The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 has impressed us with its color display, functionality, and great pricing. Read our review of this fitness tracker and smart band! Google Messages adds an image markup tool display your notifications from your phone — because of the color display and the larger screen size.
Table of contents
- Best Wearable Tech for 2020
- What is the Amazfit GTS?
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- Honor Band 5 Fitness Tracker Review: A Xiaomi Mi Band 4 alternative with hardly any weaknesses
Swiping down lets you toggle a "do not disturb" mode that disables notifications. The Status pane lets you access current stats for steps, heart rate, distance traveled and calories burned, and see whether you've been sitting on your butt too long. The Weather pane gives you current conditions, and swiping up reveals the five-day forecast.
The watch also integrates Alipay, the China-based third-party mobile payment platform. You just keep swiping to the left for the major operations, tapping the one you want for more details. You can set alerts for milestones like distance or have the watch alert you if your pace is too fast or too slow. And by long-pressing the watch crown, you can set the watch to quickly access your most used activities. The watch has a haptic sensor that vibrates when a message comes in, but it is very subtle, so as not to disturb your sleep. The strength of the vibration is not adjustable, but it suited me just fine.
My watch automatically, and without prompting, paired with my iPhone via Bluetooth, but you have to keep your watch within about 30 feet of your phone to main the connection. The Mi Fit app is essentially a phone-based sports app that measures outdoor activities like running, cycling, walking and treadmill.
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Mi Fit syncs and stores location, steps, distance and other information your watch gathers. The app also lets you activate alerts specifically from Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram and YouTube, while a general control enables delivery of notifications from all other apps for which you have enabled notifications. Communication happens in only one direction on the Bip: inbound. You cannot respond to alerts on this watch as you can with higher-end smartwatches. If you get a notification and must respond, you will have to fetch your phone.
With the watch's GPS, pedometer and heart rate monitor paired with the Mi Fit app, you can track your activities and set progress goals. The watch records your pace with or without GPS.
Best Wearable Tech for 2020
The watch automatically picked up a location GPS signal or advised me to go outdoors or step to a different location to catch the signal and then recorded my route as I walked or ran. You can set the device to take continuous heart rate readings at some cost to the battery life, which is hard to quantify or have the heart rate monitor run periodically while you're sleeping. How accurate is the heart rate monitor?
Let's just say I would not substitute it for an EKG, but after my bout of running, jumping jacks, stair climbing and working around the house, the Bip proved reasonably accurate. With both the Forerunner and the Bip strapped to my wrists at the same time, the metrics of my runs were similar — within a margin of 2 or 3 points. The Bip tended to hit the maximum heart rate faster than the Forerunner, but within the minute, the Garmin also beeped warnings.
Often, the Bip took more time to drop its heart rate readings as I slowed my pace, but by the time I paused to make notes, the readings on both watches were largely identical, or so close as to be statistically insignificant. When we compared the Bip with the Garmin Forerunner, we found that both recorded the same number of steps in a day.
The Bip told me I slept 4 hours with 1 hour of deep sleep and 3 hours of light sleep, and that only 8 percent of the population slept less than I did.
That I can believe. Unlike the Fitbit Versa or the Apple Watch, the Amazfit has no dedicated app store, and only a handful of third-party apps are compatible with the watch. The Bip offers about a dozen watch faces, but as with the Pebble, a cottage industry has arisen to supplement that rather paltry selection. Most of the Bip's digital watches display military hour time, as opposed to hour time — something that cannot be adjusted in the settings. On iOS, AmazTools provides a huge selection of new watch faces. It also lets you export your stats to Strava or as.
One of the Bip's huge selling points is its battery life. The Bip's mAh lithium-polymer battery promises to last as long as 45 days under regular use, which includes activity and sleep monitoring. The effect is very visible in the bright backgrounds in the images below. We also observed a kind of dark halo along some high-contrast edges. In the Mi 9 sample below, the wall to the right of the window is very dark before it increases to a brighter tone.
In the iPhone XS Max image on the right, which is much closer to the real scene, the tones of the wall are much more consistent. On the plus side, the Mi 9 controls flare much better than the iPhone in this particular scene. The Xiaomi Mi 9 achieves the best Flash score of all devices we have tested so far, thanks to good exposure with very little vignetting , excellent repeatability , well-controlled noise levels, and fairly accurate white balance when shooting both with flash only or when using the flash with 5 lux of ambient tungsten illumination.
The Xiaomi Mi 9 comes with a 2x optical zoom lens and uses a multi-frame super-resolution algorithm to optimize image quality for transitions between the 1x and 2x zoom settings. The result is one of the best scores for Zoom in our test database, albeit not quite on same the level as the class-leading Huawei Mate 20 Pro.
Overall, the Xiaomi zoom performs very well in all conditions, but images are noisier than on the Huawei and artifacts are sometimes visible. In outdoor conditions, detail rendering is good even at medium- and long-range zoom settings, but some luminance noise is visible. The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is capable of capturing a much cleaner image in dim conditions, though. The Xiaomi Mi 9 triple-camera also works very well in Bokeh mode, achieving the second-best score to date. Results are very repeatable and the simulated bokeh has a good shape, along with very smooth blur transitions into the background, although on occasion the blur gradient in the foreground can change a little abruptly.
Foreground subject isolation from the background is generally very good, but some motion blur is visible on moving subjects in the scene. Spotlights in the background are rendered with good contrast, but the shape is not circular, resulting in a slightly unnatural effect. At 99 points, the Xiaomi Mi 9 achieves the best score for Video we have seen so far, making it the current go-to device for mobile videographers.
What is the Amazfit GTS?
The overall video score is derived from a number of sub-scores in the same way as the Photo score: Exposure 85 , Color 91 , Autofocus 94 , Texture 70 , Noise 78 , Artifacts 80 , and Stabilization This gives the device a distinct advantage in the texture and detail department. As you can see in the graph below, in video mode the camera captures very good texture in bright light. Detail levels reduce with light levels, but the camera still captures good textures under interior lighting, and edge detail is consistently good down to low light.
Overall, the Mi 9 is the best phone for video texture we have tested so far. The camera not only manages to capture excellent video detail, it is also capable of keeping noise low across most illumination levels. Noise becomes more visible in low light, however, especially on moving subjects in the scene.
Given that video footage in 4K resolution requires a lot more processing power for efficient stabilization than Full-HD video, the Xiaomi also performs impressively well for stabilization, achieving a score of 92 points. Stabilization is slightly more efficient in bright outdoor light than under typical indoor lighting conditions, but works equally well when holding the camera still or when walking while recording.
The Mi 9 is also our top device for video color, thanks to generally pleasant color rendering in all situations and no color shading. White balance transitions under changing light sources are fine as well, with only some slight stepping under indoor lighting. Target exposure is very good, even in low light, and transitions are smooth. Dynamic range is somewhat limited, but the Mi 9 has that in common with most of its direct competitors and overall, only the Apple iPhone XS Max with its HDR video algorithm achieves better dynamic range in video mode.
Artifacts are well-controlled overall, but we noticed some aliasing on diagonal lines and a slight judder effect when panning. There are also some dropped frames in all conditions, but our testers counted only about four dropped frames per minute of recording, so the effect will hardly be noticeable to the casual viewer. The Xiaomi autofocus system worked well in video mode, too. It is good at tracking and is always responsive. The only situation in which we noticed a loss of focus was walking while recording under indoor lighting.
With convincing results across the board and no major flaws, the Mi 9 is the third-best device so far for still imaging, edged out only by Huawei juggernauts Mate 20 Pro and P20 Pro. In video mode it does even better, finding itself at the very top of our ranking, making it the top choice for mobile video shooters. This is partly due to the Mi 9 being the first test device recording 4K video by default and therefore scoring very high for texture and detail, but it also puts in a very good performance in all other test categories.
Still, it might be considered a very useful tool by many, making the Xiaomi Mi 9 even easier to recommend to anyone who likes taking pictures and recording videos with their smartphone.
Honor Band 5 Fitness Tracker Review: A Xiaomi Mi Band 4 alternative with hardly any weaknesses
Read more about our Comment Policy. Updated: Xiaomi Mi 9 camera review. Update summary. Xiaomi Mi 9 Xiaomi Mi 9, 18mm, image detail. Xiaomi Mi 9, crop. Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, 18mm, image detail. Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, crop. Huawei P30 Pro, 18mm, image detail. Huawei P30 Pro, crop.