Xiaomi is known for making cheap products, and the Mi Band Pulse is exactly the type of product it specialises in. This fitness tracker is priced at R399 and has a heart-rate monitor. If you’ve been shopping around for an activity tracking device, you will know that anything with a heart-rate monitor is not on the cheap side. This is what makes the Mi Band Pulse stand out.
If you’re not sure that a fitness tracking device is for you, and are considering getting one, the Mi Band Pulse is the ideal one to purchase. It’s not a lot of money for what it offers to anyone new to fitness. Aside from the heart-rate monitor, it tracks your steps, distance, calories burned, minutes active, sleep patterns, and if you put in your weight and height, it tells you your body type. It uses BMI for this but I don’t think BMI is the most accurate method to measure body type (Google it, there are loads of articles on this).
It works with Android and iOS, and you will need to download the Mi Fit app to use it, and create a Mi account. It took a few tries to pair it with the handset, but no hassles after. When you open the app and want to sync it, just tap the device a few times to “wake” it.
LOOK AND FEEL
The Mi Band Pulse does not have a screen on it but LED light indicators so you can see how much power it has. It’s a very small, rounded little device that looks like a huge pill, which fits inside the band. You need to stretch the band a little to fit the device in, but there’s very little chance it will pop out and get lost. It has a somewhat clumsy design in that the band doesn’t sit straight, it’s tilted. Not sure if it’s just the unit I received for review. That said, you do get what you pay for. It looks very low-key (not exactly going to make fashion statements), slim and clips on well, unlike some other bands that are difficult to put on and remove. The device is lightweight at a mere 5.5g. You need to unclip it for charging, and comes with a proprietary charger, so try not to lose it. It has an IP67 rating, meaning it is water resistant. So if you forget to remove it when you shower, it should be ok. I wouldn’t go swimming with it though. Every bit of interaction you do with the band is via the accompanying app.
MI FIT APP
The app is very minimalist in design, and has 3 main tabs – status; play; and profile. The profile tab shows you a snapshot summary of your profile like average steps, total km walked and your streak. It also shows you what devices are connected to it, goals (steps and weight), friends, and settings. Settings just let you change unit of measure mainly. The play tab is if you use the band to alert you for incoming calls, alarms and if you want to link the Health app on iOS. The main status tab is where all your info is displayed colour-coded and where necessary, in graphs.
The status tab displays your total step count in the top half of the screen, along with distance and calories, in a circle, in relation to your goal, if set to 5,000 or 10,000 steps. Beneath it is your sleep patterns, weight, heart rate and at the bottom, your streaks. You need to tap into your step count to see a breakdown of it, which is displayed by day. It’s further broken down in a log form by your movements. Same with sleep, you can see how long you stayed in bed for, deep sleep, light sleep, when you fell asleep, woke up etc. To measure your heart-rate, it has to be done manually. Go into it, tap ‘measure’ and tap ‘got it’. My results looked normal everyday – 67/68/69/70BPM. Unlike a Fitbit, it’s not going to go in-depth into your active/workout zones. You just get the number of calories burned, that’s it.
Battery life in the Mi Band Pulse just goes on for days.. and days. The battery itself is small, 45mAh according to the booklet, and it is meant to last you about 30 days. One of the adjustments when getting a wearable device is worrying about charging yet another device every day; with the Mi Band Pulse, you can get away with almost 2 weeks before recharging.
If you’ve never tracked your fitness before and considering doing it, or wondering if it is worth doing, this Mi Band Pulse is the ideal tracker to start off with. The money you’re spending isn’t hefty enough if you end up abandoning it. The app and data displayed is visually pleasing, in neat colour-coded graphs for a quick view on your progress. If you’re a serious fitness fanatic, look at something more higher tier.
Welcome to Wired to the Web. My name is Nafisa Akabor and I’m a technology journalist covering business and consumer tech for the last 13 years. I’m passionate about start-ups, smartphones, mobile payments, travel tech and electric cars. ✉️ email@example.com