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Xiaomi Mi Band 4 Review

If you are shopping for a bare-bones tracker on the tightest of budgets, then the Mi Band 4 is for you
Best Buy Award
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Price:   $70 List | $50 at Amazon
Pros:  Easy to operate, solid display
Cons:  Limited fitness tracking features, no diet tracking
Manufacturer:   Xiaomi
By Austin Palmer, David Wise, and Jenna Ammerman  ⋅  Oct 17, 2019
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61
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 9
  • Fitness Impact - 30% 5
  • Health Impact - 25% 5
  • Ease of Use - 20% 8
  • Ergonomics - 15% 7
  • Display - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 is by no means the best or most comprehensive fitness tracker that we have tested to date. It's fairly sparse when it comes to features and isn't the most stylish tracker around but it gets the job done at a fraction of the cost of the top trackers and you shouldn't be disappointed if you don't expect too much. It also doesn't have all that much in ways of community compare or social features to compete with your friends and family but you will be hard-pressed to find a tracker that does more and costs less.


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Xiaomi Mi Band 4
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award  
Price $70 List
$49.99 at Amazon
$150 List
$137.25 at Amazon
$200 List
$149.99 at Amazon
$100 List
$98.95 at Amazon
$100 List
$63.99 at Amazon
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Pros Easy to operate, solid displayExcellent set of fitness features, convenient and easy to use, solid displaySleek and stylish design, very easy to use, great fitness tracking abilitiesGreat value, super easy to use, great displayGood display, fairly inexpensive, accurate step counter
Cons Limited fitness tracking features, no diet trackingNo integrated GPS unit, screen can be hard to read in direct sunShorter battery life, large screen is susceptible to damageDidn’t do the best in our heart rate accuracy test, not the most comfortableNo stair tracker, limited community compare functions
Bottom Line If you are shopping for a bare-bones tracker on the tightest of budgets, then the Mi Band 4 is for youIf you want a top-of-the-line fitness tracker, then the Charge 3 should be your first choiceThis product is the perfect purchase for someone who cares just as much about the look of a fitness tracker as its fitness tracking abilitiesIf you are searching for a budget fitness tracker, the Inspire HR is a great optionThe Galaxy Fit is a so-so budget fitness tracker that is great with a Samsung phone but otherwise unremarkable
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Rating Categories Xiaomi Mi Band 4 Fitbit Charge 3 Samsung Gear Fit2... Fitbit Inspire HR Samsung Galaxy Fit
Fitness Impact (30%)
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
Health Impact (25%)
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
6
Ease Of Use (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
Ergonomics (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
6
Display (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
Specs Xiaomi Mi Band 4 Fitbit Charge 3 Samsung Gear Fit2... Fitbit Inspire HR Samsung Galaxy Fit
Heart Rate Monitor Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Altimeter (stair tracking) No Yes Yes No No
Battery life Up to 20 days Up to 7 days Up to 3 days
Up to 9 hours using GPS
Up to 5 days Up to 7 days
Charge time 1-2 hours 2 hours 1-2 hours 1-2 hours 1-2 hours
Memory 512KB (RAM) / 16MB (ROM) 7 days of detailed motion - minute by minute; daily totals 30 days 4 GB; OS takes up about 2 GB Daily stats, sleep information, and exercise
history, for 7 days.
2MB (RAM) / 32MB (ROM)
Water Resistance 5 ATM 5 ATM 5 ATM and MIL-STD-810G Swimproof 5 ATM
Operating Temp N/A 14 - 113 F N/A 14 - 113 F N/A
Sync Range 6 ft+ 20 ft 6 ft+ 30 ft 6 ft+
Notifications Text, call, app Call and calendar alerts, text notifications and quick replies, plus notifications from smartphone apps. Text, call, push notifications Text, call, calendar, push notifications Text, call, push notifications
Vibration Motor Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
GPS Tracking No No Yes No No
Multi-Sport Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Music Control Yes No Yes No Yes
Sleep Tracking Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Silent Alarm Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Mi Band 4 doesn't do much besides count your steps, measure your heart rate, and track some basic workout stats. This pales in comparison to the top-tier models but is more than enough features for anyone who wants a simple and easy to use fitness tracker that won't break the bank.

Performance Comparison



The Mi Band 4 is fairly limited compared to the rest of the group when it comes to fitness tracking features.
The Mi Band 4 is fairly limited compared to the rest of the group when it comes to fitness tracking features.

Fitness Impact


The most significant of our testing metrics, Fitness Impact accounts for 30% of the final score for Mi Band 4 and the other wearables in this review. To determine its scores, we looked at the accuracy of the step and stair counters, as well as how the Mi Band 4 did at tracking different workout and other activities. Additionally, we also looked at the various community compare functions available with this tracker. Its results were fairly lackluster, earning it a mediocre score overall in this metric.


The Mi Band 4 has a surprisingly accurate step counter and was within 10 steps of the true step count in most of our 1-mile walks when compared with a manual step counter. On average, it only differed from the true step count by 0.2%. We had one anomaly where it was off by more than 500 steps but didn't happen again so it seems likely this was a mis-test. The distance estimate by the Mi Band 4 is also pretty accurate, only differing from the true distance by a tenth of a mile or less in most cases.

The Mi Band 4 did score very well in our step count accuracy tests.
The Mi Band 4 did score very well in our step count accuracy tests.

Next, we looked at the cycling workout tracker on the Mi Band 4. This tracker relies on your phone's GPS and can show you your heart rate, speed, duration, current time, and distance while riding. After you finish, you can also see a map of your route, estimated calories burned, top speed, climbing distance, HR zones, and elevation change.

The Xiaomi app doesn't offer all that much when it comes to comparing and competing with your friends.
The Xiaomi app doesn't offer all that much when it comes to comparing and competing with your friends.

The Mi Band 4 doesn't have much in the way of other trackable activities, limiting you to swimming, outdoor running, treadmill, walking, and exercise. Running shows similar stats to cycling, while exercise only shows duration and heart rate. The swimming workout will also show the number of strokes, distance per stroke, distance, calories, and time while in the pool as well.

The Mi Band 4 doesn't come close to having the same number of trackable activity profiles that other watches have.
The Mi Band 4 doesn't come close to having the same number of trackable activity profiles that other watches have.

Unfortunately, this tracker doesn't count the number of stairs climbed throughout the day and the functions to compare with your friends are pretty limited. It shows you your stats day-to-day and you can scan a QR code to compare steps, last weight (odd, we know), and sleep info but we didn't really see any competitive challenges or a way to link it with your existing social media profiles.

The HR sensor on the Mi Band 4 delivered lackluster results in our assessments and the other health tracking functions are quite limited.
The HR sensor on the Mi Band 4 delivered lackluster results in our assessments and the other health tracking functions are quite limited.

Health Impact


Next, we ranked and scored some of the various health tracking abilities the Xiaomi Mi Band 4 has, which is responsible for 25% of its final score. In particular, we looked at the accuracy of the heart rate monitor, if it has any dieting tracking aids or reminders to get up and move, if it has an alarm clock, and if it can track your sleep. The Mi Band 4 did alright, earning a score in the middle of the group for its so-so performance.


We didn't find the heart rate sensor on the Mi Band 4 to be very impressive, as it averaged about 15 bpm off of our chest strap heart rate monitor throughout our tests. It also had some significantly larger discrepancies — 30-50 bpm — when compared to the chest strap with an elevated heart rate.

There isn't really a way to use this tracker to monitor your calorie intake and it doesn't estimate your daily calories burned, only any additional ones burned by exercising. It also doesn't link to any third-party dietary tracking apps. However, it does notify you if you have been sedentary for too long and we particularly liked that you can adjust both the timing and the intensity of the alarm. It has a progress bar that fills in with steps throughout the day so you have an easy visual reference if you are on track to hit your step goals and automatic sleep tracking. This didn't seem incredibly accurate in our tests, as the Mi Band 4 completely missed the three or four times our tester woke up in the middle of the night.

The Mi Band 4 has such a small set of features that it is very easy to use.
The Mi Band 4 has such a small set of features that it is very easy to use.

Ease of Use


Next, we moved on to rating and comparing how much of a hassle it is to use the Mi Band 4, looking at its interface, companion app, battery life, and ease of actually putting it on, as well as its water resistance. While the Mi Band 4 is fairly bare-bones in nature, it is very simple and easy to use, earning it one of the better scores of the group in this series of tests, which account for 20% of its final score.


Xiaomi claims that this tracker can last for up to 20 days, assuming default settings (30-minute heart rate monitoring, and 100 notifications, 2 alarms, 5 minutes of vibrations, and 10 taps of the touch button each day). It stood up very well in our tests and didn't give us a reason to doubt that claim, though actual battery life will slightly vary user to user. It uses a proprietary USB charger to recharge when it does die.

The limited set of features and functions also give the Mi Band 4 an impressive battery life.
The limited set of features and functions also give the Mi Band 4 an impressive battery life.

The companion mobile app is simple and straightforward to use and data from the tracker usually syncs within 10 seconds or less. You can see some of your past data or select one of the four different activity profiles to track, as well as adjust your profile and basic settings.

The tracker itself doesn't have a huge set of menus so it's easy to navigate through the various options by swiping or tapping. The Mi Band 4 is rated as being waterproof up to 5 ATM or 50 meters and the stiffer band makes it easy to put on or take off.

This tracker is low-profile enough that it hardly ever gets hung up  though we didn't love its clasp.
This tracker is low-profile enough that it hardly ever gets hung up, though we didn't love its clasp.

Ergonomics


In this metric — responsible for 15% of the final score — we compared the look and feel of each fitness tracker, as well as their profile to determine scores. As this is a fairly subjective metric, we enlisted the help of a panel of judges to try on each tracker and then averaged their scores. The Mi Band 4 is fairly plain when it comes to looks but is comfortable and has a slim profile, earning it an above-average score.


The Mi Band 4 is basically a black plastic oval but it makes up for its lack of style with its discretion. It's small and lightweight, making it easy to overlook and even easier to forget that you are wearing it. Its smooth finish and low profile also work in tandem to keep it from getting caught on backpack straps or sleeves when you are taking on or off a jacket.

The display on this tracker is alright but can be hard to read in bright light.
The display on this tracker is alright but can be hard to read in bright light.

Display


For our final metric, which constitutes the remaining 10% of the total score for each tracker, we evaluated and scored the quality of the display, as well as the information conveyed. For being such a minimalistic tracker, we were impressed with the display, earning the Mi Band 4 a score well above average.


The home screen shows you the date, time, and day of the week. It's easy to read the screen in dim conditions but the backlight is a little on the weaker side, making it hard to read in bright sunlight. It wakes almost instantly when you raise your wrist and the screen is quite responsive, though it does misread the occasional swipe.

The Mi Band 4 can display most push notifications.
The Mi Band 4 can display most push notifications.

You can get call, text, and app notifications and you can also scroll through secondary menus to see your steps, distance, active calories, and idle alerts.

Value


The Mi Band 4 by Xiaomi is a great value option if you are shopping on a tight budget, packing a ton of features in a package that costs far less than the top models.

Conclusion


If you want the bare-bones fitness tracker that doesn't cost a ton, it's hard to go wrong with the Mi Band 4.


Austin Palmer, David Wise, and Jenna Ammerman