£12 or £80? Xiaomi Mi Band vs. Misfit Ray
Entry Level at Two Price Points
The Xiaomi Mi Band and the Misfit Ray are basic activity trackers. They both have similar minimalist looks and similar
capabilities thanks to similar three-axis accelerometers. What isn’t the same, however, is the price: the Xiaomi Mi Band can be purchased for the ridiculously low price of around 12 quid, while the Misfit Ray is up in Fitbit price territory at £80.
Since they perform similar functions, I thought it would be good to compare the two and see how
they match up. Is the Ray, the latest tracker from crowdfunding success story and indie darling Misfit, really worth £68 more than the Mi Band, the low cost tracker from China’s burgeoning budget tech manufacturer Xiaomi?
Does the Mi Band perform as well as the more expensive Misfit Ray?
Here’s how they compare, point by point.
Activity and Sleep Tracking – Point goes to Misfit
Both the Mi Band and the Ray are basic activity trackers. They count steps using a built-in three-axis accelerometer, then estimate distance travelled and calories burned based on the steps number.
Neither one includes a heart rate monitor or a GPS chip, but despite that, both devices did a fairly good job of counting steps — not great, but good.
Misfit Ray is more accurate
The Mi Band, in fact, seemed to overestimate the number of steps I took.
Upon closer look, it appeared that Xiaomi’s tracker was counting some extra steps when I was typing on my computer, and it even some mysterious ghost steps while I was asleep.
The Misfit Ray, on the other hand, seemed to be more accurate, as it didn’t count steps when I was typing or sleeping. Misfit’s tracker can also track specific activities, unlike the Mi Band; it’s not solely a step tracker.
It’s important to note, though, that trackers like these two that don’t have built-in GPS are never quite as accurate as trackers with that GPS chip.
As for sleep tracking the Ray was the standout here: it could automatically detect both my light and my deep or restful sleep, and as mentioned above, it didn’t count ghost steps while I was in dreamland.
The Mi Band was less impressive at sleep tracking, as it seemed to detect only deepest sleep, and it had a hard time deciphering when I was truly asleep versus just in bed reading. (You can manually change the time you fell asleep in the app, though.)
When my Mi Band told me I got three hours of restful sleep, that felt like a good night, even though I know I slept a lot more than just three hours.
So, on tracking accuracy for both activity and sleep, the Mi Band was good, but I thought the Ray was better.
If they were priced the same, I’d say go for the Misfit Ray.
However, their prices are more than a little different, and there are still a few more points to consider.
Alarm and Notifications – A “draw” between the two
The silent alarm on the Mi Band is a good, intense buzz. It was exactly what I needed to get up and out of bed in the morning. The vibration on the Ray, on the other hand, was too light for me; I’d set the alarm, but I didn’t trust it to reliably get me up and going in the morning.
The notifications on the Ray, however, are better: it blinks and vibrates when a call or text comes in, and there are colours for each (blue for texts, green for calls).
They’re subtle, but they’re enough to let you know when someone’s trying to get in touch with you. On the Mi Band, though, the notifications were more lacking.
There’s a vibration when a call comes in, and then there’s a light that blinks to let you know how close you are to meeting your daily goal: once for a third of the way, twice for two thirds, and then a vibration when you’ve reached it.
They weren’t bad, but I thought the Misfit Ray was superior in handling notifications.
Design and Comfort – Mi wins the minimalist prize
I really appreciated the small and simple design of the Mi Band, especially since it coordinated with almost everything. The rubberised wrist band felt like it was good quality, and it was comfortable and smooth on my wrist.
It also felt secure: it clipped on easily and never opened up when it wasn’t supposed to. Plus, the Mi Band is lightweight at just 13g, and it’s highly water resistant.
The unique looking Ray weighs only 8g, and it also has a small and simple design. Unlike the Mi Band, though, there are options for how to wear it: three as a bracelet and two as a necklace.
This gives you much more versatility than Xiaomi’s tracker or most other trackers on the market. The quality felt alright, but not as good as the Mi Band, and the Misfit Ray wasn’t as comfortable or smooth on my wrist due to its unusual tubular shape.
I was also less confident about the Ray’s staying on my wrist; the clasp opened up on me a few times, and I was always a bit worried that it would slip off and I’d lose it. It’s more fully waterproof than the Mi Band, though; it’s rated up to five metres, and you can even swim with it.
Which one wins in the design and comfort department?
Well, the Ray has a more original and curious appearance, but for overall design and everyday wearability, I actually preferred the Mi Band.
Battery Life and App – 2 Points for the Mi Band
The rechargeable battery on the Mi Band went for almost two months before I needed to plug it in. I didn’t love that the charging cable was proprietary rather than universal, but it got the job done.
The Ray, on the other hand, is powered by three button cell batteries that need to be replaced about every six months. I personally don’t like having to recycle old batteries and then look for new ones, so this was a notable thumbs down for me
As for the corresponding apps, the Xiaomi one is fairly simple: it gives you all of your data, and takes up just a little over 40MB on your phone or tablet.
It can sometimes be a bit of a struggle to find exactly what you’re looking for on the app, but you get used to it pretty quickly.
In contrast, the Misfit app is a lot more colourful and robust, with graphs and charts and a social component with points, but it’s also more than twice the size of the Xiaomi app at 101MB.
Plus, if you want to use your Ray as a remote control, you’ll need to get the Misfit Link app, which is another 40MB.
I just wanted to know my steps, distance, and sleep data, and it feels like there’s never enough free space on my phone, so Misfit’s app was way too much for me.
Which One Should You Get?
The final score is 5 points for the Mi Band vs 3 points for the Misfit Ray.
If you’re looking for a starter tracker, it’s just not possible to top the Xiaomi Mi Band. No, it’s not perfect, but it’s just an incredible value.
The Misfit Ray is certainly an acceptable choice, and its unique tube-shaped aesthetic will probably appeal to individuals with a more funky sense of personal style, but I just don’t see the point of spending £80 on a tracker that’s only negligibly better than a £12 tracker.
This is especially true given that you can spend just a bit more than the Ray’s £80 (perhaps closer to the £120 price point) and get a more advanced fitness tracker that has heart rate monitoring, built-in GPS, and other more advanced features.
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