Xiaomi’s MI band 3 launched in May 2018 to become one of the most popular fitness tracking wearables in India. This added up to the already mass-selling range of Xiaomi’s wearables, comprising the MI Band, the MI Band 2, the MI Band HRX edition and the MI Band 3.
Now Xiaomi’s newest upgrade, the Mi Band 4, comes with a coloured AMOLED display for the first time, along with other improvements both in the looks as well as under the hood. We got our hands on one by importing it from Singapore since the product is yet to launch in India. We also reviewed the wearable extensively and we loved it!
The MI Band 4 looks very identical to the MI Band 3. The curved edge screen on the MI Band 3 has been replaced with a flatter display panel. The MI Band 4 also ditches the dimple on the home button which was found on the MI Band 3. There is a 2.5D scratch-resistant glass on the face.
The Mi Band 3 (left) and the Mi Band 4 (right)
While the size of the device remains almost similar, the MI Band 4 features a larger screen that displays colour. It was so much better watching the heart-rate tracker, step-counter, WhatsApp notifications, and other elements pop up in colour on the larger and better screen on the MI Band 4.
We thought the device looks clean with the default black strap, though there are many replaceable straps you can swap in instead. You get the same generic sized strap on the band which fits most sizes with it being comfortable to wear for long hours.
The main device comes with its own charging dock, unlike the MI Band 3 in which you could plug in a USB charger directly. You snap it into place in the dock and it starts charging. This is likely done to avoid having a USB port on the main device itself, which significantly decreases any chances of liquid damage.
The Mi Band 4 has a 0.95-inch coloured AMOLED touchscreen display with a resolution of 128 x 240. The colour depth for the device screen is 24bit and the brightness can go up to 400 nits. The device has Bluetooth 5.0 support and the Chinese variant even has NFC.
The band weighs 22.1 grams, and has 16MB ROM. It is powered by a 135mAh battery and the sensors include an accelerometer, gyroscope, PPG Heart-rate sensor, and a capacitive proximity sensor.
The Mi Band 4 is waterproof for up to 50 meters and can withstand 5 atms of pressure.
For the first time, there are tons of customisation options available on an MI Band, or any fitness band for that matter. Thanks to the coloured display on the MI Band 4, you can get about 70 different faces (Watch-faces? Band-faces? You choose!) on the device. And that’s just through the official MI Fit App.
There are at least three to four custom watch face apps for the MI Band 4 on the play store which will give you access to practically an unlimited collection of customized faces which include your favourite footballer, superhero, sports brand, or pretty much anything else you can think off.
Xiaomi has also gone one up with tailoring the MI Band 4 to make it look exactly like you want by adding officially supported coloured strap replacements, which is one of the highlights of the band.
Unlike the previous version, the Mi Band 4 charges not directly through a USB cable but through a dock. The device easily snaps into the dock and while it stays there snugly, it is also fairly easy to remove the device. The other end of the dock is a USB end that can be plugged into a wall adapter, a CPU, a laptop, and even into a phone through an OTG cable (Provided your phone supports reverse charging).
Charging is fast and the MI Band 4 claims a battery of 20 days on a single charge on average use despite the larger coloured screen. We used the device heavily and found that 11 days after a full charge, the battery was still at 57 per cent.
While the battery life is great, using additional features on a more regular basis will affect the battery life. Automatic Heart-rate detection, for example, will take a slight toll on the battery if you set it to detect your heart rate every 30 mins. You can alternatively also choose to auto-detect at intervals of 1, 5, or 10 minutes.
The MI Band 4 does everything you would expect out of a fitness tracker. It detects your heart rate, your steps and the distance you’ve walked. You can pair it with the MI Fit app to track all these in-depth on your smartphone. But here’s what else it can do, that other fitness trackers can’t.
The six-axis sensor on the Mi Band 4 is twice as accurate in detecting your movements, compared to a three-axis sensor on the Mi Band 3. The greater accuracy also allows you to ‘train’ the Mi Band 4 via the Mi Fit app to recognize your other activities.
So if you go to Profile/Behaviour Tagging in the Mi Fit app, you can choose from 17 activities including running, swimming, driving, playing ping-pong and even brushing your teeth. Further, you can custom-add your own activities too. Open any one and do the activity while wearing the band, so it ‘learns’ to recognize when you are, say, climbing some stairs.
When you’ve tagged all your activities, the band is pretty much capable of accurately tracking them thanks again to the six-axis sensor. You can then at any point use the in-app interface to check how many steps you’ve walked.
The band also has a workout mode that when turned on, allows you to feed in your activities like walking, running on a treadmill, swimming while detecting your heart-rate to get an estimate of how many calories you’ve burned. This will also put into account the height and weight you enter in the beginning when you set up the Mi Band 4 for the first time.
The app further has options to enable tons of other settings. Once configured, the band will be able to show you call and text notifications, alerts from apps, show you the weather forecast for a few days and it even lets you change the music playing on your phone.
The Mi Band 4 can do almost everything, but not everything. The tracker doesn’t have the SPO2 sensor that some fitness trackers are sporting these days, but they are at least twice as expensive. Another thing we noticed was that SMS and WhatsApp notifications are only supported in English, and while symbols are visible, there is no emoji support.
So messages in regional languages and ones with emojis will still be pushed to your band, but won’t be readable. We hope that a future firmware update will bring support for Indian regional languages.
The Mi Band 4 is an awesome fitness tracker. Its good features and there are many, are outshone by the colour screen and the activity sensing capabilities. The band also is great on battery life and outdoor brightness, things where other affordable fitness trackers usually disappoint.
Speaking of affordability, we don’t have the exact price of the Mi Band 4 since it hasn’t launched in India yet, but we expect it to be priced in the Rs 2,000 – Rs 2,500 bracket. You can, however, import it to India. Learn how to easily do that here.
If the price happens to remain in that range with an official launch, the value for money of the Mi Band 4 will easily make it the best fitness tracking device for under Rs 2,500 in the country.