Xiaomi finally launched the successor to their super popular Mi Band. It is finally available just a few months after the China Launch. Xiaomi entirely skipped the 1s which came with a Heart Rate sensor. But to be fair, the Heart Rate monitor was buggy and there was no other difference.
The Mi Band 2 is flush black and looks a lot better than the original Mi Band. It is just slightly bigger. On the front, it has a 0.42” OLED Display, and there’s a circular capacitive button right below it.
The sensor can be popped out from the band. One big issue with the original band was that the sensor would fall off automatically and you’d loose it. But with the new MI Band 2, the band is pretty sturdy, and the fit is real tight. So the sensor is not going to fall off automatically this time around. Also, the thermoplastic elastomer band is not harsh on the skin, and I did not have any issues with it.
Inside the sensor is a 70mAh Lithium Polymer Battery which should last about 20 days, and it does! To recharge the band, you have to pop the sensor out and charge it with the proprietary charger.
The OLED Screen on the front is small, but can display all the relevant information and is bright enough for most situations. The first thing the band shows is the time, which is pretty convenient. Also, it has a raise to wake function. It is not going to work all the time, but it works and is handy.
Under the sensor is a Photoelectric heart rate sensor. The heart rate sensor on 1s was terrible and a joke. But the heart rate sensor on Mi Band 2 is not that bad. It works 75% of the times. At the times it does not work, I’ve had it show as low as 50 or even as high as 200 which is ridiculous! This is not the band to get if you’re serious about measuring the heart rate and the data is inconsistent. Heart Rate monitors from other bands and watches have a way higher level of accuracy.
The capacitive button in the bottom is used to cycle through all the information you can see. It is always the time first. Along with the time, you can also choose to see the date and month. After the time, you can check out the number of steps, distance walked, calories burned, heart rate and finally the battery percentage.
For connectivity, the Mi Band 2 uses Bluetooth 4.0 BLE. It can connect to any Android device running Android 4.4 and iOS 7 using the Mi Fit app. The Mi Fit app itself has come a long way. I used the Mi Band with my iPhone.
The Mi Fit app syncs with your Band after you open the app. This way, the band saves a lot of battery. The best part of the app is that it syncs with Apple Health. Opening the app, first you’ll see the number of steps for the day and the sleep from last night below that. Right below that is all the heart rate data. Apart from that, there is not much to show in the app, and this is how it should be!
The Mi Band 2 also has various alerts. It can have wake up alarms, and the band gently vibrates. There’s an idle alert which vibrates to let you know if you’ve been sitting on your ass for very long.
The Mi Band has alert for calls. When you get a call, the band vibrates after 3 seconds along with an icon on the Band’s screen. The app also supports notifications from specific apps: WhatsApp, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, WeChat, Mi Talk and Mi Fit. When enabled, the band vibrates to let you know. The display does not show the notification itself, but it indicates the icon of the app the notification is from.
Coming to the tracking part of Mi Band 2, I have mixed views. The step tracking is decent and probably off by 5-10%. I got this information by comparing it with different FitBits and the Apple Watch.
The next part is sleep tracking. You don’t have to enable any mode, and it automatically knows when you’re sleeping. This part is accurate. The band can also show when you’re having Deep or Light sleep. This part is incredibly flaky. I’ve had days when I slept for 6 hours, and the app showed the Deep sleep part was for less than 15 minutes! Also, some days when I’m busy I try to catch up with sleep whenever I can, multiple times. For some reason, the Band wont be able to detect that.
Mi Band 2 adds a lot to the table comparing with the original Mi Band. Like the new screen and a better design. But concerning tracking, there is nothing new. The heart rate and sleep tracking data is not very reliable. The Mi Band 2 retails at Rs. 2,000 which is something you should consider. With all this in mind, the Mi Band 2 is an incredible value for money for casual users. But if you’re serious about tracking all your health data, save up and get a FitBit.
- Good Display
- Feature rich apps
- Heart Rate tracking is still inconsistent
- Sleep tracking is not always accurate