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Everything you need to know


xiaomi mi band 6 review watch face display on wrist 1

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Table of contents

Xiaomi’s Mi Band series has long been the cheap fitness tracker to beat. If you ever wanted to understand why, you’ve come to the right place. This article will detail the Xiaomi Mi Band series’ essential features, their positives and negatives, alternatives, and more.

See also: The best fitness trackers you can buy

What is a Xiaomi Mi Band?

xiaomi mi band 5 review xiaomi mi band 5 vs mi band 4

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Xiaomi Mi Band 5 vs Mi Band 4

The first Xiaomi Mi Band made its debut some seven years ago. The affordable fitness wearable line has since seen five revisions ending with 2021’s Xiaomi Mi Band 6. However, there aren’t many significant changes to the fundamental concept between the first and latest Mi Bands. All models are fitness trackers that prioritize the basics at inexpensive price points.

Aesthetically, the Mi Band series isn’t what we’d call pretty. They’re utilitarian, available in various band colors, but the pill-shaped tracker won’t necessarily spark a conversation. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. Xiaomi uses plenty of plastic in the Mi Band’s construction, which keeps weight to a minimum. It also ensures that the company can hit the sub-$50 price point with each release, even if it adds more advanced features each time. All Mi Band models feature removable bodies around which the strap snaps into place.

Although we regard the Mi Band 6 as the latest and greatest, the Mi Band 5 and Mi Band 4 are still viable options for those seeking simple fitness trackers at even lower price points. As for the Xiaomi Mi Band 3, Mi Band 2, and older models, they’re simply too long in the tooth to recommend.

Buying the right Xiaomi Mi Band for your needs

xiaomi mi band 6 vs mi band 5

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Left to right: Xiaomi Mi Band 6, Xiaomi Mi Band 5

Before proceeding, we should mention that the Mi Bands are not smartwatches. They’re intended as simple, affordable fitness trackers to track your exercises and daily activity. If you’re looking for a smartwatch that can run apps, place calls, and more, be sure to view our best smartwatch guide.

The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 is the oldest of the three bands still worth considering. In his review, our Jimmy Westenberg applauded it for its lengthy battery life, improved display over the Mi Band 3, and addition of more fitness profiles. However, it’s arguably near retirement age and packs a dated design even compared to its simplistic siblings.

Xiaomi Mi Band 4 press render

Xiaomi Mi Band 4

No longer the best, but still dirt cheap

The Mi Band 3 was an excellent fitness tracker, and that doesn’t change with the Xiaomi Mi Band 4. It monitors your heart rate, sleep patterns, and more.

The younger Xiaomi Mi Band 5 is a more compelling prospect and the most reliable Mi Band regarding fitness tracking. In his Mi Band 5 review, Jimmy awarded the Mi Band 5 an Editor’s Choice award as the best cheap fitness tracker available. It employs a larger display, additional sport tracking modes, better sleep tracking, and smarter heart-rate monitoring than its older sibling. The Mi Band 5 remains an excellent option if you’re looking for a fitness companion on a tight budget, as it barely breaks the $35 mark. As a result of that low price point, you do have to make some sacrifices, though.

Xiaomi Mi Band 5 Press Image

Xiaomi Mi Band 5

A bit older, but also a bit cheaper

Xiaomi makes great cheap fitness trackers, and the Mi Band 5 is no exception. For well under $50, you get a bigger display, more trackable sport modes, 24-hour heart rate monitoring, improved sleep tracking, and PAI integration.

Finally, the Xiaomi Mi Band 6 also received an Editor’s Choice award in 2021 and is the most advanced Mi Band there is. In his review, Jimmy loved the display size increase over its predecessors, the addition of blood oxygen saturation tracking, and the presence of more tracking modes. While it’s no longer the only option in the cheap fitness wearables segment, it makes enough of an argument to be your first choice.

xiaomi mi band 6 press render orange blue strap bands

Xiaomi Mi Band 6

Now with SpO2 tracking and more sport profiles

The Xiaomi Mi Band 6 (aka Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 in some regions) is Xiaomi’s flagship fitness tracker for 2021. True to form, the Mi Band 6 offers more features than you’d expect for a sub-€50 wearable.

Xiaomi Mi Band series specs

For an apples-to-apples comparison of the Mi Band series, peruse the specs sheets of all three trackers below.

Xiaomi Mi Band 4 Xiaomi Mi Band 5 Xiaomi Mi Band 6
Display

Xiaomi Mi Band 4:

0.95-inch AMOLED color touchscreen
120 x 240 resolution
400 nits

Xiaomi Mi Band 5:

1.1-inch AMOLED color touchscreen
126 x 294 resolution
450 nits

Xiaomi Mi Band 6:

1.56-inch AMOLED color touchscreen
152 x 486 resolution
450 nits

Dimensions and weight

Xiaomi Mi Band 4:

21.6 x 17.26 x 10.8mm
Strap: 155-216mm adjustable length
22.1g

Xiaomi Mi Band 5:

46.95 × 18.15 × 12.45mm
Strap: 155–219mm adjustable length
11.9g

Xiaomi Mi Band 6:

47.4 x 18.6 x 12.7mm
Strap: 155–219mm adjustable length
13g

Battery

Xiaomi Mi Band 4:

135mAh
20-day battery life

Xiaomi Mi Band 5:

125mAh
14-day battery life

Xiaomi Mi Band 6:

125mAh
14-day battery life

Compatibility

Xiaomi Mi Band 4:

Android 4.4 or above
iOS 9.0 or above

Xiaomi Mi Band 5:

Android 5.0 and above
iOS 10.0 and above

Xiaomi Mi Band 6:

Android 5.0 and above
iOS 10.0 and above

Connectivity

Xiaomi Mi Band 4:

Bluetooth 5.0

Xiaomi Mi Band 5:

Bluetooth 5.0

Xiaomi Mi Band 6:

Bluetooth 5.0

Sensors

Xiaomi Mi Band 4:

Heart rate sensor
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Capacitive proximity sensor

Xiaomi Mi Band 5:

Heart rate sensor
SpO2 sensor
Connected GPS
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Barometer
Proximity sensor
Digital MEMS microphone
NFC (China only)

Xiaomi Mi Band 6:

Heart rate sensor
SpO2 sensor
Connected GPS
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Barometer
Proximity sensor
Digital MEMS microphone
NFC (China only)

Water resistance rating

Xiaomi Mi Band 4:

5ATM

Xiaomi Mi Band 5:

5ATM

Xiaomi Mi Band 6:

5ATM

Colors and materials

Xiaomi Mi Band 4:

Plastic case
TPU strap

Black, Burgundy, Orange, Pink, Purple

Xiaomi Mi Band 5:

Plastic case
TPU strap
Aluminum alloy wristband buckle

Black, Blue, Pink, Orange, Purple, Yellow, Green, Gray

Xiaomi Mi Band 6:

Plastic case
TPU strap
Aluminum alloy wristband buckle

Black, Orange, Yellow, Olive, Ivory, Blue

What do Xiaomi Mi Band devices track?

xiaomi mi band 4 review status steps daily activity

Fitness tracking is everything for the Xiaomi Mi Band series. However, the bands do lack more intuitive and advanced features. For instance, you won’t find an equivalent to Fitbit’s Daily Readiness Score or Garmin’s Body Battery. However, the basics are all here.

  • Steps: All Xiaomi Mi Bands can monitor step counts made throughout the day. The Xiaomi Wear app provides a general overview on its home screen and more in-depth stats in a sub-menu.
  • Distance: Xiaomi Mi Bands can track distance traveled throughout the day. While you can use connected GPS to improve accuracy during workouts, the trackers will also factor in steps taken in its calculation.
  • Calories: Xiaomi’s trackers keep tabs on caloric burn throughout the day and display an overview in the Xiaomi Wear app.
  • Heart rate: A built-in heart rate sensor on each Mi Band model monitors beats per minute throughout the day and during exercise.
  • Blood oxygenation: All Mi Band 6 variants pack an SpO2 sensor to measure the oxygenation of the blood. The Chinese version of the Mi Band 5 includes this feature, too.
  • Sleep: The Mi Band 4 can keep tabs on your general shut-eye. However, the Mi Band 5 and Mi Band 6 feature more in-depth sleep tracking, with sleep stage data and 24-hour tracking support. The Mi Band 6, through its SpO2 sensor, can also monitor breathing quality during sleep.
  • Stress: The Mi Band 5 and Mi Band 6 feature all-day stress monitoring using heart rate variability data. Historical data is stored in the Xiaomi Wear app.
  • PAI score: The Personal Activity Intelligence score is a general overview of your daily activity’s impact on cardiorespiratory health. It’s indicated as a number between 1-100 and is calculated using personal metrics, profile, and heart rate throughout the day.
  • Menstrual cycle tracking: There’s a built-in period tracking section within Xiaomi’s Wear app. You can track several details during and leading up to your period, namely moods and symptoms. The app will also ping you ahead of upcoming periods too.

What is the Xiaomi Wear app?

xiaomi mi band 6 review xiaomi wear app sleep tracking 1

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Before diving into the Xiaomi Mi Bands’ smartwatch features, let’s talk about its companion apps first.

The Xiaomi Mi Fit app was the company’s initial smartphone platform that we found to be convoluted compared to rival apps from Huawei, Fitbit, and Garmin. Xiaomi has since launched Xiaomi Wear, a much smarter overhaul in terms of layout and features. However, like its predecessor, Xiaomi Wear remains tough to use.

The app provides three tabs for current status (effectively the home screen), workouts, and profile. The status page displays information at a glance and includes recent activities, a general overview of last night’s sleep, current steps and caloric burn, and more. The profile page houses the settings for the app and your Xiaomi Mi Band, while the workouts tab probably speaks for itself.

A fitness tracker can be great on the wrist, but it needs an equally excellent companion app to flourish.

As for third-party app support, there is none. You won’t be able to connect to the likes of Strava, nor can you export raw data. The app has other quirks, too. It’s limited to the metric system, lacks 12-hour time support and Fahrenheit support. Overall, it’s pretty unfriendly for a US user to get to grips with.

If you are considering purchasing a Xiaomi Mi Band, be well aware of the app’s limitations. A fitness tracker can be great on the wrist, but it needs an equally excellent companion app to flourish. For Xiaomi, that balance isn’t quite there just yet.

Download the Xiaomi Wear app

See also: The best fitness apps

What smartwatch features do the Mi Bands have?

xiaomi mi band 6 review telegram notification messages

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Now that we’ve detailed the app, let’s get back to the trackers themselves. As we mentioned earlier, Xiaomi puts fitness tracking first with the Mi Band range. However, the company does include some limited smartwatch features. You won’t be able to answer calls, reply to messages, or order food from your wrist, but the essentials are all here.

  • Smartphone notifications: Xiaomi Mi Bands can relay smartphone notifications to your wrist. These notifications aren’t actionable, but they allow you to gain insight from any app on your phone. Very useful.
  • NFC payments: NFC versions of the Mi Band series are still limited to China, but they boast contactless payment support in the country.
  • Voice assistant: Also limited to China is voice assistant support through Xiaomi’s Xiao AI.
  • Built-in apps: The Mi Band series features a few baked-in apps, including an alarm, a weather app, stopwatch and timer apps, and an event log. There is no third-party app support, though.
  • Remote music control: You can control the music playing on your smartphone from your Mi Band. You’ll also see the current song, the volume level, and track progress.
  • Remote camera shutter: The Mi Band series can double as a simple remote shutter for those hands-free group shots with your phones.

Xiaomi Mi Band accessories

xiaomi mi band 5 review charging cable

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Unlike some rivals, Xiaomi’s Mi Bands offer replaceable straps. This means you can customize your Mi Band with third-party bands of various colors and materials. The Mi Band 5 and Mi Band 6 can actually share bands thanks to their similar design. Unfortunately, you won’t have the same luck with Mi Band 4 bands — its straps are not compatible with newer models.

As for colorways, the Mi Band 5’s official bands are available in Black, Blue, Pink, Orange, Purple, Yellow, Green, and Gray. The Mi Band 6 adds Olive and Ivory to that list. The Mi Band 4 can be had from Xiaomi in Black, Burgundy, Orange, Pink, and Purple.

If you’re looking for something entirely different for your Mi Band, browse a selection of third-party bands below.

Xiaomi Mi Bands and the competition

fitbit luxe vs xiaomi mi band 6 on wrist

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Left to right: Xiaomi Mi Band 6, Fitbit Luxe

A few years ago, this section would’ve been superfluous. There were few capable Xiaomi Mi Band 4 rivals out and about. But since the launch of the Mi Band 6, the cheap fitness wearable segment has changed drastically.

Xiaomi’s chief rivals in this segment include Amazfit, Fitbit, and Huawei, and all three companies offer affordable yet capable trackers with their own set of advantages.

  • Fitbit Inspire 2 ($99): The gateway Fitbit tracker comes with a year of free Fitbit Premium for new users, which more than makes up for its lofty price. However, it’s a solid tracker in its own right packing Fitbit’s reliable sleep and activity tracking.
  • Huawei Band 6 ($89): Huawei’s budget entry brings a big smartwatch-like display into the fitness band fold. Solid battery life and all-day SpO2 monitoring sweeten the deal. However, you’ll have to contend with limited customization options and an unreliable heart-rate sensor, especially during high-intensity workouts.
  • Amazfit Band 5 ($39): Arguably the only like-for-like Mi Band rival on this list, the Amazfit Band 5 packs a similar design to the Mi Band 5 but includes Amazon Alexa and SpO2 smarts.

Top Xiaomi Mi Band questions and answers

xiaomi mi band 5 review heart rate sensor

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Q: Can Xiaomi Mi Bands connect to iPhones?
A: Yes, both the Xiaomi Mi Fit and Xiaomi Wear apps allow you to use your Mi Band with an iPhone.

Q: Are the Xiaomi Mi Bands water-resistant?
A: Yes. The Xiaomi Mi Band 4, 5, and 6 feature 5ATM water resistance ratings.

Q: Do the Xiaomi Mi Bands have onboard music storage and playback support?
A: Unfortunately not. While you can control music playing on your smartphone from the Bands, you cannot load music onto them for offline playback. You’ll need to invest in something a little pricier for that convenience.

Q: Are the Xiaomi Mi Band chargers interchangeable?
A: If you own a Mi Band 4, no. However, the Mi Band 5 and Mi Band 6 both use a magnetic puck that clips onto the tracker’s body.

Q: How do I change the language on my Xiaomi Mi Band?
A: Open the Xiaomi Mi Fit app on your smartphone, tap Profileselect your device, scroll down to and tap Language. Select your desired language, then confirm your choice by tapping OK. Some Mi Bands allow you to change the language without the need to use your smartphone. To do so from your Mi Band, navigate on your device to More settings, navigate to Languages, then tap on the language you want.

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