Review: Xiaomi Fitness Tracker & Watch

I had a fitbit long time ago (like first generation fitbit). I ordered a Pebble 2 when they did their Kickstarter. I have a Huawei watch sitting on its charger. I love the data I get from fitness trackers. It tickles the nerdy data-bone in my brain.

NOT the default band or face, but here’s a picture

I wanted a heart rate tracker if I got a new one. I hated the price of most of them – the cheapest fitbit with heart rate tracking is $70 and it really doesn’t do much (the “Inspire” just doesn’t inspire me). Apple watch was outright out since I’m not a big Apple user and it’s ridiculously expensive. There ARE some other brands (Samsung being the other big name and a few like Garmin that made me chuckle).

The biggest complaint I have with most of these toys is one thing: size. Especially if the brand wants me to wear it at night, I want something without too much size or weight. I can’t stand having a giant watch. I don’t like a lot of weight on my wrists, both the Pebble and Huawei were heavy watches. And big. The Pebble was not the most attractive watch in shape or size (Pebble 2 was better, but then Fitbit bought them so….)

The Huawei I could live with but (A) it didn’t have heart tracking and (B) the battery life wasn’t stellar. I needed to take it off at night to charge it. I started forgetting to put it on and then the next thing I knew, it had been six months since I even touched it.

Then my husband suggested the Xiaomi. The Mi Xiaomi Band 4 released sometime around the middle of last year. The entire thing is about $30-$40. Extra bands run $6-$15. We ordered 2 in July. When my husband went to EVO in Las Vegas he misplaced or broke or something his (this poor man has the worst luck with watch bands I have ever seen. I fully believe the damn thing broke on him. He’s cursed). It wasn’t the worst thing in the world to order an entirely new watch. It’s $30. It’s not $100 or $300 (Apple Watch is $200 and the Samsung is almost $300).  

It’s size has been perfect, it’s large enough to read. It’s an easy shape where I can bend my wrist in all my normal directions without feeling restricted (the giant round or square watches make me feel limited in movement – I’m aware of them). You can get a lot of different bands depending on your style. I ordered a fake-leather band which looks very nice (if I say so myself). I can easily move the tracker from the f-leather band to the original plastic if I want.

Beyond the size, the real kicker that makes me a huge fan is the battery life. Oh my GOD. I am not exaggerating when I say it is a minimum of 7 days. SEVEN DAYS PEOPLE. When was the last time you had tech that lasted more than a day or two? It’s long enough I have to put the charger away in a place I can find it when I need it – because I don’t need it often enough to keep it “on hand.”  Hell, I thought the iPad getting ~2 days was amazing. I thought the Switch Lite getting about 6 hours was good. The Xiaomi gets a week or more. I am not exaggerating. I think I’ve gotten to 10-12 days before it actually gets cranky and reminds me to charge it.

The app it ok, nothing exciting. Mi Fit gives me enough data to make the data-bone part of my brain happy but not so much I’m overwhelmed. I like seeing what time Remy woke me up and how long I was really awake (it felt like 3 hours, but it was only 30 minutes). I don’t like that it has a line along the top of my phone always telling me the band is connected, but I finally took the time to Google and found I can hide this (https://help.mibandtools.com/knowledge_base/topics/how-to-hide-watch-icon-from-android-status-bar) (you know, when I was writing a review on it and went “ok, is this actually a valid complaint or am I just lazy?” – I’m lazy)

Overall, anytime someone asks me about my watch I try to convince them to get one. Apple, Fitbit, Microsoft – all of them need to learn how to manage their apps and their hardware to a more reasonable point. This is an affordable watch with a decent app and good (also affordable!) options for bands and accessories. I would like to see more people adopt it to drive the competition back to “affordable” rather than “status symbol.”  So by all means people, if you want your ridiculous Apple Watch or FitBit or Samsung or Huawei, I’ll use my comfortable, long-battery-life, lots-of-band-options, and affordable Xiaomi with great pleasure. I will also laugh at you a little bit while I buy 8-10 watches for every one you have.

Writer, nerd, and perpetual student. I am obsessed with books - both the reading and the making of them. If I won the lottery I would try to have the best private(ish) library in the world. It wouldn't be totally private because the whole purpose of having books is helping other people find a book they will love. I have 2 cats, Genkii (energy) and Kawaii (cutie). I will mention them regularly because they are a daily delight in my life. Granted, sometimes when I'm playing video games they are not so much "delight" as they are "distraction"... but I love them regardless.