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Mi Band 4 - experience and comparison with MB2

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By _mysiak_, Senior Member on 29th July 2019, 11:25 AM
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I had a Mi Band 2 for about a year, combined with Notify & Fitness app it provided everything I needed or wanted. Except for the broken strap I didn't have any major issues with it, so I had no reason for an upgrade. But..once I saw the Fallout pip boy custom watch face for Mi Band 4, I was sold immediately Using Mi Fit app is mandatory for the time being, but frankly speaking it provides almost everything I need when combined with Mi Band 4 (with MB2 the functions are much more limited). So.. a short comparison:

- MB2 is smaller and less obtrusive. MB4 is taller and you can't really "hide" it. I would strongly prefer a more generic and flat band shape (like Honor Band for example).
- MB2 has "invisible" display, MB4 has clearly visible edges when the display is off
- MB2 doesn't have a lock screen function, but all it does in the shower is cycle through screens. MB4 gets unlocked by running water and can set/change some settings during shower.
- custom watch faces for MB4 are great, you can see all the stats with a quick glance
- starting/stoping a workout from the band itself is very convenient, also it displays real time stats on the band display during the workout
- steps, HR, sleep cycles seem to be about the same, I have no problems with MB2 or MB4
- Notify & Fitness app supports both, it is a must have for MB2 if you want to get most of it, but only optional for MB4. It's still a nice addition, so I'm using both N&F and Mi Fit. There seem to be no conflict when using both apps.
- Mi Band Tools is totally useless with MB4 (for me), it doesn't provide anything extra to Mi Fit (except custom watch faces). Integration with Sleep as Android doesn't work on my phone.
- Sleep as Android is next to useless for both bands, it ignores my night walks and counts them as a good sleep. I can't trust this app at all.
- Mi Fit and N&F (accurate analysis with 4.7 engine) provide quite accurate results (as far as I can say) with similar stats, detecting start/end of sleep automatically and night wake up periods correctly, no objections.

Functionally wise, and for my usage, it's not really an upgrade. But the new display and custom watch faces were worth the investment..
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29th July 2019, 03:43 PM |#2  
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I was actually thinking of making a video comparing the Band 2 and 4, whether or not it's worth upgrading, I was pleasantly surprised by your thread

I had bought my MB2 back in October 2016, upgraded to MB4 about 3 weeks ago.
Never used, let alone heard of "Notify & Fitness," will definitely check it out later.

I agree with most of what you wrote, but I'll also give some of my insight.

- I didn't really notice the MB4 being that much bigger than the MB2, I'd compare the two bands' body-to-display ratio as picking up an "old" phone, with a 16:9 display, and a top and bottom chin, vs. a phone with no chins and notches. MB2 only had an "invisible display" in my opinion, because there was a larger air gap between the display and the top of the glass.
I'm super happy they went with an OLED display, despite the price - great contrast, and no wasted screen-on time!
- I usually had the Band 2 randomly vibrate when having failed to measure my heart rate in the shower, as the running water did indeed cycle thru the functions, however I've never had that or anything similar happen with the newer band (you could also enable the screen lock on it, however that only reduces the chance of it doing random things).
- I can't see any of the downloaded watch faces on my phone in the Mi Fit app (OP3T, with RR) (the placeholders are there, but they are blank, even when tapping on them, all I can see is their names), I also wish it would be a bit easier to create custom faces, though the band's been only out for like a month or two, I'm sure we'll get some AIO tools later down the road.
- Being able to start, monitor, and stop workouts from the band itself is indeed very convenient and useful (also, hooray for pool swimming finally being added), however I wish the real time (not the length of the workout) would be displayed with a bigger font, it's been real hard for me to see, even on full brightness.

- What's been bugging me is that now, on the MB4, you can 'Lift to Wake' even when DND is turned on, which wasn't a thing on the older one - which I preferred more. I know there's an option to disable the function from set time to another set time, but I wish there was a way to automatically have it turn off and then back on again.
- Being able to adjust brightness is a blessing, though I wish it wasn't hidden so deep within the settings. It would also be nice to be able to change the left and right swipe actions from the home screen - music playback controls have not worked more often than they had, and since I'm outside of China, I'm not able to use AliPay even if I wanted to, so that's just a wasted gesture, basically.
- The 'Weather' panel is nice to have, however it's not very accurate at all, I found myself checking the stock Google weather forecast on my phone - but that's just an 'unreliable' weather provider, which, along with most of the things I mentioned, could be changed via a simple software update.
- Lastly, it's kinda funny how when receiving notifications with special characters or emojis in it, the you just get a missing character - ⍰ - icon, but that's just nitpicking.

I was happy to see the new Mi Band 4's release price being almost exactly the same as the price I paid for my Mi Band 2 a few years ago (about 35 bucks).
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29th July 2019, 05:21 PM |#3  
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Thank you for adding your experience. Just a few remarks to your comments, if you don't mind

- for custom watch faces you have to use 3rd party app or quite complicated manual setup with Mi Fit. I prefer N&F app as it works nicely with this great page https://amazfitwatchfaces.com/mi-band-4/top and it's basically a question of pressing the "use the face" button. I add interesting watch faces to my favorites while on a PC and then locate them quickly from N&F on the phone.
- if you want to have better (and automatic) control over MB4, I would suggest looking at Tasker and N&F app. You can turn on/off many settings based on different events, times etc., but it definitely isn't very user friendly (especially when you see both apps for the first time). Though once you get the grasp of them, you can have a lot of fun
- based on your Ali pay comment I assume you have Chinese version. Global one has music control for both directions. However I will probably never use it, so would definitely appreciate a customizable shortcuts to different actions. Hopefully future firmware release will contain it. Maybe if enough of us will send a feedback from Mi Fit app, they'll consider it..?
- weather is being said to be using Xiaomi servers with "automatically selected providers". I just disabled this item in the menu as my experience with inaccuracy is the same as yours. Using phone for such info is more convenient anyway.
- I hoped that they finally accepted the fact that people are using special characters around the world and could display them correctly in year 2019.. But so far we're out of luck. As a workaround you can disable notifications in Mi Fit and use those from N&F with "transliterate" feature (it replaces all special chars with standard ones). For Emojis there's a special custom FW version, but it's being said that it heavily drains the battery, so not sure how useful it is.

There are many videos comparing MB3 and MB4, but probably not a single one for MB2 vs. MB4 - I would certainly welcome one.. Btw. I paid ~40eur for the global version and full 2 years of warranty (Slovakia). Would be happier with lower price, but I didn't have the patience to wait for the shipping from China
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29th July 2019, 05:34 PM |#4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _mysiak_

Thank you for adding your experience. Just a few remarks to your comments, if you don't mind

[...]


There are many videos comparing MB3 and MB4, but probably not a single one for MB2 vs. MB4 - I would certainly welcome one.. Btw. I paid ~40eur for the global version and full 2 years of warranty (Slovakia). Would be happier with lower price, but I didn't have the patience to wait for the shipping from China

I only watched like one video on using custom watch faces, they didn't mention N&F, didn't know that was an option, my mistake.

I have used Tasker a few times before, but honestly, it's not that big of a deal for me to go that far, it's just something new I need to get used to, and it's taking a bit. I also don't really see any difference between the "sensitive" and "normal" options at the 'lift to wake sensitivity' or whatever the option is called.

I wouldn't go as far as to flash some custom firmware just to have emojis show up, it's just strange to see them missing in 2015+4

I actually want to go out for a run, just so I'd be able to say something about the workout tracking - I've used it for a few days when going to and coming home from work by bike, but that's like a 5 minute ride, so nothing conclusive there - only problem is I'm a lazy ass, and I don't do any sports anymore, let alone go for a run every now and then, I still need to convince myself


Got my Band 4 on eBay from Germany, not sure about the warranty, I just bought whatever had the best date of arrival to price ratio (tbh, my wristband broke for my Mi Band 2, I thought I had some replacements at home but I didn't, so I was like whatever, I'll just upgrade now)
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29th July 2019, 05:46 PM |#5  
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I hear you about being lazy (I like "not a sports person" term more )..today I went to work on foot for the first time (instead of the usual public transportation) just to test the workout feature for 25 minutes..
30th July 2019, 06:49 PM |#6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lada333

- I can't see any of the downloaded watch faces on my phone in the Mi Fit app (OP3T, with RR) (the placeholders are there, but they are blank, even when tapping on them, all I can see is their names), I also wish it would be a bit easier to create custom faces, though the band's been only out for like a month or two, I'm sure we'll get some AIO tools later down the road.

I've just found that AmazFaces app populates the "My band displays" in Mi Fit app with 3rd party watch faces with preview (just click on "Download" in AmazFaces app and it magically appears in Mi Fit ). It's probably even quicker than using Notify & Fitness or Mi band tools.
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8th August 2019, 11:14 PM |#7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _mysiak_

I've just found that AmazFaces app populates the "My band displays" in Mi Fit app with 3rd party watch faces with preview (just click on "Download" in AmazFaces app and it magically appears in Mi Fit ). It's probably even quicker than using Notify & Fitness or Mi band tools.

I have completely abandoned the Mi Fit app (the only thing I'm losing out on, is syncing new watch faces, but I found one I like, not going to change it any time soon), I bought Mi Band Master, for like 3 dollars, it's working flawlessly for me.
I also purchased N&F, but I didn't quite like it as much, and some functionality (that was important to me, at least) seemed to be broken, so I stuck with MBM - they also have a modded mi fit apk which lets MBM authorize the band, so there's no need to have the Mi Fit app installed at all!

I'm really looking forward to what custom utilities we're going to get for this watch
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9th August 2019, 06:29 AM |#8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lada333

I have completely abandoned the Mi Fit app (the only thing I'm losing out on, is syncing new watch faces, but I found one I like, not going to change it any time soon), I bought Mi Band Master, for like 3 dollars, it's working flawlessly for me.
I also purchased N&F, but I didn't quite like it as much, and some functionality (that was important to me, at least) seemed to be broken, so I stuck with MBM - they also have a modded mi fit apk which lets MBM authorize the band, so there's no need to have the Mi Fit app installed at all!

I'm really looking forward to what custom utilities we're going to get for this watch

Just wondering - which feature was broken in N&F for you? I tried Mi Band Master as well, but didn't really like it (too simple charts, no activity tracking, overall just not enough details). N&F is able to work as standalone app now too, but I find Mi Fit tolerable and will keep it at least until they keep providing FW updates for Mi Band. All in all, I'm so glad that I did not go with Honor Band 5 (even if I like it's form factor and SpO2 sensor more). I would be stuck with Huawei app and many features wouldn't be working as I don't have EMUI phone..
9th August 2019, 12:41 PM |#9  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _mysiak_

Just wondering - which feature was broken in N&F for you? I tried Mi Band Master as well, but didn't really like it (too simple charts, no activity tracking, overall just not enough details). N&F is able to work as standalone app now too, but I find Mi Fit tolerable and will keep it at least until they keep providing FW updates for Mi Band. All in all, I'm so glad that I did not go with Honor Band 5 (even if I like it's form factor and SpO2 sensor more). I would be stuck with Huawei app and many features wouldn't be working as I don't have EMUI phone..

My main reason for trying out apps other than the official Mi Fit was to have smart alarm functionality - where it wakes you up when you're in light sleep some time before your set alarm. That worked a lot better with MBM for me, also, I set an "emergency" alarm 1 minute after my Band goes off, in case it doesn't vibrate for whatever reason, on my phone, MBM actually rang an alarm, whereas N&F just started spamming notifications, lmao.
Mi Fit's weather provider was interfering with the one I set in N&F, it just kept reverting back.

Charts are indeed more simplistic, and there's no support for processing the workouts YET in MBM, but I just found it overall to stand a bit closer to my heart

Also, I couldn't really get N&F to work without having Mi Fit installed, but even knowing now, that it's an option, I still don't think I would switch over to it.
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