Fitness bands have always been a rather intriguing piece of tech. They are the crossroads between a normal watch and a full blown smartwatch, offering a plethora of smart features while still not really being a fully-fledged smartwatch. However, gone are the times of when you needed to spend over 100 dollars for something half-decent as brands like Xiaomi have completely disrupted the market with their budget-friendly yet very good products. The fitness bands are getting smarter and better at an exponential rate and in my opinion, you don’t need to spend hundreds of bucks getting a Fitbit when something like a Mi Band does the exact same job at a much lower price point.
Mi Band 4 follows the same old Xiaomi philosophy of offering the best value for money. It has been amazing to see how far Xiaomi has come with the Mi Band in terms of design and features. The original Mi Band did not even have a display on it and here we are, 4 years later, with a full coloured AMOLED display and a ton of smart features. I’ve been using the Mi Band 4 for over a week and here are my thoughts on it.
Design and Build Quality
When you first hold the Mi Band 4 in your hand, it feels like a very premium piece of hardware. The device itself is made entirely of plastic but it still feels very robust. One advantage of using plastic, however, is that it makes the Mi Band 4 extremely lightweight. Weighing slightly higher than the previous gen at 10.7 grams, the Mi Band 4 just manages to be not noticeable while running or swimming but you’d still feel like something is missing if you take it off. You can even sleep while wearing the Mi Band 4 without it hindering your sleep or annoying you which is a major plus. The Mi band 4 comes in 5 colour variants: Black, Orange, Claret, Pink and Blue. You can, however, get custom bands for it as they are interchangeable.
The main form-factor of the Mi Band 4 is still pretty much the same as the previous model, with the same pill-shaped body and 2.5D screen. However, I’d still say that it is probably not the best looking fitness band on the market and the design just isn’t subtle enough to make it not stand out. However, if you really want your fitness bands to pop out on your wrists, then this might be the one for you. Totally comes down to personal preference in the end. As far as the wrist band is concerned, it is still the same TPU material as the one on Mi Band 3 meaning it works fine and is easy to change but is not exactly the most practical solution for a wrist band.
This is where the biggest difference arises between the Mi Band 4 and last year’s Mi Band 3. The display on the Mi Band 4 has been improved this year to a 0.95 inch coloured AMOLED touch screen display. It is almost 40% larger than the previous model and to sweeten the deal, comes with a tempered 2.5D scratch-resistant glass pre-applied. As the size has increased, so has the display resolution. It has now been increased to 240 x 120 pixels meaning that you would be able to see much more details on it. Coming to the brightness, it is good enough for most circumstances. The display is visible and text is legible enough to be read under direct sunlight.
Mi Band 4 display can also show a greater amount of content because of its larger size. The text messages, calls and other notifications are easy to read through and you won’t miss your smartwatch if you decide to use the Mi Band 4 full-time. Apart from the touch screen, the capacitive button down below also makes a return. However, this time around, it is much more flat and in-line with the whole display as compared to the Mi band 3. Overall, the display is an improvement over the last gen in pretty much all departments and you can go in with your eyes closed if a good display is your priority.
Xiaomi Mi Band 4 is packed with features in all departments whether they relate to fitness or something else. As it is a fitness band, let’s talk about what it offers in terms of tracking. The Mi Band 4 comes with 6 sports modes like swimming, indoor/outdoor running, cycling, walking and exercising. The fitness band can accurately calculate the number of steps and calories burnt throughout the day. In the past, Mi Band has had issues with overestimation of steps taken but that seems to have been fixed here. The band is water resistant up to a depth of 50 meters and can thus be used while swimming. It can even recognize different types of swimming strokes like Butterfly and Freestyle etc. The Mi Band 4 can also accurately measure your heart rate at set intervals or whenever you like.
Mi Band 4 can also measure your sleep records and determine the quality of your sleep. It uses its multiple sensors like the heartrate sensor to determine whether the sleep you’re getting is good enough or not. You can then look up all the detailed analysis of your sleep and other activities in the Xiaomi Mi Fit app. There is also an NFC variant of Mi Band 4 which can be used for payments and other NFC features. There are also tons of themes and watch faces to suit your preference. The notifications also work fine for most apps and you can also decline calls straight from the fitness band. The Xiao AI, which is a new addition, also works as intended and can be used with voice commands.
One of the most important features of a fitness band is the battery life it offers. What’s the point of having a fitness band if it is not even gonna last a couple of days? The Mi Band 4, however, runs away with it in the battery department. Thanks to the much bigger 125 mAh battery and Bluetooth 5.0 low-powered connectivity, the battery on Mi Band 4 comfortably lasts for over a week. It could probably last even longer if you turned off the heart rate sensor. To get over a week’s usage out of Mi Band 4, you only need to charge it for a couple of hours which is a major plus point. So, in terms of battery, you do not need to worry about anything at all.
Mi Band 4, in my opinion, is up there with the best-in-class fitness bands while still maintaining its low price point. The Honor band 4 had taken some attention off the Mi Band 3 last year but the MI Band 4 is the perfect response to that. Coming with a vibrant touchscreen AMOLED display, good battery life and a ton of features for fitness tracking, I’d totally recommend Mi Band 4 to anyone who wants to get the best budget fitness tracker in the market. While the fitness app and design might not be suitable for everyone, it is still an amazing product overall and those things can easily be overlooked. The only thing I wish the Mi Band 4 had was a GPS tracker but if you have your phone with you at all times, that would not be a problem either.
The Mi Band 4 can be bought for around $30 via AliExpress or other Chinese retailers with international releases coming soon.