Links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.
Xiaomi Mi Band 6 guide: What you need to know about the cheap fitness tracker
Xiaomi achieved its wearable bona fides on the back of its hugely popular Mi Band series. Now in its sixth generation, the fitness tracker keeps getting better with every iteration. Xiaomi manages to pack in more features while keeping the price as low as it always was. There’s a lot more competition in the affordable fitness tracking space, but Xiaomi’s latest brings enough changes above and under the hood to make the fight interesting. Here’s everything you need to know about the Xiaomi Mi Band 6.
Our verdict: Xiaomi Mi Band 6 review
Xiaomi Mi Band 6 at a glance
The Xiaomi Mi Band 6, also known as the Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 in some markets, is the latest version of the company’s popular fitness tracker range. The Mi Band 6 offers more features than ever before but retains its affordable sub-€50 (~$53) price tag.
Compared to its predecessor, the Mi Band 6 comes with a much bigger AMOLED display, doubles the number of activity modes, and adds blood oxygen monitoring and a feature to assess breathing quality during sleep. Of course, it also carries forward valuable features like the PAI scoring system (Personal Activity Intelligence), women’s health, continuous heart rate monitoring, and a 5ATM rating for water resistance, so it is swim-ready. It’s more than the iterative update that we’ve seen in the past, especially with features like SpO2 monitoring more critical than ever.
Xiaomi sells two versions of the Mi Band 6 in China. The NFC version allows for contactless payments and also comes with Xiaomi’s Xiao AI voice assistant. The standard model — which is, unfortunately, the version that’s sold globally — misses out on those features. Speaking of global availability, the Mi Band 6 is available in the US via Amazon. You can also buy it in the UK and in Europe. You have the choice of six colorways: Black, Orange, Yellow, Olive, Ivory, and Blue, but the standard black band is the easiest to find.
Is the Xiaomi Mi Band 6 worth buying?
Absolutely! Xiaomi’s fitness trackers are perennially a part of our roundup of the best cheap fitness trackers you can get and makes it onto our list of the best fitness trackers because of their price tag. The Mi Band 6 is no exception. It offers an impressive set of sensors and features, far beyond what its price point would suggest, and it’s no surprise the Mi Band 6 received Android Authority’s Editor’s Choice award.
Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that the Mi Band 6 is a simple fitness tracker even with all it offers. It handles the basics well, from step tracking to calorie counting. You also get accurate resting heart rate tracking, good activity tracking via the sports modes, and solid battery life.
It’s not without its issues, though. Heart rate tracking falls off the rails during intense workouts, sleep tracking can be off, and the Xiaomi Mi Fitness app — despite its recent rebrand — still needs a lot of work. Additionally, the Mi Band 6 is fantastic for the price, but you’ll get more well-rounded experiences with other trackers as long as you’re willing to splurge. For the casual user, though, the Mi Band 6 is more than up to the task.
What reviewers are saying about the Xiaomi Mi Band 6
In his review, Jimmy Westenberg calls the Xiaomi Mi Band 6 “a clear winner.” He says it’s one of the best cheap fitness trackers you can spend your money on, even if it may no longer be the only device in this price range worth considering. The Mi Band 6 handles the basics well, and additions like blood oxygen monitoring and a larger, great-looking AMOLED display are welcome.
It’s far from flawless, of course, but he concludes by saying Xiaomi is headed in the right direction with the Mi Band 6. And while some aspects could be improved, it’s a well-rounded package overall.
What other reviewers from around the web think
Here’s what reviewers from other publications have to say about the Xiaomi Mi Band 6.
- TechRadar’s Cat Ellis says the Xiaomi Mi Band 6 may look unassuming but “makes up for that with an impressive bevy of tools for monitoring your health and fitness.” She praised features like all-day stress tracking and blood oxygen monitoring, which you’d usually find with a far more expensive alternative. She also likes the “bright, vivid, and responsive” display. She did have issues with the connected GPS and distance tracking and found the band wasn’t the most comfortable for running, but it is an excellent option for casual use.
- Digital Trend’s Andy Boxall says that while Mi Band 6 is an excellent option for people who want to track everyday movements and make improvements, it’s not a good fit for serious fitness enthusiasts and sports addicts. He also faced issues with the accuracy of the connected GPS but was impressed with the band’s tracking capabilities with other activities. Xiaomi sticks to its tried-and-tested formula and makes it a winner. He concludes by saying the Mi Band 6 “remains a cheap, comfortable fitness band with a list of focused activity features, and all the crucial sensors a modern tracker needs to satisfy most people.”
- Wareable’s Michael Sawh says, “the Mi Band 6 does give the cheap fitness tracker a higher quality (and larger) display, but other than that, it all feels very familiar.” He adds that it’s a solid fitness tracker with good “smart” features, and apart from problems with outdoor run tracking, it is a good activity tracker. He says that while the Xiaomi Mi Band 6 remains at the top of the budget fitness tracker hill, for now, the competition is quickly catching up and “may well end up knocking Xiaomi off its perch.”
Xiaomi Mi Band 6 specs
|Xiaomi Mi Band 6|
Tempered glass with anti-fingerprint coating
152 x 486 resolution
Up to 450 nits
60+ band displays
PPG heart rate sensor
3-axis accelerometer sensor
3-axis gyroscope sensor
14-day promised battery life
Tracking and other features
30 fitness modes
6 auto detection modes
Female health tracking
PAI (Personal Activity Intelligence)
Camera remote shutter
Mi Wear app
Mi Fit app
Android 5.0 and above
iOS 10 and above
47.4 x 18.6 x 12.7mm
Strap: 155 - 219mm
Black, Orange, Yellow, Olive, Ivory, Blue
Design and hardware
The Xiaomi Mi Band 6’s design is essentially unchanged from the previous two generations of Mi Bands. It’s made of a small tracker module that fits into a thin silicone strap. The strap is soft and doesn’t collect dust or hair. Some people also prefer the pin-in-hole buckle of the strap. There are plenty of colorways to choose from to add a touch of color to an otherwise standard design. You can also mix things up with excellent third-party options. Because the dimensions are essentially unchanged, you can also use Mi Band 5 bands with the newer tracker.
The significant upgrade here is the display. The Mi Band 6 has a much larger 1.56-inch screen, and Xiaomi increases it without making the module bigger. The display nearly spans the edge of the case and makes the fitness tracker look much more modern. It’s also brighter and more vivid, as you’d expect from an AMOLED panel. But there’s no auto-brightness option, so you’ll find yourself manually adjusting the brightness when moving indoors and outdoors quite often.
There are over 100 watch faces available for the Mi Band 6. Unfortunately, most aren’t customizable, and the majority are pretty tacky. The default option is generally your best bet unless you switch to the handful of watch faces to look at specific activity tracking.
The Mi Band 6 isn’t lacking in sensors. You get heart rate monitoring and blood oxygen monitoring with the Mi Band 6, along with a gyroscope and accelerometer. The 125mAh battery provides solid battery life, even though it falls well short of Xiaomi’s claimed 14-days of usage. It might be possible when using only the most basic functions, but enabling any advanced features will result in a much faster battery drain. Even then, getting a week of usage out of a fitness tracker is about par for the course, and the Mi Band 6 will last for at least that long.
How is the Xiaomi Mi Band 6’s performance?
The Xiaomi Mi Band 6 is a fitness tracker that excels at the basics. It keeps track of your step count, calories burned, distance traveled, resting and active heart rate, and sleep. It doesn’t come with built-in GPS, but connected GPS is available, even though some reviewers haven’t had the best experience with this feature.
You can set the Mi Band 6 to take resting heart rate readings in 30, 10, 5, or 1-minute increments. The watch will also warn you if your heart rate increases over a certain threshold during periods of inactivity. You get more data with shorter increments, but you’ll have to sacrifice battery life. For proper all-day heart rate monitoring, you’ll have to opt for far more expensive fitness trackers, like those from Garmin.
However, in his review, Jimmy found that while the Mi Band 6 is accurate with resting heart rate monitoring, it’s unfortunately not the case during workouts. He found multiple instances where the Xiaomi fitness tracker would report heart rates much higher than other devices. This made it generally unreliable during intense workouts.
Lately, blood oxygen monitoring has been an increasingly important metric in fitness trackers. Xiaomi states that the Mi Band 6 shouldn’t be used for medical monitoring, but it’s a good way to spot-check your blood oxygen levels throughout the day. It only takes a few seconds for the Mi Band 6 to record your blood oxygen levels, which is quite a bit faster than other trackers.
The Xiaomi Mi Band 6 integrates PAI (Personal Activity Intelligence) metrics to give you a better idea of your heart health. You’re given a PAI score, and any activity you do throughout the day adds to that score. Higher-intensity workouts that keep your heart rate high add the most points to your PAI score. The goal is to keep your score over 100 to improve your cardiorespiratory fitness. It’s a unique metric that attempts to help you understand how your activity reflects your overall health. But given the inaccuracies with heart rate tracking during intense workouts, this might not be the most reliable metric.
Finally, the Mi Band 6 offers basic smartwatch functionality and a few nice extras you won’t find with other fitness trackers. It can mirror your smartphone notifications for any app. However, none of the notifications are actionable or particularly easy to read on the elongated screen, for that matter. It has a few basic apps built-in like an alarm, stopwatch, timer, event log, a “find my device” app, and a camera control app. You can also control your smartphone’s music from the Mi Band. That’s where the app list ends, though. There are no third-party apps and no third-party watch faces.
Xiaomi Mi Band 6 vs. Mi Band 5: What’s new?
Xiaomi doesn’t mess with its Mi Band series design too much, so there isn’t a huge difference in the look and utility between the Xiaomi Mi Band 6 and Mi Band 5. The noticeable change is a larger display that better utilizes the watch front space. The AMOLED display is also brighter, more vivid, and more responsive. The overall footprint remains the same, though, and you can easily use the same straps with both.
There are a few key differences under the hood as well. The biggest is an SpO2 sensor with the Mi Band 6, a feature only available with the Chinese version of the Mi Band 5.
Another significant improvement over the Mi Band 5 is the number of sports profiles available. The Mi Band 6 can track 30 activities, compared to the 11 of its predecessor. Additions include niche profiles like Zumba, kickboxing, and badminton, to name a few. The Mi Band 6 can automatically detect six activities: running, walking, treadmill, cycling, rowing machine, and elliptical.
The Mi Band 5 is less capable, but the obvious advantage is in battery life. With the older tracker, you’ll get almost double the battery life, but it’s also not doing as much. In our Mi Band 5 review, we also didn’t come across the issues with heart rate monitoring during workouts and sleep tracking, which we saw while testing the Mi Band 6.
Deeper comparison: Xiaomi Mi Band 6 vs. Mi Band 5
What are some good Xiaomi Mi Band 6 alternatives?
Check out a few Xiaomi Mi Band 6 alternatives you should consider below. For a more comprehensive list, check out our dedicated post by clicking here.
- Huawei Band 6: The Huawei Band 6 offers a 10-day battery life, many workout modes, and all-day SpO2 monitoring. Our favorite feature, though, is the roomy AMOLED display. It goes toe-to-toe with the Xiaomi Band 6 and is a worthy alternative in this price range. Find out more in our Huawei Band 6 review.
- Fitbit Inspire 2: Think of the Fitbit Inspire 2 as a Fitbit Charge 4 “Lite.” It’s a good fitness tracker, health tracker, and sleep tracker and offers a 10-day battery life. The Fitbit app is also much better than Mi Fitness. It’s more expensive, but you will also get year-long access to Fitbit Premium for free (usually $10 per month). Check out our full review of the Fitbit Inspire 2 here.
- Huami Amazfit Band 5: Huami’s Amazfit Band 5 is essentially a Xiaomi Mi Band 5 clone with blood oxygen monitoring and Amazon Alexa support. If you’re looking for a smartwatch-like form factor, the Amazfit Bip U is also worth considering.
Where to buy the Xiaomi Mi Band 6
- Xiaomi Mi Band 6 (global, no NFC): €44.99/£39.99/$45
- Xiaomi Mi Band 6 (China, no NFC): 229 yuan (~$34)
- Xiaomi Mi Band 6 (China, NFC): 279 yuan (~$42)
There are a couple of variants of the Xiaomi Mi Band 6. Most users outside of China can get their hands on the global version more easily. This comes with the same features as the non-NFC model available in China and misses out on mobile payments and Xiaomi’s voice assistant. If you want those features, you’ll need to import the NFC version instead. The global variant is available in the US for around $45, and you can pick it up in the UK for £39.99 and €44.99 in other European markets.
Q: What straps work with the Xiaomi Mi Band 6?
A: The Xiaomi Mi Band 6 strap is removable. If you’re upgrading from the Mi Band 5, the same straps should work with the new tracker as well. You can switch between the various colorways available from Xiaomi or check out some good third-party options as well.
Q: Is the Xiaomi Mi Band 6 waterproof?
A: The Xiaomi Mi Band 6 comes with a 5ATM rating for water resistance. This means you can go for a swim and go underwater up to 165 feet.
Q: Can I use mobile payments with the Xiaomi Mi Band 6?
A: Unfortunately not, unless you are in China and get the NFC variant of the fitness tracker. The global version doesn’t come with NFC and won’t support mobile payments.
Q: Is the Xiaomi Mi Band 6 compatible with my phone?
A: You can get the companion app on both Android and iOS. The Zepp Life app (formerly Mi Fit) is available on both platforms. Mi Fitness, formerly Xiaomi Wear, is also an option for iPhone and Android users.
Q: Will Xiaomi release a Mi Band 7?
A: Based on early rumors, it seems extremely likely that Xiaomi is working on a Mi Band 7.