The Xiaomi Mi Band has finally landed in Malaysia. With a retail price of only RM59, the Mi Band costs a fraction of the price of its competitors – JawBone, Sony SmartBand, for example, and works in almost the same way as it sits quietly on your wrist, recording your daily activities.
What is it?
The Mi Band is a fitness band that sits passively on your wrist, recording down your steps and sleeping behaviour. Paired with an app, you can view and keep track of your daily activities like workout, steps, sleep and more.
Is it any good?
The Mi Band works just as advertised – it tracks your step and sleep, but what it can do will ultimately depend on its Mi Band app, free for download on the Play Store and App Store – yes, it works with most Android smartphones and the iPhone too.
The Mi Band app is pretty simple. It breaks your activities down to Sleep and Steps. Each category has got different sub-categories that give you a more in-depth look on your activities. There’s even a bar graph on top that breaks the activities into segments so you will know how long you were in deep/light sleep, or how much you walked/ran in a single hour. Just tap on a bar and it’ll show you the details.
Right below the graph is a summary of your steps and sleep for the day. In sleep, you can see the hours spent in deep/light sleep, the time you fell asleep and woke up, and how long you’ve been awake for in the middle of the night. As for steps, you can see the total distance you’ve walked for the day, daily steps and calories burned.
The Mi Band app can also keep track of all your past activities too, so you can easily review how much you slept/walked in previous days. Unfortunately, the bar chart will not be shown for past activities, all you get is the summary for the day.
The Mi Band app does more than show you your sleep and steps for the day. If you tap into the menu button, there’s an Activity section that will record down other activities like Jumping rope, Sit-up, and Running help – there’s also a section for that lets you vote for upcoming activities, which means that the Mi Band might be able to record down other sport activities like football, basketball, badminton, climbing, and much, much more.
Unfortunately, these activities are not automatically tracked so if you’re going to do some sit-ups, you’ll need to activate it manually. The app can track how many sit-ups/jumps you’ve done including the velocity, while the Running help will record the distance you ran, steps taken, your pace and speed, and even stores your route on a map, though the map doesn’t seem to show on our app.
Is it accurate? I can’t be 100% sure since I don’t manually track my steps and sleep but looking at the numbers at the end of the day (and the morning when I wake up), I think it does a pretty good job, though I get a little worried when the Mi Band app shows that I’ve walked a few steps at 4am when I don’t recall waking up at all.
Also, unless typing on the keyboard and playing with my hair is considered as a workout, I think it’s pretty inaccurate that Mi Band thinks that I’ve been working out throughout the day – the 8am one might be true though, when I’m running about the house getting ready for work.
The bad stuff. Tell me.
The Xiaomi Mi Band is essentially just a band. There’s no display whatsoever and the only thing you see are three LED lights to indicate the status of the band. This means that it’s practically useless if you don’t have your phone with you – you can’t even tell the time with that band.
The consolation is, it’s nice and small, and by far the most fitting band/watch I’ve worn on my skinny wrist, so you can leave it there and let it do its thing, and only check on your daily activity at the end of the day when you’re at home. It can store some data in the band itself, so you don’t exactly need to bring your phone around for it to do its magic.
Should I buy it?
For RM59, all I can say is, why not? The only question is if you can get your hands on one. Xiaomi Malaysia isn’t selling it outright at the moment so you’ll either need to buy a Redmi Note 4G bundle, or wait for Mi Malaysia to start selling accessories again.
It’s pretty fun to be able to analyse your sleep behaviour and how many hours you spent in deep or light sleep – you will even get to know how many times you woke up a night. It also gives a good breakdown on how many steps you’ve taken a day, as well as the minutes you spent running/walking.
Starting the year 2015 with a resolution to keep fit? The Mi Band is a nice and cheap fitness tracker to help you get started.