Good / Great battery life, and fitness tools are accurate and work well. Watch feels sleek, and OLED display looks great indoors. Heart rate monitor is fast. Sleep monitoring works well, and other integrations like friend features, history graphs, and setup/use are very intuitive and easy. Over three days of continuous use, battery life was still at 93%.
Bad / The watch can be hard to put on. OLED display outside looks dim. Sometimes turning the watch to see the time doesn’t work–requiring a button press.
Verdict / The Xiaomi Mi Band 2 delivers on all its promises. It’s the best smart watch / fitness tracker for the price without a question. The app works flawlessly, with tons of functionalities.
Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Review
Right now the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 sits at $49.99 on Amazon. Another similar product to the Mi Band 2 would be the Fitbit Alta which retails at $129.95. The Mi Band 2 is the ONLY product of this category that you can get at this price, which makes it a great value. The Fitbit Flex 2 is $99.95, and you can’t even read the time.
The Xiaomi Mi Band 2 has a ton of features for being such a cheap small device. With the Xiaomi Mi Band 2, you get these features:
- Bluetooth Sync
- OLED Touch Screen
- Heart-Rate Monitor
- Incoming calls / text alerts / app alerts
- Sleep monitoring
- Step/fitness monitoring
- Smartphone compatible
A good amount of features right? But how do they work? Let’s find out!
Setting up the device is quite simple. Taking it out of the box showed charge at 53% (after an entire night of sleep tracking and a long walk the charge is still 99%)and the instructions (while they are in Chinese have a QR code to find the app easily, or you just search for Xiaomi, and you can find the app easily).
After installing the app, you bring your Mi Band 2 close to your phone and let it do it’s thing after setting up an account. Before long it’ll start installing updated firmware, and then you’re pretty much ready to go. Very easy setup and the Bluetooth sync works great.
After using something like a Pebble where setting up the watch and connecting it to my iPhone was pretty clunky, it’s a relief to see that setup is excellent for only being a $50 watch (compared to Pebble’s $100).
Another important category with smart watches is what kind of features they have for the price. As I mentioned before, one of the main draws about this device is that it has so many features for so little money. You can read the time with the OLED display, as well as see other information without having to turn on your phone, and all of the other features work quite well.
Steps are counted accurately, and the heart rate monitor also works very well. It only takes around 5-10 seconds to get a good reading. You just navigate between three (or more) functions by tapping the dot on the top of the screen (time, steps, and heart rate). Staying on heart rate will give your reading.
I love the simplicity of the interface as well as how easy it is to switch between them (navigating on the Pebble always felt like a chore–and the Apple Watch feels too much like a phone to me). You can even add more interface options by navigating to Profile < device, and then adding which display settings you want to show (I decided to add battery life and the date to the time). It’s also neat since you can add heart rate detection while you’re sleeping to get a more accurate reading.
The Xiaomi app, despite some Chinese text here and there at the start, is very good and polished. While I don’t want to keep bagging on the Pebble app, this app here is VERY functional and easy to use without as many hiccups and bugs (of course there aren’t any apps to install or anything which might be the reason).
It’s easy to find information about your fitness (steps tracked, distance and calories burned). It’s also easy to find how out to use the watch since there’s a guide on the first page, and it’s also neat that you can connect with your friends to become “friends” and watch their progress. You can even share your status every day with the world to show how much you’ve walked.
The second tab in the app gives you the options that are the main “meat” of the app. Here you can control which notifications you can get, and I was surprised with how many work (you can even do app notifications like SnapChat, and email). For now, I’m just using text and call notifications, and they work great, and I can always feel the buzz. You can also set a buzz alarm here, as well as a notification when you’ve been sitting too long.
I also have tested out sleep monitoring, and despite some issues with the first Mi Band 1, the Mi Band 2 works very well. It tracked my total sleep time, my deep sleep, light sleep, what time I fell asleep at, as well as my wake time. The app’s interface is great since you can also see history, individual months, and even the ability to export the data. These features work in each section of the steps too.
Lastly, I want to mention the charger, which works very well. You simply slip the actual machine part of the wrist band into the port. it’s a bit like the Pebble charger, except more secure here since it kind of locks in the sliding mechanism.
Overall, the Mi Band 2’s app is super impressive and functional without any glitches, and every feature you would want is here. Battery life seems awesome so far as I mentioned already, I’m barely losing any percentage even after extended use. The software also works well on the actual watch.
The app has a great aesthetic, as we just mentioned–it’s very easy to use and modern looking. But what about the actual watch?
The watch is quite minimalist and straightforward, which is good–and it’s very comfortable (even when typing!). It is sleek and pretty similar to other fitness watches with a smooth rubbery feel. The actual computer inside the band can be removed in or out, and the OLED screen is bright indoors (not as bright outdoors, unfortunately, but still readable).
MY favorite part about the Mi Band 2 is how the little dot looks on it where you press to interact with it. It’s got a beautiful chrome shine. The buckle that goes into the back of the watch to secure the strap looks the same too.
Perhaps my only complaint with the Mi Band 2 is that it can be hard to put on due to the texture of the strap. It kind of sticks to itself when you’re securing the strap and the button can be a bit tricky to fashion. However, once you get the button to click inside a button hole, and it secures, it feels very satisfying and looks very nice.