My first exposure to a smart wearable came from the Xiaomi Mi Band 2. With its tiny OLED display and almost unkillable battery life, it set a benchmark for cheap fitness trackers very high. Xiaomi has since then followed up with successors and despite the increasing prices, the Mi Band has remained the gold standard in fitness tracking without asking Fitbit levels of money. Hence, when Redmi announced its Redmi Smart Band, hopes were definitely higher than Everest. Also Read - Xiaomi Mi Watch Revolve smartwatch, Mi Band 5 and other smart devices for September 29
Priced at Rs 1,599, the Redmi Smart Band undercuts the equally-cheap Realme Band without cutting on features. Heart rate tracking? You got it. Color display? It’s there. Workout modes? Yep. It’s all here. Throughout my time with the Redmi Smart band, I kept wondering as to why one should spend extra and get the Mi Band 4. After keeping it stuck to my wrist for 10 days, here are my thoughts on the Redmi Smart Band. Also Read - Redmi Smart Band vs Realme Band : फीचर्स और कीमत के मामले में कौन है दमदार
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Design and build
One of the areas I found the Mi Band always lacking was the design. Even with its curved edge display, the Mi Bands have always looked toy-ish. Whoever designed the Redmi Smart Band knew fashion and wanted it to appeal to the grown-ups. Hence, it brings a Fitbit-inspired bracelet design with sharp lines and angles. Also Read - Redmi Smart Band launched for Rs 1,599 in India: Specifications, features, availability
Even with the black straps, the Redmi Smart Band looks smart. It complements the wardrobe and gels well with the user’s personality. It doesn’t scream for attention like the Mi Band but certainly adds its presence to your attire. The build quality on the tracker is impressive whereas the soft-touch finish on the straps only adds to the experience. Personally, it does not feel like a fitness tracker worth Rs 1,599 — it certainly seems a class above.
It’s not all rosy here though. Redmi has designed the Redmi Smart Band keeping in mind the harsh conditions it will be exposed to. The strap latches on to your wrist firmly but it’s a pain putting it on. Initially, it took me 30 minutes to strap on the band, hurting my fingers. Eventually, I figured out a trick to get the lock it into the slot quickly. Redmi could have made it easier to do the straps.
It doesn’t end here. The USB charging port on the Redmi Smart Band is concealed towards the bottom mouth of the strap. It took me a lot of strength, and time, to pop it out. While it ensures a secure fit for the port, it is frustrating every time I wanted to fill up the battery.
This may be a “personal-level issue” and you may not find it to be much of a bother. On the whole, the Redmi Smart Band is extremely comfortable to wear all day. In fact, I wore it while sleeping and it didn’t cause any skin irritation by the time the sun came up. The optical sensor does not dig into the hand like the older Mi Band models. Even in sweaty conditions, the Smart Band sits on the wrist without complaining. Do note that the band is resistant to water and sweat.
Redmi Smart Band features
The “Smart” in the Redmi Smart Band isn’t just a hoax. Redmi has stuffed the Smart Band with all the features one can imagine at this price point. It starts right from the 1.08-inch LCD color display, which is among the best in this price range. The display is bright, offering ample legibility in direct sunlight read the content (you have to still cover its display at noon at times). Viewing angles are wide and for an LCD display, it renders the interface in bright colors. It’s certainly superior than the Realme Band.
The best bit about the display is that it is a touchscreen. Hence, you are navigating around the interface with swipes and gestures. There’s a back touch key at the bottom of the display. The touch isn’t very responsive but it never gave up on me while swiping around. Despite having thick bezels around it, Xiaomi has managed to mask it well with the tinted glass.
To wake up the display, you have to back key to tap. There’s also a “lift to wake” function but that does not work as eagerly as it did on the Mi Band 4. The interface of the watch is simple and easy to navigate around. A simple swipe up (or down) opens the menu, giving access to the health functions, weather, notifications, settings. A swipe to the right open up the music player interface.
What’s surprising is how responsive is the music control. Despite its puny buttons, I was easily able to change the tracks and volume levels from the Smart Band. Notifications are shown nicely. I was able to read WhatsApp messages and subject lines on emails with ease. In fact, you can swipe on an email or message notification to read the content that flows out. This is a novelty for affordable fitness tracker users.
Sadly, the Redmi Smart Band cannot show Hindi text as well as GIFs. The band also shows weather data but it refused to show that when paired to my iPhone. You can also activate DND, alarms, themes (two preloaded and one downloaded), Stopwatch, and timer from the menu. The standard face watch is bland but Redmi allows you to download customized watch faces from online store in the Xiaomi Wear Lite app. I found a bunch of exciting colorful watchfaces with cute icons and fonts.
Xiaomi Wear Lite app
The Xiaomi Wear Lite app is crucial to the Redmi Smart Band’s smart features. If you cannot bother yourself playing with the settings menu on the tiny display, the app offers all of those in your smartphone’s comfy large display. You can choose watch faces as well as change other settings of the tracker from here. The Xiaomi Wear Lite app currently supports the Redmi Smart Band and Mi Band 4i (renamed Redmi Band for Europe).
I preferred the Wear Lite’s minimalist UI over the overwhelming interface of the Mi Fit app. There’s a dedicated tab for all device-related settings and another tab for the profile settings. On my iPhone, I was able to let the app share its health data to Apple Health. The third-tab sitting in the center has got everything to do with the health bit.
It shows colorful large cards, each of them dedicated to crucial parameters. You can check detailed information on steps, sleep, calories, heart rate, and standing times. Tapping on any of these cards further open up a detailed report of the selected parameter. The presentation is neat, with the mini calendar on top and well-laid out graphs.
One of the reasons you may buy the Redmi Smart Band is for its smart features. Even though I am not a fitness freak, I found myself relying on it to make an extra effort to keep me fit. There’s the usual step tracking that shows near accurate data majority of the time. It does not record false steps while you sway your arm sitting on a chair. The distances are measured correctly and so are the calories burnt.
Heart rate monitoring is the present courtesy of the optical sensor. You can head over to the heart rate app on the band and it will keep showing live heart rate data. Since this is tiresome, I set it on automatic heart rate detection at an interval of 30 minutes. Throughout the day, the Smart Band kept on reading the data and posting it graphically on the Wear Lite app. There’s wear detection baked-in, which means it won’t keep flashing its optical sensor while kept on the table.
I did not have access to medical equipment to determine the accuracy of the heart rate. I compared it to my Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro and the results were comparable. I also found the sleep data to be reliable, complete with its light and deep sleep distinction. The sensors were able to detect rightly my standing time. However, the Idel Alert feature is confused half of the time. It asked me to move around when I was actually moving around in my house. Maybe this is a software bug that can be fixed with an update.
Redmi has baked-in five workout modes in the Smart band. There’s cycling, running, treadmill, walking, and freestyle. In all these modes, the Smart Band uses all its sensors to feed you with basic data such as distance, calories burnt, steps and heart rate. The modes can only record data if the distance spans a few meters.
Redmi Smart Band Battery
The Redmi Smart Band relies on a 130mAh battery which Xiaomi promises can last two weeks. I used it with automatic heart rate detection and an hour of walking outdoors throughout my review period. The Redmi Smart Band, in this case, could only last a full week before throwing up the “low battery” notification. Do note that this involved constant connection to the smartphone via Bluetooth, with notifications enabled. It takes almost two hours to fully recharge the battery via a standard USB-A wall charger.
Verdict: Should you get the Redmi Smart Band?
Whether you swear by your fitness regimen or just a lazy person wanting something on the lines of a tiny smart wearable, the Redmi Smart Band serves both of you equally nicely. The smart wearable part is dealt with nicely – thanks to its bright and colorful LCD display, and an easy-to-use interface. The health tracking data is reliable and surely motivates you to go the extra mile to stay fit. Battery life is decent. Most importantly (for the fashion-conscious), it’s a classy wrist ornament that’s comfortable to wear all day.
Had Xiaomi sold the Redmi Smart Band for Rs 2,500, I wouldn’t have enough to complain about it. Hence, it is only astonishing to see Redmi sell the Smart Band at Rs 1,599, which is a bargain in my opinion. If you want a fitness tracker or a smart wearable without pinching your wallet, there’s nothing better than the Redmi Smart Band at the moment.