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xiaomi mi band 5 review on wrist header
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
aa2020 editors choice

Xiaomi Mi Band 5 review: Taking the fight to Fitbit

Even with its newer siblings snapping at its heels, the Mi Band 5 remains a solid and cheap fitness tracker.

Published onJune 13, 2022

aa2020 editors choice

Xiaomi Mi Band 5

The Xiaomi Mi Band 5 is absolutely worth the ~$40 price tag. It's once again the best cheap fitness tracker you can buy, hands down. Just remember you're making some sacrifices for that lower price tag.

What we like

Fantastic value
Improved charger with 14-day battery life
Good display
Useful smart features
Mostly accurate heart rate sensor

What we don't like

Mi Fit app needs refining
NFC, voice assistant, pulse ox unavailable outside of China
aa2020 editors choice

Xiaomi Mi Band 5

The Xiaomi Mi Band 5 is absolutely worth the ~$40 price tag. It's once again the best cheap fitness tracker you can buy, hands down. Just remember you're making some sacrifices for that lower price tag.

Every year, we call Xiaomi’s latest Mi Band the “best affordable fitness tracker.” And every year, the company needs to do very little to achieve that distinction. Xiaomi nailed the formula early on; its trackers have always offered the basics for a fraction of the price of competing products.

The Xiaomi Mi Band 5, released in 2020, is no different. It’s only a small step up from the Mi Band 4 and only offers a handful of new features over its predecessors. Are those small changes enough to let it compete in the big leagues? Is it still worth it now that the Mi Band 6 is available? And how does it compare to closer competition such as the Fitbit Inspire 2 series? Read our Xiaomi Mi Band 5 review to learn more.

Newer versions of this device are now available. The Mi Band 6 packs an SpO2 sensor as standard, includes more sport tracking modes, and has a larger display. It does, however, have some drawbacks. Read our Mi Band 6 review for full details. The Xiaomi Mi Band 7 has also made its debut in China, however, it is not yet available globally.

About this Xiaomi Mi Band 5 review: I used the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 for 10 days running firmware version The Xiaomi Mi Band 5 review unit was paired with my Google Pixel 4a for the duration of this review.

Xiaomi Mi Band 5: What’s new?

xiaomi mi band 5 review xiaomi mi band 5 vs mi band 4
Xiaomi Mi Band 5 vs Mi Band 4

The Xiaomi Mi Band 5 (aka the Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 5 in some regions) is Xiaomi’s affordable fitness tracker launched in 2020. It’s a slight improvement over 2019’s Xiaomi Mi Band 4, with a somewhat upgraded design and a few new health features to keep you motivated.

The Mi Band 5 and Mi Band 4 look similar, though the new fitness tracker is slightly larger. It has a 20% larger AMOLED display at 1.1 inches and supports 100% of the P3 color gamut. The display is fine. It can get pretty bright outdoors in direct sunlight. There’s no ambient light sensor, so you might find yourself adjusting brightness more than you’d like.

Unfortunately, the Mi Band 5’s larger size means you won’t be able to use your older Mi Band 4 or 3 bands with the new device. There are lots of third-party options available on Amazon if you want to add a splash of color to your wrist.

The Xiaomi Mi Band 5 is a battery champ.

The Mi Band 5 is a battery champ — not as much of a champ as the Mi Band 4, however. It can last 14 days on a single charge with “normal use” compared to the Mi Band 4’s 20 days. Xiaomi says you can still get 20 days out of the Mi Band 5 if you take power-saving precautions like turning off heart rate monitoring, raise-to-wake, and sleep tracking.

With normal use and tracking of a few exercises throughout the week, my Mi Band 5 is on track to last about 13 days on a charge — just under what Xiaomi estimates. I was also digging into the interface quite a bit during that time, so I don’t think it’d be too difficult to squeeze a little more battery out of the device. Regardless, you’ll be able to wear the Mi Band 5 for well over a week without worrying about charging it.

xiaomi mi band 5 review charging cable

Speaking of charging, the Mi Band 5’s charger is vastly improved over every other Mi Band charger. It’s magnetic and connects to the tracker via pins, so you no longer need to detach the device from its band to charge it. Hallelujah! The charger is longer now, too, so no more of this four-inch-long charging cable nonsense.

Xiaomi integrated PAI (Personal Activity Intelligence) metrics into the Mi Band 5 to give you a better idea of your overall health and wellness. PAI gives you a score based on your sex, age, heart rate, and other data. Basically, everything you do throughout the day adds to your PAI score, but you’ll get the most PAI points for vigorously exercising and keeping your heart rate in a higher zone. The goal is to keep your PAI score above 100.

PAI is similar to what we’ve seen from Fitbit with Active Zone Minutes and Google with Heart Points and Move Minutes. Since it takes into account how you’re moving — not just the fact that you are moving — this should give you more accurate insights into how healthy you are.

xiaomi mi band 5 review running activity stats
Xiaomi Mi Band 5

A few other notable upgrades Xiaomi included in the Mi Band 5:

  • Additional sports tracking: The Mi Band 5 can track 11 sport modes, up from the Mi Band 4’s six. It still tracks outdoor running, treadmill, cycling, walking, pool swimming, and the catch-all freestyle, and adds elliptical, jump rope, indoor cycling, yoga, and rowing machine exercises.
  • More frequent heart rate monitoring: The Mi Band 5 can record your heart rate 24 hours a day, even while you’re sleeping. You can set it to automatically record throughout the day, only when you sleep, or both depending on how much battery you’d like it to use.
  • Better sleep tracking: The Xiaomi Mi Band 5 can now track REM sleep in addition to deep and light sleep. It can also track naps during the day.
  • Now with 24-hour sleep tracking: In December 2020, Xiaomi rolled out an update to the Mi Band 5 with version, bringing support for 24-hour sleep tracking. Now, those with odd sleep schedules will be able to track their sleep with the fitness tracker.
  • Menstrual cycle tracking: Xiaomi added menstrual cycle tracking to the Mi Band 5, which records your menstrual cycle and ovulation phases. Mi Fit will give you reminders before each period, too. Of course, I wasn’t able to test this feature, so I can’t comment on its usefulness.

What’s it good at?

xiaomi mi band 5 review heart rate sensor

Above all else, the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 is a solid overall fitness tracker — especially for the money. Step tracking is good, and I never once thought my daily step count was outrageously off compared to other trackers. Xiaomi improved the accuracy of the Mi Band 5’s step counting with February 2021’s update.

I’ve found sleep tracking to be quite accurate compared to my Galaxy Watch 3. The addition of REM sleep in Mi Fit is helpful for getting a more detailed overview of your sleep quality. I also like Mi Fit’s sleep quality analysis. It provides genuinely useful feedback instead of some boilerplate response many other fitness apps give you. Keep in mind that Mi Fit is now Zepp Life, but sleep tracking remains one of the platform’s strong points.

My sleep score has been relatively accurate, too, though I do want to note that not all reviewers have had the same experience as me. My sleep score never got above a 78/100 — which is about how I’ve felt over the past week or so. Others have reported outrageously high sleep scores. I’ll update you if I experience any of these issues going forward.

xiaomi mi band 5 review heart rate data vs garmin fenix 6 pro
Top to bottom: Xiaomi Mi Band 5, Garmin Fenix 6 Pro, Wahoo Tickr X

The quality of the heart rate sensor was good, for the most part. It actually matched up quite well with the readings I got from my Garmin Fenix 6 Pro and Wahoo Tickr X chest strap during a five-mile run (see above). All three reported an average heart rate of 148-150, and each device stuck closely to one another for highs and lows throughout each interval.

Other upsides to the Mi Band 5 include:

  • Connected GPS performance: First, the fact that connected GPS is here in the first place is convenient. It was also quick to catch on to my phone’s GPS and reported data accurately in Mi Fit after my two bike rides around town on one night.
  • PAI support can help keep you on track: I like that Xiaomi included PAI in the Mi Band 5. It’s not always clear how to earn a certain amount of PAI points, and the interface can be confusing. However, any attempt to gamify activity to keep people motivated can prove to be really beneficial for users.
  • Useful smart features: App notifications and phone calls come through quickly and reliably. Night Mode dims the band’s screen automatically on a schedule, and you can set the display only to recognize lift-to-wake at certain times of the day. You can even set vibration patterns for certain apps. Xiaomi further improved the overall UI performance with the August 2021 update.
  • Overall reliable connection: The Mi Band 5 didn’t drop connection with my Pixel 4 XL or Pixel 4a one time throughout the review period. I wish I could say that for other wearables.
  • New watch faces: Everyone likes customizing their devices. The Mi Band 5 supports more than 100 new watch faces. It was easy to find a handful that I would use daily.
  • iOS compatibility: Not all fitness trackers are compatible with iPhones, but the Mi Band 5 is. As long as your iPhone is running iOS 10 or above, you can connect the Mi Band 5 to your phone.

Are there any downsides?

Yep. Remember, this is a sub-$50 activity tracker, so there will be some downsides.

Since this review was published, Xiaomi has overhauled its app experience. Mi Fit has become Zepp Life, and the new app looks and feels better than its predecessor. It will surely satisfy most users, but it remains inferior to other health apps from companies. If you don’t like it, you can also use the Mi Fitness (formerly Xiaomi Wear) app. Having a choice is great, but this will likely lead to confusion among users.

I ran into a few smaller issues with the Mi Band 5’s heart rate sensor, in that resting heart rate readings on the band itself consistently came back ~7bpm lower than my Fenix 6 Pro and Tickr X chest strap. It’s not a huge deal in the long run, considering active heart rate readings are solid.

So, most of my gripes are about the companion app experience and not so much about the tracker itself, however, I believe there’s more to a fitness tracker than the hardware.

Xiaomi Mi Band 5 region-specific features

xiaomi mi band 5 review on wrist clock face
Xiaomi Mi Band 5

The Xiaomi Mi Band 5 is available in the UK, Europe, China, India, and other regions, but not all Mi Band 5s are created equally.

The Xiaomi Mi Band 5 in China comes with NFC support for contactless payments, the XiaoAI voice assistant, and a pulse oximeter for SpO2 readings. Global variants (aka all variants outside of China) don’t have NFC, a voice assistant, or a pulse oximeter. Womp womp. Mi Band 5s sold in Russia have NFC, though.

I tested the global Mi Band 5, so I didn’t have access to these features.

Xiaomi Mi Band 5 specs

Xiaomi Mi Band 5
1.1-inch AMOLED color touchscreen
126 x 294 resolution
450 nits
2.5D reinforced glass and AF coating
Dimensions and weight
46.95 × 18.15 × 12.45mm
155–219mm adjustable length
Colors and materials
PC plastic case
TPU strap
Aluminum alloy wristband buckle

Black, blue, pink, orange, purple, yellow, green, gray
Water resistance rating
512KB of RAM
16MB of flash memory
Heart rate sensor
SpO2 sensor
Connected GPS
Proximity sensor
Digital MEMS microphone
14-day battery life (advertised)
Bluetooth 5.0

Android 5.0 and above
iOS 10.0 and above

Xiaomi Mi Band 5 review: Is it a good value?

Yes, the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 is an excellent value. In fact, it’s the tracker’s main selling point. It’s available broadly across Europe for ~€35 (~$37), in the UK for ~£24 (~$33), and in India for ~Rs 2,999 (~$38). The NFC-less model is available in China for 189 yuan (~$28), while the version with NFC costs 229 yuan (~$34). You can also find it on Amazon in the US through a third-party seller for around $37, though it’s not officially available in the States.

Xiaomi Mi Band 5 Press Image
Xiaomi Mi Band 5
A bit older, but also a bit cheaper
Xiaomi makes great cheap fitness trackers, and the Mi Band 5 is no exception. For well under $50, you get a bigger display, more trackable sport modes, 24-hour heart rate monitoring, improved sleep tracking, and PAI integration.

I don’t think the question is, “Is the Mi Band 5 worth the money?” It definitely is — you seriously can’t beat this price tag — but there are some downsides to going with a device this cheap.

The Xiaomi Mi Band 5 is among the best fitness trackers you can buy under $50.

Despite their rebrands, Zepp Life and Mi Fitness still have their quirks. Many other pricier devices offer better apps and give you easier access to your health data. Fitbit comes to mind right away. The Inspire 2 is the closest competition to the Mi Band 5 in terms of price and features, and its bundled one-year subscription to Fitbit Premium for new users is a huge bonus. It can be had for ~$100, making it a more serious investment, but it’s still cheaper than the older Inspire HR.

The Fitbit Charge 4 is another of our favorite fitness trackers available right now, even after reviewing the Mi Band 5. It costs triple, though, which puts it in a very different market than the Mi Band.

There’s now competition from the Mi Band 5’s newer sibling. The Mi Band 6 addresses several shortcomings of the Mi Band 5. But it’s pricier, coming in ~$55 on Amazon. The Mi Band 7’s international launch shouldn’t be too far off, either.

Despite the competition, even from the newer Mi Band models, it’s tough to rule against the Mi Band 5. It remains a steller basic fitness tracker for under $50. Just remember you’re making some sacrifices for that lower price tag.

Next: The best smartwatches you can buy