We tested the Xiaomi Mi Band 3 activity bracelet, the renewed version of this simple device from Xiaomi. It has a small elongated screen, synchronizes via Bluetooth and records health-related activity: steps, quality and hours of sleep, etc. It also has a built-in heart rate sensor.
Its main attraction is the price: the Xiaomi Mi Band 3 can be purchased in Spain for 30 euros . The device is, therefore, one of the best options in value for money within the low range of activity wristbands.
New version of the Xiaomi low cost activity bracelet
The Xiaomi Mi Band 3 is one of the cheapest activity wristbands on the market. For 30 euros we can enjoy activity and sleep monitoring and keep a record of the number of steps and calories burned.
The design maintains the lines of its predecessor, the Xiaomi Mi Band 2. As the main novelty, it should be noted that the Mi Band 3 is water resistant (up to 50 meters) , so we can use it for swimming.
The Xiaomi Mi Band 3 is made up of an elongated chip that fits into a plastic strap. The strap is interchangeable and is available in red, black and blue. Other unofficial accessories can also be purchased in other color combinations.
The strap has a single size (247 millimeters), but we can adjust it according to the size of the wrist: the available range goes from 155 to 216 millimeters.
The chip has a 0.78-inch screen , with a resolution of 128 x 80 pixels. The new model introduces improvements over the previous one, since in the Mi Band 3 we can see up to 48 characters.
Character visibility is good under normal lighting conditions, but numbers are more difficult to distinguish in strong, direct sunlight .
At the bottom of the screen we have a circular sensor that serves as a button . Therefore, we will use a finger slide to scroll through the different screens, and we will keep the circular button pressed to perform a specific action.
The whole chip with the bracelet is very light: it weighs only 20 grams , so it is very comfortable. It fits well on the wrist and is not too bulky. To recharge the device, we will have to extract the chip from the bracelet and connect it to the USB charging cable.
Finally, the most interesting design detail of the Xiaomi Mi Band 3 is its water resistance: up to 5 ATM, about 50 meters . It is more than enough to be able to enter the water and swim with it on, without any risk to the device.
Sensors and functions
The Xiaomi Mi Band 3 activity bracelet has a 3-axis accelerometer and a heart rate sensor, but it does not have integrated GPS . Distance traveled calculations are roughly calculated.
The absence of GPS has, however, an advantage in the battery: being an element that consumes many resources, if we do not have GPS we can extend the autonomy of the device more between charges.
By sliding your finger up or down on the screen, the different sections with their functions are shown. And in the sections where there are several options available, we can move between them by sliding our finger from right to left.
This is the set of data and functions available on the Xiaomi Mi Band 3:
- Record the number of steps , distance traveled, and calories burned throughout the day.
- Heart rhythm analysis .
- Weather information : weather forecast, with highs and lows, for the current day and two more days. It needs to be synchronized with the mobile via Bluetooth to update itself from one day to the next.
- Exercise analysis . We can indicate at any time to the bracelet that we are going to start a physical activity, and the Xiaomi Mi Band 3 will save information on the time and calories burned during training.
- Notifications : although we cannot answer calls or messages directly from the bracelet, we can read notifications on the screen, such as WhatsApp messages.
- Chronometer .
- Silent or sound mode : if the bracelet and the mobile are connected by Bluetooth, we can use the device on the wrist to activate or deactivate the silent mode on the mobile.
- Find device function : it will connect to the smartphone to make it ring with a shrill beep.
In addition, through the Xiaomi Mi Fit application we can manually configure other available functions: silent alarms (by vibration), inactivity alerts, notifications of activity goals, etc.
Xiaomi Mi Band 3
|screen||0.78 inch 128 x 80 pixels|
|Battery||110 mAh, about 20 days of autonomy|
|Compatibility||Xiaomi smartphones, phones with Android 4.4 or later, or with iOS 9.0 or later|
|Design||Water resistant (5 ATM)|
Interchangeable strap (red, black or blue color)
|belt||247 mm (Adjustable range 155-216 mm)|
|Dimensions||17.9 x 46.9 x 12 millimeters (20 grams)|
|Sensors||Heart rate sensor, 3-axis accelerometer|
|Featured Features||Clock, motion detection, silent alarm, step count, speed, calories and distance, notifications view, sleep monitoring, inactivity alerts, stopwatch|
|Release date||September 2018|
Mi Fit app
The data recorded on the bracelet is stored in a health record in Xiaomi's Mi Fit application , available for Android and iOS. Once the bracelet is paired via Bluetooth, the synchronization is almost instantaneous.
The Xiaomi app allows you to set daily activity goals and medium / long-term weight goals . It will also show information about streak days or final distance traveled.
In the Training section, we can consult all the information collected by the bracelet about the exercise periods that we have manually indicated.
Finally, the Xiaomi Mi Fit application has a section for training : cycling outdoors, walking, running outdoors or running on a treadmill. In outdoor workouts, the smartphone's GPS is used.
Some functions of the bracelet can be activated and configured only from the application, such as silent alarms or inactivity alerts . We will also have to use the Xiaomi Mi Fit if we want to change our daily goal, for example.
Usage impressions: what is it like to use the Xiaomi Mi Band 3 daily and for training?
The main advantage of this activity bracelet is its lightweight and comfortable design . It adjusts easily to the wrist and in a few steps we can start a workout.
In measurement issues, a calculation of the floors raised is missing , a common detail in this type of device. The Xiaomi Mi Band 3 would also improve a lot if it incorporated GPS, which would give much more precision to the calculations of the distance traveled.
The battery is a star feature of this bracelet. Although it is difficult to reach the 20 days of use established by the brand, moderate use guarantees us 15 days of measurement without problems before charging.
The main advantage of the device is its ease of use and the speed of synchronization with the application on the mobile. It is a good purchase option for those who want to lead a more active and healthy lifestyle, without wasting time analyzing complex graphs or detailed training statistics.
Xiaomi Mi Band 3 for swimming: is it worth it?
One circumstance where the bracelet is disappointing is when wearing it for pool training . The Xiaomi Mi Band 3 is waterproof and can be submerged up to 50 meters, but we will not be able to get too much out of this feature.
Yes, we can go into the water with the bracelet and swim with it on, but it is not possible to register that session as a training time. Before starting, the bracelet is told that we are going to start a workout, but then the pressure of the water on the screen while swimming causes the workout to pause or stop completely .
That is to say: swimming times are measured like any other period of the day , taking into account movement and calories burned. There is no way to save it in the app log as a training session.
Therefore, if swimming is one of your main sports activities, it pays to look for other activity bracelets that allow you to keep a more detailed control of your workouts in the pool.
Price and conclusions
The Xiaomi Mi Band 3 bracelet is sold in Spain for 30 euros . Included in the box is the chip, an adjustable strap and the USB cable to recharge the device's battery.
The device is part of a very cheap range of activity tracker , but it offers a lot of functions. It is, therefore, one of the models with the best quality / price ratio for those interested in buying an activity bracelet.
Keep in mind, however, that the bracelet does not have integrated GPS and lacks advanced functions for recording and analyzing training. We can wear it to swim, but we cannot use it to analyze our progress in endurance or swimming technique in the pool.
The Xiaomi Mi Band 3 does not have an altimeter either , so in the activity measurements we will not have a record of the floors that we have climbed or the altitude of a mountain route, for example.
However, the Xiaomi bracelet is a perfect (and very cheap) complement if we are looking for a basic tool to increase levels of physical activity and improve general health. With it we can measure:
- Number of daily steps (and percentage of our daily challenge achieved).
- Hours and quality of sleep each night.
- Calories burned.
- Heart rhythm .
To this are added other very useful functions on the watch , such as on-screen notifications, silent alarms (by vibration) or inactivity alerts.
In short, for 30 euros, we are facing a basic activity bracelet but with many functions. It may be insufficient for the most athletic users , but very complete for an audience that only wants a general control to improve health.