In 2015, Xiaomi revolutionised the fitness tracker market in India by launching the Mi Band at just Rs 999. While the Mi Band has come a long way since and also is more expensive now (the Mi Smart Band 4 costs Rs 2,299), it is still the go-to choice for those in the market looking for an affordable fitness wearable. However, with the launch of the Realme band at Rs 1,499 earlier this year, Xiaomi had the opportunity to cash in on an even cheaper segment.
Also read: Realme Band review: as basic as it gets
To fend off the competition from the Realme Band, Xiaomi has now launched the Redmi Smart Band in India. While the Redmi Smart Band has some design features in common with its Realme counterpart, it comes with several upgrades. I have spent a short duration with the fitness tracker and here are my first impressions.
The Redmi Smart Band comes in the same orange, white and black cardboard packaging as all other Mi-branded accessories. Inside the packaging, you get the rectangular display module, TPU straps and documentation. Xiaomi is offering the Redmi Smart Band in Orange, Blue, Green and Black colours. I received the Black variant and it doesn’t look out of ordinary. There’s a pinhole clasp locking mechanism also seen on the Mi Bands, which snaps on smoothly.
The Redmi Smart Band is extremely lightweight at just 13g and you barely notice its presence on your wrist. To put things into perspective, the Realme Band which I felt was light tips the scales at 20g. The Redmi Smart Band also comes with 5 ATM water-resistance, which means it can survive underwater up to 50 metres for 10 minutes. The polycarbonate display module is minimalistic, with only a heart-rate sensor present on the back and a touch button on the display.
Speaking of the display, the Redmi Smart Band is equipped with a 1.08-inch TFT LCD colour display with 220 x 120 pixels resolution. The display offers a peak brightness of 200 nits and the luminance can be adjusted in five incremental levels. The display itself is pretty bright and vivid indoors and outdoors. However, you will have to crank the brightness to the max when in direct sunlight. Additionally, Xiaomi has only pre-loaded two watch faces by default on the wearable, but there’s a Watch Face Market should you wish to download more.
The whole interface is pretty easy to use with navigation based up and down gestures, and the 1-touch key allowing you to go back. The Redmi Smart Band runs on a proprietary software and connects to a smartphone through the Xiaomi Wear (Xiaomi Wear Lite for iOS) app using Bluetooth 5.0 BLE. The watch is compatible with devices running Android 4.4+ and iOS 9.0 or above. Once paired with a smartphone, users can access more features like app notifications, incoming calls, alarm, event reminders, weather updates, music playback and find phone, to name a few.
As for fitness features, there are five sports modes (outdoor running, treadmill, cycling, walking and freestyle exercise), sedentary alerts, step counter, heart rate monitor, and sleep tracker. I couldn’t test all of these features during my short stint with the device. However, I did notice that the Redmi Smart Band records ghost steps, which happens when you move your arms while stationary. On the bright side, the heart rate monitor has been accurate. I will be putting the fitness tracker to more detailed testing for my review, which is currently underway.
The Redmi Smart Band comes with a 130mAh battery and the brand claims that it can last up to 14 days on a single charge. To charge the battery, users need to remove one of the straps to reveal the full-sized USB-A connector. The Redmi Smart Band can be directly plugged into a laptop or into a wall socket using a charging adaptor.
At Rs 1,599, the Redmi Smart Band is a value-for-money fitness tracker and comes with subtle but useful upgrades over the similarly priced Realme Band. I will be touching upon how it holds up in long term usage in my review, so stay tuned.