Fitness Tracker Smartwatch
Overall
71.8%
71.8%
  • Design - 64%
    64%
  • Battery - 67%
    67%
  • Connnectivity - 69%
    69%
  • Price - 87%
    87%

Summary

Xiaomi has prove it again. The Mi Band 5 is absolutely the best fitness tracker you can buy under $50. Just remember you’re making some sacrifices for that lowcost price tag.

Like many others, we have been waiting for this new product. Let us tell you what we liked and what we frankly lacked in the fifth version of “mi band.”

Mi bands are still one of the most popular bracelets. The next wave of demand was spurred on by the release of the Mi Band 4 version with NFC – with it, even owners of smartphones without this module were able to pay in the store with a gadget, not a card. And here’s something new again – Mi Band 5. It was interesting to take it to the test, especially since there are many improvements compared to the fourth version. Has the fifth “mi band” got rid of all the shortcomings? 

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Strictly speaking, the name “fitness bracelet” has long been outdated. According to our observations, only 20 percent of all users use it for fitness or sports. Like a clock, everyone else is like a trivial step and calorie counter, like sleep monitoring devices, or just like a “buzzing buzzer” on your wrist that allows you not to miss a call. It seems to us that manufacturers cannot help but notice this, and all improvements should be directed towards ordinary users, not athletes. With the Xiaomi Mi Band 5, something like that happened. 

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Design and screen

The bracelet remained almost the same, with a capsule in a rubber strap unless the screen has become larger: now 1.1 inches instead of 0.95 in the fourth generation. The same bright, perfectly readable even in sunny weather.

Left - Xiaomi Mi Band 4, right - Mi Band 5

Left – Xiaomi Mi Band 4, right – Mi Band 5

The important point is that Xiaomi engineers still heard the people’s voice (they could have heard it earlier), which persistently asked to review the charging system. Each time taking out the capsule from the strap and putting it in the cradle is somehow not user-friendly. In Mi Band 5, it is enough to attach the charger’s magnetic connector to the contacts on the device – it is much faster and easier. 

The dials for the screen are a wagon and a small cart. Moreover, the cart with eight different options is already in the bracelet, and the car is waiting for you in the Mi Fit application, through which it is synchronized with the smartphone. 

New features

Of course, new functions have appeared in the next generation. By their number, bracelets are already beginning to catch up with simple smartwatches, although they are actively resisting. 

Related: Complete Review of Smart Watch: Apple Watch Series 6

Measurement of stress. A mysterious thing, the benefits of which we still have not been able to appreciate. We have tested it on a smartwatch more than once, trying to excite the body in every possible way (for example, by playing an emotional shooter). But each time, we were convinced that these measurements have nothing to do with the real level of stress. But there is a function. Yes, you can rejoice. 

Breathing exercises. If your stress goes off scale, you can try another new option. In the “Breathing” mode, you are asked to breathe rhythmically – the screen indicator sets the rhythm. A minute workout should help, but you can fix the time yourself. 

Women’s cycles. We searched for this option in the menu for a long time, but it turned out that it is only available if the user is a female. It’s a pity, and a man would not hurt to know when your friend has “these days” on the way. 

New workouts. Yes, now there are more of them – for example, the modes of work on the elliptical and rowing machine, jumping rope, or yoga classes have been added. In case you are still included in those 20%, which we talked about at the very beginning.

PAI index. This is what is really super mega useful. PAI is an index of physical activity that is calculated, taking into account actual physical activity. Many users of bracelets still believe in the “norm of steps” and “walk” it at the end of the day – they say, 10,000 have passed, I’m fine, I’m going to have supper. Mi Band 5 with the calculation of PAI directly offends these naive believers’ feelings, as if hinting: those 2000 steps that you lazily walked around the office, discussing a contract with a client on the phone, are never good physical activity!

Please do something more active, at least 20 minutes, so that the pulse rises, and the heart invigorates and feels like a cool pump. By the way, the same PAI with full training will go over 100 much faster than you reach your norm. In short, PAI gives a much more accurate idea of ​​daytime activity than pedometers and other simple things. 

You can also read: Zepp E smartwatch review

Autonomy

One of the main trump cards of all smart bracelets is the ability to work for a long time without recharging. While the new smartphone models have a clear trend towards increasing the battery up to 4000-5000 mAh, the Mi Band 5 unexpectedly received a smaller battery. Here it is only 125 mAh, although the capacity of the fourth version is 135 mAh. How did this affect autonomy? She fell, but not hard. In sleep monitoring mode, heart rate control, periodic training, Mi Band 5 lasts 6-7 days, while Mi Band 4 is guaranteed to survive for a week. If you don’t compare the bracelets directly, it’s quite normal. 

What we didn’t like

Xiaomi has always excelled in listening to consumers. The company does a lot of work with mi-fans and, when developing new devices, really takes into account their wishes. In this regard, it seemed strange to us that the Mi Band 5 turned out to be slightly “under-wound.” What exactly did we dislike?

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No NFC module. It is strange, but it is not yet available in the fifth version, although Mi Band 4 already works great with contactless payment. 

The text is still too small. Even a person with a 100% vision can find it difficult to make out the fine print of notifications on public transport or just on the move. This is a problem of all “mi bends,” and only those who have never tried another bracelet can ignore it. 

There is no estimate of the oxygen level in the blood. After the “coronavirus” spring, manufacturers rushed to add this feature to all gadgets since a decrease in level may indicate a disease’s presence. But she’s not here, which is strange. 

Imperfect interface. This applies to both the Mi Fit application, which would not hurt to present information in a more visual form, and the bracelet itself. For example, when you receive two messages from one user, you can see only their number in notifications. And, say, Honor Band 5 fully displays both the quantity and the text of the latter. 

In short, every home has its cockroaches. The Mi Band 5 turned out to be very good, although we expected more. A modification with NFC is likely to appear (although there is no official information on this yet), the interface and options can be modified programmatically (if they deem it necessary). The fifth “mi band” can still be considered.

Conclusion: Should you buy Xiaomi Mi Band 5?

Xiaomi has prove it again. The Mi Band 5 is absolutely the best fitness tracker you can buy under $50. Just remember you’re making some sacrifices for that lowcost price tag.

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