The Mi-Bands from Xiaomi are heating up the competition in the fitness tracker market. A low price, many features, a good display and an excellent battery life helped the Mi Band once again to take pole position in the low-price segment. Now Xiaomi has launched the latest model with the Mi Band 6.
One thing catches the eye when comparing the Mi Band 5 and the Mi Band 6: namely nothing. There is practically no visual difference between the two trackers. Only the circular touch button on the underside of the display on the Mi Band 5 has disappeared. Both trackers have an AMOLED display in an oval housing and a silicone wristband. However, Xiaomi has given the Mi Band 6 a larger screen: Instead of 1.1 inches with 126 x 294 pixels, there are now 1.56 inches with 152 x 486 pixels. The lighting has remained the same for both models at 450 cd / m².
Because the Mi Band 5 and Mi Band 6 are very similar in design, the Mi Band 6 also inherits the advantages and disadvantages of the Mi Band 5 in this regard: the display remains easy to read in high sunlight. If you want, you can regulate the brightness and thus save the battery. The changeable display themes known from the predecessor are also retained. However, Xiaomi failed to adjust the bracelet. Therefore, it still looks rather cheap and the closure takes getting used to. If you have already owned a Mi Band before, you will quickly get along here and will not find the rather fiddly closure annoying in the long term. There are also various inexpensive interchangeable bracelets from third parties. The wristbands compatible with the Mi Band 5 also fit the Mi Band 6.
When setting up the Mi Band 6, there are no differences compared to the previous models: We install the Mi-Fit app on our smartphone and pair the Mi Band 6 with the app via Bluetooth. Xiaomi has already released an update for the German language version for the Mi Band 6, which we can easily install via update after coupling. In our experience, the localization is error-free.
We have already discussed the Mi Fit app in detail in other Mi Band tests. That is why we limit ourselves to the essentials at this point: The app works as usual and clearly prepares all important data such as steps, sleep, training units and activity. Because the Mi Band 6 now also measures blood oxygen, we can now also find the corresponding measured values in the app.
We can also start certain activities and training units manually via the app. In addition, we have the option of setting activity goals and a target body weight.
In terms of activity tracking on the Mi Band, not much has changed between the Mi Band 6 and the previous model. As usual, we have the option of setting our own activity and step goals in the app. The Mi Band will then inform us if we have achieved our goals. The app clearly shows us the days on which we have taken sufficient steps. If you manage to achieve the set goals over several days, you start a series. The step recognition worked very well and precisely in our test. Compared to the control device (Garmin Vivoactive 3), we were only able to determine minor single-digit deviations. Xiaomi has obviously improved this compared to its predecessor.
The Mi Band 6 measures our pulse during activity at certain time intervals that we can set via the app. If you want, you can also activate manual heart rate measurement so that the tracker only records the heart rate when requested. In addition to pulse measurement, we can also switch on permanent stress monitoring, which determines our stress level every five minutes. This can be helpful if we want to monitor our stress level over a longer period of time and identify specific irregularities. However, this requires a sufficient number of measurements. The permanent stress monitoring is also at the expense of the battery life, which is why users should consider whether they really need this feature.
In addition to pure activity tracking, we can of course also use the Mi Band 6 for recording training units. We have various sport profiles to choose from, which we already know from the Mi Band 5. Standards such as running, swimming and cycling are again on board as well as yoga, jumping rope or boxing. The selection is large and if you can’t find the right profile, you can make do with the freestyle option.
However, the tracking performance of the training varies depending on the sport: While regular running and comparable cardio units can be recorded very well, the Mi Band 6, like many comparable competing products, has its difficulties in training with greatly varying heart rates. The measurement of a Crossfit unit corresponded by and large to the measurement result with a chest strap, but individual values in the higher frequency range differed significantly from each other. The maximum value for the Mi Band 6 was ten heartbeats above the value of the chest strap.
On the other hand, the Mi Band 6 calculates the calorie requirement extremely conservatively. If the Garmin Vivoactive 3 with chest strap spent 422 kcal for a workout, the Mi Band only recorded 347 kcal. With such a large deviation, users should not rely too much on the statements on calorie consumption.
The Mi Band 6 has a water resistance of 5 ATM (40 meters) and accordingly withstands showering or swimming sessions on the water surface, but not long dives.
In contrast to the previous model, the Mi Band 6 now automatically records our sleep. So we don’t have to activate tracking in the app first. The Mi Band measures our sleep phases, divided into deep sleep, light sleep and awake phases and calculates a sleep score based on this. We can read the results in a corresponding diagram in the app. The app in turn gives us recommendations for improving our deep sleep and provides information on sleep regularity and sleep behavior in comparison with other users. Even if the meaningfulness of sleep tracking with devices such as the Mi Band is always limited, we found the results subjectively at least accurate and helpful.
Like its predecessor, the Mi Band 6 does not interfere while sleeping, although the case is relatively thick. The alarm clock, which can be configured via the menu of the tracker, reliably wakes up even deep sleepers via vibration.
If you want, you can make use of a number of additional functions of the Mi Band 6, most of which were already available with the Mi Band 5: The option of performing a breathing exercise to reduce stress is also included, as is the recording of the menstrual cycle for female users . Pleasing: The music control of the Mi Band 6 now also works if we have activated training recording at the same time. For the first time, there is also the option of sending pre-prepared SMS replies using the integrated notification function.
If the battery life was still one of the great advantages of the Mi Band 4, the fifth edition of the tracker already had to give up a few springs. In our test at the time, the Mi Band 5 lasted a little less than the Mi Band 4, which was also due to the lower battery capacity and the brighter display. The Mi Band 6 has to lose some battery life with its larger display.
We tested the Mi Band 6 again with permanent heart rate measurement, activated notifications, sleep tracking and five one-hour training units per week. The tracker lasted almost ten days. This means that the Mi Band 6 is slightly behind the Mi Band 5.
The charging of the battery has otherwise not changed compared to the Mi Band 5. We can detach the tracker from the bracelet and charge it with the included charging cable at a USB port. The battery is charged within around an hour and a half – again no difference compared to its predecessor.
If you are looking for a cheap fitness tracker, the Mi Band 6 is the right address again. Xiaomi offers the tracker for around 45 euros. The Chinese version costs 35 euros. However, the international version is already available for just under 40 euros and is therefore a bit cheaper than the Huawei Band 6 (test report) and the Honor Band 6 (test report). And of course there are still the predecessors that are very inexpensive to get.
The Mi Band 6 differs from its predecessor in one essential point, namely the display. This is quite a bit larger, but it also puts more strain on the battery, which, on the other hand, has not increased its capacity. In addition, Xiaomi has expanded its portfolio of training options.
If you are looking for an affordable fitness tracker that scores with extensive tracking options and an excellent display, you definitely won’t go wrong with the Mi Band 6. Unfortunately, the manufacturer again gives up the battery advantage of the Mi Band 4 (test report) – a little more capacity would have been desirable here.
Nevertheless, the Mi Band 6 can measure up to the competition. In view of the small price differences to the Huawei Band 6 and the Honor Band 6, you should take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of all three trackers in order to be able to make an informed purchase decision for one of the affordable devices.