test : best sleep tracker next to AppleWatch ?

Question :

My AppleWatch is great. The only thing it doesn’t do, since you need to charge it every night, is sleep tracking.

Which sleep tracker would you recommend next to an AppleWatch ?

 

Answer :

If the only thing you really need is sleep tracking, I would still recommend an armband-like device. Armband-like sleep tracking devices are easier to carry around if you go on a business trip or holiday, they don’t require you to lie nearly still in your bed and they’re far less expensive than the other sleep tracking devices available. The only reason not to use an armband-like sleep tracking device is if you need extremely in-depth sleep tracking because of medical reasons.

Since you already own an AppleWatch and an iPhone (or iPad) to run the Watch-app on, you also have the iOS Health-app, so there isn’t any need for more than an extremely basic display on your sleep tracking armband device. Keep in mind that you don’t need a display while you’re sleeping, you can’t even use it during sleep…

Based on this observation, you’re best option is to choose the most basic and most affordable armband-like sleep tracker you can find. I’ve been testing these 2 side by side for a while now :

Xaiomi MiBand 1S : about €20 : buy it on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.de

Jawbone UP Move : about €15 : buy it on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.de

As an alternative, you might also consider the “upgraded versions” :

Xaiomi MiBand 2 : about €35  : buy it on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.de

Jawbone UP2 : about €40 : buy it on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.de

Jawbone UP3 : about €55 : buy it on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.de

Fitbit Flex 2 : about €85 : buy it on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.de

But, in the end, if it’s mainly for sleep tracking, these “upgraded versions” are quite a bit more expensive, but still, keep in mind that they are only different in features that have no added value for you since you already have an AppleWatch.

Reasons to choose the MiBand 1S over the UP Move (or the other way around) :

Xaiomi MiBand 1S – the pros :

  • automatically detects whether you are sleeping or not
  • USB-rechargeable battery ; one charge last at least one month
  • good quality armband ; no traces of wear and tear even after extensive use
  • very nice iOS MiFit-app
  • can be worn all day
  • minimalistic design
  • can take over activity tracking and (manual !) heart rate measuring when you’re not wearing your AppleWatch

Xaiomi MiBand 1S – the cons :

  • maybe not as waterproof as claimed ; probably water-resistant or splash-proof at the most, but suitable for showering (maybe not for swimming)
  • quality of individual devices differs, some may only last for a month or so
  • reset includes strange ‘put it in the fridge’ procedure
  • if something doesn’t work there’s hardly any feedback to what’s wrong
  • no way to directly use it as input device for iOS Health-app ; the MiFit-app is always needed
  • will irritate the skin when worn tightly (which is needed for heart rate measuring, but which you don’t need since you have an AppleWatch)

Jawbone UP Move – the pros :

  • easily exchangeable CR2032 cell battery ; will last up to 6 months per battery
  • very good iOS UP-app includes interactive coaching (sleep coaching also)
  • can be worn nearly all day (not for swimming or showering)
  • simple reset option (just take out the battery)
  • can take over activity tracking when you’re not wearing your AppleWatch (not heart rate measuring)

Jawbone UP Move – the cons :

  • switching to sleep tracking must be done manually
  • quality of the bracelet strap is dubious ; tends to break unrepairable after a few months
  • splash-proof only (not for showering)
  • design is slightly bulky compared to minimalistic armbands
  • no way to directly use it as input device for iOS Health-app ; the MiFit-app is always needed

CONCLUDING :

Both the Xaiomi MiBand 1S and the Jawbone UP Move are great choices ar sleep trackers next to your AppleWatch. Personally, I slightly prefer the MiBand 1S because of the fact that it automatically switches to sleep tracking when you fall asleep.

Note :

There is a reason that both the newer Jawbone UP3 and the Fitbit Flex 2 have nearly the same design as the older MiBand 1S : this design is the ‘near perfect’ design for such a simple armband device. In my opinion, the only reason to prefer the Fitbit Flex 2 over the MiBand 1S is the fact that is is very well suited for swimming… but it’s up to you to decide if that’s worth the extreme price difference, especially if you already own an AppleWatch.

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fixed : Xiaomi Mi Band Pulse seems bricked or broken

Question :

As I was fiddling with connecting to a bluetooth speaker, the connection to my Xiaomi Mi Band Pulse suddenly vanished. Even though my iPhone can still see the Mi Band, but it says “Can’t connect to band” and on manual retry connection cannot be established due to a time-out error. In Bluetooth Preferences the Mi Band is visible, but not connected, and on manual retry I also get no connection due to a time-out error.

Is my Mi Band bricked or broken ? If not, what is the right way to reconnect my Mi Band to my iPhone ?

 

Answer :

You are probably in luck as even when your Mi Band seems bricked or broken, is most of the time just hangs and can be fixed doing a reset.

The reset & reconnect procedure in short :

  • switch-off Bluetooth
  • reset the Mi Band
  • reboot your iPhone
  • switch-on Bluetooth
  • reconnect via Bluetooth

That probably isn’t enough info, so here’s a step-by-step walk-through :

  • on your iPhone, swipe-up from the bottom of the screen to get the ‘underwater’ Settings pull-up panel
  • click on the Bluetooth-icon in a white circle, which will then turn grey, indicating Bluetooth is OFF
  • now take the sensor-pod of the Mi Band Pulse out of the bracelet and put it in the refrigerator (yes, the one in your kitchen, but not in the freezer)
  • leave it there for at least one hour (officially that should be at least 4 hours, but experience shows that only one hour will also do most of the time…)
  • first, do a reboot of your iPhone by pressing the MENU- and ON/OFF-buttons at the same time until the screen goes black and a white Apple-logo is displayed [ NOTE : for some iPhones the reboot procedure (a.k.a. “hard reset”) is slightly different ; more info can be found here ]
  • when the iPhone comes back up, type your access code to unlock your iPhone
  • then swipe-up from the bottom of the screen, and in the pull-up Settings panel, click on the Bluetooth-icon in a grey circle, which will then turen white, indicating Bluetooth is ON
  • and open the MiFit-app on your iPhone
  • then, take the Mi Band sensor-pod out of the fridge and plug it in the Mi Band-charger cable and put the USB-end into a USB power adapter (a powered USB-port will also do most of the time)
  • now be quick : only during the blinking of a LED on the Mi Band sensor-pod you have the opportunity to reconnect !
  • while the LED blinks, in the Mi Fit-app, in the Status view, click on reconnect to re-establish the Bluetooth-connection between Mi Band and iPhone
  • if all orange-collored texts are gone from the Mi Fit-app, you have successfully reconnected, if not : just unplug & replug the Mi Band sensor-pod, try again and make sure you act quickly
  • everything should now work properly ; enjoy !

If you can’t get it to work using the above procedure, just try again. And if that still doesn’t help after several tries, try these versions of the procedure, in this order :

  1. try again, without putting the Mi Band sensor-pod in the refrigerator
  2. try again, exactly as described (so including the refrigerator procedure)
  3. try again, now keeping the Mi Band sensor-pod in the fridge for at least 4 hours
  4. try again, now keeping the Mi Band sensor-pod in the fridge overnight
  5. try again, but start with deleting the MiFit-app from your iPhone, and reinstall it after reboot
  6. try again, exactly as described

You probably have things up and running by then, but if you’ve done all this and it still doesn’t work, your Mi Band sensor-pod is probably broken and you should contact your reseller for a replacement…

Good Luck & enjoy !

 

Note/update : there seems to be a German language unofficial manual for the similar Mi Band (so not the Mi Band S1 Pulse), that you can get here :

Xiaomi Mi Band – Anleitung, Tipps & Tricks – das inoffizielle Handbuch

A preview excerpt of this book (which might give you some answers also) can be found here :

Google Books preview – Xiaomi Mi Band – Anleitung, Tipps & Tricks – das inoffizielle Handbuch

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