People are getting more and more conscious about fitness, but while the fitness wearables industry has been around for some time now, it has not seen the exponential growth everybody was expecting – it is expected to grow 17 percent by the end of this year. This has caused some companies to shy away from the wearable zone. But there are still some that are sticking around and making it big – one such company is Xiaomi, which thanks to its budget-friendly wearables has an impressive market share of the wearables segment (it is the market leader by some estimates). And now the company in partnership with Hrithik Roshan’s HRX brand and has launched the Mi Band HRX edition. The band is a variation of the Mi Band 2 and is priced at Rs 1,299, minus a heart rate sensor. But can a low price, celebrity branding and a stack of features make the new HRX Edition Mi Band a success?
Smart, but haven’t we seen you before?
The HRX edition Mi Band looks just like the Mi Band 2. The fitness band comes with a 0.42 mm OLED display with a small circular capacitive touch button for navigation. The display is impressively bright, which is a major plus point – we did not have to reach for our phones to see our progress and results. The display also shows the icons of the messaging apps, and the caller ID when you get a call, which is helpful. You can easily use it both indoors and outdoors even on a bright sunny day. We felt that the display of the HRX Mi Band was a notch better in terms of brightness than the Mi Band 2. The main capsule which collects all the information is protected by aluminum. The capsule is completely black and has the Mi logo on its underside, protruding slightly like a belly. It also has two gold-colored pins on one side of the capsule for charging the device (there is a custom charger which can be attached to any USB port supporting charger or device).
The band is made of silicon and has a slot cut out where you can fix the tracker. You get the black colored silicon band by default when you buy the fitness band, but you can buy a blue colored band available on Xiaomi’s website for Rs. 299. The band is comfortable and did not cause any skin irritation while we had it on. It is long enough to fit most wrists and can perfectly fit the skinniest of wrists as well, thanks to the multiple slots on it. The pin on the band is metal and has HRX branding on it (the only thing that has). While the band looks sleek and is comfortable once it is on the wrist, we had a few problems in putting the pin in the slot on the strap and many times we almost felt as if it just would not lock into position. That apart, the band is decent looking and can easily blend with both your formal and informal wear. It weighs just about 7 grams which makes you often forget that you even have a tracker on your wrist.
For connecting the band, you will need to download the Mi-Fit app which is free on both Android and iOS platforms. The app syncs all the data that the tracker collects, and may look bit complicated at first but just requires a bit of getting used to. One just has to put in his/ her information, pair the device with the phone and one is good to go. You can easily follow your activities, goals reached and calories burnt on the app and the data is pretty detailed. The brand is compatible with devices running Android 4.4 and iOS 7.0 and above and comes with Bluetooth 4.2 support.
No heartbeat, but a good performer
The HRX edition Mi band can keep track of your step count, sleep pattern and calories burnt. One can also enable caller notifications to get alerts from calls and messaging apps. The band comes with an improved pedometer and accelerometer to avoid miscounted steps. This is one problem we have faced with a few budget range fitness bands. While most other budget fitness bands show faulty results because of a sudden wrist movement, we found the HRX edition Mi Band to be better in this regard. It is not super accurate, but the results by the band were never too far away from reality. And if you want dedicated activity tracking, you just have to go to the application, select from the four activities that are present there – you can choose from outdoor running, treadmill, cycling outdoors and walking. The band also gives you gentle nudges when it figures out when you are sitting idle for too long. And it actually could!
The band comes with 70 mAh battery which is fit inside that small tracker capsule. It takes less than two hours to charge and goes on FOREVER (well, not literally) – it can be used for over 20 days straight on a single charge, and that is when we turned all the notifications for calls and text messaging apps, which meant the band vibrated quite a lot and notifications kept appearing on the OLED screen. Super convenient! Getting this kind of battery performance out of a 70 mAh device is pretty remarkable. The band also comes with IP 67 rating which means it is safe from occasional dust and water splashes and those with sweaty wrists do not have to worry as the band can survive pretty rough workouts as well.
While everything else was pretty much on point, we found the results of sleep tracking a bit inconsistent. While most of our other sleep tracking devices came out with similar results, the Mi band was somehow insisting on the fact that we were not getting enough sleep. On the notifications front, the device delivered alerts most of the time, although it sometimes misses out. The rather peculiar thing was that we sometimes found our phones ringing or vibrating before the band did. You cannot reject calls from the band, and you cannot read messages – you only get alerts that both have come in. Honestly, at this price though, it is very helpful. It can be handy while driving but can be distracting too. Oddly enough, we found no Hrithik Roshan angle to the band, which is kind of disappointing when one considers that the band carries his name.
Great for those on a tight budget
While there are many activity trackers and fitness bands available in the wearable market space right now, the HRX Mi Band edition sits pretty with its OLED screen, battery performance and most of all its price of Rs. 1,299. The band is super budget friendly and can perform most tasks pretty well, although some fitness fanatics might complain about the absence of a heart rate sensor in this day and age. And at this price, it does not have any major competitors in the market as well. So, if you were looking for a device to track your activity, and are on a tight budget, the HRX edition Mi band is just the right choice for you.