Gadget Enthusiast

A Fitness Tracker To Motivate Lazy People Like Me, At A Price For Cheapskates Like Me.

  • The Xiaomi Mi Band 3 is a fitness tracker that does what its needed to do—step tracking, heart rate sensor, sleep tracking and tracking calories. 
  • The Xiaomi Mi Band 3 comes at a very affordable price of around RM100 for the global version and will be sold officially in Malaysia at RM129 on the 27th of September.

A fitness tracker is a great way to monitor your activity and health effortlessly accurately. Think of it as an electronic finger on the pulse, constantly measuring your vitals, quality of sleep and step count. There are certain fitness trackers in today’s market that come with a multitude of extra features such as GPS tracking, call answering functions and even smart assistants.

However, I find these extra features a nuisance as you already have a smartphone for that. What’s the point of getting more notifications on your wrist?

Which is why I prefer basic fitness trackers that do just what it’s needed to—track fitness. Thus, after almost a month of using the Xiaomi Mi Band 3, I’ve found that this RM100 (more or less) tracker is exactly what I was looking for.

Back-To-Basics Design

I’ve tried trackers with fancy tech, where you can spin your watch dial to move across menus feeling like Ben 10, that come along with fancy prices but features I barely used. Sometimes more doesn’t always mean better.

The Mi Band 3 brings us back to the basics with its simple design. The device itself is separate from the strap and can be popped out for charging. You can swap the straps for different colours to match your outfits.

Although the latch is quite flimsy, over the past 3 weeks of using it, it only came off on its own once. If it wears out you could easily buy another strap online. It’s very lightweight that won’t be a huge bother to you.

It’s also waterproof with an IP67 rating, so you could wear it to the swimming pool or even shower. It features an OLED display and has an indent at the bottom which works as a back/enter key. Overall the screen is very responsive to touch and the only downside is that the display is not entirely visible under direct sunlight.

Bang For Buck Features

First off, let me tell you why I prefer simple fitness trackers over their more teched-out options—the battery life. The Mi Band 3 is powered by a 110mAh battery which Xiaomi claims will last up to 20 days.

I’ve been using it for a little more than 3 weeks and it’s still 32% (I didn’t constantly have it connected to my phone so that could be the reason). Still, that’s pretty impressive for a fitness tracker if you compare it with a top end one in the market that costs a few hundreds and lasts less than a week.

The battery is only at 32% after 22 days of usage.

Furthermore, it offers the basics of what every fitness tracker can do—step tracking, heart rate sensor, sleep tracking and tracking calories. The step tracker is fairly accurate but it’s not the best as the Mi Band 3 doesn’t come with an in-built GPS. You will have to connect it to your phone’s GPS to get the best results.

As for the heart rate sensor, you can choose the intervals from the app (where you would like to set it at every minute or 10/30 minutes). Do note that this will affect the battery life.

Another downside compared to top end fitness trackers is that it doesn’t track sleep activity if you sleep throughout the day. Take for example your afternoon naps at 3pm will be counted as if you slept from the previous night till 5pm the next day.

Look at how much I slept, almost 15 hours! Unfortunately, it recorded my napping time and the time in between as “sleep” too.

Another downside is the range of activities offered on the Mi Band 3; the “Exercise” option was only recently added a week ago. Before that, if you wanted to track an activity you had to turn on your phone and go to the app to start it manually, unlike some fitness trackers that auto-detect intense movements and begin tracking.

The workout activities offered are also limited with only 4 options to choose: outdoor running, treadmill, outdoor cycling and walking. Let’s hope Xiaomi adds more features in the future.

An App To Match

To connect with the band, users have to download the Mi Fit app, which is available on both iOS and Android platforms.

Information on the home page is presented neatly and you get to view your last night’s sleep, last workout, heart rate, weight, and goals. The top of the page shows your daily step counts, distance covered and calories burned, tapping that symbol will give you a more detailed breakdown of your day, with auto detected elements like walks and light activity.

Last night’s sleep analysis and suggestions.

The app also provides more than enough information for the average user to track their fitness, it also comes with suggestions and analysis such as suggesting you to sleep earlier as “staying up late isn’t good for your immune system and speeds up ageing”. Don’t you think it sounds a bit like our mothers?

Verdict

Don’t get me wrong but the Mi Band 3 isn’t on par with the top end fitness trackers out there. This is certainly not the best, nor is it meant to be.

However, this might very well be the best value fitness tracker out there. It might even be the best for you—I know it is for me. As long as you aren’t a pro athlete, you’ll probably get everything you need from this device, from basic notifications on your wrist to in-depth heart rate monitoring.

With Xiaomi constantly providing updates, we can look forward to more features being added to future Mi bands such as NFC to enable contactless payments.

The best part is that it only costs more or less RM100. You can buy the global set at RM100 on Lazada (it comes in Chinese but you can change it to English) or you can wait till the 27th of September where it will be released on all Authorised Mi Stores, Lazada and Shopee for a retail price of RM129.

  • If you would like to know more about the Xiaomi Mi Band 3, you can check out their social media here.

VP Verdict is a series where we personally try and test out products, services, fads, and apps. Want to suggest something else for us to try? Leave a comment here or send the suggestion into our Facebook page.

 

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