Xiaomi Mi Band 3 Fitness Tracker Review
The Xiaomi Mi Band 3, by international company Mi, is a surprisingly low priced tracker with a touch screen, heart rate monitor, and advanced features like phone alerts, event reminders, and AI-enhanced smart goal setting and tracking. It is also 50-meter water-resistant and, according to the maker’s product page, will go up to 20 days on a single battery charge. If you don’t need a sport-specific watch, and an oblong 48-character screen is adequate, the Mi Band 3 could be a good choice for you.
One of Mi’s claims is that the pedometer and heart rate are more accurate than in other competing products. We used a combination of consumer reviews, commercial reviews, and company information to evaluate this statement. As always, we will remind you that no wrist-based heart monitor is completely accurate. A fitness watch is supposed to be a guide. There is no substitute for medical devices. And outside of a doctor’s office, a chest strap monitor will always be closer to perfect accuracy.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use the Xiaomi Band 3 or another fitness tracker. We will help you make a purchase decision using critical information about the limitations and features of this watch.
Watch has a low profile and blends in with clothing, accessories
Price is affordable, making this a good entry level watch
The larger screen is an upgrade over the older Mi Band 2
Total weight of 20 pounds, so tracker won't weigh you down or intrude on daily tasks
Waterproofing also means sweatproofing--screen won't deteriorate after hard use
20 day battery life is outstanding, watch charges quickly
Can use proprietary Mi Fit app, but also connect with Google Fit
Black and white screen isn't always responsive right away
No GPS or music options
The screen is hard to read in bright sun
The watch also offers heart rate via an optical sensor on the wrist. A few years ago, a heart rate monitor on a watch this inexpensive would have blown us away. But now, technology advancements are close to making heart rate a standard feature. The difference is that, on a low priced watch, heart rate will be less accurate and more finicky. You may find it dropping out and not updating, and you may have to take the watch off, adjust it on your wrist, or power it off and back on to make it work again.
That kind of on-the-fly adjustment isn't uncommon. You may remember blowing on game cartridges to get them to work. It didn't cause any of us to give up on gaming. The watch is the same way. If you can put up with the potential occasional inconvenience, the cost savings are worth it. Serious long term athletes, like runners, will need to look elsewhere. If you are like runners we know, you need accurate heart rate data and you need it right away when you press the button.
We have added some of our own commentaries to go with the factual numbers and descriptions.
The soft, body-friendly thermoplastic elastomer wristband fits wrists from 6.1 to 8.5 inches. There are few adults who can't fit the watch. The TPE is a material used in cookware, like spatulas and other heat-resistant utensils. It has the flexibility and gives of rubber, with the durability of plastic, making it an ideal choice for watch wristbands. The 110 mAh battery will last an astounding 20 days on a charge.
It is a lithium-ion polymer type, meaning it's a standard lithium-ion battery with a polymer casing. This is different from an actual lithium polymer battery, which would use a different electrolyte and be less likely to leak or cause damage. Lithium polymer batteries are popular right now, and many electronics makers use it as a buzzword. It is refreshing to see Xiaomi say "lithium-ion polymer" rather than gently mislead by letting customers think the battery is an actual lithium polymer type.
The watch face is made of plastic. The screen is .78 inches. This fitness tracker watch will work in temperatures of -10 to 50 degrees Celsius (14 degrees to 122 degrees Fahrenheit). Most users won't need the watch to function in temperature extremes, but it is good to know if you ever do a desert race or something of the like. Screen resolution is 128 X 80 pixels. Connectivity is via Bluetooth 4.2--and that is it. The watch does not have Wifi or Ant+ compatibility, so it won't sync with your phone until the two devices are close to each other. That may be a hindrance if you want real-time updating, but won't be a problem for most
casual and hobbyist users.
Nobody Is Perfect
When you order this fitness tracker watch, you get the watch face, the wristband that the face snaps into, a proprietary charging cable, and the paper users manual. The snap-in design means the wrist strap is easy to customize, by ordering different colors from the Xiaomi website. But the proprietary charging cable can present a problem if you ever lose it. You will have to order a new one just like it, instead of just using any cord you have laying around your house.
Those "other products" are quite a catalog. Besides this fitness tracker and its update, the Mi 4, Xiaomi makes phones, power banks, smart vacuum cleaners, wireless earbuds, and over a dozen Mi mobile phones. There are toys, like robot model kits, and TV sets with smart features. Mi even makes its own notebook computer.
According to their literature, part of Xiaomi's mission is to make advanced technology available to everyone at a reasonable price. Xiaomi Band 3 is a good example of that egalitarian effect. It brings a few key features to an inexpensive platform that will last a long time and be comfortable for everyday wear.