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This article was published on September 9, 2020

Xiaomi’s $22 Redmi band is a first step to fitness — literally

Xiaomi’s $22 Redmi band is a first step to fitness — literally
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

I’ve been exercising regularly during this pandemic. Honestly, that’s the only thing I’ve been regular at and I haven’t needed an app or a fitness band to remind me to work out.

However, since I’m at home all the time, I’m not clocking as many steps. And since I started using Xioami’s Redmi band, I became conscious of that fact.

Walking is basic fitness, and if you’re someone who is looking to begin the fitness journey without spending a king’s ransom, this ₹1,599 ($22) band is a great starter.

It has a heart rate sensor, can act as your notification mirror, and has 14-hours battery life. I’ve been using it for the last few days, and if you want to do bare minimum fitness, this is a great buy.

Design and features

The Redmi band has a 1.08-inch rectangular screen with touch controls. The panel is not super responsive like smartphones; you’ll have to put a little bit more pressure to work through the options smoothly. And you’ll get used to it in a day or so.

At the outset, it looked chunky but sat comfortably on my wrist, and I carried on wearing it for the duration of the day. However, I won’t wear it through the night just to track sleep in this humid Delhi weather. Thankfully, the band is waterproof, so you can wear it while taking a shower or in the rain.

Redmi band charging

To charge the band, you can pop off the straps and directly plug it into a USB slot. This is convenient because you can charge it through your laptop if you’re on the move. I’ve been using the band for more than four days with 47% charge left; I started with 65% charge. So I wouldn’t really worry much about battery life anyway.

What can you use it for?

The watch doesn’t have many ‘smart’ features, but it can mirror notifications from your phone. Sadly, there’s no way you can control if you want notifications from specific apps. As it doesn’t have any speaker or mic, you can receive calls, but you can silence or reject calls. I think it’s useful enough to quickly check if I need to accept a call or not.

The band tracks your steps fairly accurately if you’re walking. If you’re doing a rapid experience such as foot fires, it might miss a step or two, but it’s not a big deal.

There are a limited amount of defined workouts that the bad can track: outdoor run, treadmill, cycling, outdoor walk, and freestyle. If you are doing any of these as a beginner or just to keep track of your daily steps, it’s fine. But if you’re doing serious training for running or performing high-intensity workouts, you might want to get a tracker that’s more attuned to tracking these workouts.

The Redmi band also lets you control the music on your phone, however, the menu is buried under a couple of layers, and that’s annoying. Also, there’s no raise to wake functionality, so if you need to check the time or your step count, you will need to tap on the screen.

Who’s it for?

The Redmi band for ₹1,599 ($22) can be an impulse purchase or a nice gift for someone’s fitness journey. You can’t really expect the budget device to track your every move meticulously. But it can help you stay active and get notifications on your wrist without spending a ton.

Xiaomi’s new band will go head-to-head with the Realme band priced at ₹1,299 ($18) with a 0.96-inch screen, nine workout modes, and a heartrate monitor. If you want to splurge a bit more, you can also buy Xiaomi’s Mi Band 4 at ₹2,299 ($31).

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