Fitness bands

Mi Smart Band 4 review: Tracks your swims and runs in a heartbeat

by Ankit Chawla

Xiaomi is the market leader when it comes to selling smartphones in India, especially because it knows the market loves good quality devices at affordable price tags. In the wearable market, as well, Xiaomi is a market leader, globally. The company's Mi Band wearable range is a bestseller across the world, mostly because it packs in features at a relatively low price point. Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4 is the latest entrant in the market, and we put it to the test to find out whether it's worth the Rs 2,299 price tag.

First things first, the biggest upgrade over last year's Mi Band 3 is the full colour OLED panel on the Mi Band 4. Xiaomi now makes complete use of the OLED panel by adding much-needed colour that makes the display look vibrant whenever you look at it. The fit is nice, and the curved design gives it a premium feel on the wrist.

mi-band-4-front-on

The biggest feature that's being touted with the Mi Smart Band 4 is the ability to track your swims, complete with laps and strokes. To put this feature to the test, we took the Mi Band 4 to a regular swim session in a 50M pool. This is what we found.

Other than swim tracking, the Mi Band 4 has other features including heartbeat tracking, step tracking, automatic workout training, weather information, notifications, alarm clock, and music controls. Let's get into the details one by one.

As for heartbeat tracking, the Mi Band 4 is decent in terms of accuracy and consistency. While it does measure your heartbeat correctly, it takes quite a bit of time to get to the point especially when you have a low resting heart rate. I usually average 50 to 60 beats per minute when at complete rest, and the Mi Band 4 took about 30 seconds to accurately assess these levels.

mi-band-4-side

In terms of step tracking, the Mi Band 4 disappointed the most. It was significantly unreliable while tracking steps, about 20-25% more when compared with bands from Fitbit and Honor. In fact, an amusing observation was how the fitness tracker recorded about 150 steps each time I walked from my bedroom to my living room, which is not more than 20 steps a round.

Next, we talk about automatic workout training. Much like other fitness trackers in this price range, the Mi Band 4 also supports a feature that allows it to automatically sense workouts and track their progress without you having to manually switch it on and off each time.

The auto tracking feature is a bit of a hit and a miss, thankfully more of the former. While it does a great job sensing our runs and squash sessions automatically, it also sometimes start tracking when we were sitting in a slow-moving car or riding a slow-moving two-wheeler. You can always delete the unwanted workout sessions from the app, but that is just one thing more that you shouldn't have to do.

mi-band-4-diagonal

Then, you can also track weather information right from your Mi Band 4. You need to be connected to the Mi Fit app on your smartphone to gather data like current temperature, maximum temperature, and minimum temp.

Next up we have notifications. You can activate band notifications for apps including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Line, Mi Home, Telegram Messenger, Skype, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube, and Calendar. You can also switch on notifications for other apps as well. Accuracy is fine and you get short descriptions for messages through your apps. You can also set notifications for incoming calls.

A couple of nifty features that have been added to the fitness tracker are some that have gone unnoticed. First one is that the band will only track your vitals when it knows it is securely fastened to your wrist. It will also block phone notifications when unfastened, to increase privacy of your data.

 

All in all, the Mi Smart Band 4 is a great proposition in the affordable fitness tracker segment. You get a good amount of features at a price that is still great, despite a couple of issues with the step counting. You can probably ignore that given its durability and price tag.

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