This is the Mi Band, it’s a little, cheap fitness tracker from Xiaomi. It costs around £15 and has a battery life of up to 30 days, which sounds impressive – but how does it actually perform?
When I clicked the buy now button for the Mi Band, I wasn’t expecting it to be built as solidly or perform as well as it did, I was surprised, and that is a good thing. If you’re reading this and you don’t keep up with all of the tech news nowadays, you may never have heard of Xiaomi, but in China, they’re one of the most popular mobile brands there.
The design of the Mi Band is very sleek, it is essentially two parts, the tracking module and the band. The module is made from plastic and aluminium and is rated IP67 water resistant, which means that you probably shouldn’t take it swimming with you but can wear it in the shower. On the aluminium top, the module has three LED indicator lights that are used to display your progress towards your step goal, but that’s about it. The band is made from thermoplastic elastomer and comes in a variety of colours, it feels like rubber and is very comfortable to wear and is easy to put on. Comfort is important for wearing this because it’s made to be worn 24/7, to track your steps and sleep. Half the time I don’t even notice myself wearing the band and it doesn’t get hot and it’s light.
The band syncs with the Mi Band app using Low Energy Bluetooth, the app is on both iOS and Android. In the app you can set a step goal and the app will detect when you begin exercising and walking, and the same is with sleep – you don’t need to let the app know if you’re going to sleep or not, the band is able to detect it automatically. The app also syncs with Xiaomi’s servers so if you change devices or need to reinstall the app, you won’t lose all all of your stats.
The app is also simple to use, with no over complicated options which show your steps, sleep and graphs for your progress throughout the day and you’re also able to view your history on the graphs too. The Mi band can also be set up to vibrate when you have a call coming in and you can also set it up as a trusted device on Android so you don’t have to enter your passcode when you are wearing it.
The accuracy of the band is okay, it does count some extra steps throughout the day and will also sometimes count that I’ve slept for a bit longer if I wake up and stay in bed. This isn’t a huge problem, you just have to know this is happening so you don’t look at your stats and think why they look slightly inaccurate. Talking about sleep, the band comes with a smart alarm feature which will wake you up by vibrating the alarm subtly, although this didn’t work for me because I either slept through it or it didn’t work at all – I’m not quite sure yet.
The little things
The indicator lights on the band are don’t do much currently, they show your step goal and can be configured to flash when you get a notification. To show your step progress you need to have your hand hanging downwards and then raise your wrist as if you were telling the time, although this can be inaccurate and only works half the time, I’d like it if I could double tap the Mi Band and it would show my step progress.
The battery life on the band is impressive, bearing in mind it is working 24/7, Xiaomi says the battery will last up to 30 days, but I’ve been using my band for a week and its only at 89%, so I expect the battery life to last at least a month and a half with the band, if not more.
I’d highly recommend this fitness band, despite the negative points. It’s £15 and costs a lot less than other fitness bands on the market and still performs just as well, it looks good, the app works well and it’s got an impressive battery life.
If you’re after a simple fitness tracker and don’t need fancy features such as heart-rate tracking and custom workouts then you should definitely grab one.