Waterproof Smartband at a small price
Fitnesstrackers have become an everyday object from the wristwraps of sports enthusiasts or those who need assistance with catching up. Wearables, as they are also called, are the electronic gadgets of the future. They show us our training course, inspire us to more movement and monitor our pulse.
The small smartband is lighter, smaller, cheaper but usually also less powerful than its big relative, the Smartwatch. The latest smart band from Xiaomi, the Mi Band 2, promises almost everything a smartwatch has on it for a fraction of the cost. Whether this fitness harness outdo its competitors and is a cheap alternative to the expensive Smartwatch, I have tested for you.
Packaging and delivery
The tracker bracelet from Xiaomi arrived in neutral outer packaging two working days after order with me. The actual product pack weighs 150 grams, is simply white and reminds something of the packaging design that is typical for Apple products.
On the top is a product picture and on two sides is simply "MI". A product name, the name of the manufacturer or other further information are not to be seen. You can find some text on the bottom - but in Chinese.
The package included:
- The tracker
- A black silicone bracelet
- A micro USB charging adapter
- A manual in Chinese
Unfortunately, I can not say anything about the contents of the enclosed Mi Band 2, as everything is described in Chinese. But there are some pictures explaining how the tracker is inserted into the bracelet, the wrist strap is attached to the wrist strap, and the tracker is loaded.
A QR code contained there leads to the app "Mi Fit" of the manufacturer. On the net, there are probably operating instructions in English or German. Without them, you would not discover some of the possibilities offered by the gym.
There is no indication of the manufacturer's warranty. After research I found out that there is 12 months of manufacturing warranty on the device and you can deliver it or send it to the shop, where you bought or ordered it.
Xiaomi Tech is a Chinese smartphone manufacturer that offers wearables as a by-product. The company was founded in 2010 by Lei Jun and has been the market leader in China since 2013.
Our pictures from the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 activity tracker
The small tracker is 4 cm long and 1.3 cm wide. Together with the silicone bracelet, the Fitnesstracker is 24 cm long, 1.5 cm wide and is 1 cm thick at the thickest point (on the tracker). With 19 grams the bracelet is a real lightweight.
On the front of the tracker are the OLED screen and a touch button that can be used to control all the features that were previously activated via the app. On the underside is the heart rate sensor, which is illuminated with green LEDs. The synchronization with the smartphone or tablet takes place via Bluetooth 4.0.
: 0.42-inch OLED touch screen
: Bluetooth 4.0
: Android 4.4 and iOS 7.0 or later
: IP67 (up to 1 m depth and max. 30 min.)
: 70 mAh Lithium-Ion Battery
Battery standby time
: up to 20 hours
: about 3 hours
: Mi Fit
certification / seal
The fitness range is equipped with many features. Not all of them work with the free app you get through the QR code. Some reveal themselves with the paid, if still cheap, app for 2 euro (as of October 2016). However, some functions are not available for iPhones, but only for Android smartphones.
Twice the touchpad touches and you are in the step counter mode. To keep it close to the number of actual steps, the manufacturer installed a delay here. It is counted from the tenth step. Tricksereien such as arm swing or the like through the look through the way - I've tried.
The step counter works without a smartphone and app, but you need both to be "pushed", evaluate its results and observe them over a longer period of time. The app also displays calorie consumption and kilometers traveled. With another app it is probably also possible to convert the step counter to the counting of climbing motions. But I have not tested.
Heart rate monitor
Three times briefly on the touchbutton ticked and already one reaches the integrated Pulssensor. It takes about three seconds for the current pulse rate to appear on the small OLCD in white letters. First you see two lines and a beating heart. The result will appear for one to two seconds. By synchronizing the tracker with the smartphone via Bluetooth, the pulse is added to the other results and you can keep track of changes over time.
This heart beat monitor is one of the few features that works even without a smartphone and app. If you want to measure your pulse permanently, you must install a paid App (Mi Band Tools), as this feature is possible together with some others with this Fitnesstracker.
The Mi Volume 2 has a sleep monitor function that allows the device to detect when the body is at rest, the pulse, the sleep phase, and how long. The tracker does not have to be connected to the mobile phone with Bluetooth. For the subsequent evaluation the next day, however, the smartphone is needed again.
The data recorded in this way do not correspond to the quality of a sleep laborer, but they help to examine their own behavior over a longer period of time and, if necessary, adjust it in order to achieve a higher sleep quality.
Time and alarm
As soon as the tape is connected to the smartphone via the app, the time is automatically set on the fitness strap. If you want, you can still change the display. An alarm can also be set via the app to wake up with vibrations in the morning. You can also adjust whether this should be repeated every day.
The watch itself should be displayed as soon as the wrist is lifted. This has worked with my test only with the app purchased. In the freeware I had to touch the touchbutton once. If both are set, the Bluetooth connection can be disconnected and the tracker continues to operate autonomously.
In the free version of the app you can set which notifications should be displayed on the Smartband and in which time delay. Calls, SMS, e-mails, Facebook, Whatsup messages and others are displayed on the small display by means of a vibration and a stylized envelope of e-mails, FB on Facebook messages, etc.
Anyone who is lucky enough to have an Android, Lollipop or Xiaomi smartphone can unlock it with the Smartband if it is close enough to the device and has an existing Bluetooth connection. No password, no pattern, no fingerprint - just keep the tape with its personal ID next to the smartphone. Owners of an iPhone can not use this feature.
In the extended app, you can set the remaining battery time on the tracker and you can read it in the app. Actually this should also be possible with the freeware version, but iOS 10.0.2 does not work.
The Mi Fit app is translated into English. So you have to go to "Play" to set the notifications. The app is quite clear and has not very many functions (for iPhones). Android users can look at the free version for more features.
There are also the Android paid apps "Mi Band Notify & Fitness" and the "Mi Band Tools" which allow even more great features and fine tuning and really get a lot out of the fitness band. For iPhone users there is still the app "Mi Permanente Herzrate", but otherwise it looks (still) very lean.
Appearance and processing
The tracker is very narrow, flat and consists of matt black plastic and an OLED display. The black silicon band is sufficiently long, has nine holes and is equipped with a pin closure, which is modeled on the touchbutton of the actual trackers, thus completing the design of the fitnesstracker very harmoniously and nobly. There are other bracelets to buy at Xiaomi as accessories, which are either also made of silicone and in other colors or from other materials.
The Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Fitnesstrack is currently one of the mid-class fitness bracelets available on the market, depending on the shop - between 25 and 38 Euro (as of October 2016).
To use the Smartband, you must first register with Xiaomi. Sounds simple - but it was not quite so. My first two attempts ended with the message "You've exceeded the maximum number of verification attempts allowed within 24 hours". In the third attempt it worked but then and the firmware updated itself.
The time was synchronized with the smartphone (iPhone 4s with iOS 10.0.2) and many personal settings such as age, size, weight, training preferences and notifications were queried and adjusted.
Despite the latest update, the "wrist-lift-around-the-clock-to-see" function did not work. Only by touching the touchpad, time (1x), step counter (2x) and heart rate (3x) appear. Because many features on an iOS-based smartphone do not work that way, I assume that this fauxpas is also related to it. Android users have the nose with the Mi Band 2 nose in front.
The alarm clock worked wonderfully, but I was awakened several times during the night by vibration, because the touchpad was pressed several times during sleep, so that it was in the pulse measurement mode and the result with a vibration announced. In addition, the time shone brightly at every unintentional touch, which always aroused me.
Also, remember to turn off the notifications, or you'll get a vibration on your wrist whenever you send an e-mail or message. When my wrist vibrated at 8:30, it was a bit short. Waking is possible, but a longer vibration time and a snooze function, after which the alarm vibrates after five minutes again, would have been great.
The sleep monitoring was interesting, but not very accurate, because the times in which I was awakened (for example by my vibrating bracelet) and long needed to fall asleep, do not appear as "wakefulness". So you should not rely too much on the results. However, there is a good overview of the sleeping times per se.
Measuring the heart rate while walking was difficult. It seems to be quite accurate, but it needs a quiet wrist to measure. So either you wear the tape very tightly, or have to stay briefly. Strangely enough, another, more improbable, result appeared immediately after another measurement.
The band seems to need a minute or two to get back on track. With tattooed skin, the Smartwatch of a very well-known manufacturer had their problems with the pulse measurement. The smart tape from Xiaomi makes no difference between tattooed and non-tattooed skin.
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