Review and comparison of Fitness Tracker Garmin HR+ and Xiaomi Mi Band 2

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By Ragnar Heil

I had the chance to play around with Xiaomi Mi Band 2 for a day, so I want to share my impressions and compare this Chinese Fitness Tracker to a more expensive one, Garmin Vivosmart HR+ (186€ compared to 21€), which can be compared due to same form factor and feature set. I am going to be fair and only compare features and capabilities which are similar.

Look and Feel

To be clear: Both Fitness Trackers are not made as stylish Fashion Gadgets. They have the same size, Mi Band 2 is a big thinner and lighter, also feels comfortable and easy to wear. I don`t notice them doing my day and typing work at desk and keyboard which is a good sign.  Display of Garmin is larger and offers more content, brightness can be compared to Xiaomi which means that both devices are b/w and optimized for long battery life. Both devices are charged with included USB cables, for Xiaomi the core capsule needs to be taken away from the wristband (which is nice if you want to change color of your band later). Mi Band 2 with its OLED display and 70mAh battery should last 20 days – a massive improvement to Band 1. Battery of Garmin HR+ lasts 5-6 days because the display is always on (Xiaomi`s display needs to be enabled by a single touch) and heart rate is constantly tracked. That was one of the main reasons why I bought it. Band 2 also offers measurement of heart rate but you need to put your finger on the circle at the bottom of the display. Measurements between both devices are quite equal +/- 10.


How did I sleep?

Let`s have a look at the sleep analytics from Mi Band 2: I slept 7:38h , spent 1:50h in deep sleep and 5:48 in light sleep. Fell asleep at 00:20 and woke up at 8:46 (it was Sunday).


Garmin Vivosmart tells me that spent 2:52h in deep sleep and 5:04 in light sleep. Very different data compared to Xiaomi.  Wake up time is exactly the same but Garmin has observed that I feel asleep 28 minutes later at 00:48.



Steps & Walking Distances

Next use case scenario: Compare both devices while having a short walk.
1st screenshot from Xiaomi shows 4670 steps, 108 burned calories (must be wrong) while walking 3,3 km.


That is much less less than Garmin which tracks 4,71 km, 5.215 steps and 2779 burned kCalories. Garmin also displays stairs (up and down). Activity Graph looks quite similar.


First Summary:

  • Sleep Analytics offer same kind of visualizations but very different data regarding deep/light sleep phases
  • Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is an impressive product with great battery life for 21€ with high quality and lots of features which you can only benefit if you use the mobile Apps (iOS, Android and Windows Mobile (external Developer App, not Official)). Not a recommendation for people who want see all data directly on the device without using their SmartPhone. I am missing that completed distance and burned calories are displayed which is default standard for nearly all Fitness Trackers.
  • Notifications on Garmin can be read as a short summary which is useful for emails, Twitter and Emails. You can decide based on the abstract if you want to unlock your SmartPhone or not. Xiaomi offers a ridiculous and annoying way of alerting: you only see the signal of the communication channel (like F! for Facebook) and get a vibration without any kind of teaser of content. Useless distraction!
  •  Garmin`s Apps are really great, the Windows10 is a Best Practise example – one of the best Apps I have seen on Windows10 so far. I can`t believe how many insights I get from the Vivosmart HR+ which helps me to forget the high price and bulky design.
  • Both gadgets are water resistant. Xiaomi offers IP67 (dust and water resistant for 30 minutes at -1m, so it`s more for using it in a shower than in a pool) and Garmin can handle 5 ATM.

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