, no major scratches have appeared and, in day to day use the display responds to the touch quite well and is pretty responsive. There is one issue, however, the sensor that activates the display is quite active and at times gets triggered by accident, sometimes hampering the task at hand.
In terms of the other parts of the chassis, the display is flanked to its right side by two physical buttons at the 10’ and 20’ mark, mapped to open the app drawer and the workout mode, respectively. They can be rotated, but they lack any function.
The Realme Watch S also comes with an IP68 rating for water resistance making the device usable during sweaty workouts or during a shower.
Realme Watch S Review: Performance and Battery
To use the Realme Watch S, one needs to download the Realme Link application, which can be downloaded on both iOS and Android. Once the watch is paired to the application, you can make changes to the settings and download new watch faces.
When it comes to the software, Realme makes use of a custom skin that seems like a third-party WearOS build. It does not seem childish or tacky, but it is not quite simple. To use the UI, you can press the first button to the top and it will showcase the entire navigation screen that houses all the features on offer.
To select a certain feature, you need to press the icon for the specific feature and it will get activated. In terms of key features, one can convert the watch into a shutter button by activating it through Realme Link.
Other UI features include the ability to receive notifications, but you cannot reply to them, which is not something to complain about as this is the case with alternatives on offer for the same price and, for some higher-end options as well.
Fitness too is a key aspect of the Realme Watch S, since the watch offers the ability to track sleep, including REM sleep, the total number of steps covered over the course of the day, distance covered and calories burnt. The SpO2 sensor and heart rate sensor are supplementary features that might be used, but, there is a minor issue here.
Whilst the heart rate sensor is quite accurate with alternatives priced similarly, the SpO2 sensor appears to be flawed as it fails to provide consistent data, dropping to a score of 60 then suddenly jumping to 98, which, in these times is not something that a user would like to see.
Step tracking was fairly decent, with sleep tracking being quite accurate, but the only issue that we noted with step tracking was a constant under tracking that was occurring, since, when compared to the likes of the Mi Band 4 or the Amazfit Bip U, the watch would regularly track around 100-200 steps less.
The one truly wonderful feature for the Realme Watch S is the battery life, with the device lasting over 15 days on a consistent basis, even lasting up to 17 days on one instance where sleep tracking was not in use. The numbers here were achieved by SpO2 tracking thrice a day and constant step tracking with sleep tracking being used.
There should be a decrease in the battery life with heart rate sensing on, but, from what has been observed, around 1 to 2 weeks of battery life should be a guarantee regardless of your use case.
Charging too is quite fast, with the initial 60% being charged rapidly, with the charging slowing down in the latter half to protect the battery’s life.
Realme Watch S Review: Verdict
The Realme Watch S gets a lot of things right and very few features could make you dislike it. From a great build to decent health tracking, there are no major issues that could potentially raise some concerns, but, as we regularly mention, there are issues with each and every product and it is no different for the Watch S.
The constant under-tracking is an issue that would get on your nerves, especially if you are a runner or endurance focused performer since every bit of data could be useful for you.
Overall, the Realme Watch S lacks any major issues and performs decently if not well in all instances and, for a price of Rs 4,999 that usually drops to Rs 4,499, it is one of the most well-rounded options out there.
According to us, if you are looking for a smartwatch that can provide basic features that might supplement your smartphone usage whilst providing a bit of a style quotient, the Realme Watch S is meant for you.
Shloke is your go-to guy when it comes to consumer tech. Specializing in In-Depth pieces, he's also getting to grips with Telecom. His hobbies consist of Formula One and Gaming.