Officially released in early June, the Mi Band 2 is the third fitness tracker from Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi. For this new generation, the fitness tracker introduces an LED touch screen module. A very aggressively priced product compared to its competitors, have we finally found the ideal fitness tracker? Find out in this in this Xiaomi Mi Band 2 review.
- ✓Excellent value for money
- ✓Simple design
- ✓OLED display
- ✕Imperfect official app
- ✕No monitoring of sport activity
- ✕Inconsistent heart rate sensor
Release date and price
The Xiaomi Mi Band 2 was officially launched in China at the beginning of June at a price of $23 (147 yuan). It’s possible to buy the band online at sites like Oppomart or Amazon. You can usually find it for around $40, depending on the dealer. Note that shipping costs are often left out of the price, so remember to check. Several wristband colors are available, including black, orange, blue and green.
Design and build quality
Like its competitors, the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 offers a compact and minimalist design. It consists of two parts, one being the strap and the other a small sensor of about 3-4 cm, which is housed in the strap. The strap is made of a silicon-type of material, but has a softer texture than other bands of its kind. The strap latches close quite smoothly, without risk of falling off your wrist.
Unlike some models of FitBit, the sensor slides into the bracelet more simply. So there’s no need to force it in. There are also no problems in removing it for charging with the supplied cable.
At the rear of the sensor is a heart rate monitor, as we saw in the Mi Band 1S. The two pin connectors are used to charge the Mi Band 2 via a USB port.
On the wrist, the Mi Band 2 is a discreet and comfortable device to carry. It’s less bulky than some of its competitors and I personally find it more elegant than the FitBit Flex, which costs about the same.
The Mi Band 2 is also waterproof up to one meter and dust resistant, thanks to its IP67 certification. However, it’s not suitable for swimming sessions.
The main difference between the Mi Band 2 and previous generations (Mi Band and Mi Band 1S) is that it has a display on the activity sensor. While the Mi Band simply displayed information on its aluminum surface using LEDs, the Mi Band 2 has an OLED touch screen of 0.42 inchs (about 1 cm). Contrary to what some may think, the screen is not curved, but rather flat.
You can view various types of information on this screen: time; number of steps; distance traveled; calories burned; cardiac activity; sleep monitoring; incoming calls and notifications; remaining battery.
In everyday life, the screen is good and brightness is more than enough. Even in bright sunlight, I didn’t find any serious issues.
The Mi Band 2 offers the classic features of a fitness tracker. Besides the traditional pedometer, the bracelet can monitor your sleep to help you relax. It can also wake you up gently at the time you want with a gentle vibration.
The Mi Band 2 offers the classic features of a fitness tracker
Like the Mi Band 1S, the Mi Band 2 has a heart rate sensor, but it’s not always consistent. The readings are not always reliable, even though the pulse readings are collected so close to the sensor. If you are looking for a highly accurate pulse reading, I’d suggest considering fitness trackers with more advanced heart rate monitors.
Finally, it’s important to note the unlocking feature for smartphones running Android 5.0 Lollipop with a Xiaomi smartphone. With this combination, you do not need to use a PIN code to unlock the device when you wear the Mi Band 2.
The Mi Band 2 works with iOS (iPhone 5 and later) using Bluetooth 4.1, while Android (from 4.4) requires the Mi Fit app to function. Pairing between the band and the smartphone is quite simple. However, you should create a Mi Fit account beforehand and fill in details about your weight, height and other details. Moreover, the Mi Band is compatible with Google Fit and Apple Health applications.
Once these parameters are set, the Mi Band 2 tracks your steps, heart activity, monitors your sleep and displays your calories burned. The Mi Fit app is easy to use and tracks your progress effectively. However, it’s unfortunate that no sport activity can be monitored – just the basics.
The app sorts the information according to whether it’s day or night and constantly provides real-time data. The synchronization between the band and the app is done without problems, accurately recording your data. According to the goals you set, the circumference of a circle displayed in the app will fill as you progress.
The Mi Band 2 has a 70 mAh battery with a Xiaomi-claimed standby time of 20 days, which is slightly worse than the first generations of the Mi Band, with around 30 days of standby time. However, in practice, it’s enough. After 10 days of testing (and with the battery initially charged to only 80 percent), and with notifications for calls, the battery level was down to 18 percent. This is respectable performance, with 20 days of battery life perfectly conceivable.
As for charging, it’s rather slow since it takes a good three hours via a computer. But, in general, the battery charges relatively quickly in the Mi Band 2.
Like the first generation, the Mi Band 2 is a compelling offering from Xiaomi. Positioned in a highly competitive market comprising both high-end trackers of up to $150, along with the more affordable devices down to to $50 – the Mi Band 2 is a great choice.
While the sensor is not the best on the market, this connected tracker costs less than $30 yet offers more or less the same functionality and the same performance as more expensive fitness trackers.
Its design, performance and long battery should be enough to convince even the most reluctant to opt for the Mi Band 2. While the Mi Fit app is still imperfect and the heart rate sensor acts up sometimes, most of the functionality you’d expect from a fitness tracker is available right here.