Mi Smart Band 4 is about to hit the global markets and it is again going to take the budget fitness tracker market by storm. All the rumors and speculations turned out to be true. Mi Smart Band 4 has an impressive spec sheet like NFC, colored display, upgraded internals and much more. I’m sure it would give a tough competition to other trackers such as Honor Band 4 but how well does it fare against its own predecessor, Mi Band 3. Let’s find out.
What’s in the Box?
The unboxing experience for Mi Smart Band 4 is the same as for the Mi Band 3. You get a standard box with just three contents: the Mi Band Capsule, one wrist strap, and a proprietary dock-style charger. You also get a user manual but let’s be honest a QR code would’ve been just fine.
The Mi Smart Band 4 capsule has gone under a few design tweaks or should I say just got a facelift. The curved glass is changed to a more subtle and flatter front glass which adds to its looks yet somehow is taller than the previous generation, strange. The strap is exactly the same soft rubber material and would work interchangeably with Mi Band 3. The capsule, however, clips on the dock charger instead of sliding in which means you can’t use it with the older dock.
1. Hardware and Internals
There are a couple of upgrades under the hood as well. For example, Mi Band 4 gets a bumped up Bluetooth 5.0 compared to 4.2 on the predecessor which means you’ll get a longer range and better connectivity. The vibration feedback doesn’t feel like it has been upgraded since both the bands offer similar vibration. The Band 4 sports an upgraded heart rate monitor which should offer more accurate results and take less time to take a reading. Finally, an upgraded 6-axis motion sensor (Mi Band 3 has a 3-axis accelerometer) for better accuracy, sleep and sports tracking. Just for the record, Honor Band 4 has a 6-axis sensor and it is a year old, good job catching up to the market Xiaomi.
Mi Band 4 offers a bigger (0.98″) and brighter colored display which is better in every comparison to the tiny 0.78″ monochrome panel on the Band 3. The colored display emits 400 nits of peak brightness with 24-bit colors.
Mi Smart Band 4 has improved the daylight visibility so much that I can never go back to using Mi Band 3 outdoors again.
The battery is the least interesting upgrade on the Mi Band 4 which is just 25mAh more than the previous generation tracker which of course was added to take into account the increased consumption by the color display. No wonder both generations offer the same standby time.
The front glass is redesigned on the Smart Band 4 and now comes with an anti-fingerprint coating so now you can expect fewer smudges from your oily fingers, yay. I am really happy that Xiaomi chose to keep the capsule design similar to the previous generation which allows you to swap all the bands you bought for Mi Band 3 with Mi Band 4, thumbs up for the backward compatibility. However, I would have been happier if Xiaomi also kept the charging dock same. Instead, the Mi Band 4 gets an entirely new charging dock for the capsule which *Drum Roll* DOES NOT fit on the previous charger even though it is the same 2-pin pogo style design, thanks Xiaomi.
Mi Band 4 has added a few new features and updated a few existing ones.
1. Sport Functions
With the upgraded hardware and firmware, Mi Smart Band 4 has six workout modes namely Treadmill, Exercise, Outdoor running, Cycling, Walking, and Pool swimming which makes it worthwhile for fitness enthusiasts. The band can now count steps, distance traveled and calories burned more accurately. It also tracks movements like strokes and strides during workouts like swimming which on paper looks very promising.
2. Health Monitoring
The Mi Band 4 now shows notifications on workout completion, push idle alerts, and track your heart rate through the day. This is a minor improvement as the Mi Band 3 could already do most of the things. The heart rate sensor is definitely a positive upgrade, I tested Mi Smart Band 4 and Mi Band 3 with Apple Watch as the control and measured the heart rate only to find an insignificant variation.
3. Misc Features
Xiaomi has added a few features like customizable Watch faces and presets which in my opinion look amazing on the colored display and adds to the sleek profile of the Mi Smart Band 4. The addition of music controls natively is certainly a worthy upgrade as we were already doing it with third-party apps.
4. NFC and AI
Xiaomi has two variants of Mi Smart Band 4, one with NFC and AI, and the other without it. The former with both NFC and AI is going to cost slightly more and may not get a worldwide release. The AI can help you start workout sessions, set reminders, control Mi Home devices, change music tracks, and basically anything that you would manually do on your Mi Band 4, you can use XiaoAI to do that for you. The NFC feature would let you use your Mi Smart Band 4 as a virtual ID for your offices, Public transport, etc. You can also use the NFC to pay at stores without taking out your phone. I would have complained about this feature not releasing worldwide but developing infrastructure is so much more than complex than just developing the Band. I can settle for the normal version for now.
5. Built-in Activity tracker
Like the Honor Band 4, Mi band 4 now also comes with a built activity tracker such as treadmill, Outdoor walking, Swimming, etc. So, next time you hit the gym, you won’t need to carry your phone to track your activities.
Third-Party App Support
Except for the OG Mi Band (version 1), all the subsequent generations of the fitness tracker support third-party apps and can be used to perform various functions like controlling the camera with Mi Band, controlling music, unlocking PC, etc. You can use the fourth gen Mi Band to set smart alarms, display app notifications, integrate Sleep as Android, and even add Tasker plugins using the Mi Tools app.
|Specifications||Mi Smart Band 4||Mi Band 3|
|Material (strap)||Thermoplastic PU||Thermoplastic Elastomer|
|Adjustable Strap Length||155-216 mm||155 – 216 mm|
|Capsule Size||17.9 x 46.9 x 14 mm||17.9 x 46.9 x 12 mm|
|Weight||22.1 g (Approx.)||20 g (Approx.)|
|Water Resistance Rating||5 ATM||5 ATM|
|Display Resolution||240×120 px||128×80 px|
|Screen Brightness||Up to 400 nits||N/A|
|Color Depth||24 bit||N/A|
|Interface||Capacitive Touch||Capacitive Touch|
|Screen Protection||2.5D Tempered Glass with Anti-fingerprint coating||N/A|
|Battery||135 mAh||110 mAh|
|Charger||Dock, Proprietary||Dock, Proprietary|
|Charger Type||2-Pin Pogo Pin Style||2-Pin Pogo Pin Style|
|Standby Time||Up to 20 days||Up to 20 days|
|Heart Rate Sensor||Yes||Yes|
|Motion Sensor||6-axis (3 acc. + 3 Gyro)||3-axis (accelerometer)|
|Wireless Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.0 BLE||Bluetooth 4.2 BLE|
|System Requirement||iOS 9.0+, Android 4.4+||iOS 9.0+, Android 4.4+|
Mi Band 4 vs Mi Band 3
To sum up, Mi Band 4 is a no brainer in terms of features. You get so many upgrades like a colored display, better Bluetooth, built-in activity tracker, upgraded heart rate module, 6-axis motion sensor, etc. There is no other smart band which offers third-party app support which makes Mi Bands highly customizable and desirable to power users. There is no other reason to not choose this Band other than the price. The price is not officially out yet but it is probably going to be somewhere around $40-45 and if the speculation is true then you should probably go for it. However, if it is out of your budget you can always fall back to the trusted Mi Band 3 or even Honor Band 4. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.