The Mi Band 6 is yet another great-value fitness tracker from Xiaomi
Xiaomi’s Mi Band series has been one of the best-selling fitness trackers globally for good reason — they offer a solid set of features, long battery life, and an affordable price around the $50 range. The new Mi Band 6 offers more of the same as the excellent Mi Band 5 but with two big improvements: the screen size has grown to 1.56-inches from last year’s 1.1-inch screen and there’s a new blood oxygen (SpO2) sensor.
I’ve been wearing the Mi Band 6 for a week, and here’s my review.
Xiaomi Mi Band 6: Specifications
|Specs||Mi Band 6|
|Size and weight||
|RAM/Storage||512KB RAM, 16MB storage|
|Display||1.56-inch AMOLED (152 x 486)
450 nits brightness
|Connectivity||Bluetooth v5 BLE|
|Water resistance||5ATM or 50m up to 30 minutes in freshwater|
About this review: Xiaomi HQ sent us the Mi Smart Band 6 in early April for review. This review is after a week of use. Xiaomi did not have any input in this review.
Design and Display
Just out of the box — before the screen lights up — the Mi Band 6 looks identical to the Mi Band 5. It’s the same long oval-shaped face wrapped by a silicone band. The actual screen/body part can be removed (with a bit of effort), revealing just the oval-shaped tiny plasticky casing.
Xiaomi actually did not reveal the weight of the Mi Band 6 in official press materials; I tried weighing it on a bodyweight scale, and it was so light it wouldn’t even register. In the end, I found a kitchen cooking scale, which finally revealed that the band (without the strap) weighs just 14g. With a thickness of 12.7mm, the Mi Band 6 is a petite fitness tracker that can be worn all day without being noticed — something I can’t say for the Apple Watch 6 or Fitbit Sense.
The strap comes in black by default, but there are other livelier colors to choose from, such as red and yellow. Fit and comfort on my wrist are excellent.
The Mi Band 6’s new 1.56-inch screen has a 152 x 486 resolution and gets up to 450 nits of brightness, and it looks quite good to my eyes. I do struggle to see it under very direct harsh sunlight, but otherwise, colors are vibrant and the text looks sharp.
Around the back are the usual heart rate sensors, the new SpO2 sensor, and two magnetic pogo pins for charging, which you won’t have to do very often because the Mi Band 6’s 125 mAh battery is enough to power the band for 14 days on a single charge. I’m on day seven and there’s still 54% battery left, so the claim is very likely accurate.
Inside, there are more sensors, including an accelerometer and gyroscope. There is no built-in GPS, but there’s connected GPS, which means the band can use your phone’s GPS and track your runs.
Software and Features
The Xiaomi Mi Band 6 tracks all the basic metrics such as steps, active and resting heart rate, distance walked, calories burned, sleep, as well as 30 specific exercises (up from 11 last year). These exercises include basic stuff like running and cycling to more niche activities like rowing and badminton and HIIT.
From what I can tell, the step tracking is highly accurate, but the sleep tracking can be hit and miss. For example, my partner wakes up several hours earlier than I do, so usually when she gets out of bed, I am woken up for 30 seconds to a minute, and then I fall back to sleep. The Xiaomi Band 6 consistently thinks that minor disturbance is me “waking up” and stops tracking my sleep after that. I have no such issues with the Fitbit Sense, Honor Band 6, or the Apple Watch 6.
The new blood oxygen (SpO2) monitoring seems to work fine. It takes about 20 seconds of holding still, after which the score will be listed on the screen. I compared the blood oxygen level the Mi Band 6 showed me (95%) to the Apple Watch 6’s reading and they were identical — which means it should be accurate? There’s also women’s cycle tracking, but I couldn’t test that.
Xiaomi’s health app (Mi Fit) is very well-designed, with detailed charts showing me my exercise data and heart rate history. There are also dozens of watch faces to choose from, catering to different styles and aesthetics.
Since the Mi Band 6 lacks physical buttons, navigating is done via swipes and taps. For the most part, the UI is easy enough to get around as everything is where it should be. You can also customize the things that show up on the band within the Mi Fit app.
Using the Mi Band 6 day-to-day
As a smart wearable, the Mi Band 6 is okay. I can get notifications in a timely manner, but I can’t interact with them. I enjoy being able to respond to WhatsApp messages directly on my wrist (which I can do on the Apple Watch 6 and Fitbit Sense), so I’m always bummed when these more basic fitness bands don’t allow that option. Though to be fair, the price difference between a full-fledged smartwatch and something like a Xiaomi Mi Band 6 is large enough that I shouldn’t really complain.
The Mi Band 6 also allows direct music control on the wrist, which is a bonus. So overall, the Mi Band 6 does a fine job of helping me check my phone less often.
The biggest praise I can give to the Mi Band 6 is that I usually can’t wear smartwatches or other tracking bands 24 hours a day. I have sensitive skin, Hong Kong is always humid, and sometimes bulkier wearables really get on my nerves when I’m typing on a laptop or in bed. I usually take off other wearables when I’m at home, but with the Mi Band 6, I can, in fact, wear it almost literally 24 hours a day. I wear it to sleep, and I even tried showering with it a couple of times without issues (it’s rated 5ATM meaning it can withstand water pressures at up to 50 meters in depth for 10 minutes).
Conclusion: The Mi Band 6 is an affordable fitness tracker that gets almost everything right
Xiaomi’s prices for the Mi Band 6 vary from region to region, but in China, it retails for ¥229 (~$35). In Europe, it costs just €44.99. At this price, it’s really hard to find fault with the Xiaomi Mi Band 6.
Now, should you upgrade if you have the Mi Band 5 already? I’d say no unless you really care about your blood oxygen levels, which might be a valid reason in this age of COVID resurgence. But if you are using an older Mi Band or in the market for your first fitness tracker, the Xiaomi Mi Band 6 is one of the very best options around that you can pick up.