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Xiaomi Mi Band 5 review: one step forward, one step back

xiaomi mi band 5 cover picture
(Image: TechnikNews)
(Post picture: © 2020 TechnikNews))

The Xiaomi Mi Band 5 is the successor to the popular Xiaomi Mi Band 4. I was very happy to use it in my private life, as it offered a large number of features for its low price and 14 days of battery life were not uncommon. as in June the Chinese version and in July the German version vorgestellt I was very skeptical. Now I have tested the Mi Band 5. 

The scope of delivery of the Mi Band 5 is spartan. The tape itself comes in a small plastic box and only comes with the new charging adapter. But that's reasonable for the price.

Design and workmanship

The design of the Mi Band 5 does not differ much from the Mi Band 4. It is only a little bit bigger than its predecessor. The jump from the Mi Band 3 to the 4 Series was much bigger, but that doesn't matter. The band 5 is nevertheless very nicely designed and, above all, very inconspicuous.

Xiaomi Mi Band 5 comparison

The Mi Band 5 has become larger compared to the 4 series. (Image: TechnikNews)

The tape is just as well made as its predecessor and has three weeks of intensive use without Problem endured. The strap never came loose and I never took it off. After a few minutes you no longer notice that you are wearing the band. Thanks to ATM 5 water resistance, you can swim, shower, etc. with the band. So everything is possible here.

Display

The display of the Mi Band 5 is 20 Procent larger than the display of the predecessor. So in numbers it has grown from 0,95 inches to 1,1 inches. The display hasn't just grown, it's also brighter than its predecessor. The maximum brightness has increased from 400 to 450 nits. But that is the maximum brightness, which I mostly never used, because it is difficult to set it. I hope that the Mi Band 6 will come with an "Auto-Brightness" feature.

Xiaomi Mi Band 5 display

The display of the Mi Band 5 is at 20 Procent larger than in the Mi Band 4. (Picture: TechnikNews)

Software

The software of the Mi Band 5 has received some innovations. But here we have to differentiate between the versions. Thanks to Tradingshenzhen, we were able to test the Chinese version. In Germany, however, the "global version" will be on sale, which does not support some of the features. Here we have to wait for a possible Amazfit Volume 6 (Mi Band 5 Plus but under a different name), which does not yet have a fixed release date.

First of all: So far I could only use the Mi Band 5 in the Chinese version in English. That could change very soon with the global launch of the Mi Band 5. But there is no 100 Procent guarantee, that is only based on my experiences from the last year. I don't care since I have my devices in English anyway, but some might be bothered by it.

Xiaomi Mi Band 5 language

The Mi Band 5 can currently only be used in English or Chinese. This could change soon. (Image: TechnikNews)

Now to the new features. The start screen now supports small "widgets", depending on the watch face there are one or two slots which can be occupied with the following features: steps, heart rate, calories, steps pro hour, pulse graph, 7 days PAI, Events, weather, PAI, battery, time of sunrise or sunset, humidity / UV / wind, air quality, workout or alarm clock.

The widgets show you current data, but also work as a link. What can now also be linked are the “apps” - this works with a swipe to the right or left of the home screen. This function reminds me of the "tiles" of Wear OS or Tizen OS. The order can be individually adjusted and supports up to 10 functions: notifications, weather, music, alarm, workout, remote camera shutter release, status, PAI, pulse, stress, breathing exercise, appointments, DND, stopwatch, timer, find smartphone, mute, Menstrual Cycle, Alipay (only works in China) and World Clock.

Apps

What new "apps are there now"? Anyone who comes from Mi Band 4 like me will recognize the "old" apps right away: status (steps, distance, calories, stand-up alarms), notifications, appointment reminders, weather, workout (sport), pulse measurement and more. New are: PAI, stress, breathing exercises (optionally 1 to 5 minutes), menstrual cycle, new sport modes and under the "more" point: remote camera control and world clock.

So there is not much that is new. The remote camera control cannot really be counted as an "app". It only has one button, but it does what it should. Trigger the camera. In contrast to the Honor Band 5, this does not only work on devices from the manufacturer (in this case Xiaomi), but also on all other devices.

The rest of the apps work just like on the Mi Band 4 (with all the advantages and disadvantages). The music control is reliable, but cannot be used with active tracking. Notifications reliably display all messages (if set in the Mi Fit app). With the "big apps" like WhatsApp, Instagram or Twitter, a small icon is displayed as with the predecessor.

Tracking

Despite all the smart features, the Mi Band is still a fitness tracker. When I saw the presentation, one sentence made me prick up my ears: "The Mi Band 5 will have even better sensors than the Mi Band 4". Okay great, then the results will be even better than before, right? Yes and no. As it turns out, this upgrade is only available for the NFC version. I have the version without NFC because it doesn't make sense in Germany. Nevertheless, some tracking improvements have been made.

Sleep tracking

Sleep tracking in particular has received some new improvements. Sleep can now be tracked for up to 24 hours and the REM phases are also tracked. Those who take a nap during the day will also be tracked by the Mi Band 5.

xiaomi mi band 5 sleep

The Mi Band 5 can now track your sleep more precisely than ever before (Image: TechnikNews)

PAI

The PAI is like a weekly competition. The aim is to achieve a score of 100 points. You earn these points by increasing your heart rate. Regardless of whether you are doing sports or tidying up your room, the PAI value increases. The points collected in one day are then valid for seven days, after which they expire. So you should always be motivated to keep going.

Stress

Stress is calculated based on heart rate, but Xiaomi speaks of an estimate.

Sports

A lot has happened in sports tracking too. The Mi Band 4 already offered several modes: running indoor, running outdoor, walking, cycling outdoor, swimming, walking, cycling, running (outdoor / indoor) and free training. Now there are: indoor cycling, cross trainers, jumping rope, yoga and rowing machines.

I went for a run. I had the Mi Band 5 with me and the one we had already tested Skagen Falster 3. Neither of them had GPS activated. I ran a total of 4 laps (5,1 km). While the Falster 3 measured exactly 5,11 kilometers, the Mi Band 5 is missing about 2 km.

That's why you have to take your smartphone with you to measure a distance - the remaining values ​​are measured well. When jumping rope, important data such as jumps, jumps / minute and when rowing, pulls, pull rate, pull and release times are recorded.

Accumulator

The battery of the Mi Band 5 has been downsized from 135 to 125 mAh. Xiaomi is now advertising 14 instead of 20 days. I activated everything. Almost continuous heart rate, extensive sleep tracking. That got me to 7 days. The 14 days will therefore be reached with the lowest settings. On the other hand, charging with the new magnetic adapter is more pleasant, takes from 0 to 100 Procent with a charging time of 2 hours but longer.

xiaomi mi band 5 battery

The Mi Band 5 has a significantly worse battery than the Mi Band 4 (picture: TechnikNews)

Summary

The Mi Band 5 is not the upgrade I was hoping for. The new design is chic, the display is great, the new widgets are cool and I also used the new functions such as the camera release or the "breathing exercises" from time to time. But there was never this “WOW effect”. The innovations are very minor. Ultimately, the customer has to decide: Would I like to charge a Mi Band with a long battery life (Mi Band 4 with 14 days, Mi Band 5 with 7 days) or more, but with newer features and a larger tracker.

Many thanks to Trading Shenzhen for providing the test device. This did not affect the assessment of the Proproduct.

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Nils Ahrensmeier

Nils is very interested in mobile devices such as smartphones, wearables and headphones. He has been writing since 2019 TechnikNews - especially news and reviews. In his spare time he plays drums and piano or pursues his hobby, athletics.

Nils has already written 307 articles and made 32 comments.

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