Xiaomi Mi Band 3 Fitness Tracker Review

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[Editors rating (8.0)] = (Garage Gym Ideas - Ultimate Home Gym Design) score (8.0)/10


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Xiaomi Mi Band 3 Fitness Tracker ReviewReview Facts

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.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

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

Cons

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 Rundown

The Rundown

The Xiaomi Band 3 tracks daily steps, calories, and distance moved. It also features a sleep monitor, to help you figure out your optimal sleep times and ensure you are getting enough rest. There are English, global, and Chinese versions since Xiaomi is a Chinese company and the watch was originally only available in China. If you are an English speaker, make sure you purchase a global or English version. The Chinese version is in Chinese and you will have a hard time using the interface.

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.
Tech Specs

Tech Specs

All tech specs in this section came from the Xiaomi Band 3 owner's manual, to ensure accurate information. The manual was easy to find--we Googled it, and the first or second result was from the Xiaomi website. When a company makes its owner's manuals publicly available, even for those who don't buy the watch, it is a good sign. It means the company cares about its customers and their experience.

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

Nobody Is Perfect

You may be used to smartwatches that have 7 or more onboard sensors. But this fitness tracker has two--an accelerometer so it knows when you are active, and the PPG heart rate sensor. The screen will conveniently light up when you lift your wrist, similar to many smartphones. The watch does provide inactivity alerts, presets that remind you to get up and move after sitting for a certain amount of time. You can set goals, and the watch will help track your progress towards them.

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.
Company Spotlight

Company Spotlight

Xiaomi is a global company with headquarters in China. They started in 2010 and went public on the Hong Kong stock exchange in 2018. An IPO in Hong Kong is just as challenging as one in New York, so this is a sign that the company's smartwatches and other products are reliable and popular with customers.

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.
What Trackers Are And Are Not

What Trackers Are And Are Not

While the Xiaomi Band 3 has its positive points, and it is certainly affordable, we need to remind our readers here that fitness trackers do not make you more fit. If you wear one every day and use it to tell the time and reject phone calls, never working out or looking at step data, it becomes just another watch or fashion accessory. When you purchase this or any other fitness tracker, it is wise to spend some time with the user's manual. Dial-in your goals, including how many steps you want to take, and know your target heart rate numbers. Without this information, and without consistent physical exercise, you will not unlock all the benefits of this tracker watch.
Who Needs It

Who Needs It

The Xiaomi Band 3 is a great choice for hobbyist runners, walkers, and cyclists who need heart rate, step, and calorie data. It isn't 100% accurate and will be less so than a more expensive fitness watch. You can't stream music or get GPS guidance on this fitness tracker, which is part of the reason the battery lasts so long. Aside from those shortcomings--typical of a watch at this price range--the Xiaomi Band 3 lacks the advanced features that will appeal to hardcore runners, triathletes, and the like. And you don't get other activities, like lifting, yoga, golf, or horseback riding, with this fitness tracker watch. It is set up for cardio lovers.
The Final Word

The Final Word

We suggest the Mi Band 3 fitness tracker watch as a low-cost entry-level watch for daily exercisers whose main focus is cardio and heart health. It would be ideal for kids but measure first as the wristband will be too big for some small wrists. You don't get a lot of advanced features, but that's really not what the watch is for. It is there to help you with goal setting and tracking, to remind you of the commitment you made to your health, and to help you set up healthy habits that can last a lifetime. The watch also stays out of your way and doesn't chafe your wrist while it does all that.