Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or someone who likes to keep track of their activity and heart rate for health reasons or whether you’re someone who likes to wear a smart watch for phone notifications or simply for the aesthetic accessory that it can be, this article will delve into one of the most criminally underrated fitness bands on the market. That band is the Xiaomi Mi Band 3. I took it for a spin over the last few weeks and here is my brutally honest break down of the device’s strengths, weaknesses, pros, and cons.
Let’s get a few things on the record straight. I’m your textbook “Fitbit girl,” someone who is head over heels for the design and functionality of the Fitbit, with my personal favorite model in their range being the Fitbit Charge. That said, I went against my will and free choice to turn towards other bands in the industry and the one that I considered worthy of picking up by the looks of it was the Xiaomi Mi Band 3.
Screen, Display, and Aesthetic
Since we’ve already started the topic of looks, let’s delve right into the analysis of the Mi Band 3’s physical design and structure. The band is designed to sit slim on your wrist. The 20g (insanely light) fitness watch sports a 0.78 inch touch screen OLED display on its 17.9 x 46.9 x 12 mm body. Given those measurements, not only does the Mi Band 3 look light and slim in size, but it weighs far less than you average smart watch as well, being a comfortable accessory to wear throughout the day. The display incorporates 128 x 80 pixels which is crisp for the display size.
Let’s talk about the screen. The OLED screen supports bright text display that shows blurbs of notifications as well. The touch screen is touch all over, not just at the button on the screen. The touch does, however, feel a bit temperamental and takes a bit of a solid swipe to scroll through the different screens, but that’s not as significant of an issue as it works well generally.
One piece of criticism about the device would be that a lot of the screens and menus are clumped together which means that it takes a lot of scrolling to go through and find the command that you’re looking for. Comparing this against other well reputed fitness watches on the market, such as the Fitbit, this issue is something universal in smartwatches. It exists in the Fitbit too, so we’ll take this as a general piece of fitness watch criticism and not as something that we hold specifically against Xiaomi’s band.
Speaking more on the functionality of the design, the Mi Band 3 is waterproof up to 50 meters deep. This is something I’m often skeptical of in technology and I’m always too scared to test it too. I’ve yet to submerge my iPhone into the water despite the water resistance it brags. With this watch, however, I took it for a bold spin into an Olympic sized swimming pool and I must say that I was satisfied with its grip, display, swimming distance and calorie calculations, and wearability in the water.
Besides worrying that the device would seep water through and stop working with my rigorous swimming strides, I was also worried that the band may open up in the water and slip off. The standard band that comes with the Mi Band 3 device is a press in band without any buckle mechanism. This made it feel scary to wear into the water but it did not budge at all and it’s become my must have accessory when I go swimming because of the useful swimming stats it provides me with at the end.
Features: Heart Rate, Calorie Count, and Sleep Tracking
They say not to judge something by how it looks, so stepping aside from that and coming onto the topic of its actual functionality, I must say that I’m 90% satisfied. Keeping the Fitbit, people’s go-to fitness tracker, in mind as a reference point, I believe that the heart rate tracker, steps calculator, and calories calculator was just as accurate as the Fitbit. It was not at all questionable in its calculations. Beyond that the sleep tracker was quite accurate as well.
The only drawback I noticed in its algorithm was that it considered the “awake” time to be the time when you’re actually on your feet and out of bed. If you’re lying dwon and awake then the Mi Band 3 did not pick up on that and caught that time as light sleep. This isn’t as much of a drawback compared to other sleep trackers but if that’s the SOLE reason that you’re looking to get a fitness tracker then perhaps this one isn’t for you. Although, I must point out again that the rest of the sleep tracking is quite accurate; it is only the awake detection that demands that you move around significantly by means of walking.
One of the regards in which the Mi Band 3 takes the cake in the entire fitness band industry is in the functionality of its app. The Mi Band 3 has the most user friendly and easy to use app with an aesthetic and functional user interface and display. The app integrates right into your phone’s health app but it does an even better job than your built-in app to analyze your health stats. The app is easy to navigate and it has shortcut links for just about any activity you could possibly need to log.
Last but definitely not least, the criterion of cost comes into play. Cost plays a big part in one’s decision to purchase one thing over another as your budget is a big influencing factor. That said, let’s first acknowledge the fact that Xiaomi Corporation is one of the most strategically cunning Chinese electronics brands that focuses on giving you the same functionality of the big, bold, and expensive names in the industry, but at a significantly lower cost.
They launched their first Mi Band back in 2014 at a shocking USD $15. YES! That’s it. Just 15 dollars. Two generations later, the Mi Band 3 currently retails for a price tag between USD $25 and USD $30. The Fitbit fitness watches, on the other hand, retail in the ballpark of USD $100 to USD $200.
If the Mi Band 3 gives your 95% of the same impact and appeal as the Fitbit series with the same accuracy in fitness tracking and detection, sporting a trendy and aesthetic design as well, there’s virtually no reason for you to spend more on a different fitness tracker. Beyond that, the Mi Band 3 also promises a 20-day battery life. This includes all the buzzing of your phone notifications and cell phone calls as well.
While it does warn you that the promise does not include all night sleep tracking and constant heart rate tracking (as those features severely impact battery life), I had to test it with all the features on and the watch lasts me a good 6 days until the next charge. Mind you, I wear it to sleep every night as well and it’s on the entire night tracking my sleep. It’s working extensively throughout the day time too, giving me instantaneous updates on my heart rate.
Writing a review of a product or service demands that you have enough exposure to it as well as enough time to truly gauge it, its effectiveness, its features, and its benefits so that you can write an honest review. Because, good reviews and bad reviews are of no use; honest reviews are the ones that really matter.
After being severely opposed to using the Mi Band 3 because I was a “Fitbit girl,” I gave it a shot and here I am after a while of using it out to its max extent, testing all of the promises it vouches to deliver, bringing you the most honest and true review of this product in the hope that it may guide your next fitness gadget decision.
My verdict is that the Mi Band 3 is a definitive must buy product. It is a competitive and well designed product that not only matches but slightly outdoes many of the well reputed fitness watch brands in the industry with equally accurate fitness stats, a lighter and more comfortable wear and feel, and a much longer battery life. In addition to this, it comes at virtually a third to a quarter of the price tag of even the most low-end Fitbit devices, which happen to be the predominant fitness devices on the market.
I was insanely skeptical but highly satisfied with my Mi Band 3 purchase. Feel free to leave your own thoughts, comments, and reviews in the comments below as well!