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Xiaomi Mi Band buyer's guide: Everything you need to know

Everything you need to know about Xiaomi's affordable fitness trackers
By
June 14, 2022
A user wears a Xiaomi Mi band 6, displaying the device's watch face.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
Mi Band 6

Xiaomi’s Mi Band series has long been the cheap fitness tracker to beat. If you’ve ever wanted to understand why you’ve come to the right place. We detail everything you need to know about the Xiaomi Mi Band series, including essential features, weaknesses, and alternatives.

See also: The best fitness trackers you can buy

What is a Xiaomi Mi Band?

A user holds up a Xiaomi Mi Band 5 and a Xiaomi Mi Band 4 in front of greenery.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
Xiaomi Mi Band 5 vs Mi Band 4

The first Xiaomi Mi Band made its debut in July 2014. The affordable fitness wearable line has since seen six major revisions ending with this year’s Xiaomi Mi Band 7. However, there aren’t many significant changes to the fundamental concept between the first and latest Mi Bands. All models are fitness trackers that prioritize the basics at inexpensive price points.

Aesthetically, the Mi Band series isn’t what we’d call pretty. They’re utilitarian and available in various band colors, but the pill-shaped tracker probably won’t spark any compliments. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. Xiaomi uses plenty of plastic in the Mi Band’s construction, which keeps weight to a minimum. It also ensures that the company can hit the sub-$50 price point with each release, even when adding more advanced features each time. 

Although we regard the Mi Band 6 and 7 as the latest and greatest, the Mi Band 5 and Mi Band 4 are still viable options for those seeking simple fitness trackers at even lower price points. As for the Xiaomi Mi Band 3, Mi Band 2, and older models, they’re simply too long in the tooth to recommend.

Buying the right Xiaomi Mi Band for your needs

A Xiaomi Mi Band 6 and Xiaomi Mi Band rest side by side on a brick wall.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
Left to right: Xiaomi Mi Band 6, Xiaomi Mi Band 5

Before proceeding, we should mention that the Mi Bands are not smartwatches. They’re intended as simple, affordable fitness trackers for monitoring your exercises and daily activity. If you’re looking for a smartwatch that can run apps, place calls, and more, view our best smartwatch guide.

The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 is the oldest of the three bands still worth considering. In his review, Jimmy Westenberg applauded the device for its lengthy battery life, improved display over the Mi Band 3, and addition of more fitness profiles. However, it’s arguably near retirement age and packs a dated design compared to its siblings.

Xiaomi Mi Band 4 press render
Xiaomi Mi Band 4
No longer the best, but still dirt cheap
The Mi Band 3 was an excellent fitness tracker, and that doesn't change with the Xiaomi Mi Band 4. It monitors your heart rate, sleep patterns, and more.

The younger Xiaomi Mi Band 5 is a more compelling prospect and one of the most reliable Mi Bands in terms of tracking. In his Mi Band 5 review, Jimmy awarded the Mi Band 5 an Editor’s Choice award as the best cheap fitness tracker available. It employs a larger display, additional sport tracking modes, better sleep tracking, and smarter heart-rate monitoring than its older sibling. The Mi Band 5 remains an excellent option if you’re looking for a fitness companion on a tight budget, as it barely breaks the $35 mark. As a result of that low price point, you do have to make some sacrifices, though.

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.

The Xiaomi Mi Band 6 also received an Editor’s Choice award in 2021 and is the most advanced Mi Band there is. In his review, Jimmy loved the display size increase over its predecessors, the addition of blood oxygen saturation tracking, and the presence of more tracking modes. While it’s no longer the only option in the cheap fitness wearables segment, it makes enough of an argument to be your first choice.

xiaomi mi band 6 press render orange blue strap bands
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
Now with SpO2 tracking and more sport profiles
The Xiaomi Mi Band 6 (aka Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 in some regions) is Xiaomi's 2021 flagship fitness tracker. True to form, the Mi Band 6 offers more features than you'd expect for a sub-$50 wearable.

The Xiaomi Mi Band 7 isn’t yet official beyond China, but its billed improvements seem a promising upgrade over the Mi Band 6. These buffs include a larger display, all-day SpO2 tracking with alerts, additional sport tracking modes and training metrics, and larger battery.

Xiaomi Mi Band series specs

For an apples-to-apples comparison, peruse the specs below.

Xiaomi Mi Band 4Xiaomi Mi Band 5Xiaomi Mi Band 6Xiaomi Mi Band 7
Display
Xiaomi Mi Band 4
0.95-inch AMOLED color touchscreen
120 x 240 resolution
400 nits
Xiaomi Mi Band 5
1.1-inch AMOLED color touchscreen
126 x 294 resolution
450 nits
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
1.56-inch AMOLED color touchscreen
152 x 486 resolution
450 nits
Xiaomi Mi Band 7
1.62-inch AMOLED
Always-on display mode
2.5D tempered glass
192 x 490 resolution
Up to 500 nits
100+ band displays
Dimensions and weight
Xiaomi Mi Band 4
21.6 x 17.26 x 10.8mm
Strap: 155-216mm adjustable length
22.1g
Xiaomi Mi Band 5
46.95 × 18.15 × 12.45mm
Strap: 155–219mm adjustable length
11.9g
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
47.4 x 18.6 x 12.7mm
Strap: 155–219mm adjustable length
13g
Xiaomi Mi Band 7
46.5 x 20.7 x 12.25mm
13.5g
Battery
Xiaomi Mi Band 4
135mAh
20-day battery life
Xiaomi Mi Band 5
125mAh
14-day battery life
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
125mAh
14-day battery life
Xiaomi Mi Band 7
180mAh
15 day typical battery life
9 days with heavy use
Compatibility
Xiaomi Mi Band 4
Android 4.4 or above
iOS 9.0 or above
Xiaomi Mi Band 5
Android 5.0 and above
iOS 10.0 and above
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
Android 5.0 and above
iOS 10.0 and above
Xiaomi Mi Band 7
Android 6.0 and above
iOS 10 and above
Connectivity
Xiaomi Mi Band 4
Bluetooth 5.0
Xiaomi Mi Band 5
Bluetooth 5.0

Xiaomi Mi Band 6
Bluetooth 5.0

Xiaomi Mi Band 7
Bluetooth 5.2
Sensors
Xiaomi Mi Band 4
Heart rate sensor
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Capacitive proximity sensor
Xiaomi Mi Band 5
Heart rate sensor
SpO2 sensor
Connected GPS
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Barometer
Proximity sensor
Digital MEMS microphone
NFC (China only)
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
Heart rate sensor
SpO2 sensor
Connected GPS
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Barometer
Proximity sensor
Digital MEMS microphone
NFC (China only)
Xiaomi Mi Band 7
PPG heart rate sensor
3-axis accelerometer sensor
3-axis gyroscope sensor
SpO2 sensor
Connected GPS
Water resistance rating
Xiaomi Mi Band 4
5ATM
Xiaomi Mi Band 5
5ATM
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
5ATM
Xiaomi Mi Band 7
5ATM
Colors and materials
Xiaomi Mi Band 4
Plastic case
TPU strap

Black, Burgundy, Orange, Pink, Purple
Xiaomi Mi Band 5
Plastic case
TPU strap
Aluminum alloy wristband buckle

Black, Blue, Pink, Orange, Purple, Yellow, Green, Gray
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
Plastic case
TPU strap
Aluminum alloy wristband buckle

Black, Orange, Yellow, Olive, Ivory, Blue
Xiaomi Mi Band 7
Black, Blue, Orange, Pink, White, Dark Green, Fluorescent Orange, Fluorescent Green, Camouflage Blue, Camouflage Green.

Specs comparison: Xiaomi Mi Band 7 vs Mi Band 6

What do Xiaomi Mi Band devices track?

A Xiaomi Mi Band 4 rests on a tabletop displaying a user's steps, distance, and calories burned.

Fitness tracking is everything for the Xiaomi Mi Band series. However, the bands do lack more intuitive and advanced features. For instance, you won’t find an equivalent to Fitbit’s Daily Readiness Score or Garmin’s Body Battery. However, the basics are all here.

  • Steps: All Xiaomi Mi Bands can monitor step counts throughout the day. The Xiaomi Wear app provides a general overview on its home screen and more in-depth stats in a sub-menu.
  • Distance: Xiaomi Mi Bands can track distance traveled throughout the day. While you can use connected GPS to improve accuracy during workouts, the trackers will also factor in steps taken in its calculation.
  • Calories: Xiaomi’s trackers keep tabs on caloric burn each day and display an overview in the Xiaomi Wear app.
  • Heart rate: A built-in heart rate sensor on each Mi Band model monitors beats per minute throughout the day and during exercise.
  • Blood oxygenation: All Mi Band 6 and Mi Band 7 variants pack an SpO2 sensor to measure user blood oxygen. The Chinese version of the Mi Band 5 includes this feature as well.
  • Sleep: The Mi Band 4 can keep tabs on your general shut-eye. However, the Mi Band 5, Mi Band 6, and Mi Band 7 feature more in-depth sleep tracking, with sleep stage data and 24-hour tracking support. The Mi Band 6 and 7, through their SpO2 sensors, can also monitor breathing quality during sleep.
  • Stress: The Mi Band 5, 6, and 7 feature all-day stress monitoring using heart rate variability data. Historical data is stored in the Xiaomi Wear app.
  • PAI score: The Mi Band’s Personal Activity Intelligence score is a general overview of your daily activity’s impact on cardiorespiratory health. It’s indicated as a number between 1-100 and is calculated using personal metrics, profile, and heart rate throughout the day.
  • Menstrual cycle tracking: There’s a built-in period tracking section within Xiaomi’s Wear app. Users can track several details during and leading up to a period, namely moods and symptoms. The app will also ping users ahead of upcoming periods as well.

Companion apps

xiaomi mi fitness app menu 1
Andy Walker / Android Authority
Mi Fitness (formerly Xiaomi Wear)

Before diving into the Xiaomi Mi Bands’ smartwatch features, let’s talk about its companion apps first.

In March 2022, Xiaomi’s wearable apps underwent a significant rebrand. Xiaomi Mi Fit, the company’s initial companion app, is now known as Zepp Life. This app is pretty rough around the edges but does show the user’s PAI score, heart rate, and other daily metrics. There’s also a tab dedicated to social features, selecting and initiating a workout, and managing goals and devices. We’re not fans of the recommended section that houses links to Amazfit’s social platforms, and there’s seemingly no way to disable it.

A fitness tracker can be great on the wrist, but it needs an equally excellent companion app to flourish.

Xiaomi later launched Xiaomi Wear, now known as Mi Fitness. This app brought a much smarter overhaul in terms of layout and features. Mi Fitness allows users to track workouts, manage payment details for supported devices, and plug into Amazon Alexa. It also does the usual wearable companion app tasks, like tracking and initiating workouts, keeping tabs on daily health metrics, and managing devices. Since the rebrand, the app looks much brighter with a more sensible and intuitive menu layout. There’s also an option to transfer data from Mi Fit if you’re onboarding from that platform.

As for Zepp Life and Mi Fitness’s third-party app support, there is none. You won’t be able to connect to the likes of Strava, nor can you export raw data. Neither app is as polished as the likes of Garmin Connect, but the latest updates bring both slightly closer to their rivals.

Notably, you can use either Zepp Life or Mi Fitness alongside your Mi Band, but we’re leaning more towards the latter thanks to its more polished feel and ease of use.

If you consider purchasing a Xiaomi Mi Band, be well aware of the software limitations. A fitness tracker can be great on the wrist, but it needs an equally excellent companion app to flourish. For Xiaomi, that balance isn’t quite there just yet, but the company does seem committed to updating the apps regularly.

Smartwatch features 

A user receives a Telegram message on his Xiaomi Mi Band 6.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Now that we’ve detailed the app, let’s get back to the trackers themselves. As we mentioned earlier, Xiaomi puts fitness tracking first with the Mi Band range. However, the company does include some limited smartwatch features. You won’t be able to answer calls, reply to messages, or order food from your wrist, but the essentials are all here.

  • Smartphone notifications: Xiaomi Mi Bands can relay smartphone notifications to your wrist. These notifications aren’t actionable, but they allow you to gain insight from any app on your phone. Very useful.
  • NFC payments: NFC versions of the Mi Band series are still limited to China, but they boast contactless payment support in the country.
  • Voice assistant: Also limited to China is voice assistant support through Xiaomi’s Xiao AI.
  • Built-in apps: The Mi Band series features a few baked-in apps, including an alarm, a weather app, stopwatch and timer apps, and an event log. There is no third-party app support, though.
  • Remote music control: You can control the music playing on your smartphone from your Mi Band. You’ll also see the current song, the volume level, and track progress.
  • Remote camera shutter: The Mi Band series can double as a simple remote shutter on supported devices for those hands-free group shots with your phones.

Xiaomi Mi Band accessories

xiaomi mi band 5 review charging cable
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Unlike some rivals, Xiaomi’s Mi Bands offer replaceable straps. This means you can customize your Mi Band with third-party bands of various colors and materials. The Mi Band 5 and Mi Band 6 can actually share bands thanks to their similar design. Unfortunately, you won’t have the same luck with Mi Band 4 bands — its straps are not compatible with newer models.

As for colorways, the Mi Band 5’s official bands are available in Black, Blue, Pink, Orange, Purple, Yellow, Green, and Gray. The Mi Band 6 adds Olive and Ivory to that list. Official Mi Band 4 bands are available offered in Black, Burgundy, Orange, Pink, and Purple.

If you’re looking for something entirely different for your Mi Band, browse a selection of third-party bands below.

Xiaomi Mi Bands and the competition

fitbit luxe vs xiaomi mi band 6 on wrist
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
Left to right: Xiaomi Mi Band 6, Fitbit Luxe

A few years ago, this section would’ve been superfluous. There were few capable Xiaomi Mi Band 4 rivals out and about. But since the launch of the Mi Band 6, the cheap fitness wearable segment has changed drastically.

Xiaomi’s chief rivals in this segment include Amazfit, Fitbit, and Huawei, and all three companies offer affordable yet capable trackers with their own set of advantages.

  • Fitbit Inspire 2 ($99): The gateway Fitbit tracker comes with a year of free Fitbit Premium for new users, which more than makes up for its lofty price. Additionally, it’s a solid tracker in its own right packing Fitbit’s reliable sleep and activity tracking.
  • Huawei Band 6 ($74): Huawei’s budget entry brings a big smartwatch-like display into the fitness band fold. Solid battery life and all-day SpO2 monitoring sweeten the deal. However, you’ll have to contend with limited customization options and an unreliable heart-rate sensor, especially during high-intensity workouts.
  • Amazfit Band 5 ($39): Arguably the only like-for-like Mi Band rival on this list, the Amazfit Band 5 packs a similar design but includes Amazon Alexa and SpO2 smarts.

Top Xiaomi Mi Band questions and answers

xiaomi mi band 5 review heart rate sensor
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Yes, both the Zepp Life and Mi Fitness apps allow you to use your Mi Band with an iPhone.

Yes. The Xiaomi Mi Band 4, 5, 6, and 7 feature 5ATM water resistance ratings.

Unfortunately not. While you can control music playing on your smartphone from the Bands, you cannot load music onto them for offline playback. You’ll need to invest in something a little pricier for that convenience.

If you own a Mi Band 4, no. However, the Mi Band 5 and Mi Band 6 both use a magnetic puck that clips onto the tracker’s body.

Help other readers out

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