By the time Apple announced their health app, fitness bracelets or activity monitors were becoming all the rage. These monitors keep tabs on your motion, your quality of sleep, whether you are going up stairs, weight changes, and more. An entirely new industry has cropped up combining software with wearable technology, integrated website accounts, weight scales and calorie counting.
If you are new the the craze, then we have a suggestions for you – start cheap. If you know exactly what you are looking for, have seen it in action, and know for a fact that you will use it, then by all means, go for the one you have your heart set on. However, if you are just getting started and don’t know too much about fitness trackers or if the data collected would even be remotely interesting to you in the long run, then we recommend starting with a cheap band that has all the basic features you would expect from any fitness tracker.
Meet the Xiaomi Mi Band
The Xiaomi Mi Band has sold like hotcakes in China, and now they are available to fitness fanatics in the West. As Chinese manufacturers have made cheap an art form, these bands are just about the cheapest of the cheap, which is good for anyone who is just getting his/her feet wet, or is testing the waters. And it boast the most common features that come with fitness trackers today.
What So Great About the Xiaomi Mi Band?
Why should you buy a Mi Band? Did we mention cheap? Yes they are cheap, so that is a major consideration, but the Mi Band will surprise you with all that Xiaomi has packed into that little band for so little cost.
The Mi Band features include a motion sensor that tracks your activity levels throughout the day, determining if you are running, walking, sitting, etc. From the motion analysis, the Mi app determines your calories burned throughout the day, calculates your walking distance and helps you to meet your fitness targets that you’ve preset in the app. When you meet your targets, the band vibrates to let you know you’ve done it for that day.
The Mi Band also automatically determines when you are sleeping, and tracks how well you sleep. You can set the band to vibrate as a pre-alarm, if you will. The idea behind the gentle vibration is that you set it 30 minutes before your nightstand alarm is set to go off, so having been gently wakened 30 minutes prior, you’ll be fresh and ready to jump out of bed when your alarm goes off.
Some other nice features of the Mi Band include IP67 water resistance, a Mi Band locator if it’s within Bluetooth range of your phone, an incoming call alert and a variety of different color bands. Having used a Fitbit in the past, I really like that the Mi Band has a six month battery life, and charging from empty to full only takes about two hours. That’s a radical difference from the Fitbit which only lasts about five days, and takes over two hours to charge.
Sounds Awesome, But…
No product does it all, so there must be some drawbacks. Well, like we mentioned before Chinese manufacturers have made cheap an art form, and as such, manufacture items that aren’t of the highest quality. Although their QA has improved over the past year or so, you run the risk of having the battery life outlive the unit itself. I’m sure this is rare, but we’ve scoured through countless forum comments from users who love their Mi Band, but have had problems with its lifespan. Even so, at the time of this article, the Xiaomi Mi Band was only $14.99, so what did you really lose if it dies an early death. Just get another one!
Another common complaint about the Mi Band is that it’s a wee bit generous with the activity and sleep monitoring. After a day of light office work, showering, helping in the kitchen and taking out the trash, I find that my Mi Band thinks I spent a few minutes running. It may also bump up the hours slept. It’s almost like the Mi Band feels sorry for you and wants help you meet your fitness goals. Just keep that in mind when you set your daily goals. Maybe bump them a bit higher than you would normally, so that way, the Mi Band’s exaggeration will be put into perspective.
All in all, you will most likely be very pleased with your Mi Band, considering how much you paid for it in comparison with the $50-$150 range of competing fitness trackers.