The Mi Band is the most popular fitness bracelet and also the most sold in the world. The current generation, the Mi Band 5, promises significant improvements over previous models, such as a more simplified magnetic loading, larger screen, new training modes and other resources to monitor your fitness. However, it has regressed in the battery that is now 125 mAh, against 135 mAh of the Mi Band 4.
Do these upgrades justify switching to the fifth generation? Is it still worth having the Xiaomi smartband? I rated Mi Band 5 in the past few days and share my impressions in the next few minutes.
Video review of the Xiaomi Mi Band 5
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Design and canvas
Smart watches dominated the market and the Mi Band 5 is an option for those looking for something more discreet. Despite not having a design rich in details, the smartband has good materials and the colorful options are even more interesting. A quick comparison with the fourth generation and, right off the bat, the big screen in the current model is what draws attention, which is very positive.
Another significant advantage, in addition to the more modest shape, is the weight of 11.9 grams, the bracelet is very comfortable and does not cause any discomfort during use, so much so that at times I even forgot that the Mi Band 5 was on the wrist, until notification arrives.
Xiaomi has maintained water resistance up to 5 AMT (50 meters), and can be used while bathing, in the pool, however the company does not recommend you to use it in saunas and in intense dives.
The Mi Band 5’s touchscreen is AMOLED and is now 1.1 inches, as is the Samsung Galaxy Fit 2, its direct competitor here in Brazil. The resolution is 294 × 126 pixels and Xiaomi increased the brightness that now reaches 450 nits, while the Mi Band 4 had 400 nits. In practice, we have a more vivid display that favored the colorful animations available on the system.
The visualization in sunlight is good and it was also better to read the notifications and navigate the menu with these improvements, although I have reservations about the display of special characters that I will talk about later. Still, compared to other popular wristbands, like the Huawei Band 4 and Honor Band 5, this Mi Band excels in terms of screen.
Features and usage experience
The smartband continues to deliver the main features for you to monitor your health and the introduction of new training modes was also a good upgrade. Xiaomi has added other modalities, such as yoga, rowing, exercise bike, rope and elliptical. Swimming, cycling and walking are also available. The menu concentrates ten shortcuts: the cardiac frequency, stress, breathing monitor and the PAI (Personal Activity Intelligence) that helps the user to understand his physical condition through algorithms and scores.
Available for Android and iPhone (iOS), and compatible with Apple Health and Google Fit, the Mi Fit app allows you to view all the data collected by the wearable and helps you analyze the quality of your sleep, your heart rate, set alarms and notifications. Unfortunately, the Mi Band 5 does not have integrated GPS, so you must use your phone to record your runs and hikes.
The heart rate sensor can do automatic monitoring, however limited to 1 minute, 5, 10 or 30 minutes. In addition, it can alert you when the pace is over 100 bpm and you, if you want, can set a ceiling that goes up to 150 bpm. To observe the performance of this feature, I compared it with a Huawei Watch Fit and both devices presented equivalent data, in a calm moment, working on the computer they delivered me 69 bpm.
Mi Band 5 analyzes your sleep nights by gathering detailed metrics that can help you change some habits. I already know that I have more light sleep than deep sleep and the smartband was able to detect this during the evaluation. Each day, it shows you if you woke up easily, fell asleep late, and shares tips for changing all of that. Which is very interesting instead of just rolling the dice without any additional information.
As for smartwatch modes, we have some pros and cons. I start with the remote photography that allows you to take photos on the phone at a distance with the Mi Band, acting as a shutter. And the cool thing is that it is for video recordings, too. The music playback control works correctly allowing you to pause / play, change tracks and control the volume without any difficulty.
However, what bothers me most about Mi Band, still, are the notifications, mainly because it doesn’t recognize special characters, nor emojis. Depending on the message, I can barely understand what is written and it is past time to put an end to this limitation of smartbands.
The dials are another strong point of the Xiaomi bracelet. Although it is a competent and resourceful device, the Galaxy Fit 2 does not offer animated watchfaces, this does not mean that it is not worth betting on the rival, but I could see that the Mi Band 5 makes better use of the display and can even display more information on the main screen .
Just to improve the user experience, Xiaomi could leave a shortcut on the first screen of the app to change the display, without the need to click on “profile”, select the bracelet and, finally, click on “store”, where they are they.
In connectivity, the device has Bluetooth 5.0 and, during the evaluation period, there were no synchronization problems with my phone. In addition to the features already mentioned, the gadget brings weather forecast (with maximum and minimum), including for the next days and the relative humidity. To do this, it uses your current location and can even issue alerts if you want.
Reminders, alarm, world clock, inactivity alert, stopwatch and phone call warning are other features present. The bad news is that the version sold in Brazil does not bring NFC for payments by approximation.
The Mi Band 5 has a new 125 mAh battery, for comparison, the Galaxy Fit 2 has 159 mAh and the Mi Band 4C has 130 mAh capacity. Despite this, Xiaomi claims that the user can have up to two weeks of use on just one charge. Showing all the notifications, with sleep monitoring, heart rate and stress activated, I managed to arrive on the ninth day with 52% remaining, an excellent number.
In the application, I liked the company to put the battery level, as well as the last time the device was connected to the power to have a better control of the autonomy.
This still reminds me of another significant advance. Finally, the Chinese has changed the feeding mode and it is now possible to charge the Mi Band without the need to remove the bracelet, a change that is more than welcome!
Xiaomi Mi Band 5: is it worth it?
The Mi Band 5 still looks like Band 4, but that changes when you turn on the display. The bigger screen was a big hit for the company, because the more detailed dials are able to take advantage of the 1.1 inch screen and the new charging mode, as stated earlier, completes the list of positive points. For owners of Mi Band 4, it might not be worth it to migrate to the current generation, if you don’t care about the new exercise modes and if the 0.95 inch screen still does the job.
If you are arriving now and looking for a hybrid and affordable model, other than a smartwatch, then yes, the Mi Band 5 can be a good option. It is possible to use it during simple and complex exercises, and it still has the advantage of monitoring your health through the official app that concentrates detailed information, but this is not synonymous with accuracy.
Due to the popularity, remembering that, today, this version is found for less than R $ 200 in retail, acquiring various bracelets ends up being easier. On the other hand, although Xiaomi could release NFC for the global version, who knows in the next generation, right?