Subcribe to our RSS feeds Add to Circles Follow us on Twitter Join Us on Facebook Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Monday, December 22, 2014

Complete Guide To Mi Band Activity Tracker

Xiao Mi Band
Image Credit: Xiao Mi

The market for Fitness Trackers have exploded in the recent 1-2 years ! It seems like more and more people are interested to own one of these little devices. Whether to lose weight, get in shape or just for fun, these activity trackers have evolved into highly sophisticated technological devices, with powerful sensors, beautiful touch screens and highly accurate heart rate monitors.

小米 (Xiaomi), the chinese smartphone maker, have also jumped on the bandwagon with the latest release of their own version of the activity tracker, the 小米手环 (Xiaomi Band). It was released for sale in Singapore on the 16-DEC and i managed to get my hands on one of them. :))

Lets move on to the Mi Band Review:


Xiaomi Band
Mi Band Package

Mi Band Back Packaging
Back of the package

As with all Xiaomi products, the packaging is minimalist, sleek and of decent quality. The Mi Band is shipped with a USB charging cable and an English user guide. 

See unboxing video here:



Mi Band - Strap, Sensor and Connector
Strap, Sensor And USB Connector

As you can see from the picture(s), there are basically 2 components to the Mi Band - The sensor portion (pedometer) and the strap. The battery life on one of these bands purportedly lasts for 30 days* on a single charge. 

*I have yet to confirm this, but i will update this blog again after 30 days.

Fitting the Sensor into Connector
Fitting the Sensor into the USB connector

To charge your device, simply remove the sensor from the strap, plug it into the USB cable and connect it to any USB chargers (Yes, iPhone or Android phone chargers will also work).

Whilst charging, you can proceed to download the Mi Band App. This is available on Android (English) and iOS (Mandarin *English!) . This application would be your user interface / control panel. Think of it as a dash board for your progress.

* Latest Update 1.0.14 on the 23-DEC-14. Works for iPhone 5 and above!

After installing the application, using your Mi account (create one here if you don't already have it), login to the app. Once logged in for the first time, you will be prompted to setup your statistics (gender, height, weight (be honest), age (be MORE honest). These are the basic indicators that activity trackers would need to calculate your calories burnt, etc. Finally, you can set your goals. The recommended number of steps is  8000 (roughly a 40 minute walk).

Set Gender
Male or Female
Set Your Goals
Set Your Goals

The next step is the pairing of the band with your phone (Remember to turn on the blue tooth radio on your phone). Once paired, your Mi Band will be able to download all your recent activity to the application. I guess it is not necessary to have blue tooth switched on all the time but leaving it on will result in more 'real-time' updates of activity to your dash board.

Next, there are a couple of options you can play around with. I will explain a little more on these topics later in this post.
  1. Unlock your Mi3 or Mi Note phones
  2. In-coming call alerts 
  3. Set alarms - Alarm will make your band vibrate 5 times
  4. Set the hand on which your Mi Band is on 
  5. Progress Tracking (via movement)
  6. Change LED light color
After all the options are set, you are good to go!.
Customize Options Screen
Easy to Set Options


Physical Appearance and Initial Feel

After wearing the band for 3-4 hours, i noticed that it is light (barely noticeable), feels comfortable and does not irritate the skin (like some of the other rubber strap activity trackers i have tried). As you can see from my pictures (i have a small wrist), the Mi Band will likely fit a woman as well. With the potential to customize the colors on the bands, i can foresee that this will be a popular entry level fitness trackers for both genders.

The device is water resistant (but not water proof), it survived being in the shower, but i would NOT recommend bringing it along for swimming or diving. 

Mi Band on Wrist
Band On Wrist

Suitable For Small Wrists
Suitable For Small Wrists!

Goal / Progress Tracking (via movement)

Remember that we had initially set our goals ? By moving your wrist up to your face, (my gripe here is that you will need a strong swinging motion), it will activate the LEDs to show your progress.

BLUE (Customizable LED Color - Red/Green/Blue/Orange)
1 LED blink = reached 1/3 of objective
1 LED blinking = exceeded 1/3 of objective
2 LED blinking = exceeded 2/3 of objective
3 LED blinking = reached objective

RED
3 LED blinking = Out of Battery

If you are the sort (like me) who digs graphs and visual indicators, the progress tracking screen on the application will be more exciting. Here, you will be able to make visual comparisons of your activity vs the previous days. Simply tap on the bar chart to show the statistics and your achievements !

Progress Tracking Screen
Someone's been slacking!

My Observations On Accuracy

The accuracy of the device is pretty decent. For example: i went to my office pantry and back (counting the number of steps was about 40). The tracker showed a cool 43 steps. Not too shabby for a 19.90$ activity tracker!

When leaving the office for lunch, I had tried leaving the activity tracker application turned on, to monitor the accuracy of wearing it on my wrist in real time. To my surprise, it was quite accurate.

Left office for lunch.
* The screenshots were taken before the english iOS version was released.
Track Steps
Step and Calories
2nd Screen Shot after taking 6 steps


Each Step is Updated on GUI
Each Step is Updated

Back to office, a total of 570+ steps were taken.



Total Steps Taken
Total Steps Taken

Alarm

A great feature that comes with the Mi Band is the alarm function. Basically, you can set the alarm on the iOS by accessing the 'Alarm' menu. 

Preset Alarm timings
7:25 AM Time To Wake UP!



Choosing the 'Repeat' settings allows you to control the frequency of your alarm (weekdays *mon-fri, once, daily).


Alarm Setting
Frequency and Early Bird Alarm


When the alarm activates, your Mi Band will vibrate five times, each between 1 sec pauses. There is no other configurable settings - just the standard vibration alarm. 

The Mi Band has an option to wake you up from sleep, 30 minutes before your alarm. The premise of this feature is to slowly wake you up from deep sleep (rather than being abruptly disturbed by your alarm). According to several sleep studies, you will feel more refreshed if woken after a proper deep sleep cycle. 

Incoming Calls

There is an option to set your Mi Band to alert you during incoming calls. This will work only if you have bluetooth turned-on on your phone (and paired with the Mi Band). You can also configure the alerts from 3 seconds all the way up to 30 seconds. This means that after 3 seconds of ringing (on your phone), the Mi Band will start to vibrate. At the same time, the middle LED on the Mi Band will also light up.


Sleep

Its alive !!!. The Mi Band can actively track the sleep duration of the wearer. 

I went to bed early last night, around 11:05PM. As you can see from the screenshot captured the next morning, the Mi Band was able to analyze and determine that i had fallen asleep around 11:08PM - not too shabby! 


Based on the chart, i had a total of 3 Hr 48 Mins of Deep Sleep and 3 Hrs 57 Mins of Light Sleep. It also seems like i woke up twice in the middle of the night, sometime between 1AM and 3AM, for a total of 8 minutes ! 


Similar to the activity tracking screen, tapping on the individual bars will indicate the start and stop times of each sleep cycles.

Sleep Cycle Chart
Sleep Cycle

Summary

The Mi Band is an awesome activity tracker for beginners. It is simple to setup, easy to use and well built for its price. Although it lacks some features that i would personally love to have (Example: heart-rate-monitor), i am more than satisfied with its existing features for a device that costs $19.90.


  Pros:
- Strong Battery Life
- Durable and Comfortable Rubber Strap
- Water Resistant
- Easy To Setup
- Great Price Point (19.90$)

Cons:
- No Heart Rate Monitor
- No Display
- Only Mandarin Display for iOS App. The latest iOS Mi App Update 1.0.14 is in ENGLISH

*Update 25-DEC-14:
The Xiaomi Band is known to work for iOS7 devices, namely 4S, 5, 5C, 5S, 6, 6+. 

(iPhone 4 will probably not work due to the lower version of Bluetooth hardware).


*Update 20-JAN-15:
True to its word, the Mi Band delivers on its 30 Day battery life promise. After running for 30 days straight, i am left with 22% battery life on my Mi Band.

*Update 19-APR-15:
I have had some questions on how to remove the sensor portion of the band for charging. Well, its pretty straightforward and hopefully this video will give you guys an idea how its done!.




Note: I had my Bluetooth turned-off for a good 70% of the 30 days i had the Mi Band on. Only switching it on for a sync 3-4 times a day.

*Update 05-MAY-16:

Mi Band Pulse replaces the obsolete Mi Band. The new wearable includes an in-built heartbeat sensor. 

30 comments :

  1. Hello,

    How do I put the sensation back in after charging. I find it very difficult. I don't want to push hard or anything as the sensation seems to be fragile. Thanks ahead.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't worry about that, the band is quite hardy. Just push the device back into the band.

      Delete
  2. hi just buy this band online , but sure if its real or fake , Can you tell me where is authentication code located?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Bernadus,

      Unfortunately, i can only recommend to buy directly from Xiao mi.

      As far as i know, there isnt any authentication code to check for a Miband's authenticity.

      Perhaps you could ask the same question in the xiaomi forums here: http://en.miui.com/forum.php

      Delete
  3. Thank you for this review and instructions. My MI Band arrived today with Chinese instructions. I already had the app installed on my iPhone and an account setup, so the app walked me thru the setup quite easily. However I couldn't find any info on charging the sensor. You explained that nicely, and I feel ready to go. Thanks again for your help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Julianne,

      You can refer to this video of how you can remove the sensor part of the Band. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEVX7BDrq9E&feature=youtu.be

      Hopefully it helps!.

      Delete
  4. Hello, Yesterday I have bought MI band and Today I am using it with HTC 816. Goal / Progress Tracking light will not seen all time or only when strong swing motion we do at that time we can see.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sneha,

      You are right, one of the gripes i had with my Mi Band was the goal progress tracking (Hand swinging motion). It seems that you would have to make a strong jerking motion (similar to telling the time) for it to really work.

      Delete
  5. Hi Ivan,
    Thanks for the review. Very useful as there isn't a lot of English info out there about the Mi Band.
    I am going to a music festival for around 5 days and was wondering if you know whether the band will store data for that amount of time without syncing to a phone (I won't have my phone with me) Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Ramirez,

      Yup, based on my knowledge from the MI UI forums, the MI Band can store motion data records for a week.

      Delete
  6. How to start doing Activities from MI Band.. I dint find it in the app to start doings activities like Jumping, Situps etc.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I just got my MI Band about 3 days ago. Why there is no alert signal (vibrate) whether incoming call or setup alarm? Did I need to reset the band? Thanks in advance.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The blog was absolutely fantastic! Lot of great information which can be helpful in some or the other way. Keep updating the blog, looking forward for more contents...Great job, keep it up..
    Life alert

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great! Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Mi Band. It's a niche in English.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Light colour change facility not available in mi fit app

    ReplyDelete
  11. There is a great visualization app for Mi Band steps data. It shows 14 days in a special synchronized way. Graph is detailed to hours for every day and also shows average day activity. It shows data in related manner to make dynamics well visible. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/roundsteps/id1060251466?l=en&ls=1&mt=8

    ReplyDelete
  12. My mi band is not lighting up to show activity progress , I am having to view in app... Can anyone help please???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      Did you try the moving your hands in an upward motion (as though you are checking the time on your watch). In most cases, the mi band will activate and display your progress on one of the 3 LED indicators.

      Delete
    2. Thank you that works, I assumed it would be permanently lit while tracking progress.

      Delete
  13. Don't forget it's also a lifestyle analyzer if you visualize MiBand data with RoundSteps app on iPhone. It's great to see your trace in space =)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks, I just received my MI Band and it only included Chinese instructions. Your blog helped a lot. It's all pretty intuitive, though an English insert in the box saying it's not precharged would be nice.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hey!! My mi fit app have not "band change colour"why?i wanna change my colour.my version is 1.6.2

    ReplyDelete
  16. It's a type of wonderful tracker that helps a lot,
    best expense tracker on iphone

    ReplyDelete
  17. I need the instruction manual as my manual is in Chinese can anybody mail me one. Sureshahuja@hotmail
    Com

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi! Thanks for this info, however, I'm just setting mine up in my iPad but can't seem to find the screen where you put which hand you're waiting it on, etc...help!

    Thanks.
    Jo

    ReplyDelete
  19. the Fitness Band activity checks informs you about how active you are. If something is not going right, it will inform you and help you in fixing all wrong stuffs. That’s what the wearable technology has brought to us, a simple gadget that is our fitness guide.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi,
    Is there a forum where we can motivate each other and profer solutions to any issue that my arise with the band

    ReplyDelete
  21. The sleep option only seems to say 1.5 hrs every night. The lights don't seem to light up either. i had at least two lights worth and nothing was lit up

    ReplyDelete
  22. Can anyone help me how to change my height and weight in the app please? When I set up my account, I guessed this info and now want to input the correct details so that the app doesnt think I have put on loads of weight! It thinks I am obese because my height isn't correct!

    ReplyDelete

Drop Me A Note Here: