Part 1: My woes of importing Xiaomi Mi Fitness Band 2
This part will be a personal homage to the suffering I had to go through while getting my hands on the Xiaomi Mi band 2 fitness tracker.
Xiaomi globally launched the successor of the Mi band 1 & 1s, the screenless variants in the month of June 2016. As someone who has been following the brand and the reviews of the earlier product, I was naturally interested. Just like all other Xiaomi product, this was not immediately available in India. So one had to wait months before it was officially launched here. So in the beginning of September, after many days of analyzing all the information available online, I decided to buy it as soon as I received my salary.
At that moment the unofficial product was available on amazon for a price of close to ₹ 3,000. If you did a Google search for the product then you will also be shown a website called dx.com which was retailing the product for around ₹ 2100 without any additional shipping cost. So the reasonable Indian in me kicked in and I decided to buy the product through that site. Which turned out to be one of the biggest mistakes of my life in recent times.
I made the payment through Paypal at the start of the month and completely forgot about it. Checking it again after about 10 days, the product was listed ‘Out of stock’ until further update. My confusion was why my order was accepted when the product was out of stock or was it out of stock after making the payment, why was inventory not taken into consideration. Finally, after a week I got a confirmation that the product shipped from Hong Kong.
I also get a DHL tracking number, it was further located in Frankfurt, Germany in coming days. At this point I was confused why me being a neighbor of China, the product was traveling in the other direction halfway around the planet. Now I had to play the waiting game. It was there for more than a week. By then there was news that Xiaomi is going to officially launch its Band in India on 25th September, this will be available to be purchased on Amazon.in for a price of 1.999 INR.
My package was finally shipped to Delhi by the end of the month. There it had to go through Customs. Then it was shipped to Bangalore where once again it had to go through the same process. Finally it arrived at my doorsteps through the hands of my humble postman. I was asked to pay ₹ 1,300 for custom duty (a bummer). I was in a big dilemma, do I pay the extra money or lose the amount already paid, of which I did not have any hopes of getting a refund. Finally, I had to pay close to ₹ 3,400 for a product worth ₹ 1,999.
I later came to the understanding that anything that cost less than ₹ 1,000 does have to be paid any additional duty. Also if you opt for a different courier service apart from DHL or Ups there is less chance of it getting scrutinized. By the way, I clearly remember not being given an option to opt for in the particular website.
At the end of it, I was feeling like this.
Part 2: Long-Term Review of Xiaomi Mi Band 2
It’s been six months since I have been using Xiaomi Mi Fitness Band 2. The band is made of good quality rubber which does not cause any irritation to the skin. It has a detachable module which has the screen and the battery. You also get a proprietary cable for charging. Which you need rarely, like 20 days. Unlike other ones which need to be charged in a couple of days or once a week.
It syncs via Bluetooth with the Mifit app which is available for Android and iOS. You need to sign up with a Mi account. This also helps in syncing the data to any new device that you may login to. Although I frankly do not know what to do with how much sleep I have had a week or a month ago. Another important thing is that you cannot access the information over the web, you are restricted to the mobile app.
The band has a heart rate sensor which I can say is pretty useless. All this time I may have been able to get a reading just once. It suggests you be completely still or else you get an error. I feel that it requires you to be as still as dead so that you don’t have an heart rate (pun intended). Although I feel that the sensor plays a major role in accurately tracking the sleep cycle. I cannot comment on comparing the model with any sensor as I have not used one.
The band is capable of displaying following information: Time (which cannot be turned off), steps taken, Distance, Calories, Heart rate and Remaining battery. Along with these, there are few more thing which we will discuss later. At the end of six months of usage, I have set the band to display only two things, time(duh) and steps.
I am sure that in future I will be only using the time and nothing else. There is an interesting reason for this. I have myopia (shortsightedness) and when I wake up from sleep or when I am in bed, I have to reach for my glasses or hold the phone really close to my face. Since I am wearing the band 24 hours of the day there is no need for it.
I may have missed out on saying that it has single touch sensitive button which is minimalistic and functional. You can also adjust the setting for it to turn on the display whenever you lift your hand. Change to next if you twist, removing the need of the button.
Moving on to the layout of the app, it is divided into three section: Status, Play, and Profile. In the first section, you get the live stats of the day, like the steps and the sleep after the band syncs information over Bluetooth. Along with the heart rate, weight and neat graph of the achievements in terms of steps taken. The number of days you have achieved your goal is also indicated.
Next in the Play section, here you get to toggle around with the additional feature. These include incoming call alerts, Alarm Band alert and more.
If you are someone who is anxious about missing out on phone calls and always keeps it by your side in the fear of missing out. Then this will work wonders for you. You get notified on your band that you are receiving a call and also the details of the caller, either name or number. There is also an option to turn it off, I wonder who would use that. You can also set after how many seconds that you need to receive a notification, by default it is at 3 seconds.
Now you can keep your phone in any part of your house and be somewhere else you don’t have to fear missing out the call even if the volume is set to minimum. The range is also pretty good considering I live in a 3 bhk house and I get alert in every corner. Interestingly the caller Id feature was not available in the beginning, earlier it used to display only a phone receiver image along with vibration. This feature was requested in the play store comments by many users. Good to see a company which is open for feedback and puts in the effort to improve itself based on it.
Next the Alarm, you can set multiple alarms and also custom repeat modes. In the beginning, I was skeptical if it will work or not. But it does a good job by vibrating to alert. Even if you snooze it, it can sense if you are awake and out of your bed. This is a very good alternative for someone who wants to avoid loud noise to wake them and their neighbors.
Next equally important section is band alerts. Here you can set notification alert for any third party app other that phone calls and messages such as WhatsApp etc. You get notified with the whatsapp logo and vibration whenever you receive a message. For any other app that you choose it will show as ‘app’. It is recommended not to select two apps other than WhatsApp to avoid confusion. You can also toggle if you want the notifications for these apps to be sent only when the phone screen is turned off or always.
A typical day for most of us is spent sitting in front of the computer for long hours. It is recommended to take frequent breaks but most of us fail to keep track of it. The next feature, idle alert is for people like them. If you are sitting for an hour without any activity then the band will prompt you. It would have been appreciated to have more granular control but it is no way a deal breaker.
Below these, there is one more button which again repeats these options along with three more. Toggling alert for SMS, goal notification and Do not disturb. Goal notification is the number of steps that you aim to reach in a day. The band alerts you on reaching the goal. The ideal requirement is 10,000 steps for anyone, I have set it to 8,000. You can also turn off all notifications during a specific time in a day with the help of DND.
Other options in the Play section include Screen unlock which helps you bypass the lock screen when you are in the range of a connected device using the smart lock feature. Discoverable, I do not find it necessary to keep the Bluetooth connection always in the foreground, as I haven’t experienced missing any notification. Here you can share the information with your friends and sync data to your Google fit account.
The final option is behavior tagging which I discovered while writing this. Maybe they have added in the last update. It includes a bunch of activities like sleeping, brushing, sitting, Ping pong, Basketball etc. to improve the accuracy. This may help in not adding false counts to steps like when you are traveling in a car or brushing your teeth.Speaking of OTA update, the band was inaccurate in capturing sleep data after an update which was corrected later.
The final section of the app is pretty basic. You get to see your profile information that you entered while creating your Mi account. All the steps taken, distance traveled and the number of days that you were able to reach your goals since you started using the band. You can also enable the app to remind you to check the stats of the days like sleep and steps in the phone notification.
In the settings section, you can adjust the metrics of the distance and weight. You can set the number of steps that you plan to reach everyday and the weight that you aim This is only for people who have Xiaomi weighing scale which is not launched in India.
One important part in this section is My devices if you tap on Mi band 2. Under this, you will be given details about the remaining battery and when was the last time that you charged it. Find the band, band location (Right or left hand) though it does not make much of a difference.
One point I would like to add here is that I personally feel that it is slightly irritating if you wear it on your right hand which may not be the same for someone else. You can toggle all the information that you want to see along with the time and time format. You also get firmware details etc.
Final Verdict on Xiaomi Mi Band 2
I own a couple of watches which I do not use any more. The band looks good with most of the outfit. If you want a product to track your heart rate then you need to look elsewhere. If you want a pedometer then this does a good job at it (5-10% accuracy range). This does not track your activity apart from walking or running. Considering the price point you cannot ask for all the bells and whistles that you see in other products like GPS, training program and so on.
If you want to decrease your phone addiction and reduce screen time then it will help you. Personally, sleep tracking is the most used feature for me which it does a great job. It shows you the details to the minute and also details of the deep sleep.
I have come to the understanding that even if the overall sleep time is less, the level of relaxation that you feel depends on the deep sleep which can be close to 1- 2 hours over a general 7 hours sleep duration. Let me warn you that if you sleep really late for example 6 am, then it will not be considered. I should also mention that the display has average visibility in outdoor conditions.
Hopefully, now you have a good idea whether if you need this band or you can do just fine with the apps available in play store. According to me, it is worth every penny for the price of INR 1,999.
About the Author:
Uthkarsh is currently working as a Quality Analyst in one of the leading organization of India. Someone who speaks less by choice, but has lots to say. Passionate about movies and technology. Likes to read and listen to music. Values family and friends. Looks for positivity in everything.
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