My experience with Xiaomi has been mixed up. As I said in one of my earlier blog posts, their products are good value for money but their service ecosystem is just horrible. Of course, I will have to another service experience with them before I can revise my opinion about them. Despite my skepticism with the Chinese company’s service pipeline, I am still open to buying their products, especially cost very less money.
So, when I decided that I want a health band, I had to look at some of the cheaper options. There were a lot of local players which were offering health bands for less than a thousand bucks (approximately 15 dollars) but Xiaomi was the only one that seems to have that nice engineering and a proper app to go with it. Reviews about it were excellent from the tech press. So, I decided to get the band and I did.
To my credit, I have the band for 34 days now, and I have not missed a single day of my daily goal (which is 10000 steps, approximately 7 kilometers) so I have used it extensively. I hope that makes me enough of a user to share some solid opinion on the device.
Let’s start off with the engineering of the device. It has the usual Mi simplicity attached to it. It has great finish, and it is extremely small. It’s less than the size of a thumb, and has a simple 3 point LED indicator. The LED indicator works in multiple ways. It indicates charging and it also indicates goals being met. It’s simple and neat, just the way I like it.
If I have a complaint, that would be about the rubber band that contains the health tracking device. Mi seems to have lost their cool thing with the rubber band because it is a huge pain to remove and replace the health device with the rubber band. However, the remove and replace only needs to be done once in a month or even once in two months. The battery that is built into the band is just too good. Either the health tracking device itself consumes a small amount of power or the battery is too good. Either way, the battery life on this device is just amazing. A single charge that I did when I bought the device is still powering the band a month later. In fact, I am now worried that I will lose the charger of the band because I use it so rarely.
So far, the band itself works beautifully. The Mi Fit app (which is the other half of the package) is available from the play store. It is not as advanced as the other fitness apps. Still, it has the essentials. It counts the steps. It can be used to set targets (like daily targets) and the band will vibrate informatively when the target is hit. The app also has the option to track running (I haven’t tried tracking that yet) or the option to track sleeping (another thing which I am yet to try). Still though, the walking tracking part of the device works beautifully, so the other stuff should work just as fine. The app also has a neat history tracker, and weight tracker. It is simple but it is useful.
The band does get uncomfortable over long durations of usage. Which means, wearing it round the clock (which is the whole point of a health band I suppose) is ruled out. The rubber material will create sweat and of course, exercising in the sun (which happens a lot) means you have live with the slight tan where the band was worn.
All in all, I am impressed with the Mi Band. It’s low price, actually utility, the app that completes the picture makes for a fantastic package. Assuming that I continue my (so far unbroken streak of 35 day and counting exercise walk) current usage, I believe that I will probably upgrade to Mi Band 2 in a few months.