It’s interesting to follow how Mi Band has been improved with each generation, with significant news. It’s also interesting how much the Xiaomi tries to maintain the low-cost strategy that makes the gadget even more popular, so much so that the Mi Band 6, launched in March 2021, has already surpassed the mark of 3 million units sold. The new generation got a bigger AMOLED panel, oximeter (SpO2), but it still doesn’t bring GPS or NFC.
It keeps monitoring your sleep, heart rate, training and has a 125 mAh battery that guarantees up to 14 days of use. Is it worth migrating to the new version? I’ve tested the Mi Band 6 in the last few weeks and I share my experience using it throughout this review.
Xiaomi Mi Band 6 review in video
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Xiaomi Mi Band 6 was acquired by Techblog in retail. For more information, visit tecnoblog.net/etica.
Design and fabric
Mi Band 6 is no exception to the rule of being a straight-to-the-point product and maintains the basic proposal that has been working for all these years. It is identical to the Mi Band 5, has a TPU strap, is water resistant to 5 AMT (50 meters) and the big difference is for the new big screen. The gadget remains light, comfortable and I didn’t feel uncomfortable during the days and nights I spent with it on my wrist.
The variety of colors is a point that makes Mi Band 6 stand out from its competitors. There are six options (black, blue, orange, ivory, yellow and olive), to suit those looking for something more casual or serious. Another highlight is the flexibility to change the bracelet and replace it with third-party versions: you can find metal, sports, braided nylon loop and even steel models.
Mi Band 6 bets on the same AMOLED, but now 1.56 inches and the resolution is 486 x 152 pixels. It can reach up to 450 nits of brightness, in other words, no difference in relation to the Mi Band 5 that can also reach that. Xiaomi says this version delivers 50% more space than the previous 1.1-inch version. I could see that the dials now make better use of space and there is information even on the edges of the device, which is really positive. The screen brightness is strong, viewing in sunlight is satisfactory, and the icons are very sharp.
Health and fitness tracking resources
Smartband has the basics for you to monitor your workout and a part of your health, too. The gadget now offers 30 training modes, while the previous model only offered 11 activities. zumba, pilates, volleyball, basketball, stretching, badminton, among others were added. The more traditional ones, outdoor running, walking, treadmill, rowing machine, swimming, elliptical and cycling are still available in the “Training” menu. In health, the Mi Band 6 is able to monitor heart rate, sleep, stress and blood oxygen saturation (SpO2).
The heart rate sensor can analyze every 1 minute, 5, 10 or 30 minutes. And Xiaomi’s monitoring technology proves to be very reliable. At rest, the frequency was always in sync with the numbering presented by the Apple Watch, which has accurate readers. On a short outdoor walk, when I’m 140 to 160 bpm, both wearables delivered similar results, with minimal differences.
The oximeter, which has become even more famous for helping to monitor the COVID-19, is a feature that Xiaomi introduced in the Mi Band 6. Although it didn’t show inconsistent saturation on some occasions, I still can’t say that the smartband sensor is totally reliable. Moving the arm, the bracelet continued to measure SpO2, so it was better to alert and pause the analysis. Also, reading takes a bit of time at times.
The sleep monitor is one of the coolest features of the device. Linked to the Mi Fit app, I can get metrics for light sleep, deep sleep, REM and even a score for my night, which helps improve some habits. Mi Band can track your sleep automatically, so you don’t have to press any buttons before going to bed. The next day, just open the app to analyze the extracted data.
Stress monitoring, like the oximeter, takes a long time to reach a conclusion, but it proves to be accurate. The breathing feature, very useful in those moments of exhaustion, is very intuitive. And for women, it is possible to use the wearable to follow the menstrual cycle.
As a fitness tracker, Xiaomi’s wristband still doesn’t have a dedicated GPS, but when linked to the smartphone via Bluetooth, you can access the details of your walk or run. I tested the Mi Band 6 in indoor water rowing and it gave me the average stroke rate, the number of calories burned, the workout duration and the break time. I thought it was great to visualize all this information, but I noticed the average beats in a different rhythm than I am used to.
On the treadmill, for 15 minutes, this perception changes and I could see that the monitoring is very efficient. The heart rate, calories burned, and average pace data were equivalent compared to the Apple Watch Series 6. One thing I missed is the display of your heart rate while you exercise, which I enjoy doing so much on the rowing, on the treadmill and during walks.
What’s more, it can even automatically detect five exercises: walking, running, cycling, elliptical and rowing. In the case of walking, the sensors will take time to recognize, but in the rowing I was surprised by the accuracy. Sometimes it can happen that the sensor gets lost and creates funny situations. For example, once on the bench press the Mi Band 6 suddenly detected that I was doing the elliptical.
PAI (Personal Activity Intelligence) is one of the main features of Xiaomi’s product. It helps to monitor your heart health, analyzing the periods when you move your body, and the more exercises you practice, the more PAI points I get, which ends up motivating. In addition, Mi Band itself maintains a history of its activities.
The Mi Fit app, which brings together all the numbers and health/training information, hasn’t undergone any changes, but it’s still easy to navigate and delivers everything you need. Now, the fitness bracelet is also compatible with Xiaomi Wear, an application that brings a slightly more modern layout, so it’s your choice. After pairing, I can integrate everything into Apple Health or Google Fit.
Smartwatch and Battery Features
In smartwatch features, Mi Band 6 continues with the same basic functionalities already known. Notifications from your mobile phone can be mirrored to the smartband; replying to a message, however, is still impractical. It is also not possible to answer a phone call, but I can mute or reject that unwanted caller. On Android or iPhone, the shortcut “Music” makes it possible to control a track on any audio streaming platform, being able to fast forward, rewind and even control the volume. While practicing exercises, a left swipe allowed me to access the music command quickly.
And in the past I criticized Xiaomi for not displaying special characters and emojis in Mi Band. Well, the sixth generation, finally, started to show both, which made me very happy. In the case of emojis, it won’t feature all, but the main ones are supported. The global version, tested by Techblog, does not bring NFC or voice assistant. The list of dials is still wide and a highlight in relation to the Galaxy Fit 2 are the animated watchfaces, which the Samsung bracelet does not have.
As for autonomy, the gadget remains parked at 125 mAh, a lower number when compared to other competitors, such as the Huawei Band 6, which has a 180 mAh cell. According to Xiaomi, with just one charge, you can have up to 14 days of autonomy; of course this number can drop with usage. For example, with all features turned on, recording my workout and displaying all notifications, I got six days of usage. Power time, with a 5 watt plug adapter, was 1h35min, just ok.
Xiaomi Mi Band 6: is it worth it?
Simplicity, good features and affordable price are attributes that have always marked the most popular smartband on the market. Fortunately, Xiaomi Mi Band 6 remains with these characteristics and is, today, one of the best gadgets in the industry. In Brazil, when we analyze the cost-benefit ratio, the R$700 charged by DL Eletrônicos opens up space for debate. But Xiaomi wanted to maintain the status of a cheap product in this generation, so much so that, in Europe, the device was launched for around 45 euros — something around R$ 300, making the conversion. We know that things in Brazil are not easy.
Controversies aside, the Chinese was very generous with the current wearable, delivering a larger AMOLED screen that allows you to take advantage of the dials and shortcuts, the pulse oximeter, although not 100% reliable, comes at an opportune time and, of course, you you have more than 20 training modes available here. Mi Band 6 was a great companion during workouts and the Mi Fit app once again pleases for showing detailed activity, sleep and heart rate metrics. However, I was expecting a breakthrough in autonomy and it’s past time to bring NFC to the global version, isn’t it?
If you have Mi Band 2, 3 or 4 then it’s worth upgrading to this new model. Now you ask me: is it worth migrating from 5 to 6? I believe so, but it depends. If the small 1.1-inch screen is no longer enough and you insist on having the oximeter handy, then it’s time to update the bracelet. But beware, this upgrade is only recommended if you find the Mi Band 6 for a very advantageous price, below R$400.