Xiaomi Mi Band 2

The follow up successor to the Mi Band launched in July 2014 adds style points to the geeky looking sliver module with the inclusion of a monochrome 0.42-inch OLED screen, finally bringing the gadget to the mainstream market with its array of sensors at a more than affordable price point, all of which are hallmarks of the Xiaomi branding.

Would you wear it?

The cheaply mass produced silicone strap does not shy away from its origins as a low cost product with basic colours such as orange, green and black rather than the current market trend of fancier colour schemes and names such as twilight blue or rose gold. However, this also means that the sweat resistant bands are easily swappable depending on your preference and that any broken ones would not do as much damage to your wallet as a caramel café latte from that unnamed coffee chain.

Notwithstanding the lack of genuine Italian leather straps, the Mi Band 2 is, as almost all Xiaomi products are, targeting a different segment of the market where the line between tech enthusiasts and mainstream users meet, creating a product design acceptable to all with its new OLED screen and the all black module. This, combined with its bundled matte black strap gives the Mi Band 2 something it failed to deliver with its predecessor, a widespread acceptance by the general public as a fashion accessory. As such, heads will now be less inclined to turn whenever one spots the Mi Band 2 on the high street, allowing it to be worn a wider range of social settings in order to perform its basic function as a fitness tracking device. All of these which, are something the sliver and futuristic Mi Band failed to deliver.

Should you wear it?

With an IP67 water-resistant certification insuring the pedometer, heart rate monitor and sleep counter, you will be hard pressed to find another product in this category as its price point of around $27 Singapore Dollars. In fact, the Fitbit Flex which does essentially the same thing costs around $98 Singapore Dollars, a drastic difference of $71 and a screen (the Fitbit does not include one).

Unlike the Fitbit, however, the Mi Band 2 only works with its companion app, Mi Fit. Initial user experiences of the app present a slick and neat design with slight syncing issues. In comparison to software from other Chinese companies which often feature an overly skinned user interface and a magnitude of coding glitches, the Mi Fit app provides a positive and streamlined user experience not unlike that of it's other Western and Korean counterparts, a legacy of former Vice President Hugo Barra’s tenure with the company.

How do you wear it?

Undoubtedly, the lack of a USB Type-C or even Micro USB port to charge the module presents its own set of problems as it means that you will have to store and locate its unique charger. This might prove difficult to replace should you lose it as it is only manufactured by Xiaomi and at the time of writing, costs about $10 Singapore Dollars to replace, almost a third of the unit price. However, it is worth noting that this is not much different from other health trackers and it’s marketed 20 days of usage should alleviate any fears of adding another troublesome daily gadget to charge at ease.

What do I think of it?

For those looking for an affordable device to give technological companies a virtual carte blanche with data on the state of your physical health, you should look no further than the Mi Band 2. The inbuilt sensors work magnificently to give a relatively accurate reading of one's personal health vis-a-vis other higher end products which might costs hundreds of dollars.

Conspiracy theories aside (or not?), the Mi Band 2 presents itself as a solid competitor in this niche market for bare bones fitness trackers which at its price point, gives with little to be disappointed about and a lot to be impressed by.