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Xiaomi Mi Band 3 Review - The Best of the Cheapest!

Test report prepared by Timo on November 10, 2019

Xiaomi presented the long-awaited Xiaomi Mi Band 3 at the end of May. The inexpensive and globally popular fitness bracelet shines in a new look and offers, among other things, a new OLED touch display. I tested the fitness tracker extensively for several weeks. You can find the experience gained in the following review!

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8.2
Our rating
Specifications
Overview
Manufacturer

Xiaomi

Model

Xiaomi Mi Band 3

Specifications

 Bracelet 
Material: TPE
Closure: pin buckle
Size adjustable: 155 - 216 mm
L: 247 mm

 tracking unit 
Display Type: OLED
Display diagonal: 0.78 inches
Display resolution: 128 x 80 pixels
Bluetooth: Standard 4.2
Heart rate sensor: Yes

 Features 
Pedometer: Yes
Sleep Monitor: Yes
Heart rate measurement: Yes
Date and time: Yes
Alarm function: Yes
Stopwatch: Yes
Notifications: Yes
Music playback control: Yes
Motor Reminder: Yes

 Accumulator 
Battery type: lithium polymer
Battery capacity: 110 mAh
Battery life: up to 20 days

 other 
App: MiFit
Water protection: 5ATM
Size: 17.9 46.9 x x 12 mm
Weight: 20g

What's in the box

1x tracking unit
1x bracelet
1x charging adapter
1x user manual

Foreword: Xiaomi Mi Band 3

Two years after the appearance of the  Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Xiaomi released the long-awaited Xiaomi Mi Band 3, which was also very popular outside of China. The fitness bracelet produced by Huami and distributed by Xiaomi has been revised visually but also in terms of hardware and comes with some improvements. However, it is particularly interesting that Xiaomi remains true to its previous pricing policy and is offering the Mi Band 3 at an unbeatable price of only 169 yuan (~ 22 €).

Packing the Mi Band 3

Design, workmanship and delivery

Bracelet

Like its predecessor, the Mi Band 3 consists of a tracking unit and an exchangeable wristband. The bracelet is made of a skin-friendly, thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) and is available in black, hot orange and deep blue. Due to the materials used, the bracelet is extremely durable. A disassembly test carried out by Xiaomi shows that even after removing the tracking unit 2000 times, there is no wear and tear on the bracelet. Even in the self-test, only very slight signs of use were found after one month of use.

Mi Band 3 Bracelet (1)

Owners of the predecessor should note that the wristbands of both smartbands are NOT compatible with each other! The bracelet of the Mi Band 3 has a total length of 247 mm, is adjustable in size in 9 steps (155 - 216 mm) and is closed with a pin buckle.

Mi Band 3 Bracelet (2)

tracking unit

The capsule-shaped tracking unit has been completely redesigned and has grown significantly with dimensions of 17,9 x 46,9 x 12 mm. The display has a diagonal of 0.78 inches. In comparison, the display of the  Xiaomi Mi Band 2  only to 0.42 inches. One advantage of the larger display is the display of notification content. The resolution is 128 x 80 pixels. The (monochrome) display does not show more than just white.

Mi Band 3 tracking unit (1)

A touch screen is available. This enables practicable operation by means of swiping gestures. There is an additional capacitive control button below the display. The legibility in sunshine is to be criticized. Hardly anything can be seen on the display under direct incidence of light. In addition, the touchscreen does not always react precisely.

Mi Band 3 tracking unit (2)

The tracking unit of the Mi Band 3 is waterproof and can withstand a water pressure of 5 bar (5ATM). This corresponds to the pressure of a water column from 50 meters. Wearing the smartband while showering or swimming is no problem.

XIAOMI Mi Band 3. My short review on the Fitness Tracker (german)

The colleague of 1techreview Xiaomi Mi Band 3 took a closer look at the video review!

Processing quality and scope of delivery

 As expected, the Xiaomi Mi Band 3 is well made. The bracelet is of good quality and shows no wear after removing the tracking unit several times and closing the pin buckle. The same applies to the tracking unit. A special protective layer prevents fingerprints and scratches.

As usual, the scope of delivery is clear. The bracelet, the tracking unit, a 2-pin USB charging adapter and a user manual are included. It should be noted that Xiaomi products are mainly intended for the Chinese market. Accordingly, the operating instructions and other product information are only in Chinese. A global sale of the Mi Band 3 is not yet apparent.

Scope of delivery of the Mi Band 3

commissioning

The Xiaomi Mi Band 3 is an app-controlled smart band. The so-called Mi Fit app is required for extensive use. The app is free of charge and can be downloaded for both Android and iOS in the respective app stores. As a minimum requirement, the app requires an Android> 4.4 or iOS> 9.0 mobile device with Bluetooth 4.0 support. The connection between the mobile device and the smartband is established via Bluetooth. For this purpose, the Mi Band 3 is equipped with a Bluetooth 4.2 BLE (Low Energy) module.

Wristband and tracking unit of the Mi Band 3

The use of the Mi Fit app requires a user account, which can be created directly via the app. All saved data of the Mi Band are synchronized with this user account. Setting up and connecting the smartband is straightforward and takes just a few steps using the app.

App and features

firmware

The Mi Band 3 firmware was only available in Chinese when it was released. In the meantime updates have been released that also enable the English and Spanish language settings. If you want a German user interface, you have to fall back on modified community firmwares.  The user interface is now officially available in German! Firmware updates are received via the Mi Fit app and installed automatically.

Pedometer and activities

 Smartband and app offer a wide range of sports functions. The wristband is equipped with a pedometer for movement detection. Once you have set an individual daily goal, you can start right away. In addition to the everyday steps, the bracelet also determines the distance covered and, as an estimate, the calories burned.

If you synchronize the data with the Mi Fit app, you get a detailed overview of all measurement data. The stored data can be displayed in the course of the day, week and month with a corresponding diagram. There are various daily goals and awards to increase motivation.

Display (1)

Additional activity programs (running, treadmill, cycling and walking) are available within the Mi Fit app. Activities can only be started via the app. If an activity is started, the steps, the distance covered and the heart rate are displayed in real time via the app as well as via the bracelet. In addition, the Mi Fit activities use the GPS of the mobile device, which enables a precise route including a map view.

The accuracy of the pedometer is based on the previous model. Serious incorrect measurements caused by driving a car or other activities that do not represent a step movement did not occur in the test.

Heart Rate Monitor

The heart rate sensor is located on the underside of the bracelet. The heart rate is measured in the classic way with the help of a photo diode in combination with a green LED. The blood flow under the skin is measured. However, the accuracy of an optical heart rate measurement must be viewed critically. Measurement errors can occur if the bracelet is too loose, arm hair or tattoos.

With the Mi Band 3, single and interval measurements are possible. The interval measurement measures the heart rate every minute, every 10 minutes or every 30 minutes, depending on the setting. Continuous measurement is only possible by starting an activity. The measurement accuracy is heavily dependent on the measurement conditions. In addition to mostly plausible measurement results, measurement inaccuracies can occur, especially in the higher pulse range or with varied activities. The recorded data, like the movement data, can be synchronized with the Mi Fit app and displayed in a detailed diagram view.

Sleep monitor and alarm clock

The sleep monitor rates sleep according to a 100 point system. The time taken to fall asleep and wake up, the time of total sleep, deep sleep, light sleep and waking time are measured. The Mi Fit app must be used again to display the collected data. This shows the measurement data to the minute in a detailed bar chart. At the same time, the measurement data is used to analyze the quality of sleep (see pictures).

A manual start of the sleep monitor is neither necessary nor possible. Instead, the Mi Band 3 detects when you fall asleep with the help of the built-in acceleration sensor. Unfortunately, the sleep detection is based on the system time of the mobile device, so that sleep monitoring is not possible during the day. The accuracy of the data acquisition was convincing in the test. Time to fall asleep and wake up are recorded fairly precisely. The "sleep assistant" can be activated to further increase the accuracy. This allows (to the detriment of the battery) continuously determined heart rate data to flow into the sleep assessment.

With the publication of the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Almost two years ago, the Mi Fit app still contained a sleep phase alarm clock. This has now been removed from the app. An alarm clock with a snooze function is still available. With the help of alarm profiles that can be created, it wakes you up at the preset times by gently vibrating. The vibration level and pattern cannot be adjusted.

Display (2)

Notifications

The Xiaomi Mi Band 3 is able to receive incoming notifications on the mobile device. In addition to phone and SMS notifications, app notifications can also be received and displayed. For example, if a WhatsApp message is received on the connected mobile device, it is transmitted to the Mi Band. Due to the lack of German language support, umlauts are not displayed correctly! The receipt of notifications can be extensively configured via the Mi Fit app.

Weather

Another feature is the weather function. The current daily weather including maximum and minimum temperature as well as a 2-day weather forecast are displayed. The bracelet receives the weather data via the Mi Fit app. The location for recording weather data can be adjusted within the app. The app does not reveal which provider the data comes from.

Smart Lock and others

With an Android mobile device, it is possible to configure the Xiaomi Mi Band 3 as a smart lock device. If the bracelet is in the immediate vicinity of the mobile device, it can be unlocked without entering a password or pattern. The carrier range is configurable.

Other app and wristband functions include a stop function, a device search function, an event reminder, an inactivity warning and a do not disturb function. A screen lock is available. A total of 3 “watch faces” are available.

Display (3)

Accumulator

The battery has a capacity of 110 mAh. A fully charged battery lasted about 30 days in the test with daily use of the bracelet with regular notification reception and 11-minute heart rate measurement. With the receipt of notifications deactivated, a runtime of 14 days was achieved. According to Xiaomi, the maximum standby time is 20 days.

The tracking unit is charged via a 2-pin charging adapter. Here, too, it should be said that this is not compatible with the previous model! A complete charging process takes just under 2 hours. 

Questions and Answers

 As is the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 to compare with the Xiaomi Mi Band 3? 

 Do I have to pay attention to whether I receive the Chinese or international model when buying? 

So far only one Chinese model is on the market. A Xiaomi Mi band 3 International will be released in August. It offers CE and FCC marking, a multilingual user interface and an English manual.

 Are the accessories of the previous models compatible with the Mi Band 3? 

No, both bracelets and charging adapters for older models can not be used with the Xiaomi Mi Band 3.

 The Chinese model is also available with NFC. Should I get the NFC version? 

The Chinese Mi Band 3 with NFC is mainly intended for the Chinese market. Xiaomi thus enables mobile payment with Chinese payment services (eg AliPay). The surcharge for the model with NFC is not worthwhile for local users. To what extent the NFC function can be used elsewhere is not yet apparent.

 Can I shower, swim and dive with the fitness bracelet? 

The Xiaomi Mi Band 3 is waterproof and can withstand water pressure of up to 5 bar (5ATM). Showering, swimming and (light) diving is possible without any problems.

 Has the tracking unit installed a GPS module? 

No, the bracelet does not have a stand-alone GPS feature. The route of sports activities, however, can be tracked using the Mi Fit app. For this purpose, the GPS function of the connected mobile device is used.

 Do you have any further questions about the Xiaomi Mi Band? The German Mi Band Community on Facebook is guaranteed to help you! 

To the Mi Band Community

rating
Positive

Good workmanship
Pleasant wearing comfort
Waterproof and suitable for showering and swimming
Large OLED touch display
Precise pedometer
Functional range of the Mi Fit app
Receive notification content
Good battery life

Negative

Readability of the display in sunshine
Touchscreen does not always respond precisely
Heart rate measurement in the higher pulse range is inaccurate
No daytime sleep monitoring
Notification function does not (yet) support umlauts

Summary

With the Xiaomi Mi Band 3 shows the Chinese electronics giant again that a fitness bracelet does not have to cost more than 30 €. At almost unbeatable value for money, the Smartband offers a well-functioning pedometer, a heart rate sensor and all kinds of (software) functions.

Compared to the 2016 released Xiaomi Mi Band 2 was mainly the design revised. The overall larger tracking unit offers a larger display with touch screen and is now also able to display notification content.

Whether these "little things" justify a switch from Mi Band 2 to Mi Band 3, everyone should decide for themselves. However, new buyers who do not yet own a Xiaomi fitness bracelet can access it without hesitation.

8.2
Our rating
Overview
Manufacturer

Xiaomi

Model

Xiaomi Mi Band 3

Specifications

 Bracelet 
Material: TPE
Closure: pin buckle
Size adjustable: 155 - 216 mm
L: 247 mm

 tracking unit 
Display Type: OLED
Display diagonal: 0.78 inches
Display resolution: 128 x 80 pixels
Bluetooth: Standard 4.2
Heart rate sensor: Yes

 Features 
Pedometer: Yes
Sleep Monitor: Yes
Heart rate measurement: Yes
Date and time: Yes
Alarm function: Yes
Stopwatch: Yes
Notifications: Yes
Music playback control: Yes
Motor Reminder: Yes

 Accumulator 
Battery type: lithium polymer
Battery capacity: 110 mAh
Battery life: up to 20 days

 other 
App: MiFit
Water protection: 5ATM
Size: 17.9 46.9 x x 12 mm
Weight: 20g

What's in the box

1x tracking unit
1x bracelet
1x charging adapter
1x user manual

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