The Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 fitness tracker was presented at the end of March. We have already tested it and formed an opinion about the new future hit. Is it perfect? No, but it’s definitely interesting. Details in the review below.
- Display: 1.56 inches, AMOLED, 486×152 pixels, 326 PPI, brightness up to 450 nits, tempered glass with oleophobic coating
- Sensors: heart rate sensor (PPG), 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) sensor
- Battery: 125 mAh, up to 14 days of battery life, magnetic charging
- Bluetooth version: 5.0
- Fitness and health: 30 training modes (6 of them are automatically recognized); determination of the level of oxygen in the blood; sleep, breathing, stress and women’s health tracking; calculation of the PAI indicator; notifications about an increase in heart rate; remote shutter release of smartphone camera
- Water resistance: 5 ATM
- App: Mi Wear, Mi Fit
- Compatible platforms: Android 5.0+ or iOS 10+
- Dimensions: 47.4 x 18.6 x 12.7 mm
- Band length: 155-219 mm
- Band colors: black, orange, yellow, olive, ivory, blue
The new fitness tracker is already on sale. The minimum price tag at the time of writing the review is $50-55. In China, the price tag starts at $40, plus shipping (sometimes).
Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6: What’s in the box
The Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 comes in the usual black rectangular box. Inside, in addition to the tracker, there is a magnetic cable, user manual and warranty.
Design, materials and ergonomics
The updated fitness tracker from the outside looks as similar as possible to the past fifth generation. The dimensions of the model are 47.4×18.6×12.7 mm, the weight is 12.8 g. The changes are noticeable upon closer acquaintance, and most of them are located inside the case.
The band is still silicone and hypoallergenic. The capsule is elongated, and on the back, in addition to the company logo, you can see a pair of built-in heart rate and blood oxygen level sensors.
The touch button was removed from the bottom, so the control is done with swipes. The screen has increased from 1.1 to 1.56 inches, but it still has a small chin and bezels. The resolution has increased from 294×126 for the Mi Smart Band 5 to 486×152 pixels. The ppi has also grown from 291 to 326.
The Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 has an AMOLED display covered by a 2.5D tempered glass. The increase in resolution and ppi is noticeable right away – the screen has become clearer and brighter, menus, numbers and letters are much easier to read, pictures and animated screensavers all look better.
Screen brightness adjustment is only manual (five levels) and occurs through the settings menu.
The viewing angles are good, but in the sun, or even during the day in cloudy weather, the brightness is lacking, so the elements on the display are noticeably less visible.
You can turn it on by raising your hand, make it always on, always off, or on a schedule. It also starts with the usual tap. The band is removable, but it’s hard to do so, so there is no need to worry that the capsule will get lost, as it often happened, for example, with the Mi Band 4.
The bands come in black, orange, yellow, olive, ivory and blue. Naturally, on Aliexpress and in other stores, a bunch of other options for pennies from third-party manufacturers have already appeared.
UI, watchfaces and controls
The UI of Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 has become noticeably faster than its predecessor. The reaction to touch is almost instantaneous, no lags are noticed, but the frame rate is clearly low, as in other similar models of competitors.
Menu items are bright and large and are easy to read. Small text is also readable. The hyphenation of words is mostly correct.
There’s no button, only swipes. If you are moving from a previous version, then at first you will get confused a bit.
Quick access cards are scrolled with swipes to the right and left. Their number and order of arrangement is set in the app.
Swiping from bottom to top opens the beginning of the menu, and from top to bottom it opens the end of the menu.
Among them are Stress Level, Breathing, Cycles, Events, Alarm, Weather, Status, PAI, Heart Rate, SpO2, Notification List, Workouts, Workout History, Music, World Clock, Settings and Extras. If you entered one of the sections, then you can exit by swiping from left to right.
The Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 has 130 new pre-installed watch faces and three built-in ones. The latter can be customized. When downloading three watch faces from the store, the fourth will have to be replaced with one of the previous ones.
If you want, watch faces can be created by yourself or downloaded from third-party apps. The choice is there. They are loaded additionally and do not require deleting the previous ones.
Although there are a lot of watch faces in a standard store, most of them are somehow strange, or childish, cutesy or just plain ugly. Different strokes for different folks, but it will be difficult for an adult to find something adequate.
Hardware and capabilities of the Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6
The Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 has become a little faster and more powerful than its predecessor. The smart menu was mentioned above. It was clearly influenced by the increase in memory from 512K and 16MB of RAM and storage in the fifth generation, to 2MB and 32MB, respectively.
There’s Bluetooth 5.0, and the fitness tracker still works on both Android and iOS. In addition to the already familiar heart rate sensor, a blood oxygen meter was added to the Mi Band 6. I compared it with the Amazfit GTS 2 and the fitness tracker usually miscalculates 1-2%, which is a lot, which means the obtained data isn’t reliable.
But steps, calories and heart rate are measured accurately. There is also an indicator of stress, PAI activity index, women’s cycles, monitoring of breathing during sleep, breathing exercises and a bunch of physical activity modes.
The Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 is capable of recording 30 of these modes, and 19 of them were missing in the last generation. The tracker automatically detects six modes. This feature must be enabled in the settings.
In the Extras section of the menu there is a remote control of the smartphone camera and music, a timer, a stopwatch and the Find device function. On the fitness tracker, you can now set and turn off alarms without an app.
Read also: TWS OPPO Enco X Review: Almost Perfect + ANC
Connection and software
The Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 cannot be completely turned off, but only rebooted or reset to factory settings. It is not clear why such an option was not added to the menu.
The app is clear and easy to use for those who start it for the first time. And for the owners of previous generations of Mi Band, almost everything is familiar here. Only the new features described above have been added, and the rest is in the same places.
The Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 battery life
The manufacturer claims that the battery life of the Mi Smart Band 6 reaches 14 days, and in the energy-saving mode even up to 19. A 125 mAh battery is responsible for this. In fact, everything is not at all so rosy, but if you take into account the number of active processes, it only makes sense..
With the health and heart meter turned on, with sleep quality monitoring, full brightness and gestures the fitness gadget worked for 5 days.
Accordingly, if you reduce the number of measured indicators, the device might leave up to two weeks. However, in this case, the tracker will behave like a regular watch. Therefore, get ready to charge the Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 times every 5-7 days, depending on the load.
The charging itself is still convenient, because the capsule does not need to be taken out, and the bundled cable with a magnet quickly “sticks” to the necessary contacts.
The charging indication was changed. Instead of the usual battery with a lightning bolt in a vertical format, now the bracelet shows a picture horizontally, while acting as a clock with an accurate display of charging in percentage and an outline frame across the entire display. It looks much better.
The Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 is another smash hit from the Chinese giant. The fitness tracker got an enlarged screen with increased clarity, with more storage, refreshed menu and a ton of new watchfaces. Even if most of them are simple or childish.
The Mi Smart Band 6 has worse battery life, which is not surprising, because now it has many more capabilities. Among them are automatic tracking of physical activity, pulse oximeter, playback and smartphone camera control.
In terms of design, it is almost no different from the previous version, and you can even use bands from the Mi Smart Band 5 with it. The bigger screen is a plus, which, although it still has a chin. But the lack of a touch button makes getting used to it much harder.
The Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 has become more expensive and has competitors not only among fitness trackers, but also fitness watches. For example, Amazfit GTS or Amazfit Bip U.
Owners of the Xiaomi Mi Band 4 and older models should definitely replace them with the sixth version. But for owners of the fifth version might not be interested subce the added SpO2 sensor is inaccurate, and the battery life is worse. The best new addition is the bigger screen and a couple of new features.
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