No, it is not ‘me too’, but ‘Mi 2’. I decided last week to jump into the fitness tracking world by buying myself a fitness tracker. And it is called the Mi 2 Band, from Xiaomi.
First of all: me doing fitness ? Ehh, yes, because we all get older, and sitting behind my desk writing emails, organise meetings, developing software and typing blogs does apparently not increase my fitness.
But going out for a walk, or biking around Brussels, without any compensation is quite difficult. So I bought myself a fitness tracker. I add my targets, and the first 4 days I managed to reach my goals. Except today, because I released Octyx and wrote this blog.
So what is this fitness tracking business about ? First of all, it is about health tracking. All big companies, Apple included, are jumping on this type of business, because they say, and think, they can predict my future health (and hopefully do not share my data with any pharmaceutical companies).
Already the iPhone today, and other Android phones as well, without you knowing it, measure your sleep and walking data while being in your pocket or next to your bed.
Before buying my fitness tracker, I did some research. Which one would fit best? My first choice of course was to look to the Apple Watch, but, with a price over 350 EUR, in my opinion it is still too expensive for daily usage, even if it brings more than fitness measurements.
I also had a look to the FitBit Charge 2 tracker and similar solutions at Garmin and Misfit. Straightforward heart and fitness trackers, but mostly with prices above 100 Euro.
As I don’t know if such fitness tracking device will really help me moving around more, I found a solution at Xiaomi. As you may know, Xiaomi is sometimes called, the ‘Apple’ from China. Xiaomi is a large company, selling many devices, including smartphones, fitness trackers, and other solutions, sold under the brand name ‘Mi’. Have a look at their website here.
The product I found is called Mi Band 2. They use to sell the original MiBand for less than 15 Euro, and the latest MiBand 2 can be found on some websites in China for less than 20 Euro, but could I trust them? Several Amazon sites also sell them, but impossible to export to Belgium, where I live. So I decided to buy one in Prague at an Alza shop, as I am still regularly in Prague for my work.
The price was about 55 Euro, higher than on most mentioned websites, but at least I got one directly in my hands. At home, unboxed directly, I started first with charging the device. Easy. In the mean time, I downloaded the accompanying app called MiFit from the Apple AppStore (it exists off course also for Android).
Finding the band and syncing was a peace of cake. At its first usage, the Mi Band 2 installed its latest firmware automatically. Data from my Mi Band 2 are visible on the band itself, in the miFit app, and in Apple Health (if you authorise this). Finding the options took some time, as the app is not totally logic.
The miBand 2 tracks my daily steps, tracks my sleep times, and shows my heart rate (via the sensor, but only manual for the moment). And it shows all this in the apps, but also on its little screen. And it shows the time when I want to see it by lifting my hand.
The Mi Band 2 has also options to vibrate for alarms, sms messages, or several other notifications. It has an interesting notification called ‘idle alert’, with vibrates the band when I do not move for 1 hour during the day. I am trying to implement also notifications for my program Octyx and contacted Xiaomi already for this. I got a nice email reply from them, in Chinese language :-), so I am optimistic on the future.
Battery life is said to be several weeks: I use it since 5 days now, and it used 3% only, so it will probably be true.
And now, what do I do with this? I track my sleep (the data show light sleep and deep sleep), I track my heart rate (looks ok), and I walked a bit more than in the last weeks. Yes, indeed I did !
It gives indeed a boost to make me walk and do more. I am not ready yet to share this with friends (which is also an option), but my target is to loose some kilo’s and be even more in shape than before. And, as an IT guy, I will check out the Bluetooth connectivity, the quality of the various apps, and the Xiaomi Mi account which I created on their website.
After a few days, I must say I am quite positive for ‘me too’ for fitness, and on the Mi Band 2. I will keep you updated in the future on this topic.
Take care, and have a nice day.