Expanding the product portfolio, Redmi entered the fitness wearable market recently with its Redmi Smart Band. This comes after the huge success of the Xiaomi Mi Band series in India. With the Mi Band series price going upwards, the Redmi Smart Band tries to bridge the gap between the two with its affordable pricing.
The Redmi Smart Band offers a comfortable fit and there is a solid colour LCD screen with a fairly big 1.08-inch screen size. It supports touch and gesture support with a capacitive button. The touch response is not so great but, will get the job done more often than not. For tracking your activities, you get five modes including running, walking, freestyle, cycling, and treadmill. The tracking accuracy is fair enough and the companion app will put those data on infographic chats.
The Band is also 5 ATM water resistant, though it misses out swim tracking. The Band user interface is pretty basic and simple and the same applies to the companion Xiaomi Wear application. The heart rate tracking and sleep tracking metrics were pretty accurate too. You can also get notifications on the Band from multiple apps.
Overall for the asking price of Rs 1,599, the Redmi Smart Band gets a thumbs up from us and this can be your first wearable to just get started. For the price, there isn’t much to complain about and is an easy recommendation for those wanting to enter the world of fitness.
Price and availability
The Redmi Smart Band is the company’s first fitness tracker which comes at an affordable price of Rs 1,599. It has an interchangeable strap and is available in four strap colours - Black, Blue, Green, and Orange. Bands are currently not being sold separately.
Design and Display
One of the aspects where most of the budget fitness trackers compromise is the design. The Redmi Smart Band is at another end of the spectrum with this one. You get a fresh design that’s unlike what we’ve seen on the Mi Band series. It wouldn’t be wrong to call that the design is pretty much inspired by Fitbit Charge here. Fashion-wise, it looks pretty decent in formals as well as casual apparels.
The Redmi Smart Band features a 1.08-inch LCD colour screen in a rectangular body. It has a resolution of 128 x 220 pixels. The display in the Redmi band is bigger than the one on the Mi Band 4 but it misses out on the OLED panel. However, you still get the touch screen panel with swipe gesture support. You get five levels of brightness to play with. Just below the display, you also get a capacitive button for controls or to jump to the home screen directly. The display brightness is just readable outdoors and during the times when the sun is out, you will need your other hand to assist you in reading the screen content.
To wake up the display, you can enable the Rise to Wake feature which can be set to all day or you can schedule the start and end time as per your liking. If you disable this option, you can tap on the button to wake the screen.
The display is touch screen here with gestures and swipe support. However, it is not responsive and can get you irritated at times. It won’t register your touch or gesture one out of five times. It comes with bezels on all four sides. The capacitive touch control works well. Overall, wearing the band for a long time didn’t feel uncomfortable and I used to sleep with the band itself for two weeks and had no issues with the strap quality.
The Redmi Smart Band is also 5ATM water resistance rated so that you can take it for gym sessions and for a swim. The body of the band is made up of polycarbonate and the quality is pretty good.
The one thing that Xiaomi’s fitness trackers have been able to achieve over the years has been the fitness tracking and sleep tracking. And, the Redmi Smart Band continues the legacy here. The Redmi Smart Band is loaded with five different modes. You get outdoor running, walking, treadmill, cycling, and freestyle modes. Apart from that, there is also a heart rate monitor, sleep tracker, and basic fitness features like calorie data, number of steps taken, standing data, and workout history.
The Redmi Smart Band harnesses Bluetooth 5.0 and the connection was solid during my testing period. Tracking the outdoor running and walking activities gave me almost close results with total time, calories burnt, average pace, heart rate readings, steps taken, and cadence. For complete in-depth detail including the heart rate zone, the companion app will give excellent insights about the workout. It is also worth mentioning that the steps are even counted often when you are driving a car or even when riding a bike. So, the number of steps taken will not always be 100% accurate and if you shake your hand more, the number of steps will go up.
On the sensor front, the Band is loaded with a 3-axis accelerometer and PPG Heart rate sensor. The optical heart rate sensor does a good job showing you the live heart rate and the results were fairly accurate. There is also wear detection onboard which prevents the reading when you are not using the Band. Which means you won't get the flashy light. The workouts will be tracked only if the Band is connected with your phone.
One of my personal favourite features of the Xiaomi wearables has been sleep tracking. The Redmi Band nails it here again. The band, just like most of the other fitness trackers, tracks only the night sleep. You can see when you fell asleep, awake time and the sleep distribution which includes light sleep and deep sleep. All these data are represented in a bar graph with different colour codes.
Even though the band is water-resistant, Xiaomi has not included a swim tracking feature on the tracker which might be a bummer for those who go for swimming. But apart from swimming, the Band does an excellent job tracking other workout modes. So, it does get the basics right.
Features and UI
Coming to the feature sets of the Redmi Smart Band, you get the home screen upfront as soon as the watch is turned on. The home screen is customizable with over 50 watch faces available from the companion application. Swiping up from the home screen will bring up the menu which consists of six options - Status, Heart rate, Workout, Weather, Notifications, and more. Status will tell you how many steps you have taken in a given day, distance travelled, calories burnt, and ideal alerts, if any. The Heart rate sensor, as the name suggests, measures your heartbeat. The Workout brings up the five modes which we discussed in the above section.
Clicking on the Weather icon brings up current weather with max and min temperatures and it also brings up the air index quality. For my city, it said the Air Index quality was Excellent. It also shows the weather report for the next four days, in case you are interested.
Next up, the notifications: the Band receives a notification whenever you get a notification on your phone. You can select the apps that can push notifications to the Smart Band. However, the experience here is not great. More often than not, the notifications were delayed and reached me late. Since the display is pretty small, it is not advisable to completely depend on the Band unless it's urgent or your phone is out of reach. However, for a call, you get almost instant notifications which bring up options to silence or reject the call. Do note that you won’t get the option to pick the call or even reply to messages from the phone. The notifications also stack up in this section for those which have been already cleared or responded on your phone.
And lastly, in the “more” menu option, there are a few basic functions like DND which can be set to On, off or auto. There is the alarm, themes which store three watch faces locally, stopwatch, times, music control, find my phone and settings. Inside the settings options, you get brightness level, reboot, and factory reset options. The music control was very handy and surprisingly worked well even with the small screen. You can play/pause skip to the next/previous screen with a breeze.
To pair the device with your phone, you will have to install the Xiaomi Wear app for Android. The app is extremely simple and straightforward. Firstly, you need this app to pair your band with your smartphone. Once that is done, you will get the home screen which will tell you the connectivity status, battery remaining, and sync information. It takes a couple of seconds to sync when you open the app.
Just below this, you will be able to see the band display (watch faces). Three of them will be locally stored on the band and you can quickly switch between them. For those who need more, you can head to the online section and pick the one which is best suited for you. As of now, you get the option to pick from 54 faces.
Next up, you will see the Alarm section where you can pick the date and the band will vibrate gently to wake you up. The notification section lets you pick apps that you want to receive alerts on the Smart Band. You can pick multiple apps here. However, I’d suggest you pick a few which you need as more notifications might end up consuming more battery. There is also an option to enable notification only when the phone’s screen is off, which is pretty smartly done. For those of you who are new to the wearable, the app has a dedicated user guide in the home screen itself which covers all the FAQs.
Additionally, you can also set the Heart rate detection frequency to every 1 minute, 5 minute, 10 minute, and 30 minutes. The Band can also notify you when your heart rate is high with a vibration. You can also manually set ideal alerts where the Band will vibrate once if you haven’t done any activity in the last hour. In case you misplace the Band, the app allows you to find it by vibrating the Band. And, lastly, the Redmi Smart Band is also capable of receiving the software update via the app itself.
In the second tab of the application, you will see the data arranged in - calories, steps, heart rate, standing, sleep, and workout history order by default. You can rearrange the order however, you can’t add anything else to the data section here. All the data are shown in different colours which looks good and they have their metrics and graphical representation also. My personal favorite was the sleep tracking data.
In the third and final tab, you get your personal information such as gender, DoB, height and weight. The App supports only two wearables as of now - the Redmi Smart Band and Mi Smart Band 4C. Overall, the app experience was very smooth with a nice interface and representation of data.
The Redmi Smart Band, on the inside, is packed with a 130mAh battery which has a claimed standby time of 14 days, which sounds great on paper. However, in regular day to day usage for over two weeks, I got around six to seven days of battery life on a single charge.
During the first charging cycle, I used the Smart Band with Heart Rate monitor for 30 minutes and notifications turned on for apps like Phone, WhatsApp, Slack, and SMS. In the second cycle, I used the Band with Heart Rate monitor turned off and the same set of notifications, which didn’t make any difference. The battery life is on par here. During my testing time, I had set brightness to the max level all the time.
Majority of the battery consumption is due to the colour display, with continuous connection with the smartphone certainly taking a bit of juice as well. For those who want to get most out of the battery, you can set the brightness to a lower level and check up on the apps that send a notification to the Smart Band.
For changing the band itself, it takes about two hours to completely charge the Redmi Smart Band. You will have to pull out the strap which reveals the USB-A port. It’s a direct plug and plays charging mechanism, also a convenient one allowing you to carry one less cable while charging. You can plug it to your smartphone’s charging adapter, laptop’s USB port or even a power bank. Removing the strap might be hard for the first time as it is tightly wrapped around.
Buy it if...
You are looking to get started with fitness
With people looking to get fit or move out of home for a run or walk every day now, the Redmi Smart Band will be a good option and starting point. It does get the basics right.
You want something affordable
Fitness can be an expensive lifestyle. At Rs 1,599, the Redmi Band is a great option with ample features that will suffice most users.
With hardly any option in the segment from an established brand, the Redmi Smart Band is a smart buy at this price.
You want something dependable
The Realme Smart Band comes with a simple, elegant design which is built with skin-friendly material that is durable. You can wear it all day long.
Don't buy it if...
You go for a swim
For those who swim and want to track your swimming data, the Redmi Band, unfortunately, misses out on the swim tracking even though it gets a water resistance rating. If you are looking for a fitness band with swim tracking, you can go for Mi Band 4.
Looking for built-in GPS
The Redmi Smart Band is an affordable tracker and hence misses out on the in-built GPS. Your outdoor activities won’t be tracked unless your phone is connected to the band. For those who need a wearable with in-built GPS, you can check out the Amazfit Bip S.