Update: May 26, 2020 (9:50AM ET): The latest Mi Band 5 leak may have given us our first real-world look at the upcoming wearable. We’ve included these pictures and accompanying info in the article below!
Original article, April 22, 2020: Xiaomi has a history of producing well-built devices on the cheap, and the Xiaomi Mi Band fitness tracker line perfectly reflects that idea. Typically costing less than $40 here in the States, Mi Bands are among the most sought-after fitness devices for folks on a budget.
The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 had a lot going for it, and we’re expecting a successor to land this summer. Here’s everything we know so far about the Xiaomi Mi Band 5, as well as a few things we’d like to see improved.
Xiaomi Mi Band 5: Design and hardware
Rumor has it the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 will come with a much larger 1.2-inch AMOLED touchscreen display. That’s a pretty big increase compared to the Xiaomi Mi Band 4’s 0.95-inch display, so hopefully it won’t interfere with the Mi Band’s traditional lightweight form factor. The new AMOLED display is also rumored to have more contrast than the Mi Band 4’s.
The Xiaomi Mi Band 3 and Mi Band 4 both had NFC support, but only in China. Early rumors suggested that Mi Band 5 will add NFC support for the rest of the globe. However, according to folks over at TizenHelp, that won’t be the case. NFC might still be limited to only the Chinese model of the Mi Band 5.
In case the new Mi Band does get NFC globally, we aren’t sure if it will only support Xiaomi’s Mi Pay system or if it will branch out to others like Google Pay, but one thing is for certain: having access to contactless payments on the Mi Band 5 will be super convenient for many of us.
A Weibo user posted two real-world images apparently showing the Mi Band 5, and we can see a “plug-in” charger and a design that isn’t a massive departure from the previous wearable. Check out the images above.
Features and tracking
TizenHelp outed a major feature for the Mi Band 5 – support for Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. If true, this is the first time a Mi Band will get support for a smart voice assistant outside of China.
Furthermore, the publication also reported some new tracking features headed to the Mi Band 5. These include SpO2 (or blood oxygen) tracking and menstrual cycle tracking. Both of these were absent from the previous Mi Band 4. Additionally, TizenHelp later reported that there will be five new fitness activities you can track: yoga, elliptical, rowing machine, jumping rope, and indoor cycling. That last one has been a long time coming, so we hope that pans out.
TizenHelp also reported that the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 will get a new set of fitness metrics that will help users track heart health. Similar to Google Fit Heart Points and Fitbit’s Active Zone Minutes, Xiaomi will reportedly add the PAI Health suite to the Mi Band 5. PAI, which stands for Personal Activity Intelligence, gives users an easy-to-understand metric that essentially “gamifies” your overall health. PAI gives users a score from 1-100 based on their heart rate, activity, and more. The higher your score, the healthier you supposedly are.
The PAI Health metrics will reportedly replace step counts on the Mi Band 5, but don’t look too much into that claim. Xiaomi is not going to release a fitness tracker without basic pedometer functionality.
Xiaomi will also likely bring PAI Health to the Mi Band 4 and maybe even the Mi Band 3. Notably, Huami, the company that makes Xiaomi’s Mi Bands, brought the PAI Health suite to its Amazfit GTR and GTS smartwatches last year.
The Xioami Mi Band 5 will likely have some new tricks not related to health tracking.
Outside of health tracking, there could be two other new features on the way for the Xiaomi Mi Band 5. The first is really cool, which is a camera controller. Theoretically, you would use the controller to activate the shutter button on your smartphone camera or switch from the rear camera to the selfie camera. This would allow you to operate your phone’s camera while it’s on a tripod, for example.
Finally, there could be some new watch faces on the way for the Mi Band 5. Check out what they could look like below:
Xiaomi Mi Band 5: Price and release date
The Xiaomi Mi Band 5 will reportedly cost 179 yuan in China (~$25.31) and could launch in June 2020, if the rumors are correct. Of course, it’s not always a 1:1 price conversion, so we can expect the Mi Band 5 to cost slightly more than $25 in the US. However, we wouldn’t be surprised if it launched for under $40, as is a tradition for Mi Bands. For reference, the Xiaomi Mi Band 4 can be purchased from Amazon in the US for about $32, though it initially launched for $39.99.
A Weibo source also hints that the new Mi Band will retail for 200 yuan (~$28) or thereabouts. But again, the price will almost certainly rise when it leaves China.
We're not certain how much the Mi Band 5 will cost, but you can expect it to land under $40.
The version with NFC (if there is one at all) may cost more than the Mi Band 5 without NFC. This was the case for the Mi Band 4 at launch.
An even cheaper Xiaomi Mi Band is on its way, though it’s not going to be related to the Mi Band 5. Soon, Xiaomi will release the Xiaomi Mi Band 4C, which is basically a rebranded Realme Band. Though, if our Realme Band review is anything to go on, you probably shouldn’t buy Realme’s first fitness tracker (or likely Xiaomi’s Mi Band 4C).
Could both the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 and Mi Band 4C launch simultaneously? We’re not sure yet, but we’ll keep you posted as and when we know more.
Xiaomi Mi Band 5: What we want to see
The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 offers a lot of fitness and health features (especially for the price), but it’s not perfect. Here are a few things we’d like to see Xiaomi improve with the Mi Band 5.
A more accurate heart rate sensor
The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 has a surprisingly accurate optical heart rate sensor, though wrist-based solutions could always be improved. I found the Mi Band 4’s heart rate readings to struggle quite a bit during high-intensity workouts. Specifically, the Mi Band 4 had a hard time catching stark changes in intensity (i.e. during HIIT exercises). I’d like to see an improvement out of the Mi Band 5 in this area.
An improved Mi Fit app
I’ve said time and time again, one of the most important parts of a fitness product is its companion app. Who cares about what the device can track if it can’t tell you how those details affect your health and wellbeing? That’s not to say the Mi Fit app is bad by any means, but there’s certainly room for improvement.
I find Mi Fit to be extremely straightforward in some areas and overly difficult in others. Checking your daily health stats is easy enough, but the app requires some digging to get to your workout and activity history. This can be a little frustrating if you’re constantly checking your workout progression.
I’d also like Xiaomi to make checking those health stats easier. You can’t expand your heart rate details into a bigger screen, so you really only get a small box to see your heart rate trends during your workouts. Again, not fun for those of us who like to dig into data.
Finally, I’d like to see more social features in the Mi Fit app, as well as compatibility with other fitness applications. So many people wear Mi Bands. Xiaomi needs to leverage that user base and allow people to communicate and challenge each other!
Long shot: An improved design
Xiaomi’s Mi Bands have always been simple, no-frills devices. They all look similar, with a small black case surrounded by a cheap silicone band. I’d like to see a more robust design, or at least more customization options. Give us higher-end strap options! Give us a different colored tracking modules! I’ll take anything to make my device look more customizable.
Do I think Xiaomi will drastically improve things this year? Not really, but it’s worth a shot.
I know many Android Authority readers wear Xiaomi Mi Bands, so I want to hear from you. What do you want to see Xiaomi improve with the Mi Band 5? Tell us in the comments.