Fitness bands are finding their way onto more and more people's wrists as we get conscious about health. While fitness bands have been around for quite some time now, the Xiaomi Mi Band did a lot to improve popularity because of its low price. The first generation of the Mi Band was affordable and offered a lot of features. It opened up a market that was previously untapped, and we now have a lot of fitness bands at similarly affordable price points to choose from.
One such option is the Ambrane Flexi Fit, which offers all the features that people expect from a fitness tracker. It has a sleek design, a heart-rate sensor, and the ability to track sleep, but can it displace the Mi Band 2? We find out.
Fitness bands are on your wrist all the time and a lot of people do care about how this make them look. The Ambrane Flexi Fit gets design right and looks much better than most other options. It is essentially made up of two components: the core, and a rubber-like strap. The core is removable and has a tab-like USB Type-A connector for charging. The strap has a pocket into which the core fits perfectly, and it stays in place thanks to a groove all around it. You need to pull the strap a little to get the core out, which means that it shouldn't pop out accidentally and in fact this never happened during our review period.
We used the fitness band for over a week, only taking it off occasionally. The strap has a better clasp than the one on the Mi Band 2. The double-pin clasp fits securely and didn't come undone at all, even when working out. This means that the chances of losing the band are quite low.
The core of the Flexi Fit is where all the sensors and circuitry are. It has a heart-rate monitor at the back and a touch-sensitive screen on the front. It is slightly curved to fit around a wrist, and the curved display does look quite good. There is no button to toggle between different screens so you will have to swipe on the display.
You can see basic information like the time, date, and battery status, as well as the number of calories burned, distance covered, steps taken and your current heart rate on the band's screen. For more detailed logging and to keep track of your activity, you’ll need to download the Flexi Fit app from the Android or iOS app store. Unlike with the Mi Band series, you don't need to set up an account. The fitness band is easy to pair with smartphones and shows a Bluetooth icon when connected. You don’t necessarily need to keep the phone paired all the time, as the band can record and store data, and sync it the next time you're connected.
The app allows you to enable more functionality such as music and camera control as well as notifications for apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger among others. If you like, you can also enable call alerts and the band will vibrate when you get a call.
There's a menu that you can access by long-pressing on the display. You get the option to change the screen orientation, toggle sleep tracking and heart-rate monitoring, enable wrist gestures, and control the exercise mode. We found that the “lift to wake” wrist gesture did not work as intended, which was annoying. The exercise mode is quite handy as it logs all activity including heart-rate during a workout. When in this mode, you can access the heart-rate screen with one swipe which is useful. However heart-rate monitoring isn’t very accurate and we saw a significant variation between what was shown on a treadmill and on the band itself. We wouldn’t recommend that you rely on this heart-rate sensor in the exercise mode.
We used a Mi Band 2 along with the Ambrane Flexi Fit to gauge its accuracy and found it to be pretty good. At the end of a 2km treadmill run, we had the Flexi Fit showing 2.12 km which is an acceptable level of deviation. The step counter is quite accurate as well, and we got roughly the same readings from both. The Flexi Fit is capable of sleep tracking as well and you can get an idea of your light and deep sleep cycles. There is an alarm function which vibrates the band to wake you up, and can be configured using the phone app.
Battery life is decent and each charge should last you for a week or more depending on what features you use. Exercise mode drains the battery a lot faster as it has the heart-rate sensor running all the time. We liked the fact that recharging this band doesn't require any proprietary connectors. You can simply plug it into a USB charger, a powerbank or a laptop. This gives it an edge over other fitness bands.
The Ambrane Flexi Fit has all the features you would expect from a fitness band. Distance and sleep tracking are fairly accurate and we didn’t find much to complain about. Heart-rate tracking is decent in normal mode but with the exercise mode on, tends to deliver inaccurate results. Compared to the Mi Band 2, the heart rate sensor isn't as accurate but the step and sleep tracking are, and the added features could make it better value for money if you use them. If you need a fitness band to track your routine and find the Mi Band 2 out of stock, this is a very good alternative.
Priced at Rs.1,799, the Ambrane Flexi Fit does offer a lot of value for the price. If you want to monitor your activity level, this is a good device to start with.
Ratings (Out of 5)