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Xiaomi Mi Band 4 review: all-round customization

Xiaomi Mi Band 4 review: all-round customization

When it comes to smart band value for money the Mi Band Xiaomi is always the first to come to mind. The new generation, then Mi Band 4, carries on the already well-known formula of the brand keeping more or less the same design of the previous generation, an advantageous price and introduces new features. Here's what you can expect from the Mi Band 4 when it's tied to your wrist!

Rating

Good

  • AMOLED color display
  • Integrated features
  • Waterproof up to 5 ATMs
  • Value for money

Bad

  • No integrated GPS

Xiaomi Mi Band 4 release date and price

The Xiaomi smart band is available for purchase both at UK Mi Stores and online at the official price of £35. This is a much cheaper alternative to the fitness trackers offered by Fitbit and Garmin, but it costs slightly more (five quid, to be precise) than Honor Band 5.

In the box, you will find the black bracelet, the instruction manual, and the charging base. If you prefer more colorful straps, you can buy them online for about £10 to £14.

 

The display is the real new feature

On the design side, Xiaomi has not introduced any major innovations compared to the previous model. The Mi Band 4 remains a simple bracelet that, since the Mi Band 2, consists of a black 18mm rubber strap and the body of the tracker, i.e. the brains with which you interact. The body of the fitness tracker measures the same as the Mi Band 3, which means that the straps of the two generations are interchangeable.

Compared to Mi Band 3 you will find a larger screen and color

The strap is adjustable and you'll need to make sure you press the button firmly to prevent it from loosening. It happened to me during the night during my first days of use. I prefer a strap like the one on the Honor Band 5 because I find it more solid and more easily adaptable to wrists of different sizes, although the one on the Mi Band 4 is undoubtedly narrower and more discreet.

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Adjustable rubber strap from which the tracker can be removed / © AndroidPIT

The Mi Band 4 is a light (22.1 gram) smart band, water-resistant up to 5ATM, and equipped with a 0.95-inch AMOLED touchscreen display with a resolution of 120x240 pixels. The screen is protected by 2.5D tempered glass which, thanks to its coating, does not attract fingerprints. Compared to the Mi Band 3 you will find a larger screen and, above all, a color display.

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A 0.95-inch AMOLED color display / © AndroidPIT

The screen is responsive, the colors are well represented and the brightness can be adjusted in the settings. It offers a maximum brightness of up to 400 nits. Under direct sunlight, you will have no problem reading the display. It's perfect for those who do outdoor sports. Navigation is done via the touchscreen and the small circular capacitive key at the bottom of the display.

Xiaomi allows you to customize the dials from the Mi Fit app. In the section dedicated to the display, you can choose from fifty different backgrounds that, once selected, are automatically synchronized with the smart band. Alternatively, you can also download a third-party app from the Google Play Store.

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The Mi Band 4 is waterproof / © AndroidPIT

At the bottom of the fitness tracker are the hidden sensors that the Mi Band 4 is equipped with: a 3-axis accelerometer, a 3-axis gyroscope, a heart rate sensor PPG and a capacitive proximity sensor. The Mi Band 4 supports Bluetooth 5.

Functionality and apps on your wrist

You can navigate through the six-level system, which can be reached with a vertical swipe and by selecting the items that interest you. A swipe to the right takes you back to the previous screen. By placing your finger once on the touch button you will activate the display that will show the time and the widgets you have installed.

You can also set the display to activate with a simple movement of the wrist and, even more interesting, keep this feature active only for a certain period of time. It is useful to turn it off at night to avoid letting the screen light up in the dark and disturbing your sleep. It is also important to know that the touch functions of the button and the display itself are not usable underwater.

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Various features at your fingertips / © AndroidPIT

You can then navigate through Status, an overview of steps, distance and calories consumed, Heart rate, Training, Weather, Notifications and more. The latter includes a noise-canceling night mode, an alarm clock, a music playback feature, a stopwatch, a timer, a silent mode, a find your phone function, customizable dials, and another sub-menu to restore the device. You can also adjust screen brightness and activate the screen lock. The Mi Band 4 will also notify you if you are seated at your desk too long, if you want it to, of course. Everything is manageable from the app.

Heart rate monitoring is fast and can be set automatically from the app

The item that most interests many is undoubtedly that dedicated to physical activity which includes six default sports selectable from the wearable device: pool swimming, outdoor running, cycling, treadmill, walking, and exercise. To pause monitoring of any of the activities, press and hold on the display for a few seconds.

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The app provides an overview of the related data collected but training plans are missing / © AndroidPIT

In the Mi Fit app you will find other selectable activities such as table tennis, abdominal workouts, skipping, etc.. You can also set goals for your activity or target weight in the app, but there are no training plans like those offered by the Honor Band in the Huawei Health app. That's too bad. The Mi Band 4 also allows for synchronization to Google Fit via the Mi Fit app. Remember that there is no integrated GPS, typical of this price range, and that distance monitoring during running, for example, is only approximate.

Controlling music from your wrist is useful when doing sports or moving around the city

Heart rate monitoring is fast and can be set automatically by the app. How reliable is it? All the data reported by this type of smart band, such as the step count, for example, should be taken as indicative values because they are not able to replace a real heart rate monitor. But that's not what you'd expect for thirty-five quid.

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From the Mi Band 4 you can automatically monitor your heart rate / © AndroidPIT

Another interesting feature is sleep monitoring and controlling music from your wrist. As for the first, just like on the Honor Band 5, it doesn't always accurately detect moments when it wakes us up during the night unless you get out of bed.

For the music function, you can turn the volume up or down, move on to the next track, and stop the song from playing without having to pick up your smartphone. It's really useful while doing sports or moving around the city.

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From the touchscreen, you can pause the song, adjust the volume and change the track / © AndroidPIT

Two words about notifications: you can decide from which app you want to receive them and the vibration will not allow you to miss them. It is not possible to reply to messages, you can only read them and delete notifications in bulk, not individually. That's a bit boring. The font is also quite small.

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Too bad you can't delete the notifications individually / © AndroidPIT

Incoming optimizations

One thing did not convince you about the Mi band 4, and that's the automatic shutdown of the screen after five seconds . In some situations it's unnerving. In this regard, however, it should be noted that the firmware 1.0.7.04 distributed in India should introduce the possibility of choosing an interval from 6,7,8,9 and 10 seconds. The update should also improve swimming monitoring and introduce new dials.

At the moment (with firmware version V1.0.6.16) if a call is received, the contact ID is not shown on the display. To understand who's calling you, you'll need to check your smartphone. It seems that to solve this problem the brand is releasing an update.

A promising battery

The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 features a 135mAh battery that promises 20 days of battery life on a single charge. I can't confirm or deny this data at the moment because I've only been using the Mi Band 4 for a week but it shouldn't be a problem because I still have 70 percent charge left at the moment.

To charge the Mi Band 4 you will need to use the dedicated base . The cable is too short, which means that you will have to charge it by placing it on a surface or it will remain dangling if you use a wall socket.

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The charging cable for the Mi Band 4 / © AndroidPIT

Final verdict

The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 performs the functions for which it was designed and offers a nice package of features. One of its strong points is its customization, both on the hardware and software side. As mentioned above, data related to sleep, heart rate and physical activity monitoring are approximate, and are for reference only and cannot replace specialized tools or a real doctor. For this reason, the Mi Band 4 meets the needs of those who want to monitor physical activity in a casual way.

The quality-to-price ratio offered is once again excellent, although this time Xiaomi is no longer the only one on the market to offer a convincing fitness band from all points of view at a similar price. If you are looking for a cheap and convincing smart band, with Mi Band 4 you will be satisfied, but before buying it take a look at the Band 5 of Honor - it is slightly cheaper and comes with integrated training plans.

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  • I upgraded to the MI Band 4 from the 3 mainly because I wanted a brighter color screen I could easily see outdoors. It didn't disappoint! A good value smartband with amazing battery life.