I've been eyeing fitness trackers for a very long time. But I wasn't sure if I should take the plunge and shell the 140€ they were costing. Of course, I wanted only the best and for some reason, I thought that Jawbone was the best.
But after about two years of wanting it and never purchasing it (even 70€ for one was still a lot!) I heard from my brother that he just got one. An inexpensive one, for about 17€ and that it works great.
WHAT? That's dirt cheap and I couldn't believe it.
But since it was 10% of the price of the Jawbone I decided to give it a go and try it. Of course, after lots of research. Weird enough, it seemed that this is the best inexpensive fitness tracker out there.
But is it truly?
Okay but first let's talk about what is a fitness tracker?
What is a fitness tracker?
A fitness tracker is supposed to help you track your progress with your workouts. Maybe give you a little insight on when and how you sleep. Some advanced have the tracking option of checking when you eat. The more expensive ones also have a built-in heart monitor, to make your workout easier.
For me it is something that helps me track how many steps (and km) I make, help me be more goal oriented (my goal is 10.000 steps per day minimum) and help me track my sleep habits.
[first opening of the box]
I got the Xiaomi Mi Band because I wanted a fitness tracker for a very long time. And because I realized I purchased the wrong version (older) I ordered another one, the new one with the heart monitor.
So, what is supposed this band to do?
• Heart rate monitor: 1S with optical heart rate sensor, shows you heart rate with PPG, you can see the results more intuitively.
• 10 days standby time: Top-level Bluetooth chip and military gravity sensor ensure 10 days ultra-long standby time for a full charging.
• Call reminder: Mi Band 1S will tell you when a call comes, you never need to worry about missing any important calls.
• Sports tracking: Track your sports, record steps, distance, and calories, help you achieve your sports target.
• Sleep monitoring: Let you know your deep sleep and shallow sleep, also APP will give you periodical evaluation, help you develop good living habits.
• Silent alarm: Wake you up every morning, will not be late for work; Remind you with vibration, never worry about missing anything.
• Free password to unlock the phone: Forget complex unlock password and gesture, simply raise your hand to close to phones, immediate and safe unlocking.
What do you get in your box?
- A USB charger (do not try to charge it with your phone charger adapter, because it won't fully charge it, so charge it on your PC only).
- The Mi tracker. Small and cute. And lightweight.
- A silicone waterproof band.
- Chinese instructions. But you can see the English online manual here - Mi Band and Mi Band Pulse.
In the instructions, you get a small QR code which when you scan you get to download the Mi application. You'll need the application for all the tracking. You can also connect it to Google Fit (android) or the Apple Health app.
On Android, we got the version 2, which came out recently and has a cleaner design. It's the same for the Mi band and the pulse version.
You can set a notification for all the incoming calls (or you can skip the unknown numbers!). When you get a call, the band vibrates. It's hard to miss it ;).
It's new that you can set a notification (vibration) for SMS (text messages) and apps. For my phone, the SMS notifications don't work because my Android version is too old.
My favorite feature is the alarm. I love that it wakes me up in a gentle way (vibration!) and it doesn't wake up everyone around me. You can have up to 3 alarms set. And the best part is that you can set the days, like weekdays, weekends and so on.
Here are some of my stats. You can track your daily steps (seen by intervals), the distance, and so on.
As you can see I sleep like sh$$%, but it's a thing I'm working on.
Also do have in mind that the band is a bit generous with the steps. So I normally remove 100 steps per day to get a more realistic stats.
One downside of the sleep tracking is that you only get one sleep cycle - on both bands. So it won't track if you take a nap during the day :(.
Mi band vs Mi band Pulse (S1)
So, I have both. I used both about the same time. Daily and loved them both. But which is the best and why?
The boxes are the same, just the back side is a bit different. The one with the 2015 award is the older version since the Pulse band came out just recently.
Left: Mi band
Right: Mi band Pulse
The trackers! Aren't they cute? So small!
They are the same dimension. Small and lightweight.
But here's the difference. The Mi band Pulse has a small camera or pulse tracker on the backside. And the connectors (for charging) are on the other side.
And an almost invisible difference. The S1 version (pulse) is a bit thicker.
What differences have I noticed?
Except the physical differences that can be seen above in photos I noticed some things.
- One is that the Mi band has a shorter battery life, as weird as that sounds. I managed to get to 80% of the battery in 3 days while the Mi band Pulse lasts me for a much longer time. But I do feel that it drains my phone battery quicker. It's funny because with both I had the Bluetooth connection on all the time.
- The pulse tracker makes for a better sleep analysis if you turn this option on in the app.
I like them both and I don't really use the pulse tracker except during sleep. Why? Because for some serious and better tracking, I do have a heart monitor (with a watch).
Oh, did I tell you that they are waterproof? I tested it by taking a shower with mine and well, it went fine. ;)
Getting the best out of your tracker
This one is tricky, because inexpensive trackers aren't supposed to be good. But this one is more than good, it's great.
To get the best out of it, you need to connect it to the main health app (like Google Fit for Android) and from it, you can connect to whichever app you are using (I like MyFitnessPal). But beware, Google Fit does surely like to throw a fit here and there because sometimes it won't update on the steps taken from the Mi app. And once you go to sleep, it won't update it for your previous day, which sucks. In such cases, I just close all the applications and re-try after a couple of minutes.
I know it says you can unlock your phone with it, but you do need to have a Xiaomi phone for that.
Oh, now let's talk about all the pretty things! Like, bands. Bands are pretty. Well, they can be pretty.
The only original one that is released for EU and USA is the black one. But black isn't really my color so I got some unoriginal ones from Ebay.
They are inexpensive (about 70c) and great. Truth to be told I prefer them to the original one. Why?
Because they are softer and easier to fasten on.
You can get a bunch of pretty bands online, like a beautiful silver one which I just found about yesterday. I need one of those, so classy looking.
So, a new version or the older version?
The price difference isn't all that big. About 2€. So why skip on a fancy pulse tracker if you can have it for such a small price?
But if I didn't have the pulse tracker I wouldn't be all that sad. It's great, yes. But if you have the older version, you don't need the new one. Just yet. Except for the sleep tracking. =)
I got mine off Ebay, but I found a better deal on Gearbest. You can also find a comparison + amazing pictures on their site.
I think that everyone needs one of these things, especially if they are trying to start living a healthier life. As I am. And 10.000 steps is just one step closer to it ;).
10.000 steps is just one step closer to it ;).