Mi Band 2 fitness tracker review
The Mi Band 2 follows the inexpensive but feature-filled Mi Band and Mi Band 1S. This latest model adds an OLED screen and improved pedometer tech.
The tracker will not only monitor your steps, it keeps tabs on your heart rate and sleep patterns. You can also add in notifications for calls, text messages and selected applications.
All of this at a surprising price. But, is it any good?
Xiaomi Mi Band 2 design
The Mi Band 2 comes in two parts. There’s the tech-filled module itself and then the wrist strap this slots into.
Once the module has been fully charged, assembling the two elements is extremely simple and fuss-free.
It’s IP67 water resistant so it can handle being splashed with water or the odd shower.
The display is a monochrome 0.42-inch OLED screen. By tapping the button you can scroll through time, total steps, calories burned, distance travelled and remaining battery life.
The silicone strap is apparently made from a breathable, anti-sweat material.
It feels like rubber but is tougher and should hopefully stand up to more punishment. My friend’s Microsoft band is on its second strap.
Even if it does become damaged over time, you can buy a replacement in black, orange, green, camo or blue.
A simple stud-like mechanism is used to fix the watch around your wrist.
Xiaomi Mi Band 2 performance
The 0.42-inch OLED screen is pretty clear. It does a decent job of displaying the time, steps, calories burned and heart rate, and distance I’ve covered.
I have it set to turn the screen on when I rotate my wrist and this works more often than not.
I actually like the fact that there’s a touch sensitive button rather than a touchscreen. A touchscreen of this size could be too fiddly to use. A button is a much more sensible interface solution in my opinion.
The whole thing has an anti-fingerprint coating which is a nice touch (pun intended).
Inside the main unit there’s a vibrating motor which allows it to notify you of events. Passing a particular goal triggers a notification, as does sitting idle for too long.
If the Mi Band 2 thinks you’re being too sedentary, it’ll remind you to get up off your ass.
You can also set an alarm which will vibrate to wake you from your sleep. This is neat as one quick burst is enough to wake me. I can quite easily ignore my audio alarm.
Also, as it’s a slender thing, the Mi Band 2 is comfortable to keep on in bed. This is handy as it will even monitor your sleeping patterns to ensure you’re getting the recommended amount of deep sleep.
Mi Fit app
The first read out on the watch, after the time of day, is your total steps taken. This let’s you know what this device is all about from the offing.
The information shown as you tap through the menu is configurable via the app. You can get access to calories burned, distance travelled and your heart rate. You also can see how much battery charge is left.
I like the app. It’s clear and easy to navigate.
The screen will also show the respective icon so you know what you’re being alerted of.
There’s a dashboard showing the day’s activity and your last night’s sleep.
From each of these you can access daily, weekly and monthly graphs.
Record your runs
Tapping the little running figure in the top left of the dash sets the band monitoring your jog or run.
The app will break activities up into ‘walk’ or ‘activity’ in a timeline under the graphs. You can view the times, steps, minutes, distance and calories.
Share your stats
There are also options to share your progress via social media. Twitter and Facebook are, of course, catered for. There’s also a hint that the Mi Band is designed for the Oriental market as WeChat (the pair of speech-bubble faces) is huge in China and Line is one of the top Japanese social sites.
I was kind of expecting this app to kick me in to gear. Perhaps rankings against friends, challenges, goals and the like.
Xiaomi does try a bit though. But only as much as telling me that I’m 31% ahead of other people. I’m guessing that’s including sleep, steps, etc.
While Mi Fit stores your fitness information under a Xiaomi user account, you can share this information with your Google Fit profile. As more healthy Android users will most likely have installed Google Fit, being able to port this data over is a definite plus.
It’s pretty much down to you to set your personal goals such as number of steps taken in a single day and target weight. Some might need more information but, again, this is where Google Fit will add to the Mi Band 2’s arsenal.
I fully charged the Mi Band 2 when I received it a little over a week ago. I’ve been wearing it for a few days now and it is show 46% charge. Xiaomi claims that has a 20 days charge, to my reckoning it will most likely come in just under that. But then, I am sure that other users may find they get longer.
For instance, I have the display to come on depending on my hand movement. You could save juice by having to activate the screen manually. Also, I have notifications coming in from other apps, restricting yourself should see a longer life between charges.
If you are a heavy user and are serious about keeping track of your activity, you might want to charge every 10 days-or-so.
There’s no fancy-schmancy contact-charging here. You have to push the pod out of its rubbery home.
The dock is a snug fit but then it’s not really a big deal. When it’s like this, it reminds me of an old-fashioned microphone. That’s probably just me though.
It’s not ideal, but then I can’t see this being a deal breaker for anyone.
Xiaomi Mi Band 2 review conclusion
For the money, the Mi Band 2 certainly represents incredible value when you take in to consideration the amount of functionality compared to its more expensive competition.
I have been impressed by the companion app overall. I liked how easy it is to use and also the level of integration with other apps.
Being able to share Mi Band 2 data with Google Fit is a sure-fire bonus for those mapping their achievements.
You also get the option of buying different coloured bands to suit that day’s Lycra outfit too!
The Mi Band 2 also looks good. I am sure it will suit the casual activity mapper right up to those more goal oriented gym bunnies. I reckon that this tracker will do the job until you are ready to go to the more professional level and price point.
Mi Band 2 price and availability
This is the big one. With all that functionality, decent looks and slick app you would expect to be paying around £45. Nope.
£30 then, a bargain? Still lower.
The Mi Band 2 is available right now for less than £20 on the GearBest website.