Mi Smart Band 6 Review: The Gold Standard of Budget Fitness Bands?

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With many parts of India slowly opening up in lockdown, I’m sure many people want to get back to their fitness routines while others are ready to start new ones. This seems like a good time for Xiaomi to launch the Mi Smart Band 6, the latest addition to its well-known line of fitness trackers. The new Mi Smart Band 6 has an SpO2 measurement and can now track more exercises than the Mi Smart Band 5. Should you take the Mi Smart Band 6 with you on your fitness journey, would it be better with another wearable? I’ve been using the Mi Smart Band 6 for a couple of weeks and here is my review.

Mi Smart Band 6 price in India

The Mi Smart Band 6 costs Rs. 3,499 in India, but owners of an earlier Mi Smart Band model can get a Rs. 500 discount, bringing the price down to Rs. 2,999. Xiaomi only sells the Mi Smart Band 6 in black with a black band, but you can buy different colored bands to personalize your fitness band.

The Mi Smart Band 6 can record more types of training than the Mi Smart Band 5

Mi Smart Band 6 design and specifications

Just like previous Mi Smart Bands, the Mi Smart Band 6 has two components, a capsule-shaped core and a TPU band. At first glance, the Mi Smart Band 6 looks identical to its predecessor, the Mi Smart Band 5 (test), but the difference becomes visible the minute the display lights up. While the Mi Smart Band 5 had a small rectangular display, that of the Mi Smart Band 6 extends to the edges of the capsule and has very thin bezels on the top and sides. The AMOLED display now measures 1.56 inches and has a resolution of 152×486 pixels. It also has toughened glass on the top and an anti-fingerprint coating which in my experience helped keep the device smudge-free.

The capsule is detachable, but you don’t really have to do this as you can charge it with the included magnetic charger. On the underside of the capsule there are pins for charging the 125mAh battery in the band. Xiaomi has not increased the battery capacity compared to the Mi Smart Band 5, which led to some concerns thanks to the larger screen before the test. Sensors for heart rate and SpO2 tracking are located directly above the charging pins. There are no physical buttons on the Mi Smart Band 6 and all navigation is touch-based. Xiaomi made the Band 6 waterproof to 5ATM, in fact it can also track swimming.

Mi Smart Band 6 Stress Tracking Gadgets360 Mi Smart Band 6 Review

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

The Mi Smart Band 6 supports Bluetooth 5 and can be paired with a smartphone with Android 5.0 or higher. You can also pair the Mi Smart Band 6 with an iPhone with 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 I also used with the Redmi Watch and the Mi Watch Revolve Active for their reviews.

Features and software of the Mi Smart Band 6

The Mi Smart Band 6 is packed with features. Xiaomi claims that this wearable has 30 different fitness modes and can automatically detect six types of training. 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 index (Personal Activity Intelligence) based on various health parameters.

Pairing the app with the Mi Smart Band 6 is quite easy and many of the band’s settings can be changed using it. You can choose which widgets are displayed on the Mi Smart Band 6 and in which order. There are many widgets to choose from, but only six can be added to Volume 6. Whichever you choose, you can see all of your activity parameters in the app. You can also choose which apps are available for use on the Mi Smart Band 6.

Mi Smart Band 6 Bottom Sensors Gadgets360 Mi Smart Band 6 Review

On the underside of the band are the health sensors and charging contact points

The health monitoring functions can also be configured via the connected app. You can choose the frequency of the heart rate measurement, toggle the all-day stress tracking and also activate the sleep assistant, which increases the frequency of the heart rate measurement during sleep. With the Mi Smart Band 6, Xiaomi has also introduced a breathing 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 turned off by default, and you’ll have to spend some time in the app to set up the device the way you want.

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

Performance and battery life of the Mi Smart Band 6

I used the Mi Smart Band 6 for two weeks to test its accuracy and battery life. In terms of tracking accuracy, this is some of the best wearables you can get in this price range. I manually counted 1,000 steps while walking and the Mi Smart Band 6 registered 1,002 steps, which is a negligible deviation. To check the distance accuracy, I ran 1 km on a treadmill with the treadmill mode of the Mi Smart Band 6 and measured the same reading. With this device you can also save the distance measurement from the treadmill training.

I wore the Mi Smart Band 6 on my right wrist and an Apple Watch SE on my left to compare the accuracy of the heart rate measurement while exercising. The Mi Smart Band 6 showed heart rate values ​​in the same range as the Apple Watch SE (test report), with only a few small deviations, which is acceptable. The sleep tracking on the Mi Smart Band 6 was also accurate, with the device accurately logging the time I went to bed and when I woke up. The app gives a breakdown of the Depth, Light, REM and Awake phases along with a breath reading (based on SpO2 measurements) when this feature is enabled. You will also receive tips on how to improve breathing. The SpO2 tracking on the Mi Smart Band 6 was also pretty accurate and provided 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 charging the Mi Smart Band 6. comfortable

Xiaomi claims a battery life of 14 days, but it is highly unlikely that you will get it if you exercise five days a week and keep track of all parameters regularly. Most of the features of the Mi Smart Band 6 are disabled by default, so it won’t continuously track heart rate, display app notifications, or monitor stress unless you want to. I set the Mi Smart Band 6 to track my heart rate every five minutes, enable app notifications, sleep ratings and idle warnings, and track my workouts five times a week. With these settings, the Mi Band 6 lasted eight days before it had to be recharged. When you enable PAI, you can be sure that the battery life will decrease even further because your heart rate needs to be recorded every minute.

Charging the Mi Smart Band 6 was easy. I didn’t need to pull the capsule out of the tape. The magnetic charger is fairly securely attached to the underside of the strap. Charge from zero to 40 percent in 30 minutes and to 83 percent in one hour. The battery life is less than that of the Mi Smart Band 5, so you will have to charge it more often.

verdict

After testing the Mi Smart Band 6 for two weeks, I can say that it is a good fitness band and that you can rely on its measurements. It’s pretty accurate when it comes to tracking steps, distance, and sleep. The fitness tracking has improved compared to the Mi Smart Band 5 (Review) and the Mi Smart Band 6 can track a wider range of training units. The addition of SpO2 tracking comes at a good time too, so you can get quick readings at any point in the day.

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

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