After I killed my FitBit, I decided try out the Xiaomi Mi Band. I’ve only had it for a week, but my first impressions are that it’s a great tracker at an extremely cheap price.
The setup of the Mi Band was pretty simple. Granted, it did arrive with a dead battery so I charged it overnight. Then the instructions were all in a different language, but the images are universal. I had some issues pairing the band with my iPhone, but I looked online and it told me to turn off Bluetooth and turn it back on again which worked. After that, pretty smooth.
The iOS app has some pretty bad reviews, but it seems to be working fine for me. The band and my iPhone talk to each other and my band alerts me of phone calls. I have low expectations, but everything seems to be working as advertised. Like many other apps, it does have some odd UX, but it works.
The first day I had my band, I synced all my data with Apple’s health app, something the FitBit doesn’t do, and the numbers were odd. Apple recorded more steps than the Mi Band; way more. It’s like Apple was adding their numbers and the Mi Band’s numbers. Maybe this is normal? I’m guessing syncing the two isn’t a great idea.
Thinking something funny was up, I decided not to sync steps to Apple’s health app on day 2.
Day 2 and Apple’s Health app and the Mi Band have close to the same steps, but it’s about 1000 off. I don’t expect them to be exactly the same, but they’re far apart; actually a little farther than I’d like. The iPhone seems to be tracking higher which I find odd since the phone isn’t on me at all times. However, if you think about it, the iPhone should track better than a $13 activity band. It’s also good to note that I never really compared my FitBit to Apple’s numbers so maybe this is normal.
Day 3 and I attached my band to my keys and carried it around in my pocket just like I do with my iPhone. This time tracking is the same on phone and band. They are almost exactly the same. This makes me believe it’s accurate but tracking on my wrist isn’t as good as in my pocket. However, then I don’t get phone notifications which I really like and it makes sleep tracking harder.
Day 4 I put it back on my wrist and it’s back to tracking like day 2.
Day 5 I decided to test it against the Up2 and it only made me realized that accuracy is subjective. The Up2 and my iPhone both track better numbers. I even made my 10,000 step goal! However, the Mi Band didn’t hit 10,000. We were at like 9,700. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Should I really care?!
Day 6 and now the Mi Band is tracking higher than the Up2. I really need to give up on trying to figure out tracking accuracy. They all do things differently. End of story.
From what I can tell, the sleep information looks good too. It’s tracking my sleep and breaks down deep sleep vs light sleep and its fun to see the stats. Again, I’m not looking for perfection here.
Also, after a week of wearing it my battery is at 80% and that’s with me opening it all the time to check data. No longer do I have to worry about charging it often.
Overall, for the $13 I paid for my Xiaomi Mi Band (I got it on sale) I’m pretty happy. As far as I can tell, it’s accurate, but accuracy is subjective as each tracker has their own algorithm for figuring out steps. I’m hoping my Mi Band lasts as it sure beats spending $100+ on one of those big brand trackers.