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Wearables are wearing our patience thin…

We’re really big fans of tech, as you might expect, but so far we’ve had some pretty hit and miss experiences with wearables.

Recently Sophie and Sohaib were trying out Xiaomi Mi bands. They’re small and sleek (the Mi bands, not Sophie or Sohaib) – tracking steps and monitoring sleep. But despite some positive reviews from press, we’ve been left wanting more…

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You set your daily target, and you can see how well you’re doing through the day, being rewarded with a buzz when you hit your goal. It’s great that it’s waterproof because that means you take it off less, but it doesn’t track swimming and that’s disappointing.

Sohaib’s story,

I didn’t think I’d look at the stats as much as I did. I play football on Wednesdays, so found it really interesting to see how much ground I covered (or rather, didn’t).

After just a few weeks of wearing it, I was much more aware of how many steps I take during a day and made more of an effort to walk part of the way to work. I had noticed that the rubber wristband was starting to develop a bit of a gap around the tracker itself, but there’s not a lot you can do about that?

I wore it for Tough Mudder, and knew I was in for a long day when 3 miles into the 10.8 mile course, I had the buzz saying I’d reached my daily step count! It was put through its paces in Tough Mudder and survived being drenched three times, but annoyingly at one point the strap came loose and it was pure luck that I realised and fixed it.

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Then, last week, I got home from playing football and got a bit of a shock. Normally, I’d be happy to see the hairs on my wrist… but not through the now-empty wristband. The tracker had fallen out while playing football, and I hadn’t noticed.

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Despite the cheap price, I wouldn’t buy one again, I’d look to get something a bit more robust and versatile.

Sophie’s story, 

Wearable critics have argued that the measure of a successful device is whether it stays on your wrist or winds up forgotten in a drawer somewhere. I can be fickle in the early days of using a gadget, so I’ve personally found if I have to take a wearable off too frequently, it tends to wind up there eventually. But this was why this band appealed to me – as it was waterproof I didn’t have to worry about missing valuable recorded steps by leaving it next to the sink after washing up, or on my bedside table after a shower.

The battery life was also a huge selling point, as a power pause often tends to throw a spanner in the works of my usual routine, which again edges a device towards a random drawer. Several weeks in and it was still going strong on a single charge, which I loved.

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On another positive note, I found I gradually became much more addicted to getting that celebratory buzz to confirm I’d reached my steps each day. I was surprisingly fascinated by the sleep tracking available with it too, which highlights if you woke up at all and how much deep and light sleep you benefit from. After a week or so I realised if I went to bed after 11.30pm I had significantly less deep sleep, so it made me more aware of the effects an extra episode of something on Netflix was having on my quality of sleep. The sit ups tracker was a little less to be desired though – it’s supposed to ping each time you complete one, but I found it really inconsistent and a little demotivating after a while. I wanted a congratulatory ding after each sit-up, not every five or six!

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Unfortunately the band holding the tracker was the main thing which let it down for me. The design itself wasn’t offensive, but there’s a clear flaw with the structure of it because I also looked down one evening to see an empty wristband, which I wasn’t impressed with considering I’d only taken it out of its holder a small handful of times. This was disappointing, because I was just getting into the swing of it!

I could be tempted to try the next iteration of the Mi band, provided there’s a more robust strap at the ready next time.

What’s next?

We’re not giving up on wearables, obviously. It’s way too exciting a field for that. Fi is still loving her smartwatch, and we’re keeping an eye out for the next health-related wearables we can play with.