This is the fashion of the moment of connected objects, including fitness activity bracelets aka activity tracker, like the Mi Band.
These allow you to record your activity, among other things, the number of steps taken on a day, the number of calories expended and the number of hours of sleep (while differentiating light and heavy-repair sleep)…
The Mi Band
I told you about my Test of the Withing Pulse O2 and how excellent it was. Today I'm going to tell you about another activity tracker bracelet, the Xiaomi Mi Band, which I must admit, dazzled me and this, although having some functions less compared to the Pulse O2!
For those who would not have followed the high tech news, or who would not know a name, Xiaomi is a very well-known Chinese brand of smartphones. And although we could associate Xiaomi with low cost given the prices, especially that of the Mi Band, their product remains quality! (In any case for the Mi Band, for smartphones, I did not really have the opportunity to test one long-lasting)
For the record, the Mi Band is an activity tracker, which compares to its competitors who do more or less the same thing, and is about 5 times cheaper. In some cases, it can be up to 10 times cheaper!!!
- Monitor your physical activity
- Works with xiaomi Mi Fit app
- Keep an eye on your sleep
- Soft awakening by vibrations
- Notification alert
- Incoming call alert
- 30 days of autonomy
- Bluetooth: 4.0
- Water resistant IP67
- Size: 157-205 mm
- Net weight: 13g
- Net weight: 5.0g
- Compatible with Android 4.4 or iOS 7
The Xiaomi MiBand and MiFit test
The design is quite simple: a plastic oval with surface, a brushed aluminum part with the presence of 3 LEDs. The aluminum surface is reactive to the touch. And that's it, no ignition/extinguishing button, no other buttons, no screen! You almost have almost no interface! The only interface you have is in the Android or iOS app, the Xiaomi Mi fit app that lets you control the Mi Band.
It's also weird and confusing that you don't have an ignition button or a screen. By simply looking at it, you just don't know if it works or not! And you may touch the metal surface, but it won't react! The reality is that it is in continuous operation, and only stops if it no longer has battery at all!
Given its continuous operation, you would think that it uses a lot of battery. Well no, that's not the case! Xiaomi announces autonomy on standby for 30 days! After a day of use without vibrations, the battery came down from… 0%! If you round it up to the top unit and extrapolate, you can say that a day – 1% and therefore that the Mi Band could even last 100 days with a single refill!
On the other hand, this autonomy goes down with the vibrations. At the very first launch, so 100% recharged, the smartphone app launched the pairing and carried out a firmware update. After some vibration tests (4 to be more exact), the battery went down to 98%.
Testing a night-time quiet day, normal recording with bluetooth of the smartphone permanently on, 4 vibrations – the battery went down by 2%.
How can an activity tracker have such a good battery life? Mainly for 2 reasons: the lack of screen that is always energy consuming and the bluetooth version 4 (LBE) which is low energy. The main decrease in the battery is at the vibration engine level. And at a lower level, in terms of collection. I'm not sure, but I think that in terms of collections, it's not the Mi Band that counts your steps or your hours of sleep, but rather the application. The recorded data would be raw data from the accelerometer, and that the application would convert into steps, light-heavy sleep hours, etc. And that's what would also save the battery since there are no calculations to be done.
The lack of a screen
And this would also explain the choice of "non-screen". The Pulse O2 allowed you to see at every moment how many steps you were, which you don't have here with the Mi Band. You need to link your Mi Band to the Mi Fit app to send the data and know your scores! The Pulse O2 could very well be used without a smartphone and app, the app being used mainly to memorize your data over the long term. In this case, using the Mi Band without a smartphone and app would be completely useless because you won't get your results!
In terms of the accuracy of the data, I must say that I was very surprised at their performance! The Pulse O2 could either be on the wrist or belt. And to count the hours of sleep, we had to tell him that we are going to bed (but he could detect the alarm clock with 1/4 h of lag). The Mi Band only puts on the wrist, but doesn't need to tell him when we're going to bed!
And although the Mi Band only puts itself on the wrist, you would think that it would be less accurate than at the belt because of the various movements that can be made with our arm and that could be counted as a step or not. I no longer have the Pulse o2 since it was won in the contest to be able to compare the 2 at the same time, but according to my tests, the Mi Band has no problem set or exclusion!
I would even say that the Mi Band is more accurate than the Pulse O2 because does not require telling him when we go to bed. (with the Pulse, if we forgot to tell him, we had it in the baba!). In addition, this sleep/wake detection was ultra accurate during my tests! I was pleasantly surprised! And if the detection was really incorrect for example at bedtime or at the time of awakening, it is possible to correct it! I have not tested it because I did not have this problem. But theoretically, the application should recalculate the entire sleep period and the next time, will give you a proper sleep period! On the other hand, it can detect steps during sleep, but at the last news, I'm not sleepwalking …
Note: The tracker would have a memory of about 10 days and does not require to have the bluetooth connection permanently connected.
The functions of the Mi Band
In addition to tracking your lost efforts, calories and fats, thanks to its built-in vibrator and 3 LEDs, the Mi Band also serves as an alarm clock. It does not need to be connected to the smartphone. Just that it was synchronized in order to send him the wake-up data. With the advanced function of vibrating 1/2 hour in advance at the best time (light sleep) so as not to wake you up abruptly. So you're on top. This is a function that is not bad, but the concern is that the vibrator is not adjustable in intensity. Therefore, during your light sleep, you do not know if it is really time or not! :-D
The vibrator is also used for something else: notify you of calls and notifications! In terms of calls, there is unfortunately a delay before he warns you, which is at least 3 seconds.
There are several modified Mi Fit apps that allow you to change this time frame, for example, and reduce it to 1 second. Or notify you of text messages. But we notice that the functions added to the Mi Fit by developers outside Xiaomi are actually gradually integrated into the original Mi Fit. We quickly notice that without the Mi Fit, the Mi band is useless. And that it is at the Level of the Mi Fit that is the main limitation of functions.
Of course, the Mi Band is limited by what it takes on (1 accelerometer, 3 multicolored LEDs, 1 vibrator) and therefore the data it collects. But the LEDs are multicolored, but in the app, you are only offered to choose a single color from 4. Theoretically, it should be able to notify you of calls with the blue color for example and the achievement of your goals in green. Moreover, the achievement of the objectives can only be done at a certain time: 9:30 p.m., and no way to change the time …
On the other hand, the Mi Band is supposed to be able to unlock your smartphone… element missing from the Mi Fit app. Either I missed it (which would surprise me), or it is absent, or it is accessible only for smartphones under Xiaomi (The Mi Band was basically compatible with some of Xiaomi's smartphones. Only then did they expand compatibility to all Android 4.4 and iOS 7 smartphones.
Edit: Following my test, I was asked several times how to check the progress / percentage of the number of steps already taken without synchronizing with the smartphone. What about the Miband's LEDs? Well in reality, it's both stupid and very clever: if you set up the app correctly and say on which arm you put your MiBand and your size, well you just have to make the gesture as if your MiBand is a watch! 1 to 2 sec after, it will tell you at what level you are of your goal of the number of steps of the day!
It's an excellent activity tracker that's not only accurate, but also has more advanced features like automatic sleep detection, wake-up, vibration and LEDs! We are pleasantly surprised by its precision and functions, especially given its price compared to its competitors!
In addition, it has an IP 67 protection index. This means that it is totally protected from dust and is able to be submerged in 1 m of water without worry. Ideal for sports!
The only "problem" stems mainly from the limitation at the application level. A little unfortunate, but the Mi Band is still excellent!
A screen would of course have been a must, but I think the autonomy as well as the price, would have taken a big hit.
In short, a tracker that is definitely worth a visit for those who want to monitor their activity!