It seems like nowadays everyone has Xiaomi Mi Band. There’s no doubt that this gadget is crazy popular. It’s easy to understand why: it’s a quality product for a reasonable price. Last year, Mi Band 3 was improved in terms of functionality, but it still couldn’t be called a full-fledged analogue of a smart watch. And a year later, we have the fourth generation, Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4. An unambiguous prefix appeared in the title, which stirs up interest in the new product. Let's find out today whether the fitness tracker has become “smarter” and what was actually improved.
Key features, versions and price
We are considering Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4 without NFC (labeled XMSH07HM), because the version with it has no advantages at all. Forget about contactless payment because the tracker with NFC can only emulate cards - for example, a travel card in China. Payment takes place exclusively via QR codes. We also forget about the Chinese voice assistant. That version also has a slightly smaller battery. I think that there are more than enough reasons to buy the usual Mi Smart Band 4 and not think about everything else.
- Display: 0.95", 240 × 120, AMOLED, touch
- Wireless modules: Bluetooth 5.0 (LE)
- Sensors: accelerometer, gyroscope, heart rate monitor
- RAM: 512KB
- ROM: 16 MB
- Battery: 135 mAh
- Dimensions: 46.9 x 17.9 x 12.9 mm
- Strap: TPU 18 mm wide, adjustable range 155-216 mm
- Weight: 22.1 g with a strap, 11 g without a strap
As usual there is a Chinese version and a global one. But as far as I know, there are no differences between them. The necessary localization is present even in the Chinese version. This is information for those who are going to buy the tracker on Chinese marketplaces.
Xiaomi prices remain true to the tradition, and China the tracker costs the same as before. We're talking $25 and $33 for the version without and with NFC, respectively. But in reality it's hard to find the device for this kind of money.
The recommended price tag of Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4 is about $50. But of course you can find deals and cheaper. Most likely not from local sellers, but from China.
Is there new functionality?
In general, Mi Smart Band 4 offers the same set of features, but there are some changes. In short, the tracker can do the following:
- Time and date display
- Counting steps and distance
- Counting Calories Burned
- Heart Rate Measurement
- Sleep phase tracking
- Alarm clock (although not "smart")
- Various workouts
- Weather display
- View incoming notifications from applications or calls
- Stopwatch and timer
- Search for a smartphone with a loud beep
- Turn on silent mode on your smartphone
- Control playback of music, podcasts or videos on your smartphone
See something new? Yes, finally you can switch music without taking out the smartphone; you can even adjust the volume! In addition, to start a workout, it is not necessary to open Mi Fit. And the weather forecast is no longer for three days, but for five days. I will tell you more about it a little later.
Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4: What’s in the box
Nothing fancy here. Presentable box, inside is Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4, a slightly modified charging cradle and a booklet with instructions in different languages.
Design, materials, elements’ configuration and ergonomics
Externally, Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4 has changed a little compared to the previous generation. In general, it looks like a kind of symbiosis of the second and third generations of Mi Band. Instead of a slightly curved front panel (in the third), a flat surface is used (as in the second). But with slightly rounded edges.
This makes it much better than Mi Band 3, because with careful use, it will be easier to keep the module in its original state. It will not protrude as much (although it still stands above the strap) and therefore won’t cling to objects. There’s also much less glare. And this is not only because of the flat front panel, but also thanks to the material.
Finally, instead of plastic, glass is used at the front. Apparently, made by a lesser known manufacturer, since I did not find any mention of the name. But it is really glass. That means that over time there will be less scratches and scuffs. And there is an oleophobic coating on it - prints and stains do not remain, the finger slides perfectly.
So, this upgrade here really changes things, it seems. Externally, the bracelet looks a little neater, although it may not be as impressive. But universality has been preserved - it looks equally good with almost any type of clothing.
The dimensions of the capsule itself have not changed, which confirms the manufacturer's statement about the compatibility with the straps from the third generation of the tracker, which is good, I guess. If you are updating from the Band 3 and you already have a reserve of straps and bracelets, then this, naturally, is a good feature of Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4.
So, we have a front screen, and instead of a smooth notch under the finger, which served as a touch button, there’s just a barely noticeable circle. Along the perimeter of the capsule is a notch with markings. On the reverse side we have a Mi embossed logo, service markings, a large window of the heart rate monitor and two contacts for charging. The latter, by the way, moved here from the other end.
The module has a water resistance level of 5 ATM. Washing hands, showering, swimming - the tracker will survive it all. The previous generations have repeatedly confirmed this.
In the strap the capsule sits like a glove – like Mi Band 3. So you can stop worrying about the accidental loss of the module. Moreover, even deliberately getting it out is not very easy.
The strap, in my opinion, has not changed - we immediately recall compatibility and everything becomes clear. I have no complaints about it – it’s comfortable, it does not rub against the wrist. Nothing new - as good as before.
And finally, a few photos of Mi Smart Band 4 next to Amazfit Bip.
Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4 display
Previously, the screen size of the Mi Band 3 grew in size, but the matrix type remained the same as in Mi Band 2. However, this time the diagonal became even larger, almost an inch - 0.95". But instead of monochrome OLED, we got an excellent color AMOLED with a resolution of 240 × 120 pixels.
If you look at the screen at an angle, you can see that the screen size is not that big, considering the dimensions of the case. But in practice, you forget about it on the second day of use.
What is the quality of the matrix? It is fine for that type of device. The screen is contrasty and bright, which is especially important this summer. I think if you used Mi Band 2/3, then you know what I'm talking about. On the street readability was very weak before, but now everything is clear, in particular at the maximum brightness.
In the room, too, everything is fine, but there is no auto-brightness, and therefore you have to manually change it. Or find the optimal balance based on conditions. In total, there are 5 degrees of brightness, and I stopped at 4.
The clarity of the fonts and dials don’t amaze, but it’s good enough. The color screen gives an advantage not only in visibility, but also in customization. New watch faces appear every day. There are tons of options for customization. I’ll tell you more about it later.
The display can be activated by a traditional gesture or by pressing the touch button. The gesture generally works quite well. The display turns on faster than before. But it goes out in about 3-4 seconds, which is not always enough to have the time to read the notifications, for example. You can’t set your time and the screen can’t show things all the time. It’s obvious for what purpose it was done.
Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4 battery life
Once again, the battery gets better, but the tracker works for the same amount of time. This is quite logical. It is better to let it be the same than to decrease with each introduction of a new feature. Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4 has a 135 mAh battery and the operating time from a single charge, as stated by the manufacturer, is up to 20 days.
I have no doubt that it may be true, but this is all very individual. The battery life in each case depends on the settings, the frequency of calls and other factors. In my case, the bracelet spends about 4-7% per day, which is very good. But I cannot guarantee such results to everyone for the reason described above.
But I can say that a week or two is not enough to suck the energy completely. If you use the tracker to the fullest - every minute pulse measurement, a huge number of notifications, the maximum brightness of the display - then yes, the operation time will be reduced. But again, it’ll be enough for 7 days. A decent result for a wearable.
You can charge the device with the usual station-bath and the process lasts two hours. I think it’s time to switch to a more universal method. For example, to abandon the very idea of removing the module from the strap for charging. Contacts have already moved to the back, so why not see how it was done, for example, in Samsung Galaxy Fit e?
Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4: UI and Navigation
As mentioned earlier, Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4 is activated by touching the button under the screen or by lifting the wrist. Navigating is done by swipes and taps on the screen, as well as by tapping the touch button. The latter performs the “Back” action to return to the previous screen.
The first and main screen, of course, is the watch face. Depending on the chosen style, it can show not only time, but also practically any other information. These are: date, day of the week, steps and distance travelled, calories burned, heart rate, tracker battery charge level, alarm clock activity. In general, this parameter depends directly on the dial. They can be changed from the proprietary Mi Fit application (about it in the next section) or downloaded from third-party resources and applications. Mi Smart Band 4 has a couple of its own watch faces.
Before we begin the “excursion” I will immediately explain how to control playback. The so-called player can be quickly launched with a swipe from the dial to the left or right. If the music application on the smartphone is not open, then the bracelet will let you know. So before you manage everything with the fitness bracelet, you need to run the application on the connected device. By the way, what kind of application it will be - doesn't matter at all: streaming music service, local player, podcast app or YouTube – it works with everything.
So, we launch music and on this screen we see the following. The current volume level can be changed with “+” and “-” respectively - they are very small, but I easily adjusted the volume. Then there is the name of the track - neither the artist, nor the album - nothing else is shown. Under the name is a play/pause button, edged in a circle with the duration of the track. You can see how much time is remaining. But sometimes it makes mistakes. Under the button there are two keys to switch tracks.
As for the delay between the action and its execution on the smartphone, it’s very small. In short, it works well.
We can navigate the menus with the help of vertical swipes. The order of items is configured in the application, it is also possible to hide some of them.
Immediately after the watch face we have weather screen. Press, and you get current temperature, as well as the maximum and minimum for that day. At the bottom - geolocation. Weather info comes from the device connected to the bracelet. You can scroll further and watch the weather for another 4 days ahead – a convenient feature.
In my case, the weather is followed by “Status”: steps, calories, distance, and inactivity notifications (how many hours the user did not move).
Next - "Notifications". Up to a dozen notifications received on a smartphone are collected. You can immediately remove them. Here's how these notifications look like. Above we have the application icon and a running line with its name. Icons are, apparently, built-in and only for the most popular applications. If the tracker doesn’t know the app, you can recognise it by its name. The notifications themselves, surprisingly, look bearable. There are no indents between the letters on the current firmware, the notification can be scrolled if there is a lot of text. But emoji or images, naturally, aren’t supported. Calls look the same: the name or number of the caller and two buttons: you can either turn off the vibration, or reject the call.
Let’s continue. After the notification screen there’s pulse. After - workouts. There are six of them so far: running on the street and on the treadmill, cycling, walking, exercising and swimming in the pool. When a workout is running, some information about it is displayed on the screen. To stop/pause, you need to hold the button under the screen and select the appropriate button. Since there is no GPS module, the tracker will try to connect to the smartphone, and if it succeeds, it will take information from it to draw a route and show more detailed information on the end of the activity.
The accuracy of the information provided by Mi Smart Band 4 is not exactly precise, which is a well-known fact. But it’s close enough. But there is another snag - when running, the opportunity to control the music (or whatever you are listening to) is lost.
The last item is “Additional.” Here are all the other things that are not included in the main points. Among them is “Do Not Disturb” - the bracelet will not be distracted by vibration, with three modes of operation: on and off, and automatic. Next - an alarm clock, but unfortunately you cannot set up a new one - just choose between those already stored in the companion application.
The second time is duplicated music management. Then we have a stopwatch, a timer and a device search - the connected smartphone will “scream” at full volume. There’s another thing related to the smartphone - you can turn on or off it silent mode.
The last items are the display (three dials plus one already chose) and settings: screen brightness, turning it on to prevent accidental clicks, rebooting, resetting and uninteresting service information and information about current software.
As usual, the well-known Mi Fit application is used to interact with Mi Band. I will talk about it some other time.
Not so long ago, the application underwent a redesign, but basically everything remained the same.
I will focus on individual things, and you can see the rest on the screenshots in the gallery below.
The watch faces are divided into two tabs: the first ones are made by Xiaomi, there are already quite a few of them and most likely the number will increase. The second tab displays the faces that the user has installed. I did this by using a third-party application that I found on the Play Market.
Also an interesting feature is the fact that the user is allowed to create his own “drawings” of vibration. That is, it is possible to make a long vibro for calls, with pauses for SMS, a short vibration for notifications from applications. It’s all customizable. Without looking at the tracker, it will be possible to find out the priority of the notification and whether it is worth the distraction.
There is a function that can protect the contents of the tracker from prying eyes. The application sets a pin code of four digits, and when the bracelet understands that it is not on your wrist, it gets blocked. Thus, it will not be possible to read the notification or reset it to the factory settings. The same system can be found in Apple Watch. But in general, there’s hardly an urgent need for such an option in a fitness bracelet.
Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4 is a great update of the popular fitness tracker. Virtually all the shortcomings of previous generations were successfully eliminated in the new model. We have a more practical case and compatibility with straps from the third generation, and a perfectly readable color screen with lots of watch faces, the number of which is growing every day.
The battery life has remained at the same level, and functionality and ease of use have been improved. Although there are small issues too - music management is impossible while training, and the accuracy of the data measurement is still average.
Despite this, Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4 is far better than its predecessors. It is also probably the best way to enter the world of (affordable) wearable electronics, even though the price tags in stores are a bit overpriced.
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