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Mi Band 2 fitness tracker review

Xiaomi Mi Band 2

£19.23
8.2

Build quality

8.0/10

Design

8.0/10

Ease of use

8.5/10

Performance

8.0/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

  • Looks good
  • Easy app
  • Notification options
  • Clear screen
  • Google Fit integration

Cons

  • Pros might expect more
  • Have to take it out of the strap to charge

mi-band-2-phoneThe Mi Band 2, as you may have already guessed, is the latest wearable fitness tracker from Chinese hardware giant Xiaomi. This fitness-phobe has been putting it through its paces.

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.

mi-band-2-componentsAs tempting as it is to pop the capsule in to the strap straight away, these parts need to be separated for charging. So, best to charge up the main device first.

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.

mi-band-2-capsuleThe pod-shaped device has a scratch-proof face and single capacitive selector button.

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.

mi-band-2-rear-detailOn the underside of the unit – the bit that touches your skin – there’s an optical heart-rate sensor.

mi-band-2-deviceThe bottom edge is home to two charging pins that link to the charging cable.

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.

mi-band-2-edgeI 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.

mi-band-2In order to get the most out of the Mi Band 2 you’ll need to install Xiaomi’s free Mi Fit companion app on your phone via the iOS app store or Google Play Store.

Notifications

I like the app. It’s clear and easy to navigate.

mi-band-2-playThrough it you can control which notifications are sent to the Mi Band 2, and what is displayed as you tap through the main menu using the button.

mi-band-2-alertsYou can also select which other apps are allowed to send alerts to the device. This means you can be told if you’re getting a call, text, etc by the band vibrating.

The screen will also show the respective icon so you know what you’re being alerted of.

mi-band-2-settingsThere are plenty of other options to fiddle around with, too.

There’s a dashboard showing the day’s activity and your last night’s sleep.

mi-band-2-dashYou can also manually track your weight in the app. As you update your weight you get a graph plotting your progress.

mi-band-2-bmiThis area shows your BMI as well as where you fit in the grand scheme of things.

mi-band-2-dash-2Pulling the screen down reveals your last recorded heart rate and your goals graph.

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

mi-band-2-socialThere 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.

Mr Motivator

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.

DIY

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.

Battery life

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.

mi-band-2-charging-dockFor 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.

Charging

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.

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Mi Band 2 fitness tracker review

by Jay Garrett time to read: 6 min
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