The Band 3 is comfortable to wear.
The fitness tracker comes with an OLED display.
The MGCool Band 3 offers a good battery life of up to 15 days.
MGCool, the Chinese company that specializes in sports action cameras recently launched a new fitness tracker, the Band 3. Priced at $49 (approximately Rs 3,200), it is not available in India, but can be purchased from sites such as GearBest or MGCool’s own portable for as low as $20 (approximately Rs 1,300), and ships to India. For this price, the MGCool Band 3 comes with features such as OLED display, continuous heart rate monitoring, water resistant design and more. I have been using the device for a while now, and here’s my review.
Design, comfort and features
The Band 3 comes with a pretty neat design where you have the tracker unit made from thick plastic, and the silicon band is attached within the tracker itself. This also means that unlike other fitness trackers where you can replace the silicon band, the same cannot be done here. The Band 3 is comfortable to wear continuously, whether you are sleeping, taking bath or working out. And even after sweating, the silicon band is pretty comfortable and does not cause any kind of skin irritation.
At the top, you have the 0.66-inch OLED display running at a resolution of 64×64 pixels. The case covering the display is made from scratch resistant thick plastic, has a glossy finish to it and has smooth curved edges, giving it a distinct look and feel.
Just below the display, you have a capacitive touch key that lets you cycle through different modes where you can log your heart rate, check your number of steps, calories burned, distance covered and sleep monitoring. Other options include finding your phone, pairing mode and power off. Turn to the back, and you have the heart rate sensor and the 3-pin charging points.
As mentioned above, the MGCool Band 3 can continuously monitor your heart rate, has an intelligent reminder feature that vibrates to notify you about notifications from apps such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, SMS and calls. The Band 3 is powered by Bluetooth 4.0 and it is compatible with Android and iOS devices.
To connect the fitness band with your smartphone, you will have to download the WearFit 2.0 app from the Apple App Store for iOS devices, and from Google Play Store for Android devices. The app itself is pretty confusing, in terms of menu options and pairing mode, but once you get the hang of it, looking for readings shouldn’t be that difficult.
The MGCool Band 3 is also IP68 certified for water and dust resistance. I did wear it while I went for swimming and while taking a bath, and I couldn’t help but notice that the touch button is very sensitive. Even a drop of water falling on it, and it starts cycling through different modes.
Now, this is where it gets tricky. Even a Xiaomi Mi Band priced at Rs 799 gets basic steps tracking and sleep monitoring right, but the same isn’t the case with the MGCool Band 3. The step counter is often inaccurate. I was wearing the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 HRX Edition and MGCool Band 3 in one hand, and a Samsung Gear Sport in the other hand.
Now, while the Gear Sport is almost accurate in its readings, the Mi Band 2 counted an average of 70-85 steps more. However, the MGCool Band 3 had a difference of about 400 steps. Considering a full day of tracking, where Gear Sport and Mi Band 2 logged about 7,000 steps, the Band 3 crossed about 10,000, which clearly shows a high level of inconsistency.
The same goes for heart rate monitoring too. The MGCool Band 3 often logged a heart rate reading of between 105bpm to 160bpm – critical levels for someone like me. On a usual note, my Gear Sport logs anywhere between 73-89bpm, and only after tasks like running or climbing 5 floors or so, it shoots up to 102bpm, but never crossed 105bpm.
Sleep tracking, more or less, is better. Yes, the data logging is still off, but not as much as the heart rate and steps counter. It shows data like deep sleep, awake and light sleep. But the problem is, even if you kept on tossing and turning, it is counted as awake, rather than counting it as light sleep.
The only place where I felt the MGCool Band 3 is competent at is the battery life. On a single charge, even with continuous heart rate monitoring, the battery easily lasted for about 15 days, before needing to charge again. And charging time is pretty quick, it goes from zero to full in about two hours.
Overall, the MGCool Band 3 has a decent design and build quality, and it is comfortable to wear too. The Band 3 also offer a good battery life, but it takes the hit in the performance aspect, which is why I find it difficult to recommend it. If the readings marginally differed, it would still have been fine. But in this case, the readings are so far gone that it’s quite obvious that they are inaccurate.
The Honor Band 3, which is priced at Rs 2,799, is a better alternative, and is more easily available in India too. It comes with heart rate monitor, battery life of up to 20 days and is pretty accurate with its readings. And if you don’t mind missing on the heart rate sensor, the Mi Band 2 HRX Edition which is priced at s 1,299 is a pretty good option too, getting step tracking and sleep right.