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20 June 2015

Xiaomi Mi Fit Madness

This past month or so has been a bit of a frustrating time with my Mi Fit Band. Fingers crossed, I'm through the worst of it. Time for a rant and to share a little bit of Xiaomi news with you.

If you want a sort of 101 on the Mi Fit band then please check out my earlier post that shows you how to set one up from scratch.

A couple of months ago my wife's Mi Fit got "stuck". It stopped counting steps and sleep patterns. The band would vibrate when you'd locate it and appeared to be happily paired with her phone, but it simply wouldn't clock up the stats.

I spent ages trying to sort it out. I charged it to max; Rebooted the phone; Unpaired and re-paired the band; Uninstalled the Mi Fit app and reinstalled... Nada. What on earth had gone wrong? I didn't have a clue. More frustratingly for me, was the fact that my wife gave up on her band; She'd lost her unbroken record of hitting her target! Oh dear! The only bright side here was that I now had a chance to catch her up! Ha ha! ;-)

Eventually I spotted a firmware update appear on my Mi Fit, so I updated my wife's to see what would happen. It fixed her band! Woohoo!

This episode ended with Mrs Uke back wearing her band and me with the longest unbroken record for hitting target. Ha ha! Life was good.

And then it happened to me... :-O

I seemed to have exactly the same problem with my Mi Fit band as Mrs Uke had experienced. I tried all the same things I'd tried before without success. Damn, damn, damn!

It all happened when my band ran out of power and I'd had to recharge it. Perhaps all these problems relate to recharging? Who knows?

Next stop was the internet in search of ideas. Perhaps I could refresh or reset the firmware, forcing it to upgrade again? Perhaps I could factory reset? I learnt that the Mi Band has no factory reset option and I couldn't find any way of forcing the firmware to reset itself. How bloody annoying! I was SOOOO angry! My record breaking target streak was slipping through my fingers.

Try as I might, nothing I did helped. I even followed some instructions for keeping the band in the fridge for a couple of days. I was super-dubious about this one, and can report back that it made no difference whatsoever. Sucker!

And then, one day, my Mi Fit app updated and everything was working again by magic. But a day later it stopped working again and uniquely this time I was left without the ability to even pair my band with my phone. What an absolute bloody nightmare! A week later, the phone magically paired itself with the band and everything has been working ever since. There is no record of an App update on my phone, so I really don't have a clue what changed.

As I write, everything is working! I'm happy with that, but the experience has left me feeling all bitter and twisted. I really just want it to work without all the drama. I'm left wondering when it is going to all crap out again.

And yes... I've lost the data when the band wasn't working and my bloody record has gone! NOOOOOOOOO!!!!

The new version of the Mi Fit App came with some important feature updates that give us hints that Xiaomi have ambitions for extending the Mi range and the over-all offering.

After an earlier app update I'd learnt that there are now a Mi Smart Scales available. These scales aren't officially for sale in the UK. Those that are (check out Amazon), are currently pretty expensive. When I looked into them I learnt that the scales pair with your phone rather than the Mi Fit Band which is poo, but they do what you expect: they keep a track of your weight. I like the idea. One for the future I reckon.

The most recent update of the iPhone Mi Fit app brought us the ability to record weight manually without the need for the scales as you can see in the above picture. So I guess you can try before you buy.

Another interesting feature is the new ability to automatically share your stats with friends and vice versa. I'm personally not that excited about this feature, but I thought I'd give it a go. It turns out that I need to set myself up with something called WeChat for it to work and yet another bloody account to manage. I can't be arsed with this at the moment. Another one for the future perhaps, and a lesson for Xiaomi to make things a little easier? 

I finish today's rant with a cautionary tale of the perils of buying knock-off Mi Fit bands. Fortunately this is not my tale. A friend of mine who we shall call Mr Unlucky bought himself a cheap Mi Fit replacement band and the bloody thing only went and fell off... and he lost his band. Oh no!

The band pictured is mine and an original. Buy original bands kids!

Oh, and one last rumour...

I'm lead to believe that there is a mark 2 Mi Fit band in the pipes which boasts 2 months-worth of charge time. This might half the chance of the bloody thing crashing! ;-P /rantover

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