During this time of the pandemic, we have loved our health the most than ever before. We are fond of monitoring and examine our health regularly and it’s quite easy when you can do it through the wrist of your hand. That’s when wearable fitness bands and watches come in handy. But most of them are quite expensive with the feature you won’t use much. Though the case with Xiaomi is quite different.
Xiaomi is known for making some of the best budget fitness trackers in the budget, ever since the introduction of Mi Bands. Now, this series has reached its 5th iteration with the launch of Mi Band 5. We have been using the Mi Band 5 for quite some time now, today in this full review, let’s see why Mi Band 5 is considered the best bang for the buck fitness tracker.
Built & Design – Similar Yet different
At first glance, the Mi Band 5 looks similar to the last year’s Mi Band 4 but after a close look, you find some key differences. Like here we have a larger 1.1” AMOLED display compared to last year’s 0.9’’ with 50 nits brighter with a total of 450 nits. The difference in display allowed the Mi Band 5 to show more content and data than the 4. In my usage, the display was quite easily visible under the sunlight. The best part is, it supports thousands of band faces, with custom band faces of your own choice. One more change in the design aspect is the new charging mechanism. Now, no need to remove the pill from the silicon band as it supports magnetic charging through its proprietary charger and the battery doesn’t take much to charge. Let’s talk about the battery now.
Battery – A bit downgrade here
Mi bands are always known for their outstanding battery life and this time around Xiaomi increases Display size, No. of Sensors, 7 new Activity modes (11 in total) but the battery capacity was lower down to 125mAh from 135 though the size of the pill is increased. Even with this battery size Mi Band 5 laster for around 10 days with continuous heart rate monitoring every 30 minutes, Sleep tracking, and around 60-80% brightness. Though this is excellent battery life, as it doesn’t take more than 1.5 hours to top up. Last year Mi Band 4 can still last 15 days comfortably. Also, the battery life varies according to your usage and Xiaomi claims the battery life of 14 days on the MI Band 5 with minimal features turned on.
Tracking – More it’s Consistent, the better it is
Workout Mode: Mi Band 5 does some solid work here. Compared to last year’s Mi Band 4, here we get 11 new Sports mode to track, including swimming with its 5ATM water resistance. Here we also get stress monitoring, REM Sleeping, and female health tracking. While all the previous features like continuous heart rate, sleep tracking, step counter are improved in accuracy and consistency.
Heart Rate Monitoring: Mi bands featured heart rate monitoring from Mi band 2 and since then they are improved a lot. Now, in the Mi Band 5, the Heart rate sensor is more accurate and reliable. It features continuous Heart rate monitoring and can also notify when the Heart rate is abnormal.
Sleep Monitoring: Mi Band 5 now supports REM tracking and can also track your NAP in the daytime too. Though the sleep tracking in the Mi Bands is not so famous for its accuracy. As they were not able to detect, either I was sleeping or just laying in the bed. Whereas Honor band 5 does a great job there. Never the less, once it detects you are sleep, the measurements were almost accurate, and my sleep score was also good most of the time while the NAP tracking during day time was not very reliable.
Stress Tracking: While, it is a feature in Mi Band, which claims to measure your stress, via using your heart rate and all other sensors. I had turned on the continuous monitoring, but it didn’t work quite well and most of the time, I had to check it manually. It is good that this feature is there but even the Mi fit app says, you should not rely on these data completely, and if you feel stressed, should concern a medical professional.
Notifications – Keep your phone aside
Like the previous Mi Bands, you can see the notifications but can’t reply to them. You can set a specific set of apps from which you want to get notified. You even get call notifications, but you can either silent them or reject them. There is some workaround with the third-party app, which lets you receive calls via Mi Band 5 while wearing a Bluetooth headset. But due to the larger display in the Mi Band 5, it was easier to read notifications and more content was able to fit on the screen.
UI & Features
Mi Band 5 has a simple UI with swipe gestures. It has covered features like, music control, Bluetooth camera shutter, and much more. You get to save 2-3 custom watch faces in the band it’s self. You get better control of Alarms, and activities via a bigger display in and polished UI. Unlike the last year’s Mi Band 4, you get a lot of control in the Mi Band 5 itself rather than relying on the Mi Fit app. Due to the bigger display, we get most of the heart rate and stress tracking info in the band itself which was quite convenient than checking the app every time.
Third-Party Customization – I Got you covered
A big reason, why Mi Bands are so popular is due to their support for third-party apps. Apps like “Notify for Mi Band” and “Mi Band 5 watch faces” bring tons of features to your existing Mi Band 5. You can receive calls, display google maps on your band, get thousands of watch face. You can even set various custom tasks and add features like turning wifi of your phone, tethering hotspot, and even oven certain apps. This customization makes Mi Band 5 full feature-packed. But at last, the question arises, Should you get a Mi Band 5?
Mi Band 5 in a nutshell
Packs a great value for what you pay
Brighter and bigger display
Mostly accurate tracking
Still one of the best Battery
Not a big upgrade from the Mi Band 4
Sleep Tracking could be better
Satisfied with the performance
Should you upgrade to the Mi Band 5?
At last, do I suggest getting a Mi Band 5 which is priced at Rs.4,499 in Nepal? It mainly boils to your current situation. If you are someone who uses Mi Band 2 or Mi Band 3, then it’s definitely the time to upgrade and give a treat to your self. But if you have the Mi Band 4, then this is just an incremental update and it doesn’t make much sense to upgrade to the Mi Band 5. But if you are in the market for a Fitness band and have not used any before, then Mi Band 5 is a good choice to start.