Breaking News

Xiaomi MI Band : Review

Inside this is the minimalistic box of the Mi Band. Nothing on the front of the box except the MI logo. 

Some data on the back of the box. 

When you open the box, you are greeted by the small Mi Band right in the centre, its a cute looking band is what the feedback that I got from my wife and daughter. Which means, I have to agree too that the band is cute. 

Box contains the Mi receiver (the one in the silver), Mi Silicone bracelet, charging cable and the user manual. 

User manual is of not much use as its in chinese and I don't understand that. There is not even single instruction in English in the manual. 

The main unit of the MI band has to be removed from the Mi silicone bracelet. Only after you have removed the main unit from the bracelet, you can charge the main unit. 

To charge you get an usb cable. The initial charge in the MI Band that I got was around 66% but before using it, I charged the main unit till 100%. 

While the tracker was charging, I installed the MI Band app. For this, go to the play store and download the MI Band application. The application seems to be in chinese language in the store, but don't worry it takes your phones local language settings and for me got installed in English.  

Post installation, it will ask you for permissions. Agree to those.

After agreeing to the alert, you can see this screen. 

We need to login using our MI username and password. After sign in to the MI account, we need to enable bluetooth as the phone needs to pair with the band. Allow the app to turn on the bluetooth. 

If the band is found by the app, the band's lights will start flashing. To pair the band with the phone, tap on the tracker for few times when the lights are flashing. 

First input to the app once its paired will be gender, then age, then height, then weight and then your daily goal.

Input your age

Select your height in cms.

Then weight

select your daily step goals. 

Click next and your app is now configured. The default app is not that versatile and hence I used the twekaed MI Band application with the notification services. You can also use the same app from the following link.

The tweaked verison allows you to set up notifications for your installed application. This is a lot better feature and makes the MI band more useful and user friendly. I will talk about this later in the review. 

Functions of MI Band: 

Main function of the MI band is that of a fitness tracker

  • Track your steps taken
  • Distance Travelled
  • Calories burned
  • Sleep tracker with deep sleep tracker.
  • Alarms
  • Incoming call notification
  • Special functions with Mi phones (Mi 3 and Mi 4) and not the redmi version.
  • Long battery life.

Improvements in the MI app after installing the tweaked version of the app. 

  • Notifications for installed apps.
  • Fitness centre

Review of the MI Band.

Lets talk about the functions of the Mi band and review them one by one. 

1) Track steps taken, distance travelled and Calories burned.

The main function of the MI band is to track the steps taken. MI band provides information of the steps taken, calories burned and the total distance travelled. This is very useful information. Mi band though does fail miserably on the actual steps taken. MI Band is worn in the hand and due to which it does capture ghost steps. What I meant by the ghost steps is that even though you are sitting on the chair, but with the movement of your hand, it could track that as a step taken. Frankly this was annoying for me. For e.g I use the google fit also to monitor the steps taken and the difference between the two is more than 25%, where google fit provides me with a lower step count. Hence for this particular reason, i say that there is an issue with the accuracy of data captured by MI Band.

Due to the above reasons, distance travelled and calories burned data would also not accurate.


2) Sleep tracker

The MI band tracks your sleeping pattern. It monitors how long you have slept and how long were you in a state of deep sleep. This is helpful as it lets you know the total hrs that you have slept and out of those hrs how many hrs you were in the state of deep sleep. Mi Band tracks your deep sleep based on the movement on the bed. If during your sleep, there is no movement, then that's considered as deep sleep. I liked this feature and is very accurate as far as the sleeping hours and state of sleep is concerned. But this will work only once in a day. 

By what I mean once in a day is, Once you get up and sync your Mi band with the app on the mobile, for any other session of sleep will not be caputred. I work night shifts and hence sleep during the day. I don't get to sleep 8 hrs at a stretch and hence break my sleep pattern in two different slots with in the day. The second sleeping hours or state of sleep is not captured. This is something that I did not like and we should be able to track any hours of sleep. 


3) Alarms

The MI band provides you with an alarm reminder. Set up an alarm and when its time to wake up, the alarm will ensure that you are awake as it will vibrate on your wrist and this would certainly help you to awake. This functionality is only with the inbuilt alarm app and will not work with any thrid party applications. 

But I must say I will give this to the band as its surely will ensure that you are awaken by the alarm. 


4) Incoming call notification

Mi Band provides you with the incoming call notification. This is particularly useful if you are in a crowded place and can't hear the phone ring, or you have by activated the silent mode onto your phone. The MI band will vibrate when there is an incoming call. You can set the time interval in seconds for the Mi band to vibrate after the call has hit your phone. I selected 3 seconds, hence any call that hits me, I get the call notification on my band (Vibrate). This is really cool and helpful feature when i am driving or in crowded place or in meetings. This helps me get discrete notifications. 


5) Battery Life

One of the most impressive aspect of the Mi Band. The MI band has huge battery life. Company claims that the MI band will last upto 30 days before it needs to be charged again. Comparing this to the competition, 2 days for the fitbit flex and 10 days for the jawbone, MI Band is untouchable as far as the battery life is concerned. 


6) Special funtion for Mi phones. 

If you own the flagship phones of Xiaomi then you can use the special functions of MI band. One of the function is screen unlock. When a locked MI phone is near the Mi Band (app installed and unlock permission provided from the settings) the phone will be unlocked automatically. This is really cool feature and I love it. 


7) New functions from the tweaked app

Tweaked app has increased the usage of the Mi Band. Now we can get notifications from our favourite apps (vibration on your mi band for the selected apps.) I setup apps like whatsapp and QQ on the notifications and its really effective. Though I had to stop these very soon as otherwise the MI band would have been vibrating whole day on my hand. :)

I have enabled the notifications now for my gmail app, my runkeeper app and my messaging app. 


8) Fitness centre

Under the menu, you have additional functionality for fitness centre. I am not sure if its the functionality of the MI Band app or the tweaked version as I did not keep the MI band app for long. The fitness centre provide you with the way to calculate your jumping rope or situps. This is a nice to have functionality as now you don't have to count your jumps while using the jumping rope as the app would count it for you. This is cool. 


Final score for the Mi Band is 54 out of 80. 
I forgot to mention one important aspect of the MI Band. Its certified with waterproof and this helps. One additional issue that I noticed with the Mi Band is that the indicator LED do not work as expected. 

On the MI Band you have three LED, which help in providing you with the quick snapshot of your goal achievement. On every 33% of the goal achieved, 1 LED light would light up and when the goal is met, all three LEDs should lit up. This is not working for me. Also the quick glance function where you look at the MI band like a wrist watch, it does not show us the progress. This is annoying. 

Final Verdict

i would certainly recommend MI band to all as its the best VFM smart wearables in the market today. For a fraction of the cost of other fitness tracker, this is a great tool. Steps tracked info is not somthing that I can rely on completely and needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. This is where we need some improvements. 

MI Band is a novelty and for the price that it's available its VFM. This is the first attempt by Xiaomi in the smart wearables and is really nice for the first time. Though there are still lot of rough edges and those need to be sorted soon, specially if the main functionality of fitness tracking is not working as expected that's a major let down. With the new tweaked app with notification we do know now that the possibilities for enhancement is really there and Xiaomi should capitalize this asap. Also this VFM band should be launched soon in India so that Xiaomi has the first laucher benefit and many people would buy it for its low cost.  

One major reason to be proud of the Mi Band is the quality of material used. Even though the cost of the band is low, The band is great to look at and also the bracelet which is made of high quality silicone material is also really nice to feel. You will not get irritated while wearing for long hrs at a stretch. 


No comments