Mi Band 3
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Tracker: 17.9 x 46.9 x 12 mm
Strap Length: 247 mm
Strap Adjustable Length: 155- 216 mm
Tracker : 8.5 grams
With Strap : 20 grams
128 x 80 pixels
Bluetooth 4.2 BLE
Heart rate sensor
5 ATM IP Rating
Xiaomi’s new Mi Band 3 is the latest in the series of fitness bands offered by the smartphone giant. The Mi Band and Mi Band 2 were popular as they were offered at a very attractive price. The Mi Band 3, has also been launched at a lucrative price, but that is not all. Xiaomi has also ensured that the price is not the only thing which makes the Mi Band 3 attractive. Loaded with features such as an improved heart rate sensor, a pedometer, a bigger display and much more, we try to find out if the Mi Band 3 is worth it.
Build Quality & Design
The Mi Band 3 looks pretty much the same when compared to the previous generation, but features a bigger OLED screen and a new strap. The new strap is very sturdy and made of Thermoplastic Elastomer. The Mi Band 2 received complaints from users regarding its strap which left their hands itchy and irritated. The new strap on the other hand is very comfortable and convenient to wear and you don’t realise it sitting on your hand. The strap is adjustable up to 21.6 cm, easily fitting hands of all sizes. The strap is also available in different colours, and the black that we have looks good and has a great finish.
The band is resistant to dust and sweat and doesn’t get accumulate dirt even with extensive use. The Mi Band 3 has an IP rating of 5 ATM which means that the device is water and dust resistant. It is water resistance to 50 metres, therefore using it in heavy rain or even a swimming pool should not be a problem. The display however, is not that durable and can get scratched easily. We recommend that you install a screen protector for your Mi Band 3. Xiaomi has also fixed the issue of the tracker getting loose or falling out of the strap which was prevalent with the Mi Band 2. Now, its secured so well that sometimes one finds it difficult to take it out. The tracker by itself weighs 8 grams and combined with the band, it weighs 20 grams. Overall, the device is built well and most importantly doesn’t feel like you have something sitting on your wrist as you go through your day.
As mentioned before, the Mi Band 3 has a bigger, 1.9 cm OLED display. Since the display is OLED, it helps in improving the battery life. It is all touchscreen and easy to navigate through. The touch can be unresponsive at times but it is mostly effective. It works well even when it is in contact with water. In fact, it sometimes works even more smoothly when covered with water! The display has good viewing angles and is very crisp indoors. It’s not the best in direct sunlight, but you can view it if you put in some effort.
A lot of users had complained of the lack of an always-on display on the earlier Mi Band. An always on display will let you view information such as the time and date without the need for waking the screen up from time to time. Xiaomi hasn’t provided a solution for this yet and has instead provided a twist to wake feature with the Mi Band 3. The twist to wake function can be activated through the MiFit app. Once in the app, you need to navigate to the ‘Profile’ section. Here, you click on your device, which is the Mi Band 3. Scroll down a bit and you will see the ‘lift wrist to view info’ option which you can enable. The function activates the screen every time you twist or raise your wrist. However, it does not work well all the time and you might have to repeat the action twice or thrice to get the display going. You can also customise the watch face through the Mi Band itself, choosing from three different options.
The Mi Band 3 also packs a lot of cool features other than that of a regular fitness band. The band depends heavily on app integration to utilise most of the features. The app in itself can be confusing at times and could be simplified. The setup process is somewhat tedious and it takes a while to get a clear idea of the layout of the app. After some familiarisation, you will find access to a whole lot of options.
For those of you who were wondering about music controls, the app does not support this. If you are playing music, the band does not even recognise it, therefore being able to control it is out of the question. The Mi Band 3 does not have NFC support, despite many Mi Band 2 users looking forward to it.
Essentially being a fitness tracker, the Mi Band 3 packs a lot of features. It features a heart rate sensor, which is a definite improvement over that of the Mi Band 2. The heart rate sensor was surprisingly accurate on many occasions. On comparing the data with that of the Apple watch, we found the readings to be identical. Through the app, you can view your heart rate data and keep a track of it over days and weeks. The heart rate sensor is a good feature for people with health issues or those who are simply health conscious.
However, it is not recommended to be fully dependant on the data for an accurate depiction of your health. The heart rate sensor also takes quite a toll on the battery life of the Mi Band 3. Frequent use of the feature will bring down the battery life of the device to a couple of days. On the flip side, not using the feature so much will ensure a better battery life.
The device has a pedometer, a calorie tracker and a distance tracker. The pedometer is still not very accurate and sometimes records steps even while you’re just sitting. However, while you’re on the move, it does provide pretty accurate data. Additionally, you can also add a step goal through the app. You can also set a weight goal. The app does not help you reach these goals much but does give you a summary of your activities for the day and how much closer you are to your goal. You can also program the app to give you hourly reminders to get up and move if you’ve been sitting for too long.
Also featuring on the Mi Band 3 is a dedicated exercise mode. This is a letdown as the exercise mode is not at all specialised and just records the duration of your exercise and the number of calories you burnt. There is no option to define what kind of exercise you did, nor does it give you any comprehensive feedback. A ‘solution’ has been provided for this under the behaviour tagging section in the app. This lets you tag your activity for a certain duration or time period under various options such as running, swimming, badminton, etc.
With the Mi Band 3, you also get sleep tracking. The band tracks your sleep and gives you a comprehensive breakdown of the quality of your sleep. It divides your sleep into various parts such as ‘deep sleep’, ‘light sleep’ and more. The app also allows you to record how you feel when you wake up. This helps you track your sleep and accordingly make changes in your schedule. The Mi Band 3 also has a stopwatch, which is useful during a workout or a run.
Apart from the above-mentioned features, you can also add friends through the app. This is done by scanning the QR code on the app. Once you have added someone as your friend on the app, you can then track their activities and oddly enough, their sleeping patterns. Xiaomi claims a battery life of 20 days with the new Mi Band 3. But the battery life varies with how much you use it and what features you use. The heart rate sensor takes a toll on the battery and the band may just end up lasting for around a week with intense usage.
Another upgrade with the Mi Band 3 is the notifications feature. Now, you can receive all the notifications that are on your phone, directly to the Mi Band. This eliminates the need to keep your smartphone with you all the time or keep checking it. You can choose and add those apps from which you want to receive notifications. You can receive WhatsApp and text messages. These notifications are read-only and there is no way to reply to them through the band. Similarly, you get a notification when someone is calling you, however, you can only reject the call and not answer it or talk back through the Mi Band 3. You need to connect the Mi Band 3 to your smartphone via Bluetooth to do this.
However, one does not always have to keep their phone connected to the Mi Band 3 via Bluetooth. You can also use the device as a basic fitness tracker. It will give you access to features such as the pedometer, heart rate sensor, calorie tracker and stopwatch. You will not be able to receive notifications and the data from your Mi Band 3 will not sync with the app until your phone is connected to the device. Being connected to the Mi Band 3 does not mean that you cannot connect to another device via Bluetooth. If your smartphone has Bluetooth 4.0 or above, it will connect to another device while being connected with the Mi Band 3 at the same time
For a price tag of Rs 1,999, there is only so much that a device can offer. But the Mi Band 3 actually offers much more. Despite the fact that it is a budget fitness band, it does not lag behind in terms of features. Most of the features in the band are as effective as they are attractive. So if you’re looking for a fitness band on a budget, the Xiaomi Mi Band 3 is the way to go.
Accurate Heart Rate
Works as Watch / Stopwatch
Highly Dependent on App
Pedometer is Still Flaky