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Product Reviews Wearables

Mi Band 2 Review: A New Champion among Fitness Trackers

The Mi Band is one of the most successful products for Xiaomi in India. Announced in Early 2016, according to an IDC survey over a short period of time it has become the number one wearable brand in India with over 27% market. Globally, Xiaomi takes the second position followed by Apple. Fitbit leads there. We now have Mi Band 2, as an upgrade to the original Fitness Band which will be available in India around the festival season later this year.

When you unbox it, the contents are similar to the earlier edition of the band. You are provided with a tracker module, a charging cradle, a manual and the band. The cradle is where you slide in the module and the other end connects to an USB port for charging. You do have an option to buy different color straps/bands.

Unboxing Xiaomi Mi Band 2

Hardware, Look and Feel:

Mi has introduced a display to the tracker module. The screen on the tracker isn’t touch sensitive.However, it responds to the taps and touches on the capacitive button. The tracker displays time, number of steps, the distance covered, heart rate, calories burnt, call alerts, alarms etc.

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Review

The band connects to your smartphone using Bluetooth 4.0 LE (Low Energy) protocol. This is an IP67 water resistant band which can withstand a splash but its not water proof so you can’t wear your band during your swimming sessions.

The metallic clasp resembles the touch button of the module giving it a very premium look. The band feels very comfortable even after using for long hours.

The Mi band 2 also has an optical heart rate sensor which isn’t continuous like the Fitbit Charge HR. So every-time you scan your vitals from the band, the heart-rate is scanned and displayed.It can be checked from the Mi band App on your phone as well.

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 HR Sensor

I used this band for over 10 days and I have to say that, I am pleasantly surprised with the results. I used it alongside my Fitbit Blaze on the same hand to compare the results. The difference was about 500 steps and I am unsure on which of them is inaccurate. However, its is a small number to complain as every band comes with some level of variance.

Software, User Experience:

The awesomeness of the Mi Band is not just in the hardware, but the software is phenomenal too. The Mi Fit App is available for both iOS and Android. Once you download, you have to create a Mi account to get started. Enter the numbers that matter, set your goals, pair your tracker and Voila! you are good to go.

The Mi Fit app has evolved over years and it now gives you the information in a neater dashboard along with other nifty options. For accuracy of the tracking data the app lets you choose between the hands you would wear the band on. The App  now supports integration with Google Fit as well.

Call alerts work neatly , I really liked the feature where you can ignore alerts from unknown numbers.

I loved the Idle Alert feature. Wherein if you are idle for more than an hour, the Mi band gives you a nudge and vibrates so that you get moving, probably take a small walk or even stretch and stay active. This is useful especially when your work involves sitting for long hours. You also have the option to tune this according to your working hours.

Solid design and less intrusive construction makes this band very comfortable to wear all through the day even while asleep. Thereby, helping in analyzing your sleep routine along with other activities.

You can track your daily, weekly and monthly progress graphically, though it would be great if we have some algorithms built which would help us by making more sense of these numbers similar to what Jawbone does with its Smart Coach.

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Mi Fit App

I would’ve wished if the software had an option of an alarm where the device wakes you up, when you are in light sleep, thereby helping you to wake up more refreshed.

I also hope that the app gets better on auto detecting activities. Like, when you take a quick run. There’s no GPS for accurate tracking or any kind of extra features for runners.

Pros and Cons, Value for Money:

It’s a is a no brainer that Mi band 2 is an affordable and fantastic fitness tracking band that gives you a premium feel, great hardware and software and to top all that, the Heart Rate sensor at roughly about 1500 INR is a steal. The official prices haven’t been announced yet. The competition is selling bands at 7-8 times higher than this price.

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Construction

Personally I think, the biggest advantage is also a pain point for me. The battery is so good on the Mi bands that the first edition of Mi Band used to run happily for little over a month. I would sometimes forget where I had kept my charging dongle. It sounds funny, but this is true. getting a spare charger is a challenge and you can’t charge the module in any other manner.

For Mi band 2 the company claims a battery life of 20 days which should easily be at least 12-15 days on regular usage. Considering the display, its a great deal.

I have always been a fan of the Fitbit Charge HR; a band which doesn’t try to be a smartwatch. Does what its supposed to do and also feels comfortable on hands. The Mi Band 2 adds up to the list of recommendations. This is my favourite affordable band at this moment and I absolutely vouch for the same. If you’re looking to get fit by walking and bringing in a good discipline in your routine, I definitely recommend buying this. Even if not for yourself, this is an ideal gift for your loved ones!

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IT News, Tech Information and Analysis Product Reviews

Goqii Fitness Band Review: More than just a Tracking Tool

Wearables have been around for a while now. Many of them exist just for the heck of it and some really adds a charm to your lives. Many fitness trackers bands in the market today just get your data and show it back to you. Some go a step forward and display the same on an attractive dashboard. GOQii Fitness Band makes you think a little different here. It doesn’t just collect data, but also offers you something really special which helps you keep going. This review exactly talks about that.

The retail box comes with a couple of bands, the core Unit, A charging unit (for the core), and a bluetooth dongle to be used on PCs which doesn’t have a bluetooth module built in (primarily for syncing) and a subscription activation card. GOQii isn’t one gadget which you buy it once and forget using it, the subscription model keeps you going and pushes you hard to maintain your activities.

The GOQii Life 3 Month Plan, Unisex can be purchased from Amazon.in at Rs. 3999/-. You also have an option to buy a 6 month Plan at an additional cost. You can also opt for the colour which you like the most. Ensure, you select the right size.

The quality of construction on the GOQii Fitness Band definitely feels premium. The band fits comfortably (make sure you choose the right size); and the band is sweat proof and water resistant as well. The band offers a Touchscreen OLED display, which shows how long you stay active, distance traveled while you are active, calories burnt during your day, a toggle to measure your sleep routine and of-course even the time, so that you do not miss your watch.

The GOQii is equipped with a 360-degree Motion sensor which not just measures the activity but also your sleep quality. If you are kind enough to not wake-up people around you with your alarm clock, you can also setup the same with your GOQii. A designed vibration can be setup to wake you up instead of the loud alerts. GOQii works on the Bluetooth LE Technology to wireless Sync the data with your app on the smartphone. This mobile app also helps track your nutrition, lifestyle and Karma Points.

With doing all this, the GOQii offers a very very good battery life; while I posted this below tweet, it still had some juice left. It was a good 4-5 days on a single charge. That’s impressive!

A tap on the band’s screen wakes up the display, and repeated swipes on the touch-screen cycles between the number of steps logged, the time duration of the activity, distance travelled, number of calories burnt, and the Karma points accumulated for the day. The clock settings of vertical and horizontal display is a neat addition too.

“Collecting data is one side of the story; making sense of it is the most important one. Goqii helps you exactly with that. Turning numbers into meaningful actions.”

We all love personal touches in the products we love. GOQii takes it one step ahead. It not just provides you a great customer support but also a personal coach who would be around you most of the time. The coach program is the USP of this product. The coach helps you analyse your data and sets goals, suggests changes in diet, physical activity, sleep, water and food intake and also offers tips to keep you more active. You stay in touch with your couch using daily chats and calls.

The App support is very impressive with GOQii. They are available for Windows, OS X, iOS, Android and even for Windows Phones.

The karma points is a nice little thing which tags along with your GOQii. All the activity you do on your GOQii band gets converted into Karma points. These points can be donated on various social causes. You losing(your weight) can help in others gaining something valuable.

The community/and online support is pretty neat on this product. If a product founder can take time and respond to your question, nothing better than that.

Upon the reply I got from Vishal, I did log-in to the portal to add my cycling activity; and I saw lot more options there. Be it Dance, Swimming, Yoga, Cricket, Tennis etc. You have to define the intensity and the duration. Its basically to record your progress and update your coach about the activity you did.

To be honest, some things about the band could’ve been better. The automatic activation of the Sleep/Wake Mode than the need to toggle every night and next morning is definitely one of them. I would’ve also liked a micro-USB charging core unit; this could’ve made life so simple, especially when I travel.

Summary: The GOQii Band is a good investment; considering that, its not just a gadget, but you also have a virtual coach who is constantly monitoring your progress and pushing you forward. You can always choose to renew your subscription, or continue to use the band and the associated app forever just like other fitness bands.

All in all, I like the experience of wearing a fitness band finally; and using the GOQii was just the cherry on the cake. Oops, did I say Cake? Arghh…