If you're just looking for some casual fitness tracking, on a tight budget or if this is your first fitness tracker, you can't go wrong with the Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6. The feature set you get for the price and quality is unbeatable.
Design and display
Interface and features
Xiaomi continues to impress us with their affordable products that you have to work hard to find faults with. The company’s newest entry into the wearables market, the Mi Smart Band 6, follows this trend closely. You’d be hard-pressed to find the same mix of features at a similar price while maintaining a high standard of quality.
The smartwatch market saw a 27% year on year increase from Q2 of 2020 to Q2 of this year. Whereas the wearable band market also saw a bit of growth. Not quite as much as smartwatches, but it did see Xiaomi overtake Apple in this market segment with 8 million units shipped. “Xiaomi’s performance was bolstered by the launch of the Mi Smart Band 6,” writes Canlys in a global wearable band report.
Design and display
One of the best things the Mi Smart Band 6 has going for it is the 1.56in AMOLED screen. The relatively thin bezels, 152 x 486 resolution (which makes for 326 pixels-per-inch) and 450-nit brightness means you’ll be able to enjoy the clear, crisp display outside in almost any conditions.
As for the rest of the design, Xiaomi has kept it understated with an interesting approach to the fastening mechanism, a hole-and-pin. The unit we received came with a black strap. And it’s easy enough to pop the smart part out of the band part and swap the band for a different colour.
The battery in the Mi Smart Band 6 is a 125mAh cell and while the marketing material claims you can get up to 2 weeks, that’s only if you resort to mostly watch functions and turn most of the advanced monitoring off. Moderate to intense use will see you get around a week out of a charge which, considering the price, ain’t too bad. Your results may vary if you’re one of those morning joggers or like to know the time every 10 minutes.
Even if you are health obsessed or can’t help but check the time regularly, when you get to the point where you need to charge the Band 6, it thankfully doesn’t take that long. You’re looking at about 2 hours from 0% – 100% from the included magnetic USB charging cable.
Interface and features
The on-device interface is fairly straightforward. Most features are a swipe or two away and you can customise the order in which they appear. You’ll be thankful for this because navigating the companion app’s interface is not the most intuitive experience.
For the features, Xiaomi has covered a fairly large base. You’ll be able to keep track of your steps taken, calories burned, distance travelled, heart rate and it also offers sleep tracking. All fairly straightforward for a fitness tracker.
It also features a stress measurement function that apparently uses your fluctuating heart rate — among other factors — to give you a score, though we didn’t find it to be very accurate in most cases. But the guided breathing feature can be helpful.
The Mi Smart Band 6 also offers 30 different workout modes which would be an awesome feature, if you didn’t have to manually select and enable one when you want to get going. Should you want to get your sweat on, we hope you haven’t warmed up already because for the first week or two it’s going to take you some time to figure it out.
We also hope you aren’t looking for any precise tracking from any of the sensors because if you are, you’re going to be disappointed with the Mi Smart Band 6. But then you can’t expect precision tracking for under R1,000. You’re going to need to triple or quadruple that and go for a Garmin or Fitbit device for that.
That goes for pretty much all sensing and tracking the band does. It doesn’t have built-in GPS so it tracks that through the connection with your smartphone. In our testing, the step count came the closest to the truth. While the other sensors did their best, they often missed the mark a little. For example, sleep tracking records the amount of time you’re in bed for well enough but fumbles a bit with distinguishing between the different sleep stages.
Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 – Verdict
So then, the big question is, is this the tracker for you? Well, if you’re just dipping your toes into the fitness pond, testing out the water to see if getting up at 6am for those runs is something you’ll be able to keep up, then we’d say go with the Mi Smart Band 6. You won’t be breaking the bank. And if you decide it’s not for you, you can still use it for its basic functions.
However, if you’re the kind of person that needs precise GPS tracking for things like hikes or would like more accurate measurements of sleep, step and heart rate tracking, then you’ll need to be prepared to pay a whole lot more.
The Xiaomi Mi Smart band 6 is available locally right now from takelaot.com for R900 but regularly goes on special for R800.