Monday, June 15, 2015

Review: Xiaomi Mi Band

I don’t know about you, but I need some kind of motivation in order to exercise. When I was doing Weight Watchers earning Activity Points for exercise was excellent motivation because points mean prizes extra snacks/dessert on the weekend. I have the Strava app on my phone and that’s good to a point because it tracks how far I’ve walked or cycled, gives me information about my speed, elevation gained etc but I need an actual target to work to.

I’ve seen various bloggers talking about fitness bands recently: xameliax has the Polar band and Forever Amber has a FitBit. There was no way my budget was going to stretch to either of those (I think both lucky ladies received theirs as gifts) so I had a hunt around for cheaper options. I found the Xiaomi Mi band on Amazon and as it was only around £17 (rather than £70+) I ordered it. As you would expect it is more basic than the more expensive bands, but it counts your steps, monitors your sleep, has a vibrating alarm and you can set it to vibrate when your phone rings or you get a text.

The band itself doesn’t give you any information other than a series of lights that tell your progress at a glance (there are three LED lights which tell you if you are one third, two thirds or at your daily step count target), but once you connect it (via Bluetooth) to the phone app you get your actual step count, information on how much you slept the night before (assuming you wore the band all night), the battery level, a bar chart of your total steps each day you’ve used the band, and a bunch of other information. I never would have though it but I am obsessed with getting those blue LEDs to light up, and I take a daily walk and will it to buzz (which it does when you reach your steps target).

The most motivating thing for me though is the bit that tells you the number of days in a row that you’ve achieved your set number of steps. I’ve had the band 9 days (at the time of writing) and it is currently set to 10,000 steps a day which I think is reasonable from a fitness point of view whilst being fairly easily achievable. I have reached my goal 9 days in a row so far and I really don’t want to break the run.

The band is comfortable to wear, lightweight and I have no complaints so far. I’m not convinced that the calorie counting and distance walked are entirely accurate (you tell the app your height, weight and whether you’re male or female when you set it up) but that doesn’t matter. The important thing is that it’s encouraging me to move more. Even tiny things like using the bathroom that’s furthest from my desk at work, or walking to the kitchen for water rather than using the cooler right behind me will add up in the long run.

All the reviews I read before I bought the band said that the battery lasts for weeks, and that certainly seems to be true. Mine was about 84% charged when I got it over a week ago and it has only gone down by about 10 or 15% since then. I think if you had it set to vibrate for phone calls and text that would drain the battery faster.

If you’re looking for some sort of fitness tracker and are on a budget then I would definitely recommend the Xiaomi Mi Band. The app is free to download and there are versions for Android and iPhone.

This post is not sponsored; I just really like this gadget.

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