Review of the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 activity bracelet
Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 5: is it worth your purchase?
- Great value for the price
- Small text
- There is no NFC or AI outside of China
An incredible value fitness tracker that won’t disappoint, the Mi Band 5 is ideal as a cheaper alternative to a Fitbit.
Retail price (RRP)
Review of the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 activity bracelet
As a journalist you never want to repeat yourself, but once again I am surprised again by the excellent price that Xiaomi is able to offer in its new Mi Band 5.
From the beginning of the original Mi Band, through the Mi Band 1S, 2, 3, 4 and now 5, Xiaomi continues to find new ways to add value to the proposal of its low budget fitness bracelet.
If we understand it as an activity bracelet, it is among the best, even if the price has increased a bit over time.
This time around, the new features include a bigger and brighter display, finally a fix to awkward charging settings, additional sport modes, and new tracking functionality including menstruation and stress tracking.
There has also been a marked change, moving from simple activity tracking to thinking more about the type of activity being performed, how and how often the heart rate rises, with the addition of the PAI score (Personal Activity Intelligence).
This should lead to a better overall health report, and could be an additional motivator to keep that score at 100 each day.
As before, there’s sleep tracking (now includes afternoon naps, much to our delight), swim tracking, readable app notifications, weather reports, reminders, alarms, heart rate monitoring, an impressive range of customizations .. So where is the catch?
Battery life has decreased, only slightly relative to the Mi Band 4, with a smaller 10mAh battery inside and some new power-hungry features, but quite significantly relative to the original Mi Band that could last a whole month. Still, I got 10 days out of 5 before needing to recharge, and most people will see up to two weeks.
That’s very reasonable, so more of a “not so good” than a “not good” in my opinion, although turning on all the tracking functions will reduce battery life quite drastically, even by fifty %.
Design and build quality
A super lightweight tracker with a slim design, it’s just the haptic feedback from notification alerts that will remind you that the Mi Band 5 is even on your wrist.
Some people love big, bulky watches or attention-grabbing trackers, but they’re not for me. The minimalist design of the Xiaomi tracker is much more in line with my taste.
Of course, a smaller tracker has its downsides. Although it is larger than that of the Mi Band 4, going from 0.95 inches to 1.1 inches, the screen may be too small for some users: the text is tiny and you will have to get used to deciphering the notifications, since the band it only fits 11 characters per line. My short distance vision is good, but some may struggle here.
Even if it’s a small screen, it’s a good screen. This is an AMOLED panel, which is good for battery life and great for displaying vibrant colors, while the 126×294 pixel resolution makes text and icons sharper, which is even more important with a size of smaller font.
It’s bright enough to see in sunlight, too, despite its high-gloss surface.
I found the standard Mi Band 5 theme easy to see, but there are over 100 to choose from.
You can also replace the matte black TPU band with a color option (not compatible with Mi Band 3 or 4), and customize what is displayed on the screen or in the menus.
Something that I am very pleased to see in the Mi Band 5 is a change in the charging system. In the past you had to remove the tracker from the band and insert it into a proprietary USB charger, and over time this weakened the band.
Now you just have to hook a magnetic PoGo pin charger on the back – it’s still trademarked, but it makes life a lot easier and reduces wear and tear.
The band is hypoallergenic, which suits my sensitive skin, although I did notice some irritation where the protruding heart rate sensor was in permanent contact with the back of my wrist – nothing serious, but noteworthy.
As this is a waterproof (up to 5ATM) fitness tracker, which tracks your sleep as well, the intent is that you take it off just to recharge it (and, well, hopefully wash it underneath).
Mi Band 5 in use
When you consider that I am reviewing the Chinese version of the Mi Band 5, in which all the menus and text were displayed in Chinese out of the box, the fact that I think it is simple to configure should tell you something.
You install the Mi Fit app, tap the + icon to add a new device, select Band, and then follow the instructions which basically involve keeping the band somewhere near your phone and waiting a few moments.
If you also end up with a Chinese version instead of the global version of the Mi Band 5 (which is not out of the question as you will probably find cheaper deals through companies like GearBest, who provided our review sample), you just have to launch Mi Fit, touch Profile, choose Mi Smart Band 5 in Devices, go down to ‘Language’ and select ‘Spanish’ (or the language you prefer).
For its most pertinent features, the operation is automatic: Mi Band 5 will automatically track your steps and your sleep.
To activate automatic heart rate monitoring you will have to change the detection rate in settings, which by default only happens when you activate it manually.
You can choose to activate continuous heart rate monitoring or only when you sleep, as the latter helps Mi Fit to provide a more accurate analysis of your sleep patterns, including REM, but at the expense of a certain battery life. . Mi Band 5 does not record the heart rate at rest.
Everything else requires some interaction, but can be done mostly on the tracker itself. To navigate through the menu you have to go through the screen and touch the capacitive button below to enter a menu (to exit you have to go to the right).
With the Mi Fit app you can decide which items, if any, you don’t want to appear in this menu – menstrual cycle tracking, for example, is probably not very useful for guys (it also requires a setting in Mi Fit First).
The training modes available include Running Outdoors, Treadmill, Cycling, Indoor Cycling, Walking, Elliptical, Rowing, Yoga, Jump Rope, Pool Swimming, and Freestyle.
There is no built-in GPS, but connected GPS means you can use the one on your phone.
Remember that many of these activity modes will not activate automatically; you must remember to start, pause and stop them as needed.
You may wonder how accurate these various sports modes and tracking tools are, given the low price. In our opinion, it doesn’t matter how accurate they are compared to other bands – unless you intend to use multiple devices.
When using a single tracking device, you simply need to be consistent in your daily measurements to show changing trends over time. We did not see anything here to cause concern.
You’ll find a few other features in the ‘More’ menu, like the ability to remotely activate the phone’s camera and start playing audio, along with things like a stopwatch, timer, world clock, and alarm.
It must be said that Mi Fit is not as intuitive as some fitness apps , although it is easier to use once you realize its design.
Mi Fit can also connect to Google Fit or Apple Health.
Xiaomi has once again impressed us with its latest fitness budget tracker. Not only is the Mi Band 5 affordable, it also includes a host of features, from basic step counting and heart rate monitoring to sleep tracking and app notifications.
If you own Mi Band 4, we would update it only for the new charging system, you no longer need to remove the tracker from its band.
Also new in this version is a larger and brighter AMOLED screen, new sports modes and tracking functions – including menstrual cycles and stress – as well as a PAI scoring system for health.
You won’t find better value for money anywhere.
- 1.1-inch AMOLED display (126×295), 450 nits
- PPG heart rate sensor, continuous heart rate monitoring
- Sleep tracking (deep, light, REM)
- Tracking the menstrual cycle
- Voltage monitoring
- 11 Sport Modes: Outdoor Running, Walking, Cycling, Indoor Running, Pool Swimming, Freestyle, Indoor Cycling, Elliptical, Jumping Rope, Yoga, Rowing Machine
- Bluetooth 5.0
- 5ATM waterproof
- 125mAh battery (up to 14 days long)
- 46.95 × 18.15 × 12.45mm
- Compatible with Android 5.0+ or iOS 10.0+