Xiaomi is expected to unveil the Mi Band 1S, a new fitness tracker that will reportedly incorporate a built-in heart rate monitor, on Nov. 11. The rumored launch date sits on the same date as Singles' Day, China's biggest, busiest nationwide shopping bonanza similar to Black Friday in the United States.
The Mi Band 1S, as its name implies, is an evolutionary upgrade to the Xiaomi Mi Band, the Chinese startup's first and most popular fitness band. As can be seen in the image acquired by Chinese website Anzhuo, the Mi Band 1S looks very similar to its predecessor, but with an optical heart sensor incorporated under the band where it comes in direct contact with the wrist.
The heart rate monitor makes it easier for users to track their daily expenditure, but it also places more burden on the battery, which means the Mi Band 1S is not likely to have the 30-day battery life that its popular older brother touts.
The original Mi Band, which was launched in July 2014, quickly rose to the top of the fitness band charts, amassing a total of 10 million unit sales, according to research firm Canalys. That is even more than the estimated 7 million Apple Watch units moved as predicted by the research firm.
However, the Mi Band and the Apple Watch are not exactly direct competitors. With a starting price of $349, the Apple Watch caters to an entirely different market than the dirt-cheap Mi Band, which launched for only 99 yuan, or approximately $15. While the Apple Watch offers plenty of fitness and smartwatch functionality, the Mi Band is limited in usage to counting calories, tracking steps, sending phone notifications and tracking sleep, albeit inaccurately, according to users.
Nonetheless, the Mi Band is still considered a solid fitness tracker for its price, with more positive points than negative, and the Mi Band 1S is expected to offer more than decent fitness-monitoring functionality for the same cheap price.
The Mi Band 1S is expected to have IP67 dust and water-resistance and increased protection against drops. Like the Mi Band, the rumored fitness tracker will likely be compatible with both Android and iOS phones.