A fitness tracker for £8? Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi launches the MiBand

It's the first foray into the wearable market by the ambitious company

Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi launched its new flagship smartphone today, the Xiaomi Mi4, a device that has already been compared favourably to the iPhone (thanks to those chamfered metal edges). However, the company also unveiled something very un-Apple like: a fitness tracking band that sells for just £8.

Xiaomi say they want the plastic Mi Band to become the best-selling wearable in the world, and with a price that’s £40-140 cheaper than their rivals they might just achieve that.

Read more: Xiaomi launches Mi4 - an iPhone rival in China

The Mi Band doesn’t have a built-in screen or the advanced phone-enabled functions of devices like the Samsung Gear Fit, but it does do the basics: monitoring users’ steps and sleep, as well as vibrating to wake the wearer at a natural stage in their sleep cycle.

The device has enough battery to last for 30 days and is IP67 dust and water resistant (meaning it is completely dust tight and can stand immersion in water up to 1 meter deep for 30 minutes - aka, not a problem in the shower).

The MiBand can also be used as a security tool for Xiaomi’s smartphones – unlocking devices in its proximity and doing away with the need for a PIN number or fingerprint unlock. This last feature also makes it clear that Xiaomi are trying to push users into their ecosystem of devices – a range that also includes tablets and TV streamers.

The Mi Band was launched alongside the Mi4 smartphone – a device that offers users a 5-inch full-HD display, quad-core 2.5GHz processor and 3GB of RAM. Xiaomi (pronounced ‘shaow-me’) is often frequently hailed as one of the rising stars of China’s tech scene, offering its devices at cost while making money back from digital services.

Although the company is frequently compared to Apple, its billionaire founder Lei Jung maintains that they’re more like Apple, Google and Amazon rolled into one.

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