Mi Band2 – I’ve got mine!

I’m sure that you’ve seen the hype, you’ve seen the reviews, and the announcement that it’s on sale in the UK! But have you actually seen a review from someone who has the device in their possession?  No I thought not!  Well that’s about to change as my Mi Band2 arrived last night – much faster than expected I have to say.

xiaomi-mi-band-2-banner_1465567649I’ll have to admit that last night was rather frustrating… I’m an owner of both the previous variants so the lack of instructions wasn’t an issue but there were a number of problems I had to overcome..

First off it just wouldn’t immediately sync with the Mi fit app. I’d unpaired the Puls I have but every time I tried to add a device it only found the Puls – harrumph!

I tested that the bluetooth was working by pairing it with my phone, a One Plus2 and that worked fine!

Back to Googling!  No obvious signs of an instruction manual anywhere but eventually I found this chap – reddit user chfrick.  He’s based on the west coast (of the USA!!) and he’s got a Band2 and has helpfully put together a list of FAQs.  Most importantly it was clear that he’d got it to sync ok.  So I knew there had to be a solution…I just had to keep digging 🙂

I thought I would check to see if my Mi Band Tools app would work, it didn’t!  But it did get me thinking about whether the Mi Fit app I had needed to be updated…well not from Google’s Play store anyway – that hasn’t been updated as of today’s date (22/06/2016, UK format).  So I started looking to see how I could update the app and discovered that there is a Xaomi app store – surely that’d be the right one!  Now to be honest it was a bit of a faff to get the Xaomi Market app installed but what you do is read this so you understand what’s required and then basically hunt around for the latest version of the Mi Fit.apk file, go straight to the app url (the latest version 2.1.3 ) on your phone browser, download and install it.

Then reboot your phone and open the app and add a device.  After a long time it will suddenly find the Band2 and hurrah you’re connected.  Mine instantly updated the firmware and off I went.

So phase 1 completed.

It’s worth giving you all a few comment son the device at this stage.  It is definitely larger than the previous Mi Bands. The main unit is naturally a bit thicker so it stands proud of your wrist more than the older versions.  Oh and the strap is a couple of millimetres wider and it features a different closing mechanism which is a bit fiddly but as you don’t need to take the device off that often is fine.  It’s only the first day but it was fine to sleep with and it is rather humid today and it isn’t causing me any discomfort so another tick in the plus box!

The new thing, the screen, is small but perfectly readable and yes it does switch on when you turn your wrist to look at it so that’s neat too.  The large-ish, it isn’t big by any standard, button which you tap to see the steps, time, and heart rate is neat as well.  It won’t auto-rotate so the message is always parallel with your arm so it’s not a device you can wear on the inside of your wrist and use like Microsoft’s Band2.

OK the next step which is still in progress is setting up the notifications.  This is what I was most disappointed about when the spec of the Band2 were released – I had hoped it would display the details of the notification and not just the type of notification….if you want to see what it does display check the following out…

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Notifications

Thanks to Redskull for that!!

Bear in mind that the Mi fit app only allows a max of 5 apps – I didn’t realise so no Whatsapp notifications or indeed any notifications were coming through and when I tried to add phone calls to the list it kept asking me about “phone control”….very frustrating.  Anyway I eventually realised my error and I just set up 4 apps – Messenger/SMS/WhatsApp and Phone for notifications.

Moving onto the heart rate stuff – that works as described, you just need to tap the large-ish button until the heart icon appears and wait.  I’d been using the Mi Band Tools app to track my heart rate over time but that isn’t currently working with the Band2.  I sent the developer (Zdeněk Horák) an email last evening and, top man, he’d responded this morning to say that it was being re-developed as Xaomi had changed so much of the way the device worked.  As his app offers much better stats and tracking options than the Mi Fit one I’m hoping he’ll be able to complete it as soon as possible!!

So there you go. A proper-ish user review. No conclusions yet as I’m going to see how I get on with it over the coming days and weeks.

 

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