Back in late 2014, the Xiaomi Mi Band activity tracker hit the Singapore market with its cut-throat price tag and reliable core functionalities. At S$19.99, it was only 6.47% of the Jawbone UP3’s retail price of S$309. The Xiaomi Mi Band wasn’t nearly as advanced as its peers, but it did all the basics right – steps tracking, distance tracking, and sleep tracking were paired with other cooler statistics such as calories burnt.
This time, Xiaomi decided to add one more hardware feature to the band – heart rate tracking. Because it requires a heart rate monitor (HRM) of sorts, the product needed a refresh. This, in turn, brought us the new Xiaomi Mi Band Pulse. No prizes for guessing how they arrived at its name. It was also interesting how they could add a HRM for a final retail price of S$27.99.
Let’s look at what it does now and how it works.
On the surface, the Xiaomi Mi Band Pulse is nearly indistinguishable from its predecessor. It is still the same oblong shaped sensor at 5.5g, with a shiny cut edge around its aluminum top. The new Xiaomi fitness tracker introduces a heart rate monitor onto the rear of the sensor unit.
The wearable’s silicone band is the same strap from before, and it’s quite comfortable when worn. The combination of its light materials and flexible strap made it easy to ignore the Mi Band Pulse. We were only conscious about the device when we went for a run, where you can feel your perspiration mixing around under the strap. Fortunately, the wearable is easy to clean.
Since the strap isn’t different from the previous version, you can remove the sensor from the strap’s housing, or you can swap the band for a different color. Unfortunately, the colors are very vibrant and striking to the eyes, so there’s only Black or White if you want a strap that looks less juvenile.
It uses the same proprietary USB cable to charge the sensor unit. Ours has gone four whole days without charging and it still had 89 percent battery left. It’s safe to say that the HRM unit doesn’t really impact the excellent battery life in any way as found in the original Mi Band.