Xiaomi Mi Band review: The affordable fitness tracking solution

Introduction

Although people spend thousands on their smartphones and tablets, they don’t want to spend much when it comes to fitness, especially when buying a new fitness tracking device. It happens because of very less awareness of fitness tracking devices and their less number of features compared to smartphones or tablets. Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi appears to have understood these facts in detail and thus partnered with a startup to bring its affordable Mi Band. Unlike many other fitness tracking devices, the Xiaomi Mi Band recently launched in India at a very affordable price of Rs. 999 to offer fitness tracking under all affordability. This continues the journey of the Chinese company that began in the Indian market in July last year. We have been using the Xiaomi Mi Band the day after its launch to test it in detail. So here begins our in-depth review.

Xiaomi Mi Band

What’s in the Box

The Xiaomi Mi Band packs in a box which is made of the same recycle paper material that the company previously used for packaging its smartphones. There is Mi branding on top of the box and rear side flaunts the affordable price.

Once unboxed, the Mi Band box shows an activity tracker unit on top and underneath, there is a rubberised strap, proprietary USB charger and a user guide. The number of in-box content is fair considering the price of the Mi Band.

Xiaomi Mi Band with in-box content

The Mi Band comes with a standard black-colored band, though users can also choose any of their favourite color option after spending a few more bucks.

Watch Xiaomi Mi Band unboxing video:

Design

Similar to other fitness tracking wearables, especially some popular fitness tracking bands, the Mi Band has a plastic built with a combination of aluminium and rubberised wrist strap.

Xiaomi has provided the activity tracker to let users track their fitness and sleep patterns. The tracker unit has a covering of aluminium alloy on top and a polycarbonate plastic cover is on bottom. The top side sports three multi-color LED lights to offer notifications and the tracker includes a vibrating motor to enhance its notification capabilities. Besides, there is a couple of pogo pins to let users charge the tracker through its proprietary USB charger.

Xiaomi Mi Band with activity tracker unit

The activity tracker can easily be attached to the provided strap through a gentle insert and push gesture. The company does offers capabilities to use the Mi Band tracker on a neck band but it has not yet been detailed in other markets, except China.

The proprietary strap of the Mi Band is designed with a “hypoallergic” thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) material. The material that Xiaomi has used on the Mi Band strap is not as comfortable to wear on wrist as leather, cloth or steel but justifies the price and can be easily washable too. Moreover, the Mi Band is an IP67-certified gadget which simply means that users can wear it even when there is raining or at the time of taking shower.

Xiaomi Mi Band with TPU-made wrist strap

Overall, the design of the Xiaomi Mi Band is quite simple and just similar to what other fitness tracking wearables offer in the current market. The device weighs about 13 grams and the activity tracker unit has 14mm width and 36mm height.

Continued…

In-Depth

We have seen the in-box content and design of the Xiaomi Mi Band in the last section. And here, we are covering all its pros and cons to give you a detailed piece of information on its overall performance.

The Mi Band does not have a touchscreen display, unlike smartwatches, to show certain details as well as to feature a variety of watch faces. However, the activity tracker that comes with the Mi Band has three LED notification lights to provide notifications and alerts on new updates. The LED lights have blue, green, red and orange color options. The unit also has a built-in vibration motor to notify users without disturbing their surroundings with any ringtone or alert tone.

Xiaomi Mi Band

The three LED lights on the Mi Band notify each time when some progress on daily fitness results achieved. In addition, these lights blink whenever a new call or message received on the connected smartphone as well as provides details on the amount of charging when the tracker module is connected to a USB power.

Xiaomi Mi Band’s activity tracker unit with three LED lights

Similar to other fitness tracking devices, the Mi Band has an accelerometer which the company is claimed to be a military-grade accelerometer. This single sensor accurately helps in providing all the fitness and sleep related data to the connected smartphone.

Compatibility of the Mi Band was initially limited to Xiaomi smartphones. However, it recently expanded to all Android smartphones running on Android 4.4 KitKat or above as well as to iPhone 4s and above models running on iOS 7.0 or later. This simply means that users don’t have to separately purchase a Xiaomi smartphone to start using the Mi Band.

Xiaomi’s partner company Anhui Huami Information Technology, which is the originally manufacturer of the Mi Band, has developed Mi Fit app for Android and iOS. This single app works as an interface to use the Mi Band with a connected smartphone. The app has a simple UI and provides all the useful features that a user want from a fitness tracking devices, whether it is steps count or sleep monitor.

Mi Fit app for Android and iOS to let users track their activities and sleep cycles

The Mi Band lets users monitor their activity levels, track walking distance and calculate total calories burned through daily targets on Mi Fit. In addition, it analyses sleep quantity through some software algorithms and a bit accurately provides details about deep and light sleep cycles.

Apart from some common fitness features, Mi Fit app has smart vibration alarm to wake users 30 minutes before their actual alarm time. The app also provides tracking to jumps and sit-ups to offer an enhanced fitness tracking solution. On the downside, the Mi Band so far cannot be used with any third-party app or service such as Google Fit or Apple Health.

Mi Fit with additional features to track jumps and sit-ups

Mi Fit app requires a Mi account before letting users start monitoring their fitness or sleep results. This makes it a bit difficult especially when one wants to switch from an existing smartphone to a new one. Moreover, we found that the app presently does not allow users to have a single account on multiple smartphones to use a Mi Band. Xiaomi could soon fix this bug through a new app update.

Users can also use Mi Band, when connected to Mi Fit app, to unlock their Android smartphones without using any pattern or PIN. This functionally is currently limited to smartphones running on MIUI or Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Xiaomi Mi Band with unique unlocking feature

The Mi Band has Bluetooth 4.0 LE (Low-Energy) that makes a connectivity any compatible smartphone to offer its fitness and sleep tracking features. This connectivity option is specifically designed to deliver efficient battery life.

Xiaomi has provided a 41mAh Li-Polymer battery on the Mi Band which is claimed to deliver up to 30-day battery life on a single charger. We found that the actual backup is even more than a month, which is quite impressive considering the competition today. Furthermore, there is a proprietary charger that charges the activity tracker unit once connected to a USB charger or a PC.

Continued…

Features

Competitors

Xiaomi Mi Band

Conclusion

The Xiaomi Mi Band is a full-fledged fitness tracking solution that one can buy today even under Rs. 1,000 price bracket in India. However, its limited availability makes it quite difficult for all fitness freaks to experience its features.

Turn to the next page to know about the key specifications of the Xiaomi Mi Band.

Specifications

ModelXiaomi Mi Band
CompatibilityAndroid 4.4, iOS 7.0
ConnectivityBluetooth 4.0 LE, pogo pins connector
SensorsMilitary-grade acelerometer
Notification SourcesVibration alerts and three LED lights
Dimensions36 x 14 x 9 mm
Weight5 g