Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 review: small but significant upgrade

Xiaomi recently became the world’s largest supplier of wearable bracelets in the second quarter of the year according to Canalys. According to the report, Xiaomi managed to grab the top spot in the April-June quarter thanks to the launch of the Mi Smart Band 6 in the global market. The new fitness band was recently launched in India with a price tag of Rs 3,499.

Read also : OnePlus Band vs Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 5: which is the best low budget fitness tracker?

While Mi Smart Band 5 arrived as a significant update over the Mi Smart Band 4 (review) in terms of features, the Smart Band 6 is just an iterative upgrade in comparison. With the last launch, Xiaomi kept the same formula as the Mi Smart Band 5 but with an improved display, an added SpO2 monitor and additional activity modes. While Mi Smart Band 5 users have very few initiatives to upgrade, Mi Smart Band 6 is a solid option for novice users. I’ve been using the laptop for over a week and here’s what I think.

Design and display

When I first laid eyes on the Mi Smart Band 6, I was a bit disappointed to see the same old design that the brand has been following for the past two generations. It has the standard cup-shaped pill-shaped core in a TPU strap case with a pinhole clasp mechanism. Despite the same design, I’m not complaining because the Mi Smart Band 6 continues to be one of the most comfortable portable devices.

I have worn the Mi Smart Band 6 almost 24/7 for the past two weeks and have never felt the need to adjust or take it off due to discomfort. What I particularly like is that the straps are made from a soft TPU material, which does not bite into your skin or itch when you sweat, which makes Mi Smart Band 6 ideal for a session. training. In addition, the design of the curved bracelet perfectly hugs your wrist.

Bonus points for keeping the same magnetic charger of the Mi Smart Band 5, which does not require users to remove the pill from the strap to charge it. In addition, it supports Mi Smart Band 5 straps.

While the design and dimensions of the new Mi Smart Band 6 might be the same as its previous generation, Xiaomi has raised the bar with the new launch. There is no longer a capacitive button on the screen and instead, the screen of the latest generation fitness tracker has been stretched to 1.56 inches, compared to 1.1 inches on the previous model. During my time with the fitness tracker, I loved interacting with the all-touch AMOLED display. The panel is crisp, crisp, fairly responsive, and shows more content. However, I would have loved to see the automatic brightness adjustment and always-on display on this iteration.

You will find the SpO2 and heart rate sensor on the back of the phone. The two-pin magnetic charging pins are located towards the bottom of the core, while at the top you’ll find the Mi mark. The fitness tracker is 5ATM certified, which means it is waterproof up to 50m in pure water.

Software and Features

As for the software, the Mi Smart Band 6 can connect to any Android or iOS smartphone through the usual Mi Fit or Xiaomi Wear apps. I chose to use the Xiaomi Wear app because of its clean interface. If you have already synced your fitness data with the Mi Fit app from previous Mi Bands, you can import the data to Xiaomi Wear from Mi Fit. I didn’t encounter any issues when pairing the Mi Smart Band 6 with my Xiaomi Mi 10i and the data syncing was quite fast as well.

The app has three tabs namely – Status, Workouts and Profile. The first option displays current data such as workout history, sleep monitor data, heart rate, and more. In the training section, users can activate a specific training mode among the 30 available. The new Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 can automatically detect six fitness modes including walking, outdoor running, treadmill, cycling, elliptical and rowing machine. Finally, the profile section lists all connected devices and change settings. From there, you can set a custom SMS to decline calls, turn on app notifications and alerts, set goals and alarms, turn on continuous heart rate monitoring, and control the camera shutter and get up to wake you up, among other things.

Coming to the interface on the device, you can swipe left and right on the screen to switch between widgets. You can set a total of six widgets to be displayed through the Xiaomi wear app with the weather and music control enabled by default. I had weather, music, sleep, stress, heart rate, and SpO2 widgets set on my review unit. Swiping up and down gives you access to the entire suite of apps on the device, like PAI, workouts, settings, etc. In terms of watch faces, Xiaomi offers over 80 watch faces, but most of them are inspired by Chinese cartoons and cartoons. There are also decent generics.

The Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 is packed with health and fitness features. The fitness tracker now supports 30 fitness modes including treadmill, freestyle, outdoor running, cycling, walking, swimming, rowing machine, elliptical, indoor cycling, yoga, jump rope, dancing, indoor fitness , gymnastics, HIIT, basic training, pilates, zumba, street dancing and stretching. There are also dedicated sports modes like cricket, bowling, badminton, boxing, basketball, volleyball, table tennis, ice skating, and kickboxing. Additionally, there are features like stress monitoring, sleep tracking, SpO2, women’s health, PAI (personal activity intelligence), and more.

Performance and battery

Since I’m homebound like most of us, I haven’t had the opportunity to test the training modes as extensively as I would have liked. However, no matter what short walk I took around the house, the step counter seemed correct and the automatic workout detection was able to detect when I was walking and when I was starting to run. When it comes to sleep detection, the tracker does a great job of tracking REM, and the sleep data has been carefully presented in the app. However, when I was there at one point over the weekend, I watched a whole season of The press room in one go, lay motionless on my couch and the tracker documented it as a light sleeper. This could be attributed to the fact that I was always lying with my phone on a tripod system and no wrist movement. Other than that, I didn’t encounter any problem.

As for the heart rate monitor and SpO2 tracker, I tested Mi Smart Band 6 alongside the trusted Dr MorePen pulse oximeter. The heart rate and blood oxygen levels shown by the fitness tracker were almost plus-minus five points compared to the oximeter. Considering how critical a five point difference can be when it comes to blood oxygen levels, so it is best to stick with a suitable device when you need to monitor blood oxygen levels. for a corona patient, for example. The Mi Smart Band 6 is a good alternative to get a feel for heart rate and blood oxygen after a workout when it’s not critical.

As for the activity modes, while six of them are detected automatically, the other 24 require manual activation either from the watch itself or from the Xiaomi Wear app. You get information like number of steps, calories burned, heart rate, distance covered and time spent. Now for stress and breathing tracking I found the former to be a bit fancy, but the latter works as advertised and calms you down properly. I also like the feature where you can configure the fitness tracker to unlock your phone nearby without a passcode or security lock.

The Mi Smart Band 6 comes with the same 125mAh battery as the Smart Band 5 and is designed for 14-day backup. In my experience with the device, continuous heart rate monitoring was set every five minutes and breathing monitoring during sleep was also enabled. I also turned on notifications from my primary smartphone with over 50 notifications every hour and walked 30 minutes a day. At this use, I managed to squeeze out seven days of battery backup. After I limited the app notifications and turned off the advanced features, the Mi Smart Band 6 lasted me 12-13 days on average. The group takes about two hours to fully recharge.

Verdict

There is a reason why the Mi Band series has been extremely popular in the country over the years and why the latest Mi Smart Band 6 catapulted Xiaomi to the world’s number one seller of wearable bracelets in the second quarter of 2021. For its Asking price of Rs 3,499, the fitness tracker is packed with useful features. This time around, you get a bigger screen, SpO2 tracker, additional training modes, and more.

As for the competition, the Mi Smart Band 6 clashes with the OnePlus Band (review) priced at Rs 2,499. It has a similar design, but has an SpO2 sensor, heart rate, and more precise sleep monitoring. In addition, the OnePlus Band also charges quickly in just an hour, which is a plus compared to the Mi Smart Band 6. However, you will have to remove the core of the OnePlus Band to charge.

If the price of the Mi Smart Band 6 is outside your budget, the Mi Smart Band 5 (review) at Rs 2,499 is still a compelling option. It has a slightly smaller screen and lacks an SpO2 sensor and as many training modes, but still a great fitness band for the price.

Pricebaba score: 8/10

What works:

  • Large AMOLED display
  • Comfortable fit
  • Easy to use interface
  • Advanced health monitoring features

What not

  • No automatic brightness
  • SpO2 sensor is not very accurate
  • Battery drains faster with all features turned on
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