I’m a fan of notifications on my wrist, most other features of smart watches and bands are just superfluous to me. I was a big Pebble fan before they went bust, then moved to a Microsoft Band and recently needed another replacement - so I was recommended a Xiaomi Mi Band 3.
The Mi Band is a small device. The body of the device ‘the capsule’ comes out of the strap for charging and changing the strap. I like this idea as a lot of bands have fixed straps meaning when the strap breaks the device is useless.
It charges via a special USB cable, taking only two hours from flat to full.
The Mi Band has a 128x80 mono OLED touch screen, which although is quite small has a good resolution for reading small text - however sunlight legibility isn’t fantastic. The screen doesn’t always stay on but the raise-to-wake feature means just lifting your wrist and the screen comes on.
It is controlled via swiping in different directions on the screen and pressing the menu indentation. The menu is easy to use and gives you access to notifications, steps, heart rate, weather, treadmill as well as stop watch, find device, screen settings and factory reset.
All this is linked to your smartphone via bluetooth and the Mi Fit app. This syncs your activity and can show your progress daily, weekly or monthly. The app further controls your profile as well notification settings.
Notifications for me are the main reason for using such a device, and the Mi Band 3 excels at this. They can be read on the small screen easily, and via the menu you can go back and read the last 5 notifications.
The 110mAh battery might not sound huge but depending on use it should reach between 3 and 20 days on a single charge. The mono screen that isn't on all the time helps with battery life. I have managed 4 days on a charge, so I am not sure if I am a heavy user or I have something turned on I don’t need.
Thats the main technical side out of the way. How does it feel? The rubberised strap is very comfortable and the weight of the device often makes you forget you are wearing a band. The strap loops in to one end and is fastened with a snap fix.
The overall build quality feels excellent.
After a few weeks use I have been very impressed. It is close to the simplicity of the original Pebble, but with the added bonus of a touch screen. The Mi Band 3 is an excellent device and at under £30 you cant go wrong with it.
For further reading and another owners review check out Replacing A Pebble 2 With A Xiaomi Mi Band 3.
Written by Simon Royal. Follow me at twitter.com/simonroyal