Technology

Xiaomi Mi Band 3 review

Apple Watch might be the best-selling smartwatch in the business, but players like Xiaomi and Fitbit are not far behind when it comes to the fitness band segment. Xiaomi’s Mi Band series has been a big success in markets like India primarily because of its reasonable price, coupled with the good feature bouquet.

The new Mi Band 3, like last year’s Mi Band 2, costs Rs 1,999. Like the previous version, it has a heart-rate sensor and can track your steps as well as workouts. Mi Band 3 is also water-resistant with a 5 ATM rating, and will work fine in water up to 50 metres, which means it can be taken for a swim, though it does not track that activity.

Mi Band 3 has a 0.78-inch display with 193 ppi resolution and a 2.5D curved glass design. There is a touch button inside the touch panel. The touch button will let users activate different functions and go back to the main menu. Users can also press it to silence calls. Straps in blue and orange colour options will also be sold separately for the Mi Band 3, but it comes with a standard black strap in the box.

The band syncs with the Mi Fit app and can be used to see more detailed data on exercises, sleep sessions, etc.

It has a 110 mAh battery inside with Xiaomi claiming this will last 20 days. Mi Band 3 works with both Android phones and iOS devices. I have synced it with both iPhones and Android devices, and there was no problem on either platform. After using the Mi Band 3 for little over two weeks, here are my thoughts on its performance and other key points.

Mi Band 3 review: Battery life

Mi Band 3 might not be a smartwatch like the Apple Watch Series 3, which I use full-time, but the best part of this fitness band is the battery. I charged it when I first set it up nearly two weeks back, and there’s still 52 per cent battery left.

Unlike my Apple Watch, which has to be charged every alternate day at least, Mi Band 3 really delivers on the battery promise. For a lot of users who are looking for a basic fitness band, this will come as a relief. Many do not fancy another device, which needs daily charging and Mi Band 3 is definitely that device.

Mi Band 3 review: Steps count, sleep count and other features

I found the Mi Band 3 to be mostly accurate with my step count, in fact a little more conservative compared to my Apple Watch. I can definitely say the Mi Band 3 was not over-counting my steps, which can be a problem on many of these smaller, cheaper fitness bands. And yes, I was the idiot wearing two bands on each hand for the duration of this review.

During the review period, I also took the Mi Band 3 to the gym and tracked exercises. Now, the band cannot track exercises with as much as accuracy as my Apple Watch, but it does give an estimate of calories burnt.

When it came to the treadmill, the Mi Band 3 was not far off in terms of calories burnt, and distances. Of course, on my Apple Watch I can tag each session based on the kind of exercises I am doing like Flexibility or Yoga, which I cannot do on the Mi Band 3.

Mi Band 3 is accurate when it comes to sleep-tracking as well, though I am not a fan of wearing devices on my wrist while sleeping. However, if you do a need a device to track your sleep, Mi Band 3 works like a charm. And yes, it confirmed what I always knew: I sleep like a log on most days.

The heart-rate tracker also worked accurately and was in sync with my Apple Watch reading or close to it. Sometimes the tracker would not pick up on the heart-rate, even when I pressed the button for the mode to start. I was not sure why this happened.

Mi Band 3: Water-resistance, fit, comfort level while wearing

Mi Band 3 lives up to the claim of water-resistance. I had it on my wrist during the shower, even took it for a swim (around half an hour), and it works just fine. As I already mentioned, it does not track swimming. Honestly, if it did, the Mi Band 3 would have been an even better device compared to many of the expensive bands out there.

Mi Band has a plastic body and the band strap is also made of plastic. It can feel a little cheap at times, but then this is a budget device. The device fit me perfectly, though I wear this a little too tight. I have bony, tiny wrists and most fitness bands are too loose for me, but Mi Band 3 did not cause problems.

However, I do like to be free of my gadgets, especially when I’m sleeping and I found wearing the band to bed annoying, despite its small size.

Mi Band 3: Notifications

With Mi Band 3, Xiaomi is also promising you can read notifications and dismiss calls. Be sure to turn on the settings in the Mi Fit app, and give the requisite permissions. On Android and iOS, I got call notifications, and you can stop them from buzzing on your band by pressing the touch button. However, the ring does continue on the phone.

Mi Band 3: Worth getting?

If you have the Mi Band 2, I would say you can wait, unless that one has some issues. If you have the original Mi Band, you can consider getting Mi Band 3 given it has an OLED display, and some other features.

Mi Band 3 is a good starter device for someone who just wants to track their step count, sleep, exercises, all at a budget price. The fact that you can take this thing into the shower is an added bonus. When it comes to basic fitness bands go, the Mi Band 3 actually manages to pack a lot of features and most of them tick the box, which really makes it worth the price.

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