This band was the most affordable fitness band from a reliable company. It surely was the first band for most people who weren’t into this much because of its price, ~$15. It was cheap enough to try out a new thing, but was it worth the time?

I was not into that fitness thing much, I didn’t consider a $100 fitness band a way to go.I wouldn’t even think to try out until I found a dirt cheap $15 Mi band. As far as I knew, it could track your step and how well you sleep the same way all new smartphones did–maybe with a little help of 3rd party app. So I gave it a try.

When I first saw the band, it was my first toy under the name Xiaomi which people claimed to love or hate their Apple copycat strategy. I was impressed how well it looked. There was nothing like Apple, but it surely did give me a feeling of “Apple”-quality product. That was all about it. The band came in 2 separate parts; the unit and the rubber band. It did not have anything but 3 dot LEDs and charging port. Nothing inventive here at all.

Moreover, Xiaomi did provide a Mi Fit app on both Android and iOS. They were equally as good. UI on both platform were pretty much the same. Android version did have one advantage over iOS though. You would not have to enter your passcode to unlock the phone if Mi band was nearby–that worked 80% of the time for me. Setting up processes were painless. Overall experience was excellent.

Besides step & sleep tracking, there were 2 interesting features: incoming call notification and vibrating alarm.

  • Alarm needed to set in the app itself which was somewhat inconvenient, but a vibration on your wrist in the morning was quite silently intriguing. I didn’t use this feature much though. It was just way too many taps comparing to “ok google wake me up at x:xx” or via Siri if using iOS.

  • Incoming call notification was invaluable esp. when you were in the crowd and you just couldn’t hear your phone ring. Surely you would miss your call much less than you did before in any circumstance.

Warning

The genuine band was solid. It never lose unintentionally. However, after roughly 6 months or so, it wore out. I bought a compatible band and I deeply regreted that. The compatible band I’ve got was a bit softer. I never thought I would lose the band and Mi unit on the first time I wore, but it did.

Don’t ever attempt to use with inferior band. Although it’s cheap enough not to be sorry when it got lost, a genuine band should cost you $5 or less. Don’t risk that.

Battery life

This was what I loved Mi Band so much. It was like a toy, but I didn’t have to pay attention to at all. Xiaomi claimed 30-day battery life, but 50-day+ was what I’ve got. Its battery wasn’t even empty by then, but I recharged it anyway.

That was like twice as much. 2-and-a-half-hour charge from 15% to full. I wish all gadget was like this. It last so long that I couldn’t even remember where I kept the cable.

Step & sleep tracker

As I’ve researched before buying this I found that many claimed that Mi band wasn’t that accurate comparing to any other (much more expensive) brand. After 2 months wearing it, I found that Mi band could give me a precision although I couldn’t prove how accuracy Mi band was since it would be a tedious job counting how many step I walked in during the day. By comparing to iPhone 6+ and LG G3 step tracker, Mi band tended to have less steps; that was all I could say. I was quite happy that I’ve got pretty much the same result during many sessions of 2-hr badminton.

As for sleep tracking with Mi band, it was awesome. I didn’t have to do anything extra. Mi band would intelligently know that I slept and also when I woke up. Surely there were some mistakes every now and then, but 80% of a time Mi band got it right. Kudos to their algorithm. I could only compare to an app like Sleep Tracker on Android. My deep sleep percentage also had similar patterns but with Mi band I didn’t have to worry about dropping my phone on the floor and such.

What I like the most was I could look at my own statistics in a nice easy-to-comprehend information. It was just a nice way knowing your own life patterns without interfering your regular routine.

Anyway, there was surely what I thought it was missing too. With Mi band, you were locked down to Mi Fit app. I saw that it potentially could export to Apple health app and Google Fit one, but I had yet to see it work nicely. As far as my experience went, data were rarely added to Health app and there was no way to force it. I could actually careless about this if Xiaomi would give a way to fetch data directly from Mi band, but that was likely NOT to happen also.

Verdict

This was a gadget everyone should have. It was affordable; it worked with most people (sorry Windows phone users.) It required little to none knowledge to use it and it just worked–no attention required.

To me, the incoming notification alone was worth it’s price.