Xiaomi presents the successor of its popular fitness-bracelet: the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 now offers an OLED display, so users don’t have to check their phone all the time to read their fitness data. In addition, some functions of the predecessor were improved. How the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 did in the practical test, you will find out in this review.
Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Update (06/13/2017)
Mi Band 3 has already been launched. Also, there are two other successors of Mi Band 2 by Xiaomi’s daughter brand Amazfit:
The Mi Band 2 successor (Xiaomi Amazfit A1603: not the official successor)
Amazfit mit ECG Sensor (way more precise)
The Xiaomi Mi Band 2 has been on the market for over two years now and is still one of the bestsellers among the fitness bracelets. The Mi Band 2 combines reliability, a high range of functions and the typical Xiaomi workmanship with a top price! Meanwhile you can get it for less than 25$ in the offer. Xiaomi’s next fitness bracelet, the Amazfit, is already in the starting blocks. Does this make the Mi Band obsolete? You can read our experiences after one year with the Mi Band 2 in the 2nd review!
The battery life is still first class! If you only use it for sleep tracking, training and counting the steps you will get 25 days. If smartphone notifications or third party tips are added, the Mi Band 2 must be connected to the charging cable every week. Our Mi Band 2 is loaded in about 90 minutes.
The Mi Band 2 accompanies us through the whole day:
- When getting up it is possible to set several alarms. The vibration isn’t loud, it just wakes you up. Unfortunately, the alarm clock does not synchronize with the Android app.
- The intelligent alarm clock (wake you at a perfect time) is no longer available in the Mi Fit app. Here you have to use third party apps.
- The sleep phases are not tracked very exactly – e.g. it is not always recognized immediately when you wake up.
- You don’t have to take off Xiaomi’s Mi Band 2 for a shower. In case of salt or chlorine water you have to take it off.
- In direct sunlight, it is not always easy to read the display well.
- If you use the Mi Band 2 for jogging, it is not necessary to take your smartphone with you. Simply start the training mode via the Mi Fit app, the fitness bracelet does the rest.
Third party apps
The range of functions of the Mi Fit app is quite manageable: The most important functions are available, but by no means everything you wish for. Why the intelligent alarm clock was cancelled in the app is a mystery to us. Since the Mi Band 2 has a large fan base, there are some third party apps in the Google Play Store that further enhance the functionality of the Mi Band 2.
Google’s activity monitoring app is perfectly integrated with the Mi Fit app! Everything is transferred exactly and additionally represented in practical graphics. With the Google Fit App you also have the possibility to compile several apps/fitness gadgets in one app.
Tools & Mi Band
Through the most popular third party app, Tools & Mi Band, the Mi Band 2 becomes the smart watch par excellence. With the app you can customize notifications sent to the app down to the smallest detail. On the one hand, you have an unbelievable number of settings. On the other hand, practical widgets for the Android interface are added. With my Mi Band I mainly use the function to display notifications – here the name is displayed instead of the icon of the app. Or the first words of the message, depending on how you configure it. This is not easy, but tutorials in the app will help you and give you full control over what the Mi Band 2 should show. Or vice versa, you can use “Do not Disturb” to set when you do not want to receive messages. The developer of the app is constantly working on Tools & Mi Band and regularly adds new content.
A little, pretty smart app if you don’t have a remote control on your headphones. With Mi Band 2 Music Control you can choose whether you want the music to stop at Single, Double or Tripple Click, or whether you want the next or last track to play. In practice it works reliably with a little training.
Another little app to start personal functions on your smartphone with the Mi Band 2. The special feature here is that it is compatible with the third-app Tasker. So you have an unlimited choice of actions and personalization options. As with the Music Control App, you’ll need to learn a little more about it to be able to use it productively.
Here we have another app with a powerful range of functions: From an intelligent alarm clock, to setting up any action at the touch of a button, to personal notifications, everything is already on board! For most of your needs the free version is enough. The app can either completely replace Mi Fit or access the data. The former requires less power, as the app does not always have to run in the foreground.
In the end it all depends on what you want to do with the Xiaomi Mi Band 2. The various options offered by third-party apps make the affordable fitness bracelet a smart gadget. On the other hand, I also like the minimalism of the Mi Fit App. This way the Mi Band 2 is an unobtrusive companion, which shows me the clock and tracks my sleep or my steps.
The Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is still the first choice for fitness smartbands. No other gadget offers such a price-performance ratio as the Mi Band 2, where you can be sure that the smart gadget works perfectly and can be adapted to your ideas by third parties.
Design and build quality
Like its predecessor, Xiaomi also keeps the Mi Band 2 simple. The Mi Band 2 isn’t designed conspicuously neither concerning the size nor its design. The weight of 18.5g is very light; you forget you’re wearing a fitness bracelet after a few minutes. Nevertheless, with a length of 21cm the bracelet is big enough to fit comfortably broad wrists. With a width of 1.8cm and a depth of 0.8cm it is far away from making a bulky impression. The bracelet itself consists of a synthetic material, which is kind to the skin, and it has a nice build quality. After the 14 days of testing the bracelet looks exactly the same way as after unpacking. The Mi Band 2 offers 10 different possibilities to adjust the size, ensuring a targeted wearing comfort. Additionally, a keeper is integrated, in case the Mi Band should open unexpectedly.
The Xiaomi Mi Band 2’s heart is the widget in form of a grain of rice, which is processed solidly and, like the rest of the bracelet, of the colour black. The heart rate sensor is fixed to the bottom of the widget. The widget’s surface is lacquered. The monochrome 0.42inch display is on the upper half, below the display there is a sensitive button for controlling. Since it’s not a mechanical button, you don’t have to put pressure on the Mi Band to activate the button.
The Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is dust-proof and waterproof according to IP67 standard. In practice, this means no foreign bodies like dust can find their way into the product. In addition, you can wear the Mi Band 2 up to 30 minutes under water up to 1m depth without causing any damage. You don’t have to take off the fitness bracelet before showering or washing your hands.
Xiaomi Mi Band 2 scope of delivery
When ordering a Mi Band 2 you receive the bracelet and an adapter for charging. It’s available in different colours. There will surely be additional bracelets made of metal, leather and with different patterns.
The Xiaomi Mi Band 2 can be operated via the button. Additionally, Xiaomi’s Mi Fit App is available.
Operating the Mi Band 2 with the button
In contrast to its predecessor versions, the Mi Band 2 can now be operated without using the smartphone. The operation is minimalistic and simple. If you touch the widget, you can see the time. This function is very useful and makes the Mi Band 2 a good replacement for a watch. Actually, it’s not necessary to press the button to see the time. If you put your wrist in a horizontal line, the Mi Band 2 automatically shows the time. By tapping several times, you can see the heart rate and your steps made. With the app you have the possibility to adjust which data the display should show. Moreover, you can choose distance travelled, calorie consumption and battery power.
Mi Fit app
The Xiaomi Mi Band 2 can be used with all Bluetooth-compatible Android (4.4 and higher) and IOS (V7 and higher) devices. You can download the Mi Fit App in the Google playstore. Starting the app, several seconds pass because the Mi Band has to synchronize with the app. You get a good overview of the bracelet’s collected data, which are illustrated in clear graphs. Firmware updates can be installed on the Mi Band 2 and you can adjust which data the Mi Band 2’s display should show.
The Xiaomi Mi Band 2 supports, like the Mi Band 1S, the function to determine the user’s heart rate. The small sensor below the widget takes the measurement. It’s therefore necessary not to wear the bracelet too loosely in order to make sure that the sensor touches the skin. In contrast to the Mi Band 1S, the Mi Band 2 offers the possibility to measure and show the pulse via the bracelet itself. To do this, you have to tap the button twice and wait for circa 5 seconds. You can see your pulse on the OLED display then. The heart rate monitor is probably the biggest improvement concerning the functions the Mi Band 2 has. Whereas the pulse measurement has been quite laborious on the predecessor model, now it’s possible to get the result with one movement. This is really practical especially for sportsmen, because nobody wants to first take out their smartphone in order to check the pulse.
The Mi Band 2 counts the user’s steps and calculates the distance travelled and the consumed calories. The display can show how many steps you walked. Xiaomi is advertising information in real time, but in practice it takes some time to see the steps walked currently. You can also adjust the number of steps you would like to take every day. With this function activated, you receive a notification via vibration as soon as you reached your number of steps. Like for the monitoring of the sleep phases, it’s also possible to display statistics of the distance travelled in the last few days. Concerning the pedometer’s precision, we can give a good appraisal.
Sleep rhythm surveillance
The Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is able to monitor the user’s sleep phases. This function provides a good overview of the duration of sleep and of the rhythm. The app creates statistics of the last nights and illustrates them in graphs. A practical function is the intelligent alarm. The Xiaomi Mi Band 2 can determine when the best time for getting up has come. A vibration repeated three times wakes up the user. However, you can easily ignore this if you like to sleep late. Like in the predecessor models, the intelligent alarm works perfectly. I had the impression the bracelet woke me up at a perfect time for my body. Therefore, I had less problems getting up.
Users with an Android 5 or 6 or Xiaomi smartphone can use the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 to unlock their phone. For that, the smart-lock function is used. Turning on the display, the smartphone detects whether the Mi Band 2’s user is operating the phone. It’s not necessary anymore to enter the password or scan the fingerprint; the smartphone is unlocked immediately.
A new function of the Mi Band 2 is the possibility to inform the user of calls and notifications. In the app you can adjust which apps are allowed to send notifications to the Mi Band. For example, you can keep yourself informed of emails or WhatsApp messages. However, this function is rudimentary because you can’t see on the display who’s calling or what the messages say. The user is only informed via vibration and a symbol on the display.
The Mi Band 2 is charged with the provided adapter. Because of its OLED display the Mi Band 2 needs more power than its predecessors needed. Xiaomi therefore extends the battery capacity from 40mAh to 70mAh. Depending on the daily usage, the fitness bracelet can be used up to 20 days according to the manufacturer. In our test the Mi Band 2 switched off after 2 weeks, which is still a great result!