Mi Band 2 – Review

Mi Band was the most popular fitness tracker in the world. Following the Mi Band, Mi Band Pulse was introduced by Xiaomi. The Mi Band Pulse never made it to India. But now we have a whole new version of the Mi Band. The Mi Band 2 has been announced in India and it is priced at Rs 1999. The reason for the success of the Mi Band was its value for money, compactness and impressive battery life. Now the Mi Band 2 inherits all of this along with heart rate sensor from Mi Band Pulse and a Display.

Whats in the Box

In the box, you would find a proprietory charging dongle apart from the Mi Band 2. Do check out my unboxing video.

Design

The Mi Band 2 is very similar to the earlier iterations in terms of design. The sensor is now slightly bigger and the notification LED lights are replaced with a OLED display. Below the display is a capacitive button but the screen is not a touch screen which is a good thing. Touch screens would make it expensive and heavy. The Band 2 is very compact and light weight. It is powered by a 70 mAh battery.

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So here are all the new things on the Mi Band 2, compared to Mi Band or Mi Band 2.

* Larger sensor with touch button and display.
* Better Heart rate sensor
* Improved pedometer for better accuracy

The display has a scratch resistant glass and an annodized metal touch sensitive button. Below the sensor is the heart rate monitor. The mi band 2 is IP67 water proof. The strap is larger and softer. It has a better locking mechanism. I have been using the band for over 2 months now and not a single time, did the strap come off on its own.

Display

The monochrome display is an OLED display and it shows time, step count, distance, calories, heart rate, battery level and notifications as configured. The display is clear and crisp under indoors and it was visible on outdoors as well. But under direct harsh sunlight, legibility is poor.

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Features

Slightly lifting the Mi Band 2 will show the time. But you can see it by tapping on the button as well. The touch button cycles between different features of the band. Apart from time, step count, calories and heart rate are the key features of the strap. It can also track your sleep. There is no specific sleep mode, but the band detects that you are asleep and starts tracking sleep. I don’t like wearing anything on my wrist, while sleeping. So I did not test this feature a lot. But what I really liked is the idle alert. I have set that the band must alert me every 1 hour, if am sitting idle on a desk and it works perfectly. Alarms can also be set with the app. On the appointed time, the band vibrates. The Mi Band 2 supports alarms which you can set from the Mi Fit app.

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Mi Band 2 can be set to show notifications. It can show incoming calls by vibrating. The caller ID is not displayed on the band, but just a generic call icon. It also supports notifications from a bunch of applications like SMS, email, WeChat, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Whatsapp.

The Band can also be set to unlock your Android mobile. This feature is not available for iPhone.

Mi Fit App

The Mi Fit App is available for both Android and iOS. The app is control center for the band. The app helps in keeping a track record of your fitness activity like sleep, steps and hear-rate. If you have the Mi Scale, the app can also track your weight management goals. All the features of the app like notifications, alarm, fitness goals, idle alert, etc.. are all managed by the Mi Fit app.

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The app can sync your data with 3rd party apps like Google Fit or WeChat. However it lacked social media integration. This is a feature I miss from FitBit. Peer connections and encouragement can be a good motivator. I wish such a feature come on the Mi Fit app soon.

Battery

I have used the Mi Band for over 2 months now. I use it every day and till date, I have charged it about 3 times. That is excellent battery life. The Mi Band and Mi Band Pulse gave me about 70-80 days on a single charge, but they did not have a display. I have disabled the Heart rate sleep assistant and this extended the battery life by another 5 days. A 20 day battery life is really good considering the standards in the market these days. Charging the band takes about 1 hour and once charged, I can forget about it for about a month. The dongle if missed has to be purchased again, so make sure you store it safely.

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Verdict

The Mi Band 2, as a fitness band does one thing and that is to measure your steps. I have used a bunch of bands and among them, the Mi Band 2 gives the most accurate measure of distance. It does not calculate any ghost steps like while riding or brushing teeth or typing on a keyboard. In terms of accuracy, this is the next best accurate pedometer compared to a GPS based tracker. Unfortunately, the Mi Band still cannot determine the other types of workouts and even the app does not help maintaining such logs. If you are into running, walking or jogging, then the Mi Band 2 is the best tracker that Rs 1999 can get you. Other features like time, sleep tracking, notifications, alarms are all added bonus.