Friday, May 15, 2015

My Mi Band

I ordered a Mi Band fitness tracker and it arrived the other day. One of the guys at the office had one, and after he showed me what it can do (very basic; no bells or whistles), I ordered one. Well, I ordered three - one for my daughter, one for M, and one for me.

Unlike the popular Fitbit, which is over $100, the Mi Band costs just $18 and includes free shipping, at least to Germany. It can count steps (though it's not completely accurate, of course), track sleep patterns, tell you what time you fell asleep and what time you woke up, vibrate to tell you your phone is ringing when you have the ringer silenced, and vibrate gently as an alarm to start waking you up before your obnoxious alarm jolts you out of a deep sleep. Our friend said having the thing on his wrist has not proven to be motivation to move or exercise more, but I figured it would work on me for a while. Having visual proof of how lazy I am should kick my ass into moving more, especially since we live in an area that has oodles of fabulous walking/running/biking paths.

The Mi Band comes with everything you see here:
the band, a USB charger, a nice sturdy box, and set-up directions in Chinese

I have absolutely no problem with the lack of English (or any other western language) on the instructions, but I was glad our friend was available to help me set it up since he knew what to do.

Unfortunately, one needs a smart phone to install the app to see the data. Damn. I have no smart phone. I have a tablet (Nexus 7), so we thought that would work. After 45 minutes of trying, our friend figured out that my Nexus doesn't have a new enough Bluetooth (it requires 4.0). Right, so I can wear my Mi Band, but I can't get any data from it.

That evening M figured out that his smart phone doesn't have the right Bluetooth either.  That didn't matter anyway, because he was unwilling to give the Mi Band app access to all the data from his phone that it requires - address books, calendar, blood type, shoe size...), so he wouldn't have installed the app anyway.

BUT...his tablet does have all the right stuff, so he installed the app on it. Now my Mi Band is linked with his tablet, to which I don't have the password (we respect each other's privacy like that). This is where it gets weird. He knows how many steps I walked in a day before I do.

The first steps I recorded were from my laptop to the freezer for an ice cream bar. I more than doubled my steps when I brought the empty stick to the garbage and the wrapper to the gelber Sack (recyclables bag).

On my first night I got 8 hours 38 minutes of sleep (Thursday was a holiday, so I slept in), and 4 of those hours were deep sleep. Don't hate me - sleeping has rarely been a problem for me, except on airplanes.

For 2 1/2 years he has asked me every morning "Did you sleep well?" This morning when I got up he said, "I don't have to ask you if you slept well. I already checked."

So M decided yesterday to get me a smart phone. I have never wanted or needed one up to now because I do not need to check email or do anything else online when I'm not at home or at my Schwiegermutter's house. But I think it's sweet that he's willing to buy one for me, and he found a pretty simple one for the bargain price of €125.

What this means is that, instead of spending €100+ on a fancy Fitbit, I bought the cheaper Mi Band for just €16, and then had to buy a smart phone for €125. Suddenly the Mi Band isn't such a bargain afterall.

But hey, if all of that turns me into this, it's all good.


  1. It sounds awesome! I'm tempted to get one, especially since it's a reasonable price. I'm always curious how much I sleep at night because I feel as if I'm always waking up throughout the night.

    1. It's a reasonable price if you already have a new enough smart phone! At €16 and free shipping, you're not out much even if you're not entirely happy with it. I ordered it from a place called Tinydeal.

      I feel like I wake up pretty often, too, and toss around a lot, and still...apparently I consistently get at least 8 hours of sleep, around 4 of which register as deep sleep. Then again, no movement is what seems to count as deep sleep, and I am often lying still but awake. It can't be totally accurate, but it can be helpful to get some feedback. So far I'm glad I have it, and tomorrow my smart phone arrives!