Tech

Fitness tracker in the test: Aldi sportily lagged behind Honor and Mi Band 4


The year has just started, the good resolutions still hold. We see a lot of new members in the gym. Most will have lost their desire to exercise again in a few weeks – nice for us, because then we no longer have to wait for access to the training equipment.

There are a few ways to keep motivation going through critical phases or at least keep moving for as long as possible. For example, the purchase of a sports watch or a fitness tracker. If you have completed the recommended number of daily steps a couple of times or see green on a black display that thanks to the training there are still a few calories left for an extra bag of potato chips, you may be more likely to stay on the ball.

We looked at three current fitness trackers, which are not too expensive at around 30 euros: the Medion S3500, which is only available from Aldi, and the Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4 and Honor Band 5, which are available from specialist and mail order companies.

All of them have to be used with a smartphone or tablet connected via Bluetooth, all of them work with native apps on Android and iOS. And: With all, there is no front end on the web, as is the case with Garmin or Polar, and no direct data export to Strava or similar services.

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The range of functions is also similar. Among other things, the trackers offer a continuous heart rate measurement on the wrist and the (switchable) display of messages. Each of the tested devices has several sport profiles for recording training units, such as jogging or cycling. All three cannot record routes themselves via GPS, but can use the smartphone's positioning system to save the route they have walked or driven. All of them have a German-language app and localized menus.

Aldi Medion S3500

When setting up the Medion S3500 there is a positive surprise: we do not necessarily have to create an account with Medion, but can use the fitness tracker and the associated software without naming the name and cloud. We think that's great for data protection reasons.

The app advises us that if we lose or change our smartphone or delete the app, we lose all data and should therefore use the online mode that is also available. But still: We would like the choice to be made by other manufacturers.

The Medion S3500 is only available from Aldi. (Image: Katja Höhne)

Unfortunately, the fun with the S3500 ends. The first problem we have with the (voluntary) entry of our date of birth, where the months and years are not displayed due to a bug, and we have to provide the information by hearing using a sound effect. The app does not seem to be finished in any other way: Another weird problem is that some of the later training units, despite correctly counting steps and correctly stored stride length, display a 10-kilometer circuit with 30 kilometers.

Too bad, because the hardware makes a very good impression. We like the metal frame, the tape feels valuable. However, there is something to criticize again after the smooth coupling and a firmware update: The display starts too late when the gesture is activated (the usual rotation of the wrist), so that we have to perform the movement several times – extremely annoying!

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