Xiaomi has managed to take the Indian smartphone market by the storm. All the devices it launched in the Indian market turned out to be runaway successes, so when it launched a fitness band in India, this April, all eyes were on them. So, will Mi Band revolutionalize the wearable space in India? Let’s try to find that and more in this review.
What is it?
It is a fitness band that cost Rs 999 and helps you track your basic exercise, sleep patterns and even gives you third-party app notifications (if you choose to get the same).
Who is it for?
Anyone and everyone looking for an affordable wearable device either to show off or to seriously monitor their health and fitness activities.
After opening the box, all you need to do is get the Xiaomi Mi Band around your wrist. The initial two times, it took some effort getting the capsule in the band. It can be paired with any device that is running Android 4.4 (Kitkat) or higher and even iOS 7 (or higher). Pairing the same was a fairly easy task.
I have been using this device for over three weeks now. The first thing that I would like to point out is that the Mi Band does come with an exemplary battery. The company claims that once fully charged, the device can go on for 30 days + on a single charge. Though I have not used the device for 30 days, but it sure looks like (from the battery indicator lights on the capsule) it will last me a full one more week with ease.
There are three battery indicator lights on the capsule, which blink while charging. Also when you get any notification on the connected device these light blink and the capsule vibrates.
By default, the Xiaomi Mi Band comes with a black strap but you other colors are available too. You can choose from orange, blue, yellow, green and pink. Forget colors and come to the basics; the strap is pretty comfortable to wear, is dust-resistant and water proof. This means you don’t really need to remove it any time of the day and can comfortably wear it for longer hours.
All the data that this device captures can be accessed through the Mi Fit app. When I first connected, I faced some issues. For instance, I was unable to switch devices for a bit but later it turned out to be Xiaomi servers’ fault. Once that bit was solved, I faced no probs at all.
What I really liked about the band was that it managed to capture data even for those three days when I had no access to the app; the entire data was available when I managed to login and sync the band with my phone.
The thing with most fitness trackers is that they are not very accurate about what constitutes a workout. This is also true for Mi Band. While it does accurately count your steps that you walk every day, but at the same time, it also counts your e-rikshaw journey as steps. There have been times when I have been driving and the Mi Band had added a few steps in my daily log.
Having said that, it does manage to do a decent job of capturing the data; especially given the price it is being offered at. It excellently captures the sleep time and also tells you that out of our total sleep for how much time were you in the light sleep phase and the deep sleep phase.
However, in case you are habitual of catching naps, the same are not reflected in data. The app lets you choose your goals and you can monitor how you have been doing. You can also know the progress of the goal through the capsule, which has three LED indicator lights. For example if you set a target to do 3,000 steps a day and managed to take 1,000 steps in a given day then if you do “look at your watch” gesture, the Mi Band will blink one light out of the three. Similarly on completing 2,000 steps you will see two lights and on goal completion, and all three lights will light up and it will also vibrate once you have completed your daily target
Most fellow reviewers, I spoke to had issues with “look at your watch” gesture. However, for me it worked well 8 out of 10 times.
The third-party notifications to work well on the device, but given that there is no display sometimes you are left to wonder why exactly your Mi Band is vibrating. It is almost like you have an infant crying and you are looking whether he is wet or hungry or has stomach ache and scratching your head over it. We do realize that adding a display to this unit may have increased the cost of the unit and even compromised the battery life but there are a certain times that one missed it.
Also there is a new competition that has come up for Xiaomi Mi Band in the form of YuFit, which costs the same and does offer an OLED display. At the launch of Yu Yuphoria the company had mentioned that it will be launching in June and we are eagerly waiting to pit the two against each other and to find out which is the best affordable fitness tracker. But for that you will have to wait a little more time.
The good part
- Price: Till the time Xiaomi had not started offering the Mi Band, it was hard for us to even imagine that there can be a fitness band available under Rs 1,000
- Battery: The company claims that the Mi Band’s battery last at least a 30 days and some of us can even manage to squeeze it to two months. While we have not been able to get to that point, but we sure can vouch that it does give a decent battery performance.
- Comfortable and easy: The device is hassle free to install and comfortable to wear even for long hours.
The tragic flaw
- Calculating steps: While we agree that most fitness trackers are unable to distinguish between various wrist movements and are prone to reporting more steps than you may have walked. However, at the end of the day, we do get a rough estimate on how much workout we did manage to get and what is the deficit.
- Lack of screen: Like we said though we understand the need for not having a display on the Xiaomi Mi Band but sometimes one really misses it.
A week ago, it was a no brainer to ask any fitness enthusiast to get Xiaomi Mi Band wrapped around their wrists. However, with the announcement of YuFit we would ask people to wait and watch. Yes, Xiaomi Mi Band is a great value proposition, which manages to deliver all but who knows if YuFit would be better.