MI Band 3: A budget buy, packs a punch for its price

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New Delhi | Published: October 15, 2018 1:10:02 AM

Like the previous version, it has a heart-rate sensor and can track your steps and workouts. Mi Band 3 is also water-resistant with a 5 ATM rating.

MI BAND 3: Packs a punch for its price

Apple Watch might be the best-selling smartwatch in the business, but players like Xiaomi and Fitbit are not far behind when it comes to the fitness band segment. Xiaomi’s Mi Band series has been a big success in markets like India primarily because of its reasonable price, coupled with the good feature bouquet.

The new Mi Band 3, like last year’s Mi Band 2, costs Rs 1,999. Like the previous version, it has a heart-rate sensor and can track your steps and workouts. Mi Band 3 is also water-resistant with a 5 ATM rating, and will work fine in water up to 50 metres, which means it can be taken for a swim, though it does not track that activity.

Mi Band 3 has a 0.78-inch display with 193 ppi resolution and a 2.5D curved glass design. There is a touch button inside the touch panel. The touch button will let users activate different functions and go back to the main menu. Users can also press it to silence calls. Straps in blue and orange colour options will be sold separately for the Mi Band 3, but it comes with a standard black strap in the box. The band syncs with the Mi Fit app and can be used to see more detailed data on exercises, sleep sessions, etc. It has a 110 mAh battery inside with Xiaomi claiming this will last 20 days. Mi Band 3 works with both Android phones and iOS devices. I have synced it with both iPhones and Android devices, and there was no problem on either platform. After using the Mi Band 3 for little over two weeks, here are my thoughts on its performance and other key points.
Mi Band 3 might not be a smartwatch like the Apple Watch Series 3, which I use full-time, but the best part of this fitness band is the battery. I charged it when I first set it up nearly two weeks back, and there’s still 52% battery left.

I found the Mi Band 3 to be mostly accurate with my step count, in fact a little more conservative compared to my Apple Watch. I can definitely say the Mi Band 3 was not over-counting my steps, which can be a problem on many of these smaller, cheaper fitness bands. And yes, I was the idiot wearing two bands on each hand for the duration of this review.

During the review period, I also took the Mi Band 3 to the gym and tracked exercises. Now, the band cannot track exercises with as much as accuracy as my Apple Watch, but it does give an estimate of calories burnt. When it came to the treadmill, the Mi Band 3 was not far off in terms of calories burnt, and distances. Of course, on my Apple Watch I can tag each session based on the kind of exercises I am doing like Flexibility or Yoga, which I cannot do on the Mi Band 3. It is accurate when it comes to sleep-tracking as well, though I am not a fan of wearing devices on my wrist while sleeping. However, if you do a need a device to track your sleep, Mi Band 3 works like a charm. And yes, it confirmed what I always knew: I sleep like a log on most days.

The heart-rate tracker worked accurately and was in sync with my Apple Watch reading or close to it. Sometimes it would not pick up on the heart-rate, even when I pressed the button for the mode to start. I was not sure why this happened.

Overall, Mi Band 3 is a good starter device for someone who just wants to track their step count, sleep, exercises, all at a budget price.

Estimated street price: Rs 1,999

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