Update: November 2020
Mi Band 5 - Best Value Smart Band
The Mi Band 5 from Xiaomi clinches the spot for being the best value smart band for the features it offers.
The band comes with a 1.1" Colour AMOLED Display under the 2.5D Reinforced Glass with AF Coating. Touch is smooth and very responsive. The band has good build quality and the straps are made of silicone which gives a good feel. It comes with a whopping 8 colour options.
The band comes with a 6-axis motion sensor, 24/7 Heart Rate Sensor. Also it allows connected GPS which is a great relief. The Mi Band 5 is a battery champion with a mouth-watering 14 day battery life on normal mode and 20 day battery life on performance mode. The charging is done using the magnetic Mi-Charger which attaches onto the back of the band. Hence, no more clamps for your bands.
The tracker comes with automatic activity detection and has 11 fitness modes which includes rowing machine, elliptical, outdoor running, outdoor cycling, indoor cycling, yoga, pool swimming, treadmill, freestyle, power walking and jump rope. You get to monitor your heart rate during workouts with the intensity zone identification. Sleep monitoring gives you the duration of sleep along with duration of light, deep, REM and awake periods. It also has PAI, which is a point system which is determined by your age, sex, weight, height and other metrics your fitness activity. Hence, you get a benchmark of your fitness performance which is a good motivation feature. It boasts of a stress monitoring feature (where the logic is best known to Xiaomi) and also has a breathing exercise mode which helps is a guided breathing mode. It also comes with a women health tracking feature to track the menstrual and ovulation phases.
It also scores well in notifications and smart controls. You get event reminders, idle alerts, incoming call notification, message alerts, calendar reminders. You can control music playback, find your phone, mute phone, unlock phone, activate do not disturb and also remotely click photos. Rest you can set alarms, countdown timers within the app. The Mi Band 5 also allows for customisation of individual elements of watch face and also gives you a load of customisable watch faces which is not seen in this range of competition. It also benefits from a list of 3rd Party Apps which gives you lots of customisation to do and that is a boon for many.
Honor Band 5 - Budget Band with SpO2
The Honor Band 5 is a feature packed band with SpO2 sensor.
The band comes with a gorgeous 0.95" Colour AMOLED Display with a pixel density of 282 ppi which is smooth and very responsive to touch, the screen transitions were fluid and did not find any major lags. The watch is well built and is made of plastic back, the bottom has no sharp edges and it was very comfortable to wear. It comes with a 6 day battery life if heart monitoring is enabled and if disabled will give around 14 days of life. It comes with a big list of sensors namely the 6-axis motion sensors (accelerometer, gyroscope), 24/7 heart rate sensor, SpO2 Sensor.The SpO2 Sensor only does spot measurement and cannot be used during sleep. The watch has connected GPS and can use your phones GPS to get GPS data. The phone has swimming modes and can detect different swimming styles like freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly. It comes with 10 activity modes namely outdoor running, indoor running, outdoor walking, outdoor cycling, indoor cycling, swimming, free training, indoor walking, rowing machine, elliptical trainer. You get notifications like messages, mail, WhatsApp etc. It has smart controls like phone finder, photo click, remote music control.
Samsung Galaxy Fit 2 - Budget Stylish Band
The Samsung Galaxy Fit 2 will appeal to those who want a more premium looking band in a budget offering.
The band comes with a gorgeous 1.1" Colour AMOLED Display with a pixel density of 291 ppi which is bright and shiny, the transitions are very fluid. The watch is built well, has a 3D curved glass at top and along with the silicone band feels very premium. The band was very comfortable to wear. The band is 46.6 mm long and hence is pretty big for fitness bands and hence will seem a little big or bulky on a thin hand, mainly for women and hence will not appeal to those who want a sweet and tiny band on their hand. It comes with a 15 day battery life if heart monitoring is enabled and if disabled will give around 21 days of life. It comes with 6-axis motion sensors (accelerometer, gyroscope), 24/7 heart rate sensor.There is no SpO2 Sensor, nor you have the option to connect to the phones GPS. Hence, the watch has to rely on its motion sensors for the speed, distance data which may reduce the accuracy. The phone has sleep monitoring and can display sleep in 4 stages viz. deep sleep, REM, awake and light sleep. It comes with 5 activity modes namely running, walking, dynamic workout, elliptical trainer, rowing machine. It also has a stress measuring feature and can display your stress score, the algorithm and methodology for this metric is not known and is best known to Samsung. You get notifications like messages, mail, WhatsApp etc. For smart controls, it allows you to control music and also allows you to give quick relies to message notifications.
Fitbit Charge 4 - Best Smart Band
Fitbit is a pioneer in consumer fitness trackers. Fitbit Charge 4 is aimed at fitness enthusiasts who want a no-nonsense and reliable fitness tracker. With no shiny frills, Fitbit Charge 4 makes it to clinching the Top Spot in Fitness Bands. The main features being a host of tracking capabilities and the inclusion of in-built GPS and Fitbit Pay.
Fitbit Charge 4 which released on April 2020, is the newest update to the Charge Series the previous one being the Fitbit Charge 3. The Charge 4 comes with a humble monochromatic OLED Display which may be a disappointment for some but we feel they may have probably done this to save on battery life and keep a distinction between their smartwatch line-up which all have colour displays. With that said, the legibility under the sun had no issues which is a positive thing.
The Charge 4 comes with a bunch of sensors bundled within. It also comes with an in-built GPS Sensor which was missing in the Charge 3 of last year. NFC is added to enable you to use Fitbit Pay for contactless payments. However to use this feature you will have to check if your bank allows this feature on your credit card.
Coming to the feature rich Fitbit App, it gives you the standard all day activity data like steps, distance, calories burned, active minutes. It has a sleep section, where it will give you the hours of sleep you got with the percentage of various sleep stages like light, deep, REM, awake. You also get a sleep score to know your sleep quality with regards to a benchmark. Mobile Run records your runs, walks, hikes using the inbuilt GPS and hence you get the route travelled along with a heat map denoting the heart rate zone you were in, other features being the exercise calendar, which gives you a tick list of the days you have exercised (something to keep you motivated), you have Track Exercise feature which records your workout session and gives you details like duration of workout, heart rate zone durations, and a heart rate graph. Fitbit will give you notifications if you have achieved your goals, or in case you have not completed, they also provide you with badges (within the app of course) for various milestones you achieved. You also have a feature of challenging friends and family and you can compete with them on various metrics like no. of steps, calories burnt. Coming to the log section, you can log in and track your weight, measure water consumption, food, and keep weight goals.
The straps on the Fitbit Charge 4 can be customised and you can buy from a collection of types and colour, there are 3 colour options (black, rosewood, storm blue) in the rubber material and 1 colour option (granite reflective black) in the woven cloth material which is the standard band material for the special edition.