Mi fitness bands,from Xiaomi, are one of the most sought out and affordable fitness bands out there in the market. Mi Band with it’s comparatively lower market price found instant success and this paved the way for Mi Band 2, which came with a small display and some additional features. Another iteration of Mi Band 2 without a heart rate sensor was also released as a special edition, the Mi Band HRX edition. Promising more than 20 days of backup, Mi Band 2 and Mi Band HRX were a huge success.
The primary function of a fitness band is fitness tracking and the design part is always secondary. But no one in their right mind will wear a hideous looking band on their hand and go out in the public and here, the Mi Band 3 will not disappoint you. Sporting a 0.78 inch OLED display, it is beautiful to look at and it fits perfectly on your hand. The touch screen display feels responsive. The band is made up of the same material as it’s predecessor and might pose some issues in the future. One thing to note is that while removing the capsule from the band, it feels like we might break it due to the very tight fit. So removing the capsule from the band constantly might cause issues in the long run!
Mi Band 2 and the Mi Band HRX easily lasted around 20 days in a single charge. 21 days is the maximum I personally got with the HRX. Due to this reason, I was sceptical about Xiaomi’s claim of the Band 3 lasting 20 days. I decided to turn off the heart rate sensor, so that it doesn’t measure my heart rate constantly and the notification alerts to reduce battery consumption. My assumptions were right on point when I realized that even with all these turned off it lasted only 18 days. One of my friends, who owns a Band 3, claimed that he had to charge the Band 3 after 7 days of usage. So I am pretty confident that the Band 3 won’t last 20 days on a single charge, for a normal user.
Mi FIT app is the official app to configure your Band 3 and it is no where near other third party app choices on the Google Play Store. The Mi FIT app has limited functions whereas you get a plethora of options to play with on other third party apps. The Mi Fit app is currently ad-free, but in light of their recent controversial decisions to display advertisements even in critical areas like the settings menu, I won’t be surprised if I start seeing advertisements on the Mi Fit app in the future.
A good fitness tracker should perform consistently. There are situations where the Mi Band 3 counts foot steps even while you are travelling in a vehicle. This leads to an inaccurate step count and will affect the primary reason of existence of the band. I experienced this behaviour only once and we can hope that Xiaomi will fix this through a firmware update. Coming to the heart rate sensor, it works as expected in almost all situations. The band should be resting tightly against your hand to get a correct reading. Sleep tracking works as expected but only if you turn on the automatic heart rate sensor or else the values need not be accurate. One more thing to note is that there is a stopwatch option built into the band and this might benefit people who use it during workouts.
The big touch screen display on Mi Band 3 is a huge upgrade over the Mi Band 2. The big screen helps to fit more content on the screen and it gives it a cooler look. Xiaomi also included some watch faces which can improve the aesthetics of the band altogether. The touch screen is not as smooth as a smartphone, but it is still better than the button used on the Mi Band 2. The biggest negative of this OLED screen is its sunlight visibility. You can’t read a thing on the band if you are under direct sunlight. You have to cover the screen with your hands and angle in such a way to read the contents on the screen. That is something Xiaomi should address in future Mi bands.