I can see it’s going to be one of those weeks. Until recently, I’ve seen nothing of note in the watchband space (to use my least favourite marketing word) since My Mi Band 4, then 5, then 6 which in their time IMHO beat the competition hands down. I’m wearing my Mi Band 6 now, though I’ve tired of changing watch faces every day for the sake of it – maybe once a week now). If there is anyone left out there who doesn’t know who Xiami are, well think of the Mi or Redmi brands. Not aware of MI? Look for your nearest Mi store – Like Apple Store but – well I’ll leave you to figure it out… I’d show you a photo of a MI Store but it seems the hated Shutterstock has them all wrapped up and I forgot to take a photo last time I was at the store in Granada shopping centre.
Before we start, here’s my existing Mi Band 6 (left photo) with a relatively simple face – it’s going to take some doing to move me away from this (the Mi 6 band on the left is not using the standard black silicone one – obviously). The bands on both of the units I discuss here are replaceable.
If you’re following the whole smart watch/smart band thing, I guess it all started decades ago (1970s?) with Casio – I of course had the F91W and others – no connectivity of course – and frankly they just seemed to run out of ideas in the end – then we had the FitBit and countless others, most of which IMHO were a bit naff (I’m talking about bands, not watches – I had several of the Samsung Galaxy watches and eventually got sick of them despite the wonderful selections of thousands of faces some of which were/are truly wonderful.
But for the last year or so I’ve found myself settling on the Mi Band 6 (Xiaomi – who else) and wearing it every day. Then Banggood sent me the Xiaomi Redme Smart Band Pro, received this week gone. Will it force me to re-think? Let’s take a look (at this point I’d yet to open the box). I have to say it does bear a resemblance to a recent Huawei band…
Here’s the somewhat OTT full description from Banggood’s site along with link. Xiaomi Redmi Smart Band Pro 1.47″ AMOLED 100% NTSC 450 Nit Screen 110+ Fitness Modes Heart Rate Tracking SpO2 Measurement 5ATM Waterproof BT5.0 Smart Watch Global Version
The band comes complete with a massive 270 page manual, 12 pages of which are in English including specs and lots of other guff including plenty of info on pairing – and a QR code for the APP. The band arrived completely dead so consider this an interlude while I go and dump all my latest packaging at the local skips…….
Ok, so I left the new band on charge and on my return half an hour later, the band was sitting there having automatically selected English – and wanted me to scan and download Mi Fitness. I did – though no idea why they didn’t use the sadly-named APP Zepp Life (the App formerly known as Mi Fit) which I use with my Mi Band 6. WELL, that was easy..
After signing into the new Mi Fitness APP with my Mi account, and ADDING the band to the account (easy) the APP began to update the band and in 2 minutes it was all over. Pity the APP could not, apparently, see my Mi Band 6.
And there we have it – the usual stuff, blood oxygen, pulse, activity, sleep, stress, breathing, “cycles”, weather, music, camera link, alarm, stopwatch, timer and it looks nice.
BUT at first I could only find 4 displays – not good but as it turns out – that’s not the end of it…. I DO like the large, full size display very reminiscent of the Huawei.
The strap has quick release buttons so it at least looks like the straps can be replaced – a good thing for those not keen on silicone straps.
As is usual for me, I turned off automatic brightness and set brightness fo full. I’d rather have a shorter charge time and be able to read the band when outside.
Meanwhile I checked my blood oxygen level – consistent with values I get on other bands, along with my pulse for the sake of it.
Ok, while in a watch frame of mind, I also received the Redme Watch 2 Lite – which sounds like nothing special but it has the unusual feature of having built-in GPS (inc Glosnass, Galileo and Beidou). This one is 5ATM water resistant and has over 100 fitness modes. It has a 1.55″ colour HD display as well.
This time, sync’ing was even easier as I already had the APP on the phone and it found the Redme Watch 2 Lite very easily. Immediately it synced and offered updates. Why not, I thought.
Here as before is the full Banggood title for this watch along with link. Xiaomi Redmi Watch 2 Lite 1.5 inch HD Screen Multi-system Standalone GPS 100 Fitness Modes 24-Hour Heart Rate Tracking SpO2 Monitor 5ATM Waterproof Smart Watch Global Version
The updates “resolve some known issues” – that’s nice to know. Within a couple of minutes the watch and my Poco X4 phone were synchronising…. 50% at 3 minutes… unlike the band, the battery on the watch was no-where near flat on arrival.
Just as well, really as the update, once downloaded to the phone, took several minutes to complete on the phone…. weirdly the APP then complained that it could not connect to the watch – and I should try again when any updating was completed… but it was the phone that initiated the update – how strange.
No, really, 5 minutes later, the update on the watch was only, say 5% done… I went off for some coffee. When I came back, the updates were done and the devices synchronised no problem.
All looking good though again only 4 watch faces and they would not have been on my list (see box above and read on).
HOWEVER, the APP when selecting watch faces, took me to an ONLINE selection – WHEEE – lots of them! Took me all of two minutes to grab a decent watchface.
Could I find a selection of online faces for the little band? YES. Not the largest collection but I guess that’ll come in time. So both band and watch are useful to me and have a lot of feature commonality.
My initial question was – can I be swayed? Just possibly, YES. See my comments towards the end.
I tried putting my Mi Band 6 on the same Mi Fitness app…. “The device’s version isn’t supported in the current region”. That’s DUMB.
So, back to Zepp Life for the Mi Band 6. It would have been nice to have all three on a common APP but hey ho.
A quick reminder that I am not on commision for any of this stuff. And another downloaded watchface for the Redme Watch 2 Lite – nice!
The day is getting better by the minute… but, almost time for bed. Ok, one last watchface…. TWO trips down memory lane in one 🙂 Ok, I’m sold on this already… the display on the Redme Watch 2 Lite is LCD rather than AMOLED but it seems to work well. Also I’ve clearly not had the watch long enough to say but it’s looking like battery charge lasting 5-10 days (in my case with brilliance full on I’d expect it to be nearer 5). Bluetooth is version 5.
I remain convinced the choice of faces will help decide the fate of devices like this… the Mi Band 6 and Samsung Gear have been my favourites in the past partly because I could change how they look on a whim. A choice of Rolex or Tag faces would go down well. Right now the band has a smaller range of faces online for downloading than the watch and neither has even remotely the range of watch faces available for the Mi 5 and 6 Bands (all of which pales into insignificant compared to faces available for the Samsung watches – but then so do the prices and sizes) – but give it time and bear in mind that unlike Samsung Faces many of which are free trials of pay-to-use faces – these are all free…
Bear in mind that very few other manufacturers even make online face updating available at all – I’ve reviewed dozens of models from various makers which come with maybe half a dozen usually awful watch faces with NO chance of online updates- so keep my comments in perspective).
As a last comment, I’ve always signed into the now defunct Mi Fit APP with my MI account and so when I transferred to the Zepp Life APP – the details were fine.
When I got the new watch and band, they both worked (work) with the same acount details – yet when I tried to transfer history from the (old) Mi Band 6 (Zepp Life APP) to the new Mi Fitness APP, the Mi Fitness APP wanted me to enter my Mi Fit account details – and at the last minute took me to the Zepp Life APP online and would not accept those details even though I’m currently logged into both Zepp life and Mi Fitness (Mi Fit has disappeared from the Google Play Store).
So, if you currently have the Mi 5 or Mi 6 band – keep that in mind. Both the band and the watch are great (the watch is now on my wrist permanently including showers) but IMHO someone should fire the APP decision makers.