Not so long ago Xiaomi presented another potential hit – fitness bracelet Mi Band 3. Today I will try to answer the question whether it turned out to be a hit, and if so, what is hit in it.
It all started about six months ago, when I was choosing a bracelet to replace the Mi Band 2, because after the experience of using the Samsung Gear Fit 2, I realized that I needed the ability to read incoming messages directly from the bracelet without taking out my phone. Then my choice fell on a bracelet from Huawei – Honor Band 3. Even at the stage of selection, many advised not to rush, be patient and wait for the release of Mi Band 3, which promised all the functions I needed and even more. However, the desire to get a new gadget here and now overcame, and I did not wait for the Mi Band 3. And now I have the opportunity and desire to understand whether I miscalculated with the purchase or not.
But before we find out, the traditional boring lines about specifications, packaging, packaging, etc. (by the way, it is exactly the same as that of the Mi Band 2).
- Packaging and equipment
- Design and materials
- Bracelet at work
- A couple of lines about protection
- Battery life
- Impressions and conclusions
- Capsule dimensions: 46.9 x17.9 x 12 mm
- Strap length: 247mm
- Adjustable strap length: 155 – 216 mm
- Battery: 110 mAh (Li-pol)
- Standby time: up to 20 days
- Weight with strap: 20 g
- Capsule material: plastic
- Strap material: thermoplastic elastomer
- Clip: aluminum alloy
- Waterproof standard: 5 ATM (roughly corresponds to the IP68 standard)
- Size: 0.78 inches, touch
- Resolution: 128 x 80
Packaging and equipment
To be brief, the packaging is a traditional white box, inside of which a bracelet capsule rests under a transparent lid, squeezed into a soft stencil.
In addition to the capsule, there is a charger inside that cannot be used to charge previous generations of bracelets, as well as vice versa, as well as a long snake-instruction, in which they will try to explain to us how to do it and how not to do it with elegant hieroglyphs and pictures. That, in fact, is all.
We take out the bracelet and begin to study it meticulously and meticulously.
Design and materials
Firstly, the strap immediately confused – because of the thin sidewalls, the capsule attachment area looks very flimsy and unreliable. This is only later, by pulling and pulling, after several insertions and withdrawals of the capsule, you realize that everything is in order. It looks like some kind of reinforcement layer is pressed inside the strap material. In general, the strap does not break.
Quite by chance the previous generation bracelet turned out to be at home (not by chance). You need to compare them with each other.
The very first thing that catches your eye is that in the third generation the capsule has become noticeably larger and rounder, while maintaining the principle of the arrangement of the main elements, and the strap's landing area is thinner and smaller.
Personally, I prefer the size of the Mi band 2, however, you need to understand that it takes space to accommodate a more capacious battery and a larger display. That is so, but how did Huawei solve this issue? Somehow they decided, having managed to squeeze a similar filling into a small case (it is noticeably thinner and narrower).
Yes, further in the text, the comparison with Huawei will occur more than once, be mentally prepared for this.
And this is how all three bracelets look side by side.
But back to the best bracelet. If you look closely, it turns out that some elements were used from MiBand 2, for example, a heart rate sensor, as well as contacts for charging.
But the clip of the bracelet clasp received a different, more rounded shape and in practice it holds more reliably.
On the hand, due to the convex shape, the bracelet looks a little more futuristic and creates the right impression of a technological gadget. However, not everyone will like this design. One of those who don't like him is me. In my opinion, the bracelet is too convex. But this is taste. Perhaps, in terms of design, this will be exactly what you have been looking for for so long. Another unobvious disadvantage of this form will be for those who like to glue protective films on the bracelet – for such a convex glass (plastic), finding a film will be a problem.
There is one more thing that I have to say – the shape of the strap. Apparently the strap was made under the Asian thin wrist. I can't say that I have a very wide wrist, but even for me, this strap turned out to be narrow at the top. where it leaves the capsule. Because of this, he puffs up on his hand, rises and constantly strives to move to one side. You either have to tighten it tightly, which is not very comfortable, or constantly correct it.
Here it is compared to Honor Band 3. I think it's more clear what this is about.
Bracelet at work
Go ahead and finally turn on the bracelet. I got the Chinese version for the test, and when I took it out of the box, life-affirming inscriptions in Chinese glowed on the screen.
This is the problem, I thought. “This is not a problem,” replied the Mi Fit app version 3.4.4. and after connecting the bracelet, it began to diligently update the firmware of the bracelet, and then download fonts and so on to it, already in another language, so familiar and familiar 'great and mighty'. The main thing is not to forget to select the 'Russia' location when setting up. And now, after some three minutes, not a trace remained of the furious hieroglyphs.
Conclusion – you can safely buy Chinese versions. The main thing is to install Mi Fit version 3.4.4 or higher.
Inside the application, almost everything is the same. From the differences from the second generation bracelet: when the third one is connected, an item about a notification appeared in the application, which can be configured as an alarm clock, and then, in addition to vibration, at a given time it will display the text that you have hammered into it in advance.
From the unpleasant moments – the number of characters is limited (the maximum possible number of characters is typed in the screenshot), so it will not work to drive in any motivating quote from the next public, which means that you risk not feeling the importance of the notification and stay sitting on the couch, which means you will have to train willpower in advance. A terrible miscalculation of programmers …
Another new item is weather. Here you can configure a city for which the current and projected state of affairs in the heavenly office will be displayed. By the way, the weather on the bracelet screen looks surprisingly convenient and informative.
Another point is wrist selection. In fact, it is not clear why he is here. Nothing changes visually. Probably, this is necessary for the correct assessment of activity.
Another point that made me puzzled was finding a melody. Several times, having poked at this point, I did not immediately understand what it was. I tried to understand what kind of melody we are looking for and sow. It turned out that this is just a crooked translation and here I mean the melody of the device search!
Yes, and there is such an item here – with the help of the bracelet you can search for your phone if you don't remember where you put it. When you select the appropriate item on the bracelet, the phone will start emitting shrill sounds by which you can quickly find it. I am glad that after starting this mode, you can also disable it on the bracelet, and not only on the desired phone. This will be useful when the lost phone is somewhere nearby and you need to urgently turn off this shrill sound, and you will be too lazy to get up from the couch.
Traditionally, you can select the items that will be displayed on the bracelet screen, as well as arrange them. The rest is no different from the previous generation bracelets.
Well, now we turn to the most controversial, in my opinion, point – management.
Here it is implemented through taps and swipes. Short clicks on the button at the bottom take you back, and long clicks activate the additional functionality of the selected item.
To activate the display, you need to tap the button once, and to start navigating the menu, you need to swipe up or down the screen – the menu is looped. This option turns out to be not entirely familiar, and at first I tried to swipe on the button, not on the display.
There is one more unobvious moment in management, which creates certain difficulties when interacting with the bracelet – you can swipe up to the next item in the menu only from the first item of the current section. That is, for example, you selected the 'Weather' section and scrolled to the right until tomorrow's weather and, having looked at the weather, decided to go to another section above or below. You can do this only after you return to the first item 'Weather today'. You won't be able to swipe up from other weather locations. This also applies to the rest of the sections.
At first, it takes a lot of time and nerve cells to get used to it. Hopefully Xiaomi will fix this in future firmware updates and it will be possible to move to a higher level from any item in the side menu.
It's no secret that most fitness bracelet buyers use them not for fitness, but for event notifications on their phone. And in this regard, vibration strength becomes one of the most important characteristics. The second generation of the bracelet had problems with this – the vibration power was weaker than in the first generation. Apparently, in Xiaomi they read thematic forums and reviews of their customers and listen to their wishes. In the third generation, the vibrating alert is so powerful that you get scared of it out of habit, like in the good old days after receiving your first notification on your first fitness bracelet. Seriously, the vibra alert is very strong and sensitive, which is a definite plus. It is felt even if the bracelet strap is barely tightened. And, unlike the second generation, the vibration is not shallow and high-frequency, but solid, coarse. Cool.
But even here it is necessary to get used to the peculiarities of the implementation of vibration, namely, that it does not matter which notification comes, be it a call or a message, the bracelet vibrates at least twice, and only on the third vibration you understand that they are calling you and not writing. In my opinion, it was more correct to leave one vibration for message notifications, since due to the strength of the vibration, even one signal is unlikely to be missed. :). In this case, the information content would be higher. But this is already personal quibbles, as you can get used to the current implementation.
In terms of the informativeness of notifications, everything, on the one hand, is not bad. On the other hand, there are nuances that will also take some getting used to. For example, displaying messages on the screen.
When a message arrives, the screen displays the application from which the notification came, then – the name or number of the person who sent the message, then in brackets – the number of messages received, and only then – the text of the message itself.
The bracelet does not know about the rules for transferring words, and therefore it can transfer both half a word and one letter. Because of this, it becomes not very convenient to read messages – from habit, the text mixes into a mess, and only a few days later you begin to automatically filter out the service information and isolate the essence with a glance. If more than one message has arrived, then they will be arranged in chronological order, starting from the last one, which also creates confusion. And if, while reading the current message, you receive another one, then the bracelet will not let you finish reading the current one and will transfer you to the one that has just arrived, in his opinion, much more important – it's newer!
In order to clear the list of received messages, you need to go to the 'Notifications' item and hold down the button on the bracelet. In this case, all messages, both read and unread, will be cleared. The heart rate measurement or stopwatch is started in the same way. This is convenient as you won't accidentally launch it.
There is one more thing – perhaps this way the company Xiaomi takes care of our memory, but even the notifications and messages read on the phone remain unread / not deleted on the bracelet. For me personally, this turns out to be inconvenient, because even after having read the notification on the phone for a long time, then you are distracted by it on the bracelet. An annoying miscalculation, which, I hope, will be corrected in the near future and after reading it on the smartphone, the notifications will disappear from the bracelet.
A couple of lines about protection
The bracelet took baths and showers, and also drowned in water at a depth of 1 meter and survived these executions perfectly without any loss. Given the simplicity of the design, it can be assumed that over time, no problems with water resistance will arise, which means that the bracelets will feel great in pools, seas and oceans, accompanying their owners in their water activities and scrupulously recording what this very owner was doing there. (the application has a training mode – swimming). And thanks to the traditional Mi Band arrangement of the charging contacts at the end, they will not oxidize from contact with sweaty skin (let's see how long the bracelet itself will last).
Before taking the device for a test, I heard a lot of fears that 'everything was gone, the battery was in the plug', etc., etc., so I prepared myself for the worst and thought that I would have to stock up on one more charger. which will need to be carried in a bag 'just in case'. I will say right away – the fears turned out to be exaggerated: if you do not abuse sleep and heart rate monitoring, the bracelet works all the same 18-20 days from a single charge, which I consider a wonderful result, given the increased functionality and size of the display. Yes, if you turn on all possible monitoring and use the bracelet on a daily basis to track your workouts, the battery will last seven days.
But even this, taking into account the scenario of use and the intensity of the load, turns out to be a very worthy result, to which almost none of the competitors in this price segment are able to reach (except for Honor Band 3, which operates in this mode the same 6 -7 days). In my case, taking into account the scenario of use, the battery life is more than sufficient, and according to this parameter, the bracelet is in full order.
Impressions and conclusions
The third generation of the famous 'Mibands' from Xiaomi continues to develop a successful concept, laid down at the beginning of the victorious march of this product across the planet – convenient, functional, inexpensive. The bracelet has received the function of reading notifications, desired by many owners of previous generations, and with it a number of chips, which turned out to be a pleasant addition to the already existing list of possibilities. The size has grown, the design has changed, the product has received a new face, but it still remains recognizable, and it is unlikely that it will be possible to confuse it with bracelets from other manufacturers. Now it is a convex capsule, unfriendly to lovers of protective films, but with a neater and more reliable bracelet and giving its owner new opportunities.
As for me, I stay with my current bracelet from Huawei, as compared to it, the bracelet from Xiaomi did not give any significant improvements and functions. Yes, unlike Honor Band 3 on the xiaomi bracelet, the notification can be read in its entirety, and not just a part, and the vibration is noticeably stronger, but the nuances in management and the features of reading messages are a very controversial point. Although, in fact, these are trifles, and for a person who started using the bracelet from scratch, they will not play the same role as for me, who is used to exploring everything up and down, looking for that same golden mean. In addition, there is a feeling that these shortcomings will be corrected in the next updates.
In official Russian retail, the bracelet can be found at a price of about 3,500 rubles. Of course, you can traditionally order in China, and it will turn out cheaper, but here everyone chooses for himself what is more important to him, wait 20 days and hope or a little more, but make a purchase in Russia today and enjoy the new gadget.
The author would like to thank the 'x-store' Ulyanovsk company for providing Xiaomi Mi Band 3 for review.
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