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The fitness tracker market is certainly one-of-the-most exciting product category in India and across the globe. A number of brands are selling products in multiple price segments with more or less similar features. This makes it extremely tough to settle down on one particular product that offers the best bang for your bucks. If you are a pro fitness enthusiast and want only the best-in-class fitness accessory, go for the likes of Fitbit and Garmin; however, if you are tight on budget and still need something extremely useful and value for money, Xiaomi Mi Band 3 is your best bet.
We used the affordable fitness tracker for over a week and found it truly functional for everything that the brand promises. It is water-resistant, boasts an OLED display and lasts really long. It is a fitness tracker that can actually rival the pricey fitness trackers from the likes of Fitbit and Garmin. Having said that, let's start with our review of Xiaomi Mi band 3.
Design: Feels premium and is extremely light on the wrist
Xiaomi Mi band 3 is by far the best looking budget fitness tracker I have used in a while. The band has a curved OLED display that gives it a premium look and feel. And like the previous Mi Band, the new Xiaomi Mi band 3 also has a design that feels very nimble on the wrist. It weighs just 20 grams and can be carried throughout the day without any trouble. Even though the price is Rs. 1,999, the quality of the material used is very good and the band doesn't feel cheap by any means. Xiaomi Mi Band 3 is available in Black, Blue, and Red color interchangeable straps.
Comfortable to wear
The fitness tracker is extremely comfortable to wear for a prolonged duration. I wore it throughout the day and even while sleeping at night and did not feel any discomfort. The capsule sits in tightly inside the silicone band casing and is not going to pop out even if you are sprinting, swimming or working out in the gym. Xiaomi also says that the latching mechanism on the new band is better as compared to Mi Band 2 and will not degrade over time. The silicon casing will ensure a tight grip of the capsule even in a longer run, something we will evaluate in the coming months.
Water-resistant up to 50 meters
The Mi Band 3 is water and dust resistant up to 50 meters (5 ATM). So technically you can wear it in the shower or while taking a dive in the pool without worrying about ruining the underlying electronics. I can actually vouch for its durability as I wore it while taking showers and so far it's working just fine. The IP certification makes
Display and controls
One of the major highlights of the Xiaomi Mi Band 3 is the new OLED display. The oval capsule sports a 0.78-inch monochrome OLED strip protected by 2.5D curved tempered glass on the top. A one-touch navigation button with touch capability sits at the bottom that basically activates the screen and let you trigger important functions with long taps. It also serves as a back key if you are in the menu and also let you clear a notification with a long tap.
Problems with OLED display
While I would praise Xiaomi to add a screen at such an affordable price-point, the OLED display is not perfect. It's very tough to read notifications and check date and time under direct sunlight. The OLED strip is just not bright enough to offer a comfortable viewing experience outdoors. Secondly, you have to bear with the slight delay to check the date/time and notifications upon lifting your wrist. The underlying sensor takes a second to turn on the screen. But it is not something that troubled me a lot and Xiaomi might be able to fix the lag with a software update in the future.
The new OLED screen on the Xiaomi Mi Band 3 can display a variety of useful information. You can check date-time and steps count at the main screen. Swipe up to check your step count, and then swipe right to check the distance walked calories burnt and battery percentage. You can also start monitoring your heart rate right by just long tapping the one-touch button.
The OLED screen can also display the weather forecast for three consecutive days, incoming call notification, text messages, and third-party app's information such as notifications from WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Gmail, Paytm, Slack, etc. The list is quite long and you can enable notifications of different apps from manage app section within the Mi Fit app. You can also start activity monitoring for four different exercises by simply long tapping the one-touch button.
Swiping down brings the ‘More' section, which is basically the menu screen. From here you can swipe left to access other features like stopwatch, enable silent mode, Find device, and can also change the home screen layout. There are three different home screen layouts. I wish Xiaomi could add some more layouts to this section to make even better use of OLED display.
How good are the sensors on Mi Band 3?
The answer is- Pretty Good. The Mi Band 3 is a pretty capable fitness tracker in monitoring your physical activity. The step-tracking and heart rate monitoring seemed almost accurate throughout my usage. There can be minor variations, which will always be there when it comes to fitness bands; however, Mi Band 3 will still manage to offer pretty accurate results. Interestingly, the Mi Fit app also allows you to customize the heart rate monitor's detection frequency. You can set intervals from 1 minute to 30 minutes; however, this takes a toll on your band's battery life. Nevertheless, if you are really health conscious and wants to keep a constant check on your heart rate, Mi Band 3 is an excellent budget fitness accessory.
Set activity goals
Xiaomi Mi band 3 also allows you to set activity goals. You can set the step count limit within the app and can also set a weight goal to maintain a healthy lifestyle. To help you achieve the goal, the band can be customized to alert you when you spend too much time without doing any physical activity. When the Idle alert is enabled, the band vibrates if it records inactivity for continues duration of 60 minutes.
Monitor your sleep
Xiaomi has also added sleep tracking in the new Mi Band 3. The Mi band 3 can monitor your sleep duration. You can check the data in the Mi Fit app that shows deep sleep and light sleep and the time you were awake. You can also check the history of your sleep duration within the app. Just sync your band with the Mi Fit app and the data will reflect in your phone.
When it comes to workout profiles, Mi band 3 fails to offer comprehensive results. The Mi app has a dedicated Workout profile section that let you select four different workouts. You can choose between Outdoor running, Treadmill running, Cycling and walking. The workout mode when enabled from the band only records the duration of your exercise and calculates the number of calories you have burnt. To add value to your daily physical activities, the Mi Band 3 comes with ‘Behavior tagging' that helps in tracking the details of daily life activities. The particular section has most of the daily life activities like Bathing, Brushing, Walk, Sit Ups, Climbing stairs, etc. When you select an activity, the band monitors your heart rate and also keeps a check on the 3 Dimensional axis according to your movement. Once you end the activity monitoring, you are provided with a detailed analysis of your workout activity.
The Mi Band 3 is capable to last really long. If you have disabled continues heart rate monitoring, the band has the ability to easily last more than two weeks. It is powered by a 110 mAh sealed battery, which as per Xiaomi lasts up to 20 days on a single charge. The results can vary depending upon your type of usage. I was able to fetch a nine-day battery life on a single charge with extensive usage. The Mi Band 3 can charge from 0 to 100% in less than 2 hours.
At a budget price-point of Rs. 1,999, Xiaomi has managed to offer a lot with the new Mi Band 3. It is loaded with useful features that actually work making it a perfect budget fitness tracker for masses. If you are keen on keeping a track on your step count, sleeping pattern, calories burnt and heart rate, there's no better budget alternative than the Mi band 3.