We have been testing Xiaomi’s new Band 3 (fitness tracker) for the last week to see how well it compares with some of our favorites. At the current price tag (only $29 via Gearbest.com! — See conclusion below for additional code), it was hard not to find a jaw drop here or there as we dug into its surprising list of features. Not only does it come with quite an acceptable price, but it competes well against most of your familiar brands like Fitbit, Jawbone, and more.
Before we get into the functions though, we are going to take a look at its design. The Mi Band 3 begins as an oval watch face (the body) that pops into a polyurethane band. They took this approach so that it would be quite easy to customize the band however you like, choosing from all sorts of colors and options in the end since not only will you be able to find options online from various companies, but you can also most likely find the plans to print your own since the polyurethane band is actually a TPU/TPE blend (for all of your 3D printing nerds out there).
The backside of the watch body contains a small sensor for tracking your heart rate with, and the front has a touch-sensitive button, just under the OLED touchscreen. That is it for its external design.
I’d say that it is adjustable to most average wrist sizes since we couldn’t find a wrist here it wouldn’t fit on. It is also quite comfortable on the wrist–more like the average fit you’d expect out of a good watch. Not only simple in size and design, but it is also pretty light, so you won’t ever find it weighing down your wrist any.
The box contains a proprietary charger that slides into the end of the body for charging. You do have to pop the body out of the band to accomplish this. It would have been nice to have a magnetic option you can just snap the bottom of the body to like most of today’s modern options, but honestly, for the price, who cares. A small sacrifice for saving a lot of bucks.
Now that we covered that, it’s on to the function. This is where it picks up all of its points for its final score with, and allows it to compete with some of the best options within the $30-$100 range.
This band is packed with features, all contained within a small footprint on your wrist. Although the scrolling list of features feels a bit limited when sliding your fingers up and down through the menu, it’s what’s happening on the back-end that counts. These initial options include all of your typical stats, including steps, distance, calories burned, and heart rate measuring. You also get weather, stopwatch, notifications, and the ability to find your device (phone). That’s it (at least, via the watch face).
So to take things further, you need to download the “Mi Fit” app. From here you get the typical tracking of your history and ability to tap into all of the other features like sleep monitoring, enabling the notifications (the app is required to unlock that feature), set alarms, idle alerts, event reminders, goal notifications, enabling an unlock screen, do not disturb features and more.
In other words, the app contains most of your options and feature controls. You will find yourself spending a few minutes just rummaging through the various options and settings, trying to customize things to your liking. This is also where you will enable the notifications (as mentioned) so that you can get alerts on the watch for things like incoming phone calls, text messages, WeChat, and more (they seem to still be working on adding things to the list).
As for sleep tracking, it is like a lot of other trackers on the market, as it tracks your sleep automatically by monitoring your movements in the PM when things slow down (at least it seems to be limited to the standard PM time range). I would assume it also gets its information via your heart rate as well.
So as you can see, it is quite familiar to a lot of your standard fitness trackers. Only difference is that most of those don’t come with this kind of an affordable price tag. That’s a big win for them.
Finally, we have water resistance and battery life. With an IP rating of IPX67 and 50 meters (depth) of water exposure, we just had to test this out. We not only tested it against exposure but temperature as well. We tossed it into a cup and then a sink filled with water. We threw it in the freezer and then took it down to a local fancy bathhouse that has a number of sauna and spa types to choose from, where we submerged it and exposed it to both hot and icy temperatures for long periods of time. At no point did we see any issues with performance. As for battery life, you’re looking at up to 20 days before having to recharge it again (which takes about 2 hours to accomplish). Not bad, right?
This nearly won it a perfect score. However, there is one thing that weighed against it slightly. Lack of translation between countries. Xiaomi is a Chinese brand, and the instructions are all in Chinese, including the text on the screen when you initially start the band up (oops).
Thankfully what you should do from here is pretty straight forward if you have ever paired a device to your phone before. Searching “Mi” in the Android or iOS app store led to an obvious choice of “Mi Fit” (31.97 MB). The first thing you do is to select your language. It will walk you through registering an account, by signing up or logging in via a handful of social media accounts like Facebook. Once logged in and you answer a few questions about you, you can then pair the device to the phone (the app works with their band, watch, scale and smart shoes). It will then update the firmware of the band if needed (the text on the screen is still Chinese at this point). For us, the firmware update took about 2 minutes. It then starts to update “resources”, which took around 20 seconds for us. At this stage, we finally had English on the screen (yay), and you are ready to go.
So the whole process is painless really as the app will walk you through everything. The printed instructions, however, you will more than likely find yourself throwing those in the trash.
In the end, we found this to be an awesome fitness tracker at an unbeatable price. Of course, it seems the $29 price tag seems to be a current sale, so it might climb up from there (hopefully not too much). For now though, if a fitness tracker is what you are looking for, then this might just be a must-have. It fails in manual/instructions being that it comes in Chinese only, but it wins with everything else. From the collected information it stores, to the notification access, water resistance, battery life, and more….it’s a must-have.
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WEIO3G7FT5 (while it lasts)
*Average price is based on the time this article was published
Bluetooth Version: 4.2
IP rating: 5ATM
Screen type: OLED
Operating mode: Touch Screen
Compatible OS: Android,IOS
Compatibility: Android 4.4 / iOS 9.0 and above systems
Type of battery: lithium polymer battery
Battery Capacity: 110mAh
Standby time: 20 days
Charging Time: About 2 hours
Functions: Alarm Clock,Bluetooth dialing,Call reminder,Calories burned measuring,Date,Distance recording,Measurement of heart rate,Pedometer,Sedentary reminder,Sleep management,Time
Alert type: Vibration
Shape of the dial: Elliptical
Case material: ABS,Plastic
Band material: TPU + TPE
Dial size: 3.2×1.79×1.2cm
Band size: 24.7cm
Wearable length: 155-216mm
Product weight: 0.0170 kg
Package weight: 0.0840 kg
Product size (L x W x H): 24.70 x 1.79 x 1.20 cm / 9.72 x 0.7 x 0.47 inches
Package size (L x W x H): 9.00 x 9.00 x 4.10 cm / 3.54 x 3.54 x 1.61 inches
Package Contents: 1 x Band, 1 x USB Cable, 1 x Chinese User Manual
Are you a manufacturer or distributor that would like us to test something out for review? Contact us and we can let you know where to send the product and we will try it out.