The fourth generation of fitness bracelets Xiaomi Mi Band went on sale quite recently and has already become the best-selling version of all four generations.
In terms of the number of devices sold with Mi Band bracelets, no one can compete, including Apple Watch, which are also sold in very large editions. Yes, it is not entirely correct to compare completely different classes, both in terms of capabilities and price, which means, in terms of the profit that both of these devices bring, but still, given the absence of bracelets in the portfolio of the Cupertin company, let us take such liberty.
But today is not about sales, today about emotions and impressions, both good and not so good.
I see no reason to write about what is in the box, about how this box looks like, about the characteristics and numbers, since this is already in the article by my colleague Kirill (Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4: first glance and answers to popular questions) so let's go straight to the point – to what the bracelet impressed me with and what I didn't like about it.
Let's start with the look.
The new generation, while maintaining almost all the fundamental parameters and appearance, has nevertheless undergone some changes, among which is the height of the capsule.
The new bracelet became higher than the previous generation, which at first, when meeting by correspondence, did not make me happy, since it seemed to me that the new product would sit worse on the hand and rise above the wrist even more than the third generation.
My fears turned out to be in vain – the increase in height occurred due to the increase in the lower part of the bracelet due to the need to place new, larger sensors, as well as a more capacious battery for new tasks and capabilities.
Therefore, the increase in the height (thickness) of the capsule is not felt on the hand. An unobvious advantage of such changes was the better fit of the sensors to the skin, which in theory should have a positive effect on the quality of measurements.
In addition to increasing the thickness of the bracelet, it now has a new, flat glass screen, which in theory should provide better resistance to scratches, but can negatively affect the life of the bracelet itself due to the fact that many people like to accidentally apply the capsule on various protruding surfaces, such as inopportunely appearing on the way door frames.
And if everything is clear with wooden jambs – tempered glass is stronger than wood, but if a capsule meets a metal protrusion, everything can end sadly – the glass will break. Where to get new and fix it is not clear. Therefore, the new design is both a plus and a minus.
And the fact that the number of bracelets with broken glasses will grow very quickly is a fact, which can be indirectly confirmed by the number of scratched third-generation bracelets, as well as the number of Samsung Gear Fit bracelets with broken protective glass sold in the secondary market.
In addition to the disappeared bulge of the protective glass, one more nuance can be noted – now the upper part of the capsule lid is modular. If you look closely, you can see that the glass is soldered into the plastic cover.
Everything was done very soundly and neatly, and to me, as a person who must disassemble a new toy, this seems to be an additional problem, since in the process of disassembling this device the glass may not withstand the bending load and burst.
The main thing is that the glass does not turn out to be a single whole with the display matrix, otherwise it will be a disaster that will make painless disassembly of the device an extremely risky enterprise. But wait and see. I’m not me, if I don’t understand it (I’m still shoving the chip from my bank card inside).
In addition to the changed height of the capsule, many reviewers and ordinary owners of the device noted one unpleasant nuance in the implementation of the charging circuit – now the contacts are located not on the end, usually covered with a bracelet, but on the lower surface of the capsule and constantly contact the skin.
Many were immediately concerned about the safety of these very contacts and the risk of oxidation.
I carried out a spectral analysis, took samples of the material and carried out a chemical analysis (in fact, I just looked closely and poked with a magnet and a screwdriver), and I hasten to reassure everyone who is worried – in Xiaomi this risk was foreseen, and therefore the contacts on the bracelet now not from non-ferrous, oxidizing metal, but from stainless steel or its equivalent. Therefore, you can forget about contacts oxidizing on the capsule. Hurrah.
By the way, the contacts themselves are no longer just two flat dimes, now they have a groove and look like a type-setting design. Curious.
At the same time, the pennies in the charger remained of non-ferrous metal.
The new charger design is one of the main complaints about the new generation.
Almost all users complain about the new design. Although I do not see any problem, since the new tray, in which the bracelet is placed for charging, provides better contact and reliability of the connection than the previous canvas, from which the bracelet could slip out after a while.
The only thing that is not clear is why it was necessary to make a bath with a mechanical fastening? Wasn't it possible to make a magnetic mount?
But, I think, we will correct this shortcoming in the very near future – I already have a plan for transferring the charging bath to the magnetic fastening method. And besides that, a plan is ready to create a charger that does not require removing the capsule from the strap. But this is later.
By the way, one of the complaints about the new charger was that the capsule does not completely sink into the tray and sticks out of it. Well, this is not a miscalculation of engineers and designers, but common sense. Think how you would take out a smooth capsule if it was sinking up to the sides in the charger? Why should I cling to it when extracting? That is why such a large gap is left.
Now let's move on to the shortest and most enjoyable point – the straps.
The main news is that the third generation straps and bracelets fit the fourth! Hurray, comrades! That's all about straps and bracelets (rejoice).
About display, interface and menu
The display is awesome. Not as cool as in Honor Band 4 (it is brighter in it), but also very, very good. And most importantly, it is finally colored.
But what did not please me was that in the bright sun it is clearly visible only when the brightness is turned to the maximum, which in summer and winter with a clear sky will negatively affect the life time from one charge. And when the brightness is below average, the display becomes completely unreadable in the sun.
But given the total promised battery life, even if the maximum brightness cuts the battery life by a third, it will still be more than all the color competitors. Relaxed, we are not worried.
And also the “four” supports a huge (compared to the third generation) number of interchangeable dials for every taste.
In addition, if you do not like anything from the proposed options, you can draw your own or use the works of enthusiasts from the w3bsit3-dns.com forum, where a carriage and a small cart of custom dials have already been stamped.
There you will also find simple instructions for pouring all this splendor onto your bracelet. Keep in mind, however, that not all yoghurt watch faces are equally useful – some of them lead to increased battery drain due to overload of graphics and controversial optimizations.
Of the complaints about the new interface, I cannot but note the very small font of notifications, the size of which cannot be changed using standard methods. Yes, technically, you can fill in other fonts that will be larger, but these are dances with a tambourine, for which not everyone is ready.
I am talking about this from the point of view of elderly people with not the sharpest eyesight, which include, for example, my parents, who, despite their age, actively and not without pleasure use most modern gadgets. Therefore, for them the ability to increase the font size of notifications, even to the detriment of the number of characters that fit on the screen, would be very helpful. I'll make my font bigger, but what about those who don't have a geek at hand?
Another controversial and non-obvious point was the implementation of menu items, which, apparently, were created primarily for the sake of design and appearance, and not for convenience.
It's about the implementation of the menu, in which to view information you need to fall down one level, tapping on a beautiful icon instead of just scrolling to the desired item. Speech, for example, about the implementation of weather. Why hide it under a separate badge? Was it really impossible to do as it was in the third generation? The only thought that comes to mind is that this was done for the uniformity of the menu. Nice but uncomfortable.
The same goes for the Music Control Center. It took me a while to realize that the bracelet had quick access to music control by side swiping to the right or left across the screen, and before that I was indignant for a couple of hours with the logic of the programmers who shoved this item under the beautiful icon of the 'Advanced' section.
But after accidentally detecting quick access to music control, another question arose – why do both swipes, both to the right and to the left, call the music? Why can't these swipes be made customizable? Perhaps, in the upcoming software updates of the bracelet, this feature will be implemented, but at the moment we have what we have.
But what I definitely do not regret is the missing recess in the area of the Home button – without this recess, the device looks more complete (in my opinion, of course).
The above is precisely the emotions that the bracelet evoked when we first met, and what made me think about.
That is why I deliberately do not write about the accuracy of heart rate and step measurements, as well as about the implementation of training regimens, etc., which requires more careful observation and analysis, since this can be discussed in a separate material, after statistics have accumulated sufficient for analysis. . Especially for this I go with two bracelets on my hand, causing confusion among other owners of fitness bracelets.
And yet ahead of us are experiments on the bracelet to modernize it and turn it into something more than the manufacturer intended, rationalizing (and not so much) improvements and necessarily penetration inside with a detailed analysis of the components.