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31 July 2016

Stepping out with the xiaomi mi band 2

Do you remember my posts on the Mi Band? It's been a while since I mentioned it. There was a time when it was all I could talk about. I bought one for me and loved it so much that I also bought one for Mrs Uke... whether she wanted one or not. Ha ha. She wore hers for about 3 months, but gave up in the end when it crashed and she lost her unbroken streak of hitting her steps target. She's such a terrible loser!

I've kept it up, but to be honest I'm struggling to get the steps in at the moment. Too much sitting on my arse writing blog posts! Ha ha. If only that was true.

About a month ago I was on the hunt for a replacement band for my mi when I discovered that there is now a newer model available. Can you guess what happened next?

 Here it is... the Xiaomi Mi Band 2. You'll have no doubt spotted one big improvement in as much as it has a screen.

The old Mi Band was pretty basic and in a way, this was it's strength. You got a daily step count and it counted your Zs while you slept. It even buzzed when you got phone calls, and could be used as an alarm. The upside was that you got a small, light band that lasted for an unprecedented month on a single charge... all for about 11 quid. Brilliant!

Can the Mi Band 2 live up to this?

The box is the same with the Mi Band 2, but that's about all that is the same visually.

The mi band 1's plastic band only ever lasted me about 6 months before starting to fall apart. The mi band 2 boasts a stronger plastic. It looks and feels very much like the old one in texture, but the clasp and holes are smaller. We'll have to wait and see how long it lasts for.

The mi lozenge is slightly larger with the 2 so you won't be able to swap bands.

See here the 1 (in green) and the 2 (in black).

The mi band 2 boasts a button and a tiny screen. Press the button and it now tells the time a bit like a watch (do you remember those old things?). Press it repeatedly and it rotates through your steps and heart-rate.

When you hit your steps limit it now displays a sort of medal presentation animation. Nothing much new there (except for the animation). Something that is new, is a feature that tracks your inactivity. If you sit still for too long then it can be configured to buzz to remind you to keep breathing. I love the idea of this but I'm finding it hard to crack the problem. It keeps going off for me when I'm at work (usually in some meeting or other), with little chance of getting up and having a wander around. That's not the mi band's problem, but more mine. Any suggestions for cracking this problem greatly received.

Another new feature is the ability to measure your heart rate.

This is a bit strange. According to this picture, I am a super-fit athlete. Don't be fooled... I haven't competed professionally for years. ;-)

One thing I will say about the heartbeat detection is that I've found it a bit temperamental. You're meant to stand in a certain pose with your arm about chest height and a smile on your face for it to work. I've found that sometimes I've needed to frown.

The cost of all of these new features is a reduced battery life. I'm told by xiaomi that the battery will last about 20 days on a single charge. I believe them.

I'm fast running out of ideas for photos. Here's a comparison of the straps. ;-)

The pricetag for the new mi band 2 is about 30 quid. It is worth it? I reckon so. Go buy one! 

I'll finish this boring technology post with a little bit of art. Here's my latest lino-cut. I call this one the "King of Scarabs". What do you reckon? I'm still learning, but so far, so good.

Actually, I'll drop in one more thing before I go. Check out this dulcimer review by luthier-extraordinaire Michael J King. It's a wonderful review and the instrument looks pretty special too. I've never played a dulcimer; Those funny frets are sure to bamboozle me.

If you have the patience, be sure to listen til the end where Michael gets down with a little snippet of Daft Punk versus Pharrell.

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