How much we move, what we sleep, how our pulse is … activity wristbands are simple wearables that allow us to know what our daily habits are like. In addition, they also allow us to know at a glance the main notifications of our mobile.
We have tested the proposals of the main brands below 100 euros to thoroughly analyze aspects such as their interface, measurements, autonomy and how comfortable they are. Our objective? Find the best activity bracelet of less than 100 euros .
Our recommended: Xiaomi Mi Band 4
As you will see throughout this comparison, the Xiaomi Mi Band 4 only imposes itself strongly in the field of autonomy, offering up to two weeks of continuous use without going through the plug. It is not imposed in any other category, however, it always remains among the best options.
Its design is compact and comfortable, with a format inherited from previous generations to offer a versatile and simple wearable to which we can change the strap to customize it. And you have Mi Band 3 straps, they are also valid.
Its screen has improved where it is needed: offering an adjustment of brightness and color, something that is noticeable outdoors. It is not the one that looks best, but it looks great. In addition, the colors feel great to the interface, which is still intuitive but more and more is more complete and independent, being able to read our WhatsApps.
The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 offers data on steps, distances, calories, sleep, and training is more than enough to give the user an idea of how active it is.
In the debit, we would like to be able to load the bracelet without removing the capsule and that Xiaomi advertising did not appear in the application, but they are small chinitas in the shoe that do not tarnish the experience of a very attractive device in price-quality: less than 35 euros.
Alternative: Honor Band 5
The fresh out of the Honor 5 Band oven stands as a serious alternative within these low-cost bracelets. Undoubtedly, it has a sporty aesthetic – mainly because of its strap – but its design is comfortable and very simple to use.
The screen is large, well used and the operation in conjunction with interface design is extremely satisfactory even if you are a technologically speaking zero: simple and clear screens, color icons, good tactile response …
Both in autonomy and in its application it is situated in the noble part of our comparison. With 4-5 days without loading it and an easy-to-use and complete app, the Honor Band 5 provides a very good user experience.
In addition, the relationship between benefits and price is very high, offering details to take into accounts such as reading WhatsApps or expected metrics on more expensive bracelets, such as the level of blood saturation for 29.90 euros.
One thing to keep in mind: according to my experience, the main difference between this model and the Huawei Band 3 Pro is that the latter has GPS (a plus in terms of precision for distances), but the rest of the metrics have always been practically identical. Also, the way of loading, interface, and app are the same and the design of both is very similar.
How to choose an activity bracelet
The activity wristbands are designed to be worn on a daily basis, so it is essential that they offer a design and materials that are moderately resistant to shock and water, as well as comfortable to wear on the wrist and to remove it from it. And as our daily routine is versatile, it is recommended that you have customization options, such as spheres and straps.
They may all have a screen, but each screen is a world. Thus, unless we are looking for a minimalist and discreet device, having a screen that allows us to see our activity and manipulate it is comfortable and fast. It is also important that they deliver a good level of brightness in bright situations and it is appreciated that they are color.
The most common is that activity wristbands deliver data such as steps, sleep hours, pulsations and calorie estimation, although it is increasingly common to implement functions for some specific sports activities.
In this sense, we will look at the integrated sensor, often finding accelerometers to measure steps, gyroscopes to determine what we are doing and heart rate monitors. From here, depending on how complete it is, we can also find models with GPS to track our location, barometers to detect altitude …
Regarding autonomy, we must take into account that by definition, the bracelets are small, so the integrated battery must be small. It is interesting to have a range of several days, but if we are looking for great autonomy, the price to pay is to make it simpler in terms of functionality.
In addition to analyzing how the wristband interface is on the wrist, taking into account that the activity wristbands have a relative dependence on the mobile phone, we will take a look at how the application is and what it offers, in addition to the notifications that reach the bracelet and what can we do from it.
What our tests are based on
The recommendations of our buying guides are based on our experience testing and analyzing all types of devices. In this purchase guide with a specific comparison, we have chosen seven models of less than 100 euros, testing them for several weeks to know how they work.
In our choice of activity wristbands, we have taken into account not only the price factor but also the most current models of the main brands and that these have similar ones to be comparative in equal conditions. Thus, the chosen ones are the Xiaomi Mi Band 4, Samsung Galaxy Fit and Galaxy Fit e, Garmin Vivosmart 4, Fitbit Inspire HR, Honor Band 5 and Huawei Band 3 Pro.
After removing them from their respective boxes, we have proceeded to load them completely, to later install their corresponding applications on two mobile phones. And is that the two models of Samsung and Honor / Huawei could not be used in the same terminal when using the same app.
During these days we have worn all seven bracelets at the same time, changing their position and wrist. Thus, we have verified how long its battery lasts, how is its interface, what results are returned on a daily basis, how is the monitoring of activities and training and what experience they offer with the telephone to which they are linked. In short, to find out which activity bracelet of less than 100 euros offers the best experience.
An important premise: the general approach of this type of wearables is to offer an idea of the level of daily physical activity from simplicity, estimating it thanks to a simple sensor and algorithms. If we look for accuracy and completeness for an intense sports arena, there are other more suitable devices. An example: chest band devices generally offer more accurate results on our heart rate.
In this sense, we have analyzed the activity and training data, taking into account more precision than accuracy, since we lacked a precision instrument to be able to compare with real values, for example, a chest band.
Summary table of technical specifications
|ACCORDING TO MANUFACTURERS||DIMENSIONS||WEIGHT||SCREEN||WATERPROOF||SENSORS AND CONNECTIVITY|
|Xiaomi Mi Band 4||Adjustable length: 155 – 216 mm||22.1 g||0.95 “AMOLED 240 x 120, 400 nits||IP68, 5 atm (up to 50 meters)||Bluetooth 5.0, accelerometer, gyroscope, PPG heart rate sensor, proximity sensor|
|Samsung Galaxy Fit||45.1 x 18.3 mm||23 g||AMOLED 0.95 “and resolution of 120 x 240.16 M colors||5 ATM||Bluetooth 5.0, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, HRM|
|Samsung Galaxy Fit e||40.2 x 16.0 mm||15 g||PMOLED 0.74 “and 128 x 64 resolution||5 ATM||Bluetooth 5.0, Accelerometer, HRM|
|Garmin Vivosmart 4||Size S / M: 15 x 10.5 x 197 mm, Adjustable length: 122-188 mm. Size L: 15 x 10.5 x 223 mm, Adjustable length: 148-215 mm||Size S / M: 16.5 g Size L: 17.1 g||6.6 mm x 17.7 mm OLED. 48 x 128 pixel resolution||5 ATM||Heart rate, barometric altimeter, accelerometer, ambient light sensor, Bluetooth pulse oximeter and ANT +|
|Fitbit inspire HR||–||34 g||OLED touch grayscale||5 ATM (up to 50 m)||Three-axis accelerometer Heart rate monitor, Bluetooth 4.0|
|Honor Band 5||43 x 17.2 x 11.5 mm||22.7 g||0.95 inch AMOLED (282 dpi)||up to 50 m||Sensors to measure activity and heart rate, pulse oximeter|
|Huawei Band 3 Pro||Body: 45 mm × 19 mm × 11 mm. Strap: width 16.5 mm, length 92 mm (short belt) or 120 mm (long)||25 g||0.95 “AMOLED. Resolution 120 x 240 pixels.||up to 50 m||6-axis accelerometer, PPG heart rate sensor, infrared sensor, pulse oximeter, built-in GPS|
Design and materials
The design is somewhat subjective, but it can be concluded globally how our experience with the charging system has been, the mechanism to open and close the bracelet, how pleasant the straps are or, as for the capsule where it is located the screen, the balance they offer between lightness and compactness vs. functionality.
We want to highlight that the quality of the materials of the seven bracelets is good, being generally comfortable, light and resistant for the day today. However, how soft and soft the Fitbit Inspire HR strap is and how narrow the Garmin Vivosmart 4 and Samsung’s two bracelets make them the most comfortable.
Regarding the closing mechanism, we find two types: the classic buckle like traditional watches and a pin system. It is more comfortable to adjust the system with buckle, but if the strap is very long, as with the Honor and Huawei models, it ends up bothering to carry it outside. In this sense, while Xiaomi employs a pin system with a very comfortable closure that leaves the strap on the outside but holds, the Samsung ones keep the strap inside, something not very pleasant if we like to wear it with little slack.
In these seven bracelets, we find great differences in regard to your screen. The most ambitious are the Xiaomi Mi Band 4, Samsung Galaxy Fit, Honor Band 5 and Huawei Band 3 Pro, which have a 0.95 “color OLED panel, offering a good overall experience. However, the Samsung Galaxy Fit is the one that provides a sharper and brighter image in all situations, followed by Honor – Huawei bracelets, among which we do not appreciate differences.
The remaining three bracelets are somewhat lower in this section. However, the simplicity of the Fitbit Inspire HR and that of the Samsung Fit does not require much more. The small dimensions of the Vivosmart 4 take its toll in terms of resolution and layout, which in practice has made me have to approach it to see the data.
In the design section, we have gone slightly above the sensitivity when talking about the buttons. Except for the Garmin Vivosmart 4 and the Samsung Galaxy Fit e, they all provide a touch screen that perceives contact easily.
Interface and app
It is time to talk about how the interface is, or what is the same, how it is to manipulate them from the wrist. In this sense, the truth is that the large and colorful screens of the Honor Band 5, Samsung Galaxy Fit, Huawei Band 3 Pro and Xiaomi Mi Band help that, without paying excessive attention, we can go where we want. In all cases, the system is identical: press the button to activate (or lift the wrist) and move vertically or horizontally taking advantage of the fact that it is long to move through the menu.
However, the Fitbit Inspire HR and the Fit e of Samsung also solve navigation well through a similar menu that helps with simple drawings and text, something that Garmin Vivosmart 4 also does, although with a poor translation: you can put in Spanish, the text appears partially in English.
|ACCORDING TO MANUFACTURERS||AUTONOMY||LOADING TIME||DRUMS|
|Xiaomi Mi Band 4||20 days (2 real weeks)||–||135 mAh (without NFC) / 125 mAh (NFC)|
|Samsung Galaxy Fit||7-8 days frequent use and up to 11 days with occasional use||–||120mAh|
|Samsung Galaxy Fit e||6-7 days of frequent use and up to 13 days with occasional use||–||70 mAh|
|Garmin Vivosmart 4||Up to 7 days (excluding pulse oximetry monitoring during sleep)||–||76 mAh|
|Fitbit inspire HR||Up to 5 days||–||40 mAh|
|Honor Band 5||6 days with heart rate measurement and up to 20 days standby||–||100 mAh|
|Huawei Band 3 Pro||–||approximately 100 min||100 mAh|
Although it is common for manufacturers to provide indicative data on the autonomy of their respective activity wristbands, it is also that they are optimistic with their estimates.
In this sense, we have chosen to configure all the bracelets so that they offer us the best user experience and without taking into account the battery saving. That is, the bracelet is activated when the wrist is raised, its sensors come into action to measure the parameters that are capable and that offer us a good level of brightness.
What parameters of our activity offer
|DAILY ACTIVITY DATA|
|Xiaomi Mi Band 4||Sleep, heart rate (punctual and throughout the day), steps, distance, calories|
|Samsung Galaxy Fit||Sleep, heart rate, steps, distance, calories, stress|
|Samsung Galaxy Fit e||Sleep, steps, distance, calories, heart rate|
|Garmin Vivosmart 4||Steps, inactivity, sleep, heart rate, calories, floors, distance, stress, blood oxygen level and energy|
|Fitbit inspire HR||Sleep, heart rate, steps, distance, calories, health, inactivity|
|Honor Band 5||Sleep, heart rate, steps, distance, calories, blood oxygen level, inactivity|
|Huawei Band 3 Pro||Sleep, heart rate, steps, distance, calories, blood oxygen level, inactivity|
Training: variety, precision and ease of handling
Although it is not their main mission, the seven activity wristbands analyzed will also allow us to record general parameters of our training depending on the sport we practice. These are the sports they monitor:
|TYPE OF TRAINING REGISTERED|
|Xiaomi Mi Band 4||Treadmill, exercise, outdoor running, cycling, walking, swimming in the pool|
|Samsung Galaxy Fit||Ride, race, cycling, swimming, other (select from 90 activities in the app)|
|Samsung Galaxy Fit e||Automatic walk, run and dynamic training detection|
|Garmin Vivosmart 4||To choose between categories of race, cycling, gym, hiking, swimming, walking, motorcycle, diving, winter sports, and others|
|Fitbit inspire HR||Running, cycling, swimming, treadmill, weights, HIIT, golf, stairs, martial arts, kickboxing, tennis, yoga, elliptical, pilates, spinning, and hiking|
|Honor Band 5||Outdoor running, treadmill, walking, stationary, elliptical, rowing, indoor and free-swimming|
|Huawei Band 3 Pro||Outdoor running, treadmill, hiking, stationary bike, outdoor bike, elliptical, rowing, indoor swimming, outdoor and free-swimming|
Except for the Samsung Galaxy Fit e, which is very limited for this section and only allows the activity to be recorded when detected automatically, which in practice prevents us from manually controlling the beginning, end and pause, in the rest we can activate the training monitoring ourselves.
In this sense, the Garmin Vivosmart 4 and the Samsung Galaxy Fit are the ones that offer the most sports, although the Fitbit, Honor and Huawei models offer a good sports fan. Because of they’re sensorless, the Huawei and Garmin models are the most interesting for outdoor activities.
Another different aspect is how it is to manipulate the bracelet during training. For its interface, we highlight the agility and ease of the Honor Band 5, Huawei Band 3 Pro, Samsung Galaxy Fit, Xiaomi Mi Band 4 and Fitbit Inspire HR wristbands, which after activating the training from the devices will allow us not only to see the activity at Raise your wrist, but also press your button to pause it or stop it completely.
Throughout the days I have been wearing the seven bracelets, exchanging position and arm, using them in my usual sports such as spinning, paddle, and hiking. However, I have chosen to walk outdoors (available in all seven models) to evaluate the dispersion between the measured data on any given day. A couple of premises: I lack a precision instrument to compare the accuracy of the data and I find it impossible to activate the activity of the seven wristbands and the Apple Watch 4 that I carry simultaneously.
|DISTANCE (KM)||STEPS||MEDIUM HEART RATE||KCAL|
|Xiaomi Mi Band 4||1.05||1,484||101||52|
|Samsung Galaxy Fit||1.08||86||fifty|
|Samsung Galaxy Fit e||1.1||–||86||51|
|Garmin Vivosmart 4||1.03||1,503||87||56|
|Fitbit inspire HR||1.03||1,498||95||83|
|Honor Band 5||1.07||1,548||86||56|
|Huawei Band 3 Pro||1.03||1,537||92||72|
|Apple Watch 4||one||–||79||67|
Although the Garmin model offers metrics and a vast catalog of sports, it is weighed down by its dependence on the phone both to measure and to visualize. Thus, in a global way we consider that the combination of sensors, ease of use and sports make the Huawei Band 3 Pro the most attractive model.