Review Xiaomi Mi Band Version 2.0

Discussion in 'Gadgets and Consumer Electronics' started by JD666, Nov 28, 2015.

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  1. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    Yep, apparently the sub 20$ Fitness band was such a hit, that Xiaomi decided to cut some further costs and make a version 2.0. What it essentially does, is replace the multi-colored LEDs with three white ones. Which does make for a better look vs the garish multi colored one from yore.

    So my order came in, shipped from banggood -

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    I must commend Xiaomi on their packaging. The containers were of such a durable quality, and with a foam lining on one side, that the missus immediately liked them for keeping knick knacks.

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    Lifting the lid, the first bit that greets you is the aluminum face of the band sensor. This is where all the action happens.

    The Xiaomi Mi band essentially has the following - a 1mm thin aluminum face that is machined and made in a 12 step process. It has a Bluetooth Low energy chip that runs off a button cell (225 mAH) that should last for 3 yrs or so. The battery inside is a 41mAH (rechargeable) and it also has a vibration motor for notifications.

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    Lifting the flap we have the silicone band, the charging dock, and documentation in Mandarin.

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    I had some difficulty in getting one of the sensors to charge. Apparently it was not reaching the contact pins in the dock easily. After really shoving it in, it began charging.

    Initial charging takes about 3 hours on a 850 mA - 5V USB charger. On a laptop port (500 mAH), it might be longer.

    The Mi Fit app is available on both iOS and Android and is quite easy to understand.

    Pairing however was an issue (initial). I had to keep the device really close and all other devices in another room for it to get detected. Close - stuck to the phone. Once that happened, I had to tap the band several times to identify it to the phone and it was done.

    Once paired, you don't really have to keep it connected for the band to do its job. You can pair and check your stats, once a day or so.

    I'm going to keep this short and sweet, coz essentially as a fitness tracker the Mi Band fails spectacularly. There isn't really much tracking, and if I get a notification that I've walked 8000 steps in just half the day, it is an amazing feat for sure.

    The sensor over reads every motion. Even logging steps when I'm driving or just moving my hand across the desk between mouse-keyboard.

    As a conservative estimate, it might be over reading by as much as 40%. Yes.

    What I did find useful (with regards to the Fitness aspect) was the sleep tracking, and weight tracking.

    You can either pair your Mi Fit app with a Xiaomi weighing scale. This will sync the information to your app whenever you step on it. Or you can manually enter your weight everytime you check it. What the app does is give you important graph information with regards to your weight, especially if your weight yo-yos a lot.

    Other bits - The sleep tracking only works if you log your sleeping time and wake up time in the app. You need to preset your time of sleeping/getting into bed. It does tell you how many hrs of deep sleep you had and how many hours of regular sleep. But for someone doing night shift, I cannot keep changing my sleeping times accordingly. It should probably assume that I am asleep if there is no or very little motion after probably 15-20 minutes and then assume that as sleep time.

    So it does not work well as a fitness tracker. Is it good at anything else?


    Oh yes, loads. If you envy your Samsung and now OnePlus brethen with their new fingerprint sensor unlocking devices, the Mi Band offers similar functionality. I tried this on my Redmi 2 and it works as described. You pair your device to your band, and it will unlock automatically when you swipe the screen (and the band is in the vicinity) and detects the band. The range is not more than 5-6 feet, so if you are far from your phone, the device will automatically go to PIN or pattern mode, whichever you have set.

    It might sound tedious at first, but honestly does become really easy to unlock your device. Slightly slower, but works nonetheless.

    Secondly you can use the vibrate alarm function to wake you up in the morning, without disturbing the sleep of near and dear ones sleeping next to you. The vibration is quite strong, and if you have your band a tad tight, is way more than noticeable. Even with sufficient space, the vibration was a distinct sensation on my wrist.

    What else?

    Well if you have an Android device, you can set it to vibrate for notifications/calls/messages/emails etc. If you have an iOS device, then it will vibrate only for calls. Which is still useful. However obviously the device needs to be paired at all times for this to function.


    So it's not really a good fitness tracker, but is more like a augmentation notification/alarm/unlock device?

    Yep, pretty much.

    Is it worth it?

    For 15-18$ depending on where you order it from, it is a nifty device, especially if you have a MiUi/Xiaomi mobile phone. The unlocking feature itself is pretty much worth it. And it looks pretty decent on the wrist as well.

    I'll add some screen shots of the fitness app to share the information I have -

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    This is the pedometer or walking screen that tells you how much have you walked.

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    This is the most recent information available.

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    This is the sleep screen. So even if I'm working in the night shift, it cannot tell the difference, unless I tell it to. And the times to be set are extremely limited.

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    This is the weight section. Before this, you put your height/age/sex/weight to this app. What you can do is keep updating it on a daily basis and it will provide you with a weight graph -

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    The battery back up is quite impressive, and probably the strongest points of this band.

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    If it was 88% after 8 days, the current indication is 82% after 15 days. People have reported 50+ days of usage if you don't use the vibration feature as much. However I do feel, even with that enabled, this should last 2-3 weeks easily, probably requiring a top off every other weekend. Which really works for me.

    So all in , a decent device to play around with, but if you're looking at all the other ancillary actions it can support. I would like a camera capture option, where in a flick of the wrist would capture an image.

    Perhaps in Mi Band 3.0
     
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  2. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    Battery life is excellent. There was a recent firmware update, however I still cannot tweak my sleeping time to reflect sleeping in the day time.

    The sensor is slightly improved, but still over reads by about 25% or more easily.

    Battery life has not been a concern, going to like 77% after 28 days. Charged it twice since I wrote this thread, and that too wasn't a low battery scenario.
     

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