Xiaomi Mi Band 2 review: the best of the cheapest
About three weeks ago I ordered the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 on Amazon. I heard a lot of good things about the tracker and wanted to give it a goprohow I get along with such a wearable in sports and in everyday life and whether a larger purchase of this kind is worthwhile. Here is my test.
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The Xiaomi Mi Band 2 consists of two parts. Namely from the bracelet and the tracker that comes in the bracelet. This is necessary because the Mi Band is charged via connectors that are covered by the band. A small charging station with a USB plug is also included for charging. The band also makes the tracker splash-proof according to IP67. I could even do that progo swimming without problems, but this is not recommended by the manufacturer.
Bracelet: Fair for the price
This is made of silicone and is available in black, orange, green and light blue. The same locking mechanism is used as in the Apple Watch sports bands. I've read that it opens by itself very easily. I can only confirm that here and there. When I put on my sweater, for example, the fastener opened. Independent opening was not on my agenda.
I also noticed that the salt water from our pool in Croatia has left traces of wear on the armand. Otherwise, the band and the tracker are comfortable to wear thanks to the low weight and keep the latter firmly in place.
Tracker: Pretty tiny
The heart of the whole Proproduct is made of plastic and is very small. On the front is the 0,4-inch OLED display with a touch-sensitive navigation button. Despite recognizable pixels, the display is sufficiently sharp in everyday use, but it is still unusable in sunshine. No matter how hard you try to create a shadow with your hand, what is displayed simply remains unrecognizable. But the button reacts all the more precisely.
The heartbeat sensor and the Mi logo are on the back. I cannot say how exactly the sensor measures due to the lack of comparison values. What I can say is that it shows no value if I'm not wearing the tracker on my arm, which some wearables supposedly do anyway.
Specs: The battery is amazing
In addition to the heartbeat sensor already mentioned, the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 also has a motion sensor and a pedometer. They do a good job of counting the steps, but with a few everyday movements I was still able to manipulate my number of steps. The motion sensor also enables you to activate the display by lifting your arm. That worked very well for me in 8 out of 10 cases.
Unfortunately, GPS was not installed. One of the trade-offs that have to be made with the price. During a workout, however, you can use the sensor from the connected smartphone via the Mi Fit app. Fun fact: The Mi Fit app tracks my running route more precisely than Google Fit via the internal GPS of my smartphone. The connection between smartphone and tracker is provided by Bluetooth with a chip from Generation 4.0.
The battery has a capacity of 70mAh. That doesn't sound like much at first. Nevertheless, the manufacturer specifies a term of 20 days. After my test period, which lasted two weeks after a full charge, the tracker still had 32% of the battery. This may not completely reach the 20 days, but it's still a damn good value for such a cheap tracker. Really commendable.
In my opinion, the Mi Band 2 cannot be called real software. That's why I'm sticking to the term here user interface. This consists of six pages that can be activated and deactivated as desired using the Mi Fit app. The already mentioned navigation button is used for navigation. On the start page you can see the current time and optionally today's date. Then follow the steps taken, the distance traveled, the calories burned, the heartbeat and the battery level of the tracker. You can use the heartbeat page to start a new measurement even without the smartphone.
Mi Fit App
The Mi Fit app is the control center for everything related to the band. From here you can not only connect and manage the band with your smartphone, but also have your sleep and fitness data recorded and viewed afterwards. The performance of the app was very good in my test, I never had Protrouble. I can well imagine that this will be the same on cell phones that are less well equipped.
Setting up the app for the first time: Completely simple
The home page
Once you have set up the app, you land on the home page. From here you can see all possible fitness data in a Google Now-like view. Here you can see the windows for the sleep data, for the last completed workout, for the heart rate and for the currently specified weight. The sleep analysis worked surprisingly well for me, the times were all recorded very precisely. Once I synchronized the tape in the morning and when I fell asleep again, the synchronized data was overwritten with the new short sleep. A Fitbit Charge 2 didn't do it any differently. And that costs € 150. Hats off.
By clicking in the respective window you get the exact data on what is only shown as a preview in it. You can also start a new measurement from the heart rate window, just like on the tape. It just takes a little longer emotionally via the app than directly via the tape.
From here you can start a new workout with the tape. As already mentioned, this is tracked via the smartphone's internal GPS and the sensors on the belt. When it comes to activities, you can choose between walking, treadmill, cycling and running. A little more choice would clearly have been better, but it was enough for me for my test period. The completed workouts can always be viewed here afterwards.
Coupling the belt
This also happens in the app. For this you have to first find the rider Profile call. In this tab, users will find settings for activity goals, target weights and an activity notification as well as the option to pair with a Google Fit account, as well as the option to add a new device.
We have to open the latter menu item. Then we are shown a selection of devices. In the case of the Mi Band 2, you choose the option Band the end. Then you have to give the app the necessary authorizations to collect various data. Then the band is searched for. To do this, you should hold it near the smartphone.
As soon as the devices are found, you will be asked to press the navigation button on the tracker to confirm. The pairing process is now complete. That also worked flawlessly for me review and in a few minutes.
Settings for the band
A surprising amount can be set on the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 if you keep the price in mind. You really get quite a long list of options here. But first things first.
The first thing we see is that we can use the tape to unlock our own Android smartphone. Unfortunately, this doesn't (yet) work with iOS. You will only be forwarded to the Smartlock integrated in the Android system. The phone always stayed unlocked after setup (provided I stayed nearby), but I deactivated it again after two hours due to the lack of security for my data on the phone.
It is also possible for the band to notify you of incoming calls and messages. But you are bound by the restriction that you can only set five apps that can send notifications to the tape. More would definitely have been better here. You can really choose any app that is installed on the smartphone here. Depending on the app, the symbol of the respective message is displayed on the band with a short vibration.
The integrated vibration motor can also be used to wake you up. It is strong enough to at least get me out of my deep sleep. Then there is an inactivity alarm and one Do not disturb Mode. There are many other features that can be activated for the tape. But that would definitely go beyond the scope of the article. I mentioned the most useful features above anyway.
I can mostly say things about the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 that I liked and that were done correctly. The splash resistance is something that everyone can use in everyday life, for example. Whether just for washing your hands or for showering and even bathing. None of this should affect the tape, but if the worst comes to the worst, you will lose the guarantee, as the things mentioned are not intended by Xiaomi. The tape still worked perfectly after a few baths in the pool.
I also like the light weight. The tracker is almost unnoticeable on the arm. I think the display is very good in the right lighting conditions. It is also amazing that the price also includes a heartbeat sensor. However, my favorite features on the band remain the app, the long-lasting battery and the direct notifications on the band. I also got along well with the user interface, the navigation button always reacted without it Probleme, which is also not taken for granted at the price. While I'm not surprised that there is no GPS on the Mi Band 2, it would have been a nice bonus.
I didn't like the bracelet as much. The lock seldom opened for me, but it did, and there are already signs of wear and tear from salt water. It's my own fault for the latter, but it's still not nice. I found it unhelpful that you can manipulate the number of steps with daily gestures. So you never have an exact value at the end of the day. Also, I had a little too many settings available for the tape itself. But I think that's a matter of taste.
At the market launch, the Mi Band 2 from Xiaomi cost around 40 €. I bought it on Amazon for € 28. But you can also find offers that are priced below € 20.