Earlier this year, I reviewed the Realme Band, which marked Realme‘s entry in the wearable segment. At just Rs 1,499, the Realme Band presented a strong case despite having a few faults. However, knowing the competition between Realme and Xiaomi, it was only a matter of time before the latter came out with a product to undercut the Realme Band. And right on cue, Xiaomi has launched the Redmi Smart Band in India for Rs 1,599.
Also read: Realme Band review: as basic as it gets
While being slightly more expensive, the Redmi Smart Band comes with several upgrades over its Realme counterpart. At the same time, it’s far from perfect. Read on to know why.
Design and display
In terms of design, I appreciate the fact that Xiaomi has taken a different route with the Redmi Smart Band compared to its Mi Band line-up. Unlike the rounded and capsule-like design of the Mi Band series, the Redmi Smart Band features cleaner lines and sharper angles. The display module is rectangular and is thicker than I was expecting, but at 13g the Redmi Smart Band feels almost non-existent on your wrist. The Redmi Smart Band is also rated 5 ATM, which means it can survive underwater up to 50 metres for 10 minutes.
The band features TPU straps with a soft matte finish. The fit and finish of the Redmi Smart Band feels classy and more premium than its Rs 1,599 price tag. If I had to nitpick, the buckle clasp has been designed to stay locked even in the extreme situations but that, in turn, has made putting it on tougher.
Just like the Realme Band, the Redmi Smart Band also has a full-sized USB Type-A connector to charge the device. The display module can be directly plugged into the USB port on your laptop or a charger. However, I found that checking the charging status while it’s plugged into a laptop is hard because the display faces downwards at an angle. The strap is tightly fitted around the connector as well, which makes it difficult to remove.
The rear of the module features the optical heart rate sensor. There are ample holes on the straps to fit any wrist size. The wearable has a single one-touch button located on the display to help navigate the interface.
Coming to the display, the Redmi Smart Band is fitted with 1.08-inch TFT LCD colour display that features 220 x 120 pixels resolution. The display has a peak brightness of 200 nits and is bright and vivid. However, I found myself struggling to read the display in direct sunlight. The brightness can be adjusted in five incremental levels.
There screen features a lift to wake option, but the feature is finicky and I found myself tapping on the one-touch button to wake up the display. On the bright side, the Redmi Smart Band comes with a touchscreen, which is something Realme Band was lacking. While the touch response is not as smooth as the Mi Smart Band 4 (review), the swipe navigation worked decently for me.
Software and features
The Redmi Smart Band runs a proprietary OS based solely on gestures. The one-touch button serves as back key apart from display wake-up. Swiping sideways on the display brings up the music playback control, and swiping up or down lets you cycle through the interface. The interface itself is pretty basic, including status (shows steps, distance, calories and idle alerts), heart rate monitor, workout, weather, notifications, and more. In the ‘More’ section, users can access DND, alarm, themes, music, stopwatch, timer, find phone and settings.
The workout section lets users track five activities including outdoor running, treadmill, cycling, walking and freestyle exercise. These are all present on the wearable itself, unlike the Realme Band which allows only three workouts to be accessed on the device at a time despite supporting nine.
The Redmi Smart Band works in tandem with the Xiaomi Wear app on Android 4.4+ and Xiaomi Wear Lite on iOS 9.0 or above. As expected, you will need a Mi account to login to the app and after that, syncing the band to the smartphone is quite straightforward. The app has a clutter-free interface with three tabs for Devices, Data and Profile. In the first tab, users can access all device-related features such as watch faces, alarms, notifications, idle alerts and more.
The data tab shows calories burnt, steps, average heart rate and standing time in large colourful cards. Tapping on each of these cards opens a detailed graphical analysis of the selected parameter. The last tab is the profile, where users can enter their personal data like gender, birth date, height and weight and region.
The Redmi Smart Band come with only two watch faces by default, but the accompanying app lets you choose from multiple faces online online. Do note that you will only be able to store three watch faces on the band at a time.
Performance and battery
The first thing I checked after getting the Redmi Smart Band was the accuracy of the step counter. As is expected from a budget fitness tracker, it records steps if you swing your arms while standing still. Apart from that, the pedometer is quite accurate. I couldn’t test the outdoor running, treadmill, cycling and freestyle. However, I did try out the walking mode and the band shows data like distance, calories burnt, steps and heart rate in real-time.
I appreciated the fact that the band uses the weather data and warned me of high temperatures before I started an outdoor walk. This is a feature I’ve noticed for the first time in an entry-level fitness tracker. Additionally, the Redmi Smart Band will only record the data if the distance walked spans a few metres.
I found the heart rate monitor to be slightly towards the slower side but it was consistent with the readings on my Mi Band 3. Additionally, the sleep tracker on Redmi Smart Band works very well. It accurately detected the time I fell asleep and woke up, with a detailed analysis of my light and deep sleep pattern. However, the idle alerts were inaccurate, throwing up alerts even while I was moving around in my house. This is an issue that’s also present on the more expensive Mi Smart Band 4.
Xiaomi claims that the Redmi Smart Band offers up to 14 days of battery life. It lasted about a week with my usage, which was pretty intensive with automatic heart rate detection set to 30 minutes (the highest setting available), weather sync, and notifications from my synced phone. The band takes around two hours to charge from zero to full.
The Redmi Smart Band features a touchscreen display, decent battery life, extensive fitness tracking and a stylish design. While it does have a few faults like lower display brightness and glitchy idle alerts, these are small compromises to make for the asking price of Rs 1,599. To sum up, if you’re looking for a fitness band on a budget, the Redmi Smart Band is as good as it gets.
Pricebaba’s rating: 8 / 10
- Lightweight, compact design
- Touchscreen display
- Accurate sleep tracking
- Direct USB charging
- Idle alerts are glitchy
- Strap is hard to remove
- Display brightness is on the lower side