The 2021 edition of the Xiaomi Mi band-connected bracelet is adorned with a much larger screen compared to previous versions and now includes a sensor for measuring the level of oxygen in the blood. Despite a rising price, should we give in to the sirens of the new Mi Smart Band 6?
Xiaomi Mi Band 6 Review: Is MI Band 6 Worth Buying?
Already announced at the end of March, the new version of Xiaomi’s Mi Smart Band has been available in France recently. It is the benchmark bracelet that has conquered the general public with its excellent value for money. Its functions are more complete each year, while its performance in terms of activity monitoring and autonomy is at the height of much more expensive models.
Faced with increasingly fierce competition, can the Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 and its larger screen keep its title of champion of fitness at a low price? To answer this question, we tested this bracelet over a good week, day or night. Here are the detailed results of that assessment and our verdict.
PRICING AND AVAILABILITY
With its 1.56-inch AMOLED screen, Xiaomi’s Mi Smart Band 6 can boast the largest screen on the connected bracelets market. Its price remains reasonable, however, since the brand has been marketing it for a few days on its site and in stores, at a price of $71. Or all the same $12 more than last year … or $24 more than in 2019!
This price is competitive against the recent Oppo Band Style sold at the same price for equipment in withdrawal, or against a Fitbit Inspire 2 launched at $118 On the other hand, with its large-screen Band 6, launched at 45 pounds a few weeks ago, Huawei has clearly pulled the rug out from under its compatriot. Especially since this bracelet is currently on sale and is displayed $12 cheaper.
That Mi Band aficionados rest assured, there is no shortage of promotions at Xiaomi and we can already find its novelty at $50 at Amazon (in Prime) or at less than $47 euros on AliExpress. Xiaomi declines its new bracelet in several colors: black, orange, yellow, green, gray-blue, or even beige.
Only the very classic black model is available on the market. However, this is an interchangeable bracelet, the tracker can be extracted. To switch to color, you will need a colored bracelet sold as an option. Too bad Xiaomi didn’t think about adding one to the box.
XIAOMI MI SMART BAND 6 TECHNICAL SHEET
|Xiaomi mi band 6|
|Dimensions||– 18.6 x 47.4 x 12.7 mm
– 18.15 x 46.95 x 12.45
|Weight||13 g (24 g bracelet included)|
|Screen||1.56 inch, AMOLED|
|Definition||152 x 486pixels|
|Resolution||226 pixels per inch|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.0 BLE|
|Sensors||Heart rate monitor with SpO2, accelerometer, gyroscope|
|Autonomy||14 days announced|
|Loading||USB cable with a magnetic charger|
|Compatibility||From Android 5.0 or iOS 10|
Compared to the Mi Smart Band 5, the new edition of 2021 essentially differentiates itself with a larger screen and a higher resolution – the accessory thus goes from 1.1 inches to 1.56 inches and from 290 PPI to 326 PPI -, for a larger display area of approximately 42%.
With the exception of a SpO2 sensor which was added on the Band 6 and its slightly larger dimensions, the design of the two bracelets remains similar, as does their equipment. Note that the Band 6 works with both the Mi Fit app and the Xiaomi Wear app, both iOS and Android compatible.
A BRIGHT, CRISP, AND LONG SCREEN
With a diagonal of 1.56 inches, the screen of the Mi Smart Band 6 is the largest screen ever seen on a simply connected bracelet. Placed next to its predecessor, this improvement is not necessarily obvious (see photo above), as the dimensions of the two trackers remain close (the Band 6 is only 0.5 mm higher and wider). This is quite logical since Xiaomi has mainly worked to reduce the bezels of the Mi Band 5.
The manufacturer has also increased the resolution of its flagship bracelet. The result is an image that is less pixelated than before, sharper, more readable. And all the more so since the screen technology adopted is the AMOLED which offers this Band a beautiful brightness of around 450 nits and deep blacks.
And yet, despite this progress in terms of the display, we remain a little frustrated at the narrowness of this screen which forces Xiaomi to use really tiny characters, especially for the menu lines of the Band 6.
After having tested the Huawei Band 6, approached as the main rival of the Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6, and it’s a much larger screen, we are left on our hunger, with the obligation to wait for the automatic scrolling of each menu line to learn and thus correctly configure your activity tracker.
Certain settings, such as the brightness or the DND (do not disturb) function can only be made from the device. A real pain if you don’t have keen eyesight and you are in a hurry.
It still offers good light, sufficient for comfortable outdoor use. If the bracelet does not have a sensor to adjust it automatically, this brightness drops drastically at night. All you have to do is activate this option in Night Mode, from the smartphone.
On the navigation side, Xiaomi abandons the touch button at the bottom of the screen to switch to 100% gestural. With a simple swipe of the finger from left to right or from bottom to top (and vice versa), you can access the various functions and information available from the tracker.
If the whole is sufficiently responsive for relatively fast and precise navigation, we regret that Xiaomi, like Huawei, has not optimized the ergonomics better.. On the Mi Smart Band 6, regardless of the direction taken – up or down – you can access the same menus that rotate in an infinite loop. Ditto from left to right.
We would have appreciated that Xiaomi better exploited this navigation by giving access to a simple swipe of a finger in a specific direction to its notifications, for example. Fortunately, from the smartphone, in the shortcut settings, add the functions of your choice in the horizontal navigation.
By limiting the number of shortcuts to a maximum of 2 or 3 functions, you can pleasantly optimize your Mi Smart Band 6.
However, we expected the brand to innovate more in terms of design and ergonomics with smarter navigation, but also a screen a little larger and a little shorter.
As it stands, Huawei’s 1.47-inch screen appears larger visually and above all provides much more comfort while its resolution is lower. Pity. But to the credit of Xiaomi, by its dimensions, the Huawei tracker is more of a small watch than of the bracelet. Everyone will choose according to their tastes and current promotions.
Regarding the Mi Band family, however, we will have to cross our fingers for Xiaomi to hear these remarks … then wait until version 7.
A QUALITY DESIGN WITHOUT MUCH EVOLUTION
The Mi Band 6 takes almost in all points the design of its predecessor, with just as many requirements in terms of quality … and the same downsides. With its fingerprint-resistant tempered glass screen and flexible plastic strap (the black sold as standard has an antibacterial treatment), the new Mi Band still exudes solidity.
We will appreciate or not the design of the whole, with a very thick intelligent module (a little more on this version 6). The fastening system is still as impractical and less secure than a classic watch buckle clasp. It actually came off once or twice at night during our testing period.
It is clearly difficult to reach the last notch when you have a small wrist and the large screen does not fully adhere to the skin … Consider reversing the position of the module in the bracelet to facilitate closing.
We appreciate, on the other hand, the lightness of the bracelet with a modulus of fewer than 13 grams for a set that does not exceed 24 grams. Under the tracker, we discover the main sensors, the heart rate monitor which emits green light, and the oximeter (for measuring the level of oxygen in the blood or sPo2) which lights up in red.
For charging, Xiaomi provides a USB cable with a magnetic port that easily clips onto the tracker as was already the case on the Mi Band 5. Like him, the new Mi Band is waterproof (5ATM compatible) and can count the beats. of arms in swimming.
ONE TRACKER, TWO APPLICATIONS
Mi Fit fans or simply those who do not want to change their habits will appreciate finding this iOS and Android compatible application. The interface deserves a little refresh.
However, it offers the merit of being relatively intuitive and of bringing together detailed graphs of its activities as well as the most essential settings for using a connected bracelet, the others being accessible directly from the bracelet.
Those who want a change – and especially a slightly more modern interface – can choose to download Xiaomi Wear which offers more or less the same functions.
This is the new app that has been developed for the brand’s watches like the recently tested Xiaomi Watch. It works perfectly with the Mi Band bracelet. In any case, you will have to make a choice, because the tracker can be connected to one or the other, but not to both.
A few haphazard translations remain on one as well as the other, not in the same places for that matter. Nothing very serious. Will you do a little rowing exercise? In France we rather say rower, but everyone will understand.
If these two apps are mainly geared towards monitoring activities, whether sports or sleep, some additional functions enhance the use such as the possibility of receiving notifications.
This applies to calls that can be identified and then rejected from the watch, text messages that can be viewed from the screen, or messages from messaging and other social networks. Note that native emojis are displayed in the heart of SMS, which is not the case on all bracelets. Of course, it is impossible to answer, this possibility being reserved for the most advanced watches.
With Mi Fit or Android Wear, it is also possible to personalize your bracelet thanks to a few dozen “Watch Faces” or dials made available. Not everything is in the best taste for a European audience, but there is still something to find an interface to their liking.
There are also essential functions such as stress assessment, breathing exercises, a mode for monitoring menstrual cycles, an alarm, a stopwatch, a timer, or modes to ring your smartphone or trigger the camera. smartphone remotely.
Finally, in the Friends section of the home page, you can add people you know who also use a Mi Band. The opportunity to share your activity monitoring, but not to challenge yourself like at Fitbit.
COMPLETE SPORTS AND SLEEP MONITORING
To an already very complete device, Xiaomi adds the measurement of SpO2 via a new sensor to measure its level of oxygen in the blood. Of course, it is by no means a medical device, but in addition to the heart rate monitor, we obtain a follow-up of its constants which improves whether it is during the phases of sleep, nap included, or during the activities. sports.
The Mi Smart Band 6 can now follow up to 30 sports compared to 11 previously. Of course, only the more classic sports, like running, will give rise to a slew of metrics and graphics. On Yoga or Pilates exercises, measurements are limited to heart rate and training time.
Without being of great help to the most seasoned athletes in search of specialized watches like those from Garmin, this Mi Band will be a perfect fitness companion for others. Without integrated GPS, it relies on that of the smartphone to follow you in your outdoor activities. With the possibility of controlling the music that follows you, during your races or walks, from the bracelet.
LONG BATTERY LIFE, WITHOUT A RECORD
Champion in terms of autonomy for several years, the Mi Smart Band 6 continues to offer excellent performance in this area, but without dazzling so much against a competitor like Huawei and its Band 6. With a larger screen and a battery that remains of 125 mAh, it is impossible for this Mi Band to hold the 14 days announced except to be satisfied with the strict minimum in terms of connected functions, which would be frankly a shame.
By adjusting the bracelet so as to obtain very complete monitoring (with continuous heart rate monitoring for example), high brightness, and several sources of notifications, as well as by carrying out activity monitoring every 2 days, it’s hard to pass the 10-day mark. Which remains excellent, even in 2021, with increased competition.
Finally, with the recharging cable, count from 1h30 to 2h of charging to pass the battery from 0 to 100%, in the absence of a fast-charging function.
FINAL TEST SCORE: XIAOMI MI SMART BAND 6
For its sixth edition, the Mi Band continues to offer excellent value for money, despite an increase of 10 euros which is mainly justified by a larger screen “edge to edge” and the addition of a sensor. of SpO2.
With a design that is struggling to renew and a few flaws that persist, the magic is difficult to operate.
The Mi Smart Band 6 will no doubt convince fans of the Xiaomi brand who will be able to keep their usual application or try the new one, a little more in tune with the times. But it is certain, it will be difficult, at such a close price point, to overshadow the Huawei Band 6, which is more elegant and more practical in everyday life.