We've waited impatiently for the new fitness tracker from Xiaomi and finally we've got our hands on it and tested it for you. Everyone was excited to see what this new wearable was capable of. Now we finally get to answer all the questions you might have had since you've seen pictures of it on the internet or if you have one of the older Mi Band models at home and were wondering what this new model can actually do.
- Fitness Tracker Xiaomi Mi Band 2
- Name: Xiaomi Mi Band 2
- Display: 0,42'' OLED
- Connection: Bluetooth 4.0
- Supported OS: from OS Android 4.4, from iOS 7
- Battery: 70mAh, lasts up to 20 days
- Functions: pedometer, sleep tracker, heart rate monitor, silent alarm, message reminder
- Operating System: Android 6.0
- Weight: 18,5 gr (with wristband)
- Package Contents: Mi Band 2 + wristband, USB charger, manual (in Chinese)
Fitness tracker? What does this really mean?
For all those who haven't heard yet from wearables, fitness trackers and the like and might have lived in the outback without access to the fitness community for the past year or so, let's start with a short explanation: Mi Band 2 is a smartband (also known as a wearable or fitness tracker, there are a lot of names for this little fitness gadgets) which offers you the option to monitor and plan your daily movement. Primarily this happens through its pedometer, which counts how many steps you've walked in a day. The MiBand 2 works in conjunction with an app, which offers the opportunity to manage your data and to track your process throughout the weeks and months.
If you know the Mi Band 1 or 1S, you'll immediately notice the new design. For the first time Xiaomi offers an actual interface with its smartband, where you can see the time, your current step count, pulse or battery status. Also new: the button on the display - not an actual button but a touch sensor, which integrates into the display without any sharp edges. It's a question of personal aesthetic if you prefer the former design or the new one, but the display is very useful. The band or more accurately its key piece is bigger than the former version of the MiBand - meaning it doesn't fit into the wristband of the former version.
But both versions are equally comfortable, which means that you will barely notice that you're wearing it - especially if you're used to wearing wristwatches. The clasp was improved, so that it opens and closes a bit easier than the first model did.
Count steps and measure your heart rate
The pedometer does what it's supposed to do, you can tell your current step count and the walked distance at any time with a look at your band and a tap on the touch sensor. The heart rate monitor also works fine but not continuously, as the official Xiaomi app still doesn't support the continuous heart rate measurement. A new option with the newest MiBand is that you can measure your heart rate without having to use the app. Just tap several times on the touch sensor to switch to the heart rate measuring and wait a couple of seconds. You will see your current heart rate on the display. This isn't only convenient, this also offers to measure your heart rate during your gym time when you don't have your smartphone on your body.
Does it come with an app?
Even though you have a useful display, you will have to install an app on your smartphone; the App Mi Fit is available on iTunes and in the Google Play Store. You can take a look at all the saved data, set a daily walking goal, track your sleep or set an alarm. You don't want to see the burnt calories or miles / kilometers on your display? No problem, just change the setting in the app and you can choose what values your MiBand display will show.
The app doesn't offer a lot more than it did for the MiBand 1 version, but it's really easy to navigate the app and to keep an overview of all the available data. Small drawback: you have to get a Xiaomi account, so you need to register at Xiaomi (this works best if you use a gmail email address). An alternative to the Xiaomi app is the app Mi Band Notify & Fitness (at least for Android users).
Battery run time
The Mi Band 1 and 1S convinced us with their surprisingly long lasting battery. It was possible to go a month or more without recharging the battery. Now that the MiBand has a display, its battery doesn't last this long anymore, but it still has a standby-time of up to 20 days. We will also test this time, ideally you'll find out in 20 days if this value is accurate.
A few functions of this fitness tracker make it extremely helpful for daily life.... okay, they might only be a bit useful, but they're still nice to have. You can unlock your smartphone with the MiBand: if the tracker is close to the phone, you can just skip the manual unlocking of the smartphone. A notification feature is also available: you can give access to other apps to show their messages on the Mi band. Don't expect too much, you'll only receive an info message, that you've received a new message in a certain app. What was written or who was written by - you'll just have to check yourself. By the way, you can't expect any help from the manual, as it only comes in Chinese.
The band is waterproof (IP67 certification), so you keep it on your wrist when you're washing your hands or taking a shower. Just take it off if you're planning to take a swim.
Price and conclusion
Right now, it might be a bit early for a final conclusion, as we're still working on a durability test with the MiBand. But looking at all the functions we could test so far, we have to admit that we're pretty impressed. The display isn't only an optical advantage of the new band, it is also helpful for checking the time or your heard rate and is a step in the right direction from the older model. Only the fact that you have to use other apps to get access to the long-term heart rate monitoring is a bit annoying. Nevertheless, we love our new Mi band 2 so far.
Price wise it's still much more expensive than the Mi Band 1S - right now it costs $35.99 compared to the Mi Band 1S at $15.99. Compared to all the other available fitness trackers, it's still a real bargain, but if you don't want to spend this much on a tracker, you should take a look at the earlier 1S model or the first model Mi band 1.