Fitness tracking is all the rage these days, and whether you do it via an app on your smartphone, built-in features on a smartwatch or a dedicated fitness band, your choices are varied. However, when it comes to choosing which option, what do you look for? Is it features, looks, or the price? We’re assuming it’s the latter, or at least at first. So if you have a small budget, how about going the dedicated route with the MGCool Band 2? Here’s our initial review after spending a few days with it.
MGCool Band 2: What is a dedicated fitness tracker?
As we mentioned above, fitness tracking can be conducted on different devices, although a fitness tracker is a one-stop solution. They are devices which usually come in watch form (not smartwatches) and monitor a certain number of health-related metrics. Often, these metrics are heart rate, distance walked, calories burned, and, less commonly, sleep patterns.
The MGCool Band 2 features the following:
- Motion monitoring, heart rate monitoring, sleep monitoring
- SMS notification, camera / MP3 control, alarm
While there are many fitness trackers that will set you back $200 or more, the MGCool Band 2 certainly isn’t one of them. It fits in the sub $30 bracket.
If you want one, you can currently get it for $29.99; this includes free shipping from Amazon.
Alternatively, if you would rather get it direct from the manufacturer, it’s available on the Elephone store. Here’s a brief overview of our findings.
Unfortunately for us, our unit came with no charge at all, so there was nothing to do but charge it right out of the box. The meant using the slightly cumbersome charger, a piece of tech that clips over the face of the fitness tracker so that its three-point teeth can make contact with its rear.
The manufacturer probably opted for this approach to charging because the device is water-resistant with an IPX7 rating, meaning it has no external charging points. Other than being unable to use the MGCool Band 2 when it’s charging, this isn’t a deal-breaker. It’s not the prettiest solution, but, it works, and that’s all that matters.
We left the unit charging for roughly an hour before we decided to unhook it. Its display continually indicated that charging was in progress; however, it seemed to take longer than expected.
App set-up and pairing
If, like most users, you want to drill down into the detail of the metrics being recorded by the MGCool Band 2, it has an app on both Google Play and Apple‘s App Store. For the purpose of this review, we opted to install the iOS version.
Unfortunately for us, the app which handles the pairing proved to be a little problematic at first. In fact, the entire process of syncing was annoying because even with the app installed and running and Bluetooth switched on, it could not discover the MGCool Band 2.
It took three attempts to connect before we finally got lucky, although since then, we’ve had no problems with this. The app itself has a decent design; it looks professional and has enough detail to dig through. Once paired, you can begin to get used to the app, set up your profile, add a date of birth, height, weight, etc. Entering all these details helps the device deliver a more accurate set of metrics.
Once you start setting up the Band 2, the app will remain onscreen until you manually disconnect the tracker.
Remember that this device costs less than a top-of-the-line Fitbit, so you shouldn’t expect it to have similar performance. To start with, its pedometer or step counter was off; in fact, it always seemed to be lagging behind.
We tested this at the gym while using a state-of-the-art piece of equipment which also counts steps. The Band was always at least a few steps behind. However, since testing this feature, it has come to light that a software update may fix this; we’ll take a look at that another time.
The heart rate monitoring was a little awkward to test, as while doing so at the gym, it would monitor for 10 seconds, provide a result, and then switch off. It isn’t really what we expected; we wanted our MGCool Band 2 to track how fast our heart rate was for at least 10 minutes. That way we could compare its accuracy to that of the cycle machine we used. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case; instead, we were left feeling a little frustrated.
As for its accuracy, again, from what we could tell, it seemed to lag behind; however, 10 seconds is hardly enough time to test.
You’re probably wondering about the non-fitness tracking features. For us, they were a distraction and took away from what the MGCool Band 2 could have been.
For example, it’s possible to receive WhatsApp, SMS, and incoming call alerts. However, there is little to no information given when these alerts come in, which is irritating. Furthermore, when answering a call, we found that the Band 2 would continue to vibrate after answering. So overall, it was not a great experience.
Should you buy the MGcool Band 2? To be perfectly honest, that depends on your budget. If you can afford to spend $100 or more, you should probably shop around. However, this fitness tracker is an awkward to one to rate. It has heart rate monitoring, a pedometer, sleep tracking and notifications, but it doesn’t seem to do any of them all that well. Compared to the Xiaomi Mi Band, it just doesn’t cut it.
But for just $29.99 or less, depending on where you purchase it, this band is great value for the money. In fact, the features it has are often found on much more expensive devices, so it’s certainly worth a try.