Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 5: Reliable budget fitness tracker

Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 5 review: Reliable budget fitness tracker

Since the launch of the first-generation Mi Band in 2015, Xiaomi's budget fitness tracker series has been the best seller in India. The primary reason being the device comes with really good value-added features to track physical activities at the most affordable price point.

This year too, the new Mi Smart Band 5 comes with really good upgrades including the new and better-charging cable.

Design, display, and durability:
Mi Smart Band 5 looks identical to the predecessor in terms of design, but it is bigger (20% to be precise) and the display is brighter too (up to 450 nits).

The main module comes in curvaceous capsule shape with 1.1-inch (126x294p) colour AMOLED-based touch screen display and capacitive single-touch button (to go back or wake up the screen)  at the base. 

Xiaomi Mi Band 5. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

Below, the company has incorporated a 24/7 heart rate sensor and also two-pin charging point. The big change we see in the new Mi Band 5 is the hassle-free charger. The Mi Band 4 had an annoying plastic dock, which most of the time couldn't hold the module.

It's good that Xiaomi has taken the user feedback constructively and has introduced an open magnetic charger (seen below).

Xiaomi Mi Band 5. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

As far as durability is concerned, Mi Smart Band 5 is made of polycarbonate materials and offers a sturdy hand feel. It has a 5 ATM rating, meaning it can survive underwater pressure up to 50 meters. Rest assured, users can take it into swimming pools without any worries.

The strap is made of Thermoplastic polyurethane and exudes really flexible and soft feel on the wrist. I never felt any irritations as such through the testing period.

User-interface and performance
Setting up the Mi Smart Band 5 is really easy. Just install the Mi Fit app on the mobile (with Android 5.0/iOS 10.0 or later versions) and pair the device in no time. It hardly took three minutes for me to complete the procedure.

As far as the user-interface is concerned, the display is very responsive to the touch and shows no lag-ness while carrying out swipe gestures to navigate through the Mi Band settings and features. And, users can control music tracks and volume in addition to show notifications such as messages and phone calls. With this, users can screen the SMS and calls, and make an informed decision on whether to answer immediately or ignore them.

It houses a three-axis acceleration sensor, a three-axis gyroscope, and a Photoplethysmography  (PPG) heart rate sensor. With these components and Xiaomi's fitness tracking algorithm, Mi Smart Band 5 can track 11 professional sports such as Outdoor running, walking, Indoor Cycling, Outdoor cycling, Indoor running, Indoor swim, free exercise, Indoor riding, elliptical machine, rope skipping, yoga, rowing machine.

It is also can also automatically detect activity such as running and walking so that it can calculate calories burnt. Also, if the user is idle for too long (around 50 minutes), it will alert him/her to stand up and take a walk or do some physical activity.

Stress monitor on Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 5. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

Also, it can track sleep in terms of deep sleep, Rapid Eye Moments (REM), and light sleep. It can even register how much time I was awake before I fell asleep. 

Also, it can do stress monitoring and help us guided breathing exercise to relax. This will help us refresh our minds and get back to work with renewed vigour. Another addition is women's health. On the phone app ( Mi Fit), female users can track their menstrual period and get an ovulation record reminder.

The most notable aspect of the Mi Smart Band 5 is the Personal Activity Intelligence (PAI). It works on a dynamic algorithm that takes inputs such as heart rate data, daily activity intensity, and multidimensional dynamic comprehensive evaluation of personal physiological data from the Mi Smart Band 5 to offer a PAI score. If the activity of the day is not good enough, it intuitively suggests what to do the next day. For instance, earlier today (December 25) in the morning, I failed to get a good score, it recommended to take a run for 22 minutes and maintain a heartbeat rate a little above 152 (Beats Per Minute). This is a really good fitness tracking feature for a device costing less than Rs 2,500.

Data collected from Mi Band 5 on Mi Fit app. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

Final thoughts
Despite having a bigger display, Mi Smart Band 5 was able to last more than two weeks in a single full charge. Also, women's health tracking, stress monitoring, guided breathing exercises, and PAI ratings are really good value additions to the Mi Band 5. It offers a simple summary of the activities done and calories burnt and also, motivates the user to strive harder to achieve a bigger target the next day. Over-time, this will develop better body fitness and a healthier lifestyle. It costs Rs 2,499.

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