Mi Smart Band 6 review: The gold standard of budget fitness bands?


With many parts of India in lockdown slowly opening up, I’m sure a lot of people are looking to get back to their fitness routines, while others are all set to start new ones. It seems like a good time for Xiaomi to launch the Mi Smart Band 6, the latest addition to its well-known range of fitness trackers. The new Mi Smart Band 6 features SpO2 measurement and now has the ability to track more exercises than the Mi Smart Band 5. If you took the Mi Smart Band 6 on your fitness journey, would you be better off? with another laptop? I used the Mi Smart Band 6 for a few weeks, and here is my review.

Mi Smart Band 6 price in India

The Mi Smart Band 6 is priced at Rs. 3,499 in India, but owners of any previous Mi Smart Band models can avail a Rs. 500 discount, bringing the price down to Rs. 2,999. Xiaomi is selling the Mi Smart Band 6 only in black with black wristband, but you can buy wristbands in different colors to customize your fitness wristband.

The Mi Smart Band 6 is able to record more types of workouts than the Mi Smart Band 5

Mi Smart Band 6 design and specs

Just like previous Mi Smart Bands, the Mi Smart Band 6 has two components, a capsule-shaped core and a TPU strap. The Mi Smart Band 6 looks at first glance identical to its predecessor, the Mi Smart Band 5 (Review), but the difference is apparent as soon as the screen turns on. While the Mi Smart Band 5 had a small rectangular display, the Mi Smart Band 6’s extends to the edges of the capsule and has very thin bezels at the top and sides. The AMOLED screen now measures 1.56 inches and has a resolution of 152×486 pixels. It also has tempered glass on top and an anti-fingerprint coating which has helped keep the unit smudge-free in my experience.

The capsule is removable but you don’t really need to since you can charge it using the included magnetic charger. The underside of the capsule has pins for charging the 125 mAh battery in the band. Xiaomi didn’t increase the battery capacity compared to the Mi Smart Band 5, which caused some apprehension before testing thanks to the larger screen. Just above the charging pins are sensors for heart rate and SpO2 tracking. There are no physical buttons on the Mi Smart Band 6 and all navigation is touch sensitive. Xiaomi has made the Band 6 water resistant up to 5ATM, in fact, it can also track swimming.

Mi smart band 6360 stress tracker gadgets Mi Smart Band 6 Review

Stress tracking is a claimed feature of the Mi Smart Band 6

The Mi Smart Band 6 supports Bluetooth 5 and can be paired with a smartphone running Android 5.0 or higher. You can also pair the Mi Smart Band 6 to an iPhone running iOS 10 or higher. You can use the Mi Fit app or the Xiaomi Wear app. It is also compatible with the popular Strava app. I used the Xiaomi Wear app, which is the same one I used with the Redmi Watch and Mi Watch Revolve Active for their reviews.

Mi Smart Band 6 Features and Software

The Mi Smart Band 6 is feature-rich. Xiaomi claims that this wearable has 30 different fitness modes and can automatically detect six types of workouts. You can track steps, distance, and sleep on the Mi Smart Band 6 along with SpO2 and stress tracking, as well as menstrual cycle tracking. The Mi Smart Band 6 can also calculate what Xiaomi calls a PAI (Personal Activity Intelligence) index based on different health parameters.

Pairing the app with the Mi Smart Band 6 is quite simple and many band settings can be changed. You can select which widgets appear on the Mi Smart Band 6 and in what order. There are plenty of widgets to choose from, but only six can be added to the Band 6. Whichever one you choose, you can view all of your activity metrics within the app. Likewise, you can select which apps are available on the Mi Smart Band 6 to use.

mi smart band 6 sensors under gadgets360 Mi Smart Band 6 Review

The underside of the band has the health sensors and charging touchpoints

Health monitoring functions can also be configured using the connected app. You can select the heart rate tracking frequency, activate all-day stress tracking, and also activate the sleep assistant, which increases the heart rate tracking frequency while you sleep. With the Mi Smart Band 6, Xiaomi has also introduced a Breath Score metric which is currently in beta. The Mi Smart Band 6 uses its SpO2 sensor to track your blood oxygen levels while you sleep. Most of these features are disabled by default and you will need to spend some time in the app to configure the device to your liking.

In the Xiaomi Wear app, you can also select apps on your phone that can notify you using the Mi Smart Band 6. You can even set up the band to unlock your smartphone and vibrate for incoming calls/messages.

Mi Smart Band 6 performance and battery life

I used the Mi Smart Band 6 for two weeks to test its accuracy and battery life. In terms of tracking accuracy, this is one of the best wearables you can get in this price segment. I counted 1,000 steps manually while I was walking, and the Mi Smart Band 6 recorded 1,002 steps, which is a negligible discrepancy. To check the distance accuracy, I ran 1 km on a treadmill using the Mi Smart Band 6’s treadmill mode, and it measured the same reading. This device also allows you to record the distance reading of the treadmill workout.

I wore the Mi Smart Band 6 on my right wrist and an Apple Watch SE on my left to compare the accuracy of their heart rate tracking during training. The Mi Smart Band 6 showed heart rate readings in the same range as the Apple Watch SE (Review), with only occasional minor deviations, which is acceptable. Sleep tracking on the Mi Smart Band 6 was also accurate, with the device accurately recording when I went to bed and when I woke up. The app gives a breakdown of deep, light, REM and awake periods, as well as a respiratory score (based on SpO2 readings) if this feature is enabled. You also get advice on how to improve your breathing. SpO2 tracking on the Mi Smart Band 6 was also quite accurate, returning readings in the same range as a standard pulse oximeter.

mi smart band 6 charger gadgets360 Mi Smart Band 6 Review

A magnetic charger makes it easy to charge the Mi Smart Band 6

Xiaomi claims 14 days of battery life, but you’re unlikely to hit that if you train five days a week and track all metrics regularly. Most features of the Mi Smart Band 6 are disabled by default, so it doesn’t continuously track heart rate, show app notifications, or monitor stress unless you want it to. I set up the Mi Smart Band 6 to track my heart rate every five minutes, enabled app notifications, sleep score, and inactivity alerts, and tracked my workouts five times a week. With these settings, the Mi band 6 lasted eight days before needing to be recharged. If you enable PAI, expect battery life to decrease even further, as your heart rate must be recorded every minute.

Charging the Mi Smart Band 6 was easy. I did not need to remove the capsule from the band. The magnetic charger attached to the underside of the band quite securely. charging it from zero to 40% in 30 minutes and 83% in an hour. The battery life is lower than the Mi Smart Band 5, so you will need to charge it more frequently.

Verdict

After testing the Mi Smart Band 6 for two weeks, I can say that it is a good fitness band and its measurements are reliable. It is quite accurate when it comes to tracking steps, distance, and sleep. Fitness tracking has improved over the Mi Smart Band 5 (Review), and the Mi Smart Band 6 can track a wider range of workouts. The addition of SpO2 tracking also came at just the right time, allowing you to get quick readings any time of the day.

Xiaomi has not changed the battery capacity of the Mi Smart Band 6 compared to its predecessor. This is one thing I would like to see improved with the next model. With a larger screen and additional features, battery life has decreased. Still, it can last between 8 and 10 days with reasonable use, so it’s still a good fitness wearable for the price.

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