Redmi took the virtual stage on September 8 to launch its budget fitness band, the Redmi Smart Band in India. The $22 (Rs 1,599) wearable went on sale today through Amazon, Mi.com, Mi Home stores, and offline retailers. It is being made available in Black, Blue, Green, and Orange wristband color options. I was provided with the Black product sample, and I have spent 24 hours with the device. Here are my first impressions of the Redmi Smart Band.
The out-of-the-box experience is as you’d expect. You need to touch and hold to start the band, and it is paired with the help of Xiaomi Wear app. The paring process is fairly easy and straightforward.
Redmi Smart Band features a 1.08-inch color LCD panel, which is one of the brightest in the range in my experience. It is easily visible under direct sunlight. The company gives you two touch options to interact with the device – tap, and swipe. There is also a silver-colored horizontal bar located below the screen, which is used to go back from the current menu.
Swiping up/down takes you to the various functions provided by the band. You can check the ‘Status’, which contains steps, distance, calories, and idle alerts. Then come the heart-rate and the Workout menus. It can help you track five kinds of workouts – outdoor running, treadmill, cycling, walking, and freestyle. Now, swiping and tapping are two different ways of interaction but the wearable doesn’t seem to understand that at times. On various occasions, I wanted to swipe up/down but the band took the gesture as a tap and opened the menu.
The Redmi Smart Band comes with a water-resistant build that is 5ATM rated. This means that the wearable can resist water in up to 50 meters of depth for 10 minutes and can be worn while showering or swimming in a shallow-water pool. While we are on wearing, I must mention that it is a struggle to put on the band, at least for me. The circular knob just doesn’t get into the hole. The wearing mechanism is inconvenient. I’d prefer the usual watch-like mechanism any day over this. It took me at least 7-8 tries to just put on the band.
The Redmi Smart Band comes equipped with an optical sensor that enables 24-hour heart-rate monitoring. It is pretty accurate. I set the heart-rate tracking at intervals of 30 minutes and the data is stored in the Xiaomi Wear app. It comes with sleep tracking as well. In my experience, the sleep-time was accurate. However, it wasn’t able to take note of the time I was awake (7-10 minutes) in-between. The steps counter doesn’t register fake steps. However, I’ll have to test it in-depth to give any verdict about the functionalities. Notably, it misses out on the SpO2 feature.
The device supports raise-to-wake gesture. This means that you can raise the wrist to view new messages on the screen – without requiring you to press any button or touching the display. For me, it only worked 7 out of 10 times. The raise-to-wake feature isn’t enabled by default and you will have to toggle it on from the Xiaomi Wear app.
The Redmi Smart Band is touted to last up to 14 days on a single charge. In my usage, which involves 30-minute heart-rate tracking and raise-to-wake gesture turned on, the band consumed about 10% battery in 24 hours. I expect it to last up to 10 days with this sort of use, and even less if I’m working out. Overall, the battery life seems to be above average.
Although, I’m disappointed with the charging experience. The wearable comes with a USB plug that removes the requirement for a custom charger. However, removing the band is a hassle. There is no button to help you ease the process by disconnecting the band. You have to struggle through the whole process. One needs to pull the band off, and while putting it back too, there is no click. You won’t know if you’ve done the process correctly or not.
As for the customizations, the Redmi Smart Band also comes preloaded with over 50 personalized watch faces. Furthermore, the wearable can show notifications from a connected Android or iOS device. The vibration motor on the device is pretty decent, and you’ll be notified for the apps that you’ve chosen from the app.
Overall, the Redmi Smart Band is a decent package under Rs 1,600. It features one of the best displays on a wearable in this price segment and comes packed with functionalities. Although, I’d gladly pay more if Xiaomi fixes the inconveniences I mentioned. That said, it is a satisfactory product for the price.