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Xiaomi’s Mi Smart Band 4 is a desirable, cheap fitness band/smartwatch mash-up

Xiaomi has announced the availability of its latest fitness band, the Mi Smart Band 4, in the U.K., where despite a low price, it squeezes in a massive amount of functionality. The Mi Smart Band 4 may look like a simple fitness band — and that’s how it started life back in 2015 — but it has evolved to take on more smartwatch-style features, while retaining the genuinely cheap price.

The first welcome advancement over previous Mi Band models is the introduction of a larger, brighter, color AMOLED touchscreen. It’s almost 40% larger than the last Mi Band’s screen at 0.95-inches and with a 400 nit brightness, it should be more visible more often, especially outside in sunlight. The screen is set in main module that pops in and out of a silicone band. These are available in different colors — black, blue, orange, red, and pink — and are easy to swap between if you buy more than one. The entire package weighs only 22 grams.

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What can you see on the screen? Xiaomi says it has revised the operating system to make it more user-friendly and intuitive, and added 77 different themes to help make the look more personal. It connects to your phone using Bluetooth 5.0 and displays notifications, messages, calls, the weather, fitness statistics, and more. The fitness stats are gathered with a 6-axis gyroscope and include step count, distance, and sleep data too, if you wear it all night. The band and sensor are water resistant to 50 meters, making it suitable for swimming.

Xiaomi has added a new swim-tracking feature with SWOLF efficiency measurement, to go with many other sport modes. These include power walking, cycling, running, and even more unusual workouts like battle ropes. It has a heart rate sensor on the back of the main module, which can be set to monitor your heart rate all day and night, and the Mi Smart Band 4 has alerts to remind you to move around, and also an alarm to wake you up in the morning. A tiny 135mAh battery should return around 20 days of use on a single charge.

The Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4 was introduced in China on June 11, and has now been made available through Xiaomi’s online store in the U.K. for just 35 British pounds, or about $45. This puts it at the same price as the Samsung Galaxy Fit E, which has a smaller monochrome screen, more basic notifications, and a battery that only lasts a week. To do better from Samsung, you need the $100 Galaxy Fit. Sadly, no U.S. release for the Mi Smart Band 4 has been announced.

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