23 July-2014, Tech Firstpost: Along with the Xiaomi Mi 4 smartphone, the company has also…
So you’re not exactly a fitness geek, but you do want to stay a little bit in shape. Maybe the wife gave you a knowing poke in your not-so-subtle-anymore belly, maybe you just think a little fresh would do you good, or maybe you want to dip your toes in the water before you dive into the fitness band pool. For any of those situations, the Xiaomi Mi Band could be your answer.
It’s the most basic of fitness trackers, at the most pocket-friendly price. But that also means the Xiaomi Mi Band will do one job (or in this case two) and leave the heavy lifting up to you. So let’s dive right in.
The Mi Band is a 9mm thin aluminum alloy core, enclosed in a polycarbonate housing (the same as the Mi4i), which is wrapped in a silicone band. The core can be separated from the band, allowing you to dock it with the packaged charging cable, or simply switch to a different band colour. The top-facing side of the core retains a metal surface, and has 3 LEDs built in to serve as indicators. Granted, it’s a bit of a task to get those LEDs to light up; you HAVE to have your arm hanging at your side and then HAVE to raise it like you’re checking your watch, but, when it does work, it shows you how much of your walking goal has been completed.
The Mi Band weighs 5g and has a water resistance of IP67, meaning it’s dust-proof, and can be immersed up to 1m underwater. I can testify, the device is definitely durable. The average number of drops and knocks (for people who walk into doors a lot) doesn’t faze the band at all, and neither does wearing it in the shower.
The accompanying Mi Fitness app doesn’t just measure the number of steps you took today. It also measure how long, you slept through the night, buzzes you about half an hour before your actual alarm, to kickstart your waking up process, and even unlocks your phone. Just wear the Mi Band, turn on the setting in the app, and you can use the Mi Band to bypass your screen lock password or pattern when you touch it. Anyone unlocking the phone without the paired band in proximity will still be asked for a password.
The band syncs to your phone via Bluetooth 4.0, but it also registers it to your Mi Account, allowing you to share your fitness scores with other Mi Band users around the world. The Mi Band is compatible with MIUI phones, or any device with Android 4.4 and above, and iPhone models that run on iOS 7.0 and above.
An important point to note for the Mi Band is that, since it has so few things to do, it tries not to be a bother about it. While the Xiaomi site says the 41mAh battery can power the band for 30 days, Hugo Barra himself has said, and I concur, that the band is more likely to last closer to 40 days on a single charge.
So if you’re looking for comprehensive run statistics, or want to measure your heart rate and the like, the Xiaomi just can’t do that. However, the ultra-low price tag makes it a perfect candidate for an entry level fitness band. Seems like I might be converted yet.