Xiaomi Mi Band 2 review

Is the most expensive Mi Band yet worth it?
Xiaomi Mi Band 2

For a long time, my view of the Mi Bands has been that they're so cheap you might as well give them a go. They can give you a broad picture of how active you are, they're comfortable and the sleep tracking works.

The problem for Xiaomi is that fitness trackers, good ones, are getting cheaper and cheaper. So as it continues to add features to its line-up, here with the Mi Band 2 an OLED display joins heart rate tracking, its competitors slash the prices of their feature packed devices.

The Mi Band 2 is a slightly better wearable than its predecessors because it offers a screen to view the time and your activity throughout the day. But depending on how you get your hands on one, it's quite a bit more expensive than the originals. And Xiaomi hasn't actually made the activity tracking - the reason to buy it - much better.

Xiaomi Mi Band 2: Design & Screen

You get pretty much what you'd expect from the Mi Band 2's design and build. The default black model doesn't look especially pretty as the module is swallowed up by the cheap silicon (apparently anti sweat) band but both are solid enough. It's IP67 water resistant so you can splash it with water or shower with it though I took it off when I went kayaking recently in case I ended up in the sea.

I did manage to scratch the top of the OLED display pretty quickly after I started wearing it, though, which was annoying. Especially as it's supposed to be scratch resistant glass.

Wearing it opposite the $125.99 Fitbit Alta, it's actually slightly more comfortable and lighter and it's easier to secure too though the Fitbit is by far the classier finish. You can officially get Mi Band bands in black, orange, blue and green though we've already seen more colours around on the web.

The 0.42-inch OLED screen is pretty fuzzy, especially if you compare it to something like the Alta's display. Still, it does the job displaying the time, steps, calories burned and heart rate (no distance). It will come as no surprise that the auto screen turn on works only sporadically.

What is nice is the little touch sensitive button to control the display as it's not touchscreen. The whole thing has an anti-fingerprint coating but it's not really necessary. This is a quick, reliable way to interact with the Mi Band 2 and much more preferable to double and single taps on the Alta or a push of the Misfit Flash Link, say, which can be hard to tell if it's registered.

Xiaomi Mi Band 2: Tracking

In terms of tracking, let's keep this simple and start with the positives. The Mi Band's sleep tracking is good and accurate - the module automatically detects that you've gone to sleep, or woken up, and is a useful guide to how you're actually sleeping. (As for the deep sleep metrics, that's hard to tell if it's accurate so we'll leave that for a scientific test). Extras include the ability to set multiple alarms to vibrate to wake you up, a popular feature brought over from the first two Mi Bands.

As for the rest, Xiaomi says it has made both its step counting and heart rate tracking algorithms and tech more accurate. The activity tracking still isn't quite up to scratch but, interestingly in different ways to previous Mi Bands.

It struggles to auto recognise when you start running/working out and its idle alert wasn't as reliable as most devices with this function. For every day, though, the Mi Band 2 does give slightly closer results to more expensive trackers. Historically we've found the Mi Band 2 overestimates overall activity, tracking wrist movement as walking when it's not, but when we wore it alongside the Alta, we actually found that the Xiaomi was tracking lower by hundreds of steps.


When I wore the Mi Band alongside the Casio Smart Outdoor, it got my active minutes pretty accurate over the course of a weekend of lots of stopping and starting island walks. But I noticed a couple of the timed sections in which I was definitely not moving.

So, a mixed picture but essentially I never quite came to rely on the Mi Band 2, a similar story to the first devices. Whether the motivation of knowing you've had a 10,000+ steps day compared to a couple of very low step days is enough for you for a cheap device is another question.

It also deals with estimated calories burned in a less useful way than say, the Alta which takes into account how many calories you burn even when not walking/running and gives you a running total. There's no GPS for accurate run tracking or any kind of extra features for runners so steer clear if you need this.

The heart rate monitoring is a headline feature and has been improved but even when taking resting bpm, the readings do jump about within seconds. And the data is presented in a useful way in Mi Fit. I wouldn't, and essentially can't, use this to stay in specific heart rate zones out on a run as it's not continuous. On the plus side, it did take a reading every time I scrolled through to that option on the Band 2's own display and it's much quicker than firing up the app with the Mi Band Pulse.

Xiaomi Mi Band 2: Extra features

The other main feature, apart from tracking, is smartphone notifications, but this is pretty hit and miss.

I tweaked the settings to get the Mi Band 2 to buzz when I had an incoming call or WhatsApp but essentially neither worked, which is actually worse than previous devices. This could be due to the Bluetooth connection being a bit patchy with my Samsung Galaxy or it could be a bug that needs to be fixed.

One more thought on this - I might not have got such a good battery life if this had worked properly.

Xiaomi Mi Band 2: Mi Fit app

At the launch, Xiaomi bigged up a new Mi Fit user interface but not a great deal has changed, at least so far. It's still more basic than the Fitbit and Jawbone apps. There's a dashboard showing the day's activity, last night's sleep, your most recent heart rate reading and when your last streak (of hitting targets) was. You can also manually track your weight in the app.

From each of these you can access daily, weekly and monthly graphs, apart from heart rate which is still presented as a list of readings with little context - essentially useless. As I said, the Mi Band struggles to auto detect when you start running but the app is designed to break activities up into 'walk' or 'activity' in a timeline under the graphs. You can view the times, steps, minutes, distance and calories though I couldn't find a way to edit or group these as you get on other apps.

Xiaomi Mi Band 2
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Sharing stats within the app involved scanning the QR codes of your mates (no-one is going to do this) but there are also options to share your progress via social media - Line, Twitter (which takes you to a message), Facebook etc.

In terms of motivation, there's no insights as such but Xiaomi does try to get you moving more and thinking about your sleep by displaying your percentage e.g. my steps today so far are ahead of 13% of people but my sleep last night (I got a super early night) was ahead of 90% of people. That's right.

One last note on the app - it crashes constantly as you're using it (I was testing on Android). And syncing can sometimes take a second or two longer than I'd like.

Xiaomi Mi Band 2: Battery life

Here, Xiaomi trumps Fitbit but not, I should say, rival budget wearables. I've been using the Mi Band 2 for a week and a half now and its remaining battery, according to the Mi Fit app, is down to 24%. That suggests it wouldn't get to the claimed 20 days (more like 12 - 14) the way I've been using it but this will differ from person to person.

Still, for a device with a display that's fairly impressive. Essentially if you charge it once every week, you should never run out of juice.

It's not quite as no fuss as cheap trackers like the Withings Go, though - that has an E Ink screen to display the time and your progress and lasts eight months on a coin cell battery. The budget Misfit Flash Link, again, in theory lasts six months but if not, just swap out the battery.

GeekBuying provided our review sample. You can buy a Mi Band 2 direct from them by clicking here.


Xiaomi Mi Band 2
By Xiaomi
There’s a reason we’ve mentioned quite a few other trackers in this review. Yes, the Mi Band 2 is still cheap enough for it to be a punt and the screen and battery life make it more useful than the first two. But it’s worth looking at similarly priced, or slightly more expensive, Misfits, Jawbones, Withings and Fitbits which might sound less snazzy on paper but actually offer a better overall experience.

Hit
  • Light, comfortable
  • Screen + good battery life
  • Sleep tracking works
Miss
  • Prices vary, hard to get hold of
  • Still not a reliable tracker
  • App doesn’t motivate

33 Comments

  • BoudreaCarl says:

    i think that it's not too much. 

    The price range is not the best. 

  • alibabababa says:

    You can get one on aliexpress for $40

  • nikson says:

    My impression after a week and a half of using mi band 2 is that the review is too severe. In spite of some limitations primarily induced by the price rank, overall experience is much smoother than the reviewer said. For example, distance can be shown on the band display, even calories, and you can choose what will be displayed. Also, vibe notifications work perfectly, you can even choose a delay interval for incomig calls, then, whatsapp, viber and similar notif. works normally - the band vibes and shows small icon named app... Comparing to similar trackers even those with gps, steps and distance are calculated pretty accurate. The mi fit app could be easily connected with google fit and  show you an approximate location or even precise one if gps was turned on while google fit tracked you. Heart rate monitor takes some 4-5 seconds to calculate and show your rate and is also quite satisfying. I have to mention that I used mi band 2 synced with my mi redmi note 3 and no one crash happened to me ever since I use it. Alarms work great. You can set mi band's own alarm (just vibes around your wrist) and/or phone alarm choosing the vibe option on mi band 2 alongside a sound/vibe notification of your phone (the latter needs the phone's bt turned on). My mi band 2 came with 44% of battery and after almost 10 days it's on 19% with constant wearing (including night tracking of sleep) and pretty hard using of it. So, I believe the battery could surely lasts for more than 2 weeks, maybe even close to stated 20 days. 

  • aliasfan1 says:

    I am an avid user of the MisFit Shine 2 and find it to be very reliable.  I purchased the Mi Band 2 for the heart rate to see how it would work. Notifications seem to work and while the Shine 2 already has me burning calories while I sleep, the Mi does not. I am going to wear this for a couple of weeks and see how the data compares.

  • Nath says:

    hi, just want to ask if any of you had wore mi band 2 while swimming?  I would like to know if it will survive swimming session. Thanks

    • Sanda says:

      it's IP67 meaning you can splash it but not submerse.

      I've worn it 2 times about 20 minutes in Aegean sea (forgot to take it off) and no harm done. But I wouldn't recommend using while swimming.

  • Manish says:

    Hi, 

    HR reading of MI Band 2 is almost accurate but if you are not moving fast or working out like running, biking etc.

    I used ME HR app to integrate this band with Runkeeper but HR data captured during work out was not correct. it was showing way below.

    Any suggestion ?

      

  • INIORMAZA says:

    hello I buy it and I'm trying use it but it unpairs again and again. I need a solution ,if you have, please.

    It say me the band is pair with another phone .??

    • mervgan says:

      im having the same problem too. Any solution? Regret a hundred times buying mi band 2

      Reply

      • Jor8 says:

        I have the same problem. I think Xiaomi is a terrible company! They give shits in customers. I've used Fitbit and Garmin and they are in a completely different league in quality and accessibility regarding apps. Mi Band 2 is the worst product I've had! Me too, regreting a hundred times buying mi band 2!

      • Joa8 says:

        I have the same problem. I think Xiaomi is a terrible company! They give a shit in customers.

        I've used Fitbit and Garmin and they are in a different league in quality and accessibility regarding apps. Mi Band 2 is the worst I've had! Me too, is regreting a hundred times buyJng this shit "mi band 2"! 

    • prado94 says:

      Same problem here after I upgraded my iPhone!!  

  • charlesysfan says:

    Hi there,

    I compared my  walking steps between the miband 2 and my apple watch. There is a 13% difference in total number of steps with the miband 2 being lower. 

    • mervgan says:

      im having the same problem too. Any solution? Regret a hundred times buying mi band 2

  • Blade3colorado says:

    This entire review was poorly written and inaccurate. In short, in numerous instances, it shows the author being lazy. For example, the author writes this about the battery, "That suggests it wouldn't get to the claimed 20 days (more like 12 - 14) the way I've been using it but this will differ from person to person." There have been numerous detailed professional reviews of this device and all uniformly state that the battery will last 20 days. In effect, your methodology - illustrated by using the words "suggests" and ". . . this will differ from person to person" - proves your laziness and equivocation. Similarly, you provide positive comments about the sleep tracking function and then as an aside, you add this statement, "As for the deep sleep metrics, that's hard to tell if it's accurate so we'll leave that for a scientific test" which essentially cancels out your positive assessment of the sleep feature. Why did you even mention this? If you do not have the capability to test the device's deep sleep metrics, then SHUT UP! Or better yet, don't review products. You also do this when you mention, "The default black model doesn't look especially pretty as the module is swallowed up by the cheap silicon (apparently anti sweat) band but both are solid enough." In short, what is it? Ugly or pretty? Ugh . . . 

    It's obvious to me you're prejudiced toward the product. You complain about the device getting scratched and then mention it is "scratch resistant glass." Read that ONE MORE TIME. Scratch resistant, not SCRATCH PROOF. What an imbecile. Same thing with the OLED display, i.e., most reviewers find it appealing . . . You? Meh. 

    My suggestion to you is this: when you review a product, do a complete evaluation of it and park your prejudices at home (or whatever other issues you have going on in your life). Also, evaluate the product over a period of weeks, not days. Why? So perceived issues such as battery life, deep sleep evaluation methodology, bluetooth connection problems with your phone, etc., can either be adequately addressed. 

    Or, find another job, which suits your lackadaisical nature. 'Nuff said.  

      

    • DaemonBleu says:

      I agree, the writing style here is so poor and clearly biased. Please author, find a better calling.

    • Jittuck says:

      yes. Couldn't agree more. 

    • Anu says:

      Your assessment is spot on, I have not brought any of such related products but while reading this review it easily gives a feeling that the review is biased AGAINST MI Band 2. its clear that the reviewer does not want one to buy this product and is more keen to promote other products, maybe he is getting paid for doing so. But then that defeats the purpose of providing review which generic public reads with a lot of interest. I have read many reviews where reviewers criticize a product by providing good reasons behind it but those does not look to be case in this review. 

      @ Reviewer Sophie - Kindly review your review :)

  • istvanszucs says:

    It's fair, I have one major complaint. According to the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 my pulse is almost never above 120, even while I am spitting my lung out.

  • jtalexandre says:

    Depends on what you want. I am not looking for an actual fitness tracker. For me this works as a cheap watch with a nice "techy" look that advised me of the incoming notification on my phone, which actually makes save battery because even though I need the BT on I don't need the phone to vibrate or ring and I take it out of the pocket a lot less since I can see which type of notification I am getting and if it is "worth" grabbing the phone at that exact time or if I can catch up at end of the day.

  • andygorton says:

    I found the mi 2 to be a very good band for the price. Ok, it may not be as stylish as one of the leading brands but it has all the functionality of bands twice or even 3 times the price. The battery life is unbelievable. I've had mine on for a month and a half now and still it hasn't needed a recharge.

    A lot of places are selling these bands direct from china which is a pain as they take a long time to arrive in the UK. We have purchased a bundle of them and are selling them on www.fit-band.co.uk

  • Jittuck says:

    I've been using it for 2 weeks, and finds it to be an excellent daily tracking device. I'm using iOS and so far none of the negative points raised by this review, was seen. But, I've wished the HR would measure faster and when I'm moving. I feel this article is biased and unprofessionally written. 

  • PeteScoff says:

    Now that it dropped to $29 at Geekbuying, I might actually get one

  • Nadine says:

    I charged my mi band 2 this morning and later it never turned on :/ tried to charge to other outlets and still won't turn on. Can somebody with this same issue help me please? My mi fit apps also could not detect the band :(

  • glossymags says:

    I have spent the best part of 5 hours trying to pair this **** with the app. Bluetooth turns itself off every time. It seems I am not alone with this problem. I will be posting it back in the morning!

  • AmitBansal0512 says:

    I used to sleep in the morning and keep awake during the nights. However sometimes i sleep in nights even. 

    The issue i am facing is when i sleep in the day time, i have to enter my sleep time manually in the app. And whenever i have slept during night time, Mi band has captured it and synced it with app automatically with light sleep and deep sleep data as well. 

    Please note that in both cases so far i haven't activated the Heart Rate Sleep Assistant (as it consumes more battery). 

    Is there any way i can get my sleep data captured via Mi band in day time as well?

    • kasziel says:

      For what i read around it doesn't get data when you sleep during the day, it probably is a software decision took by the company as in "between this and that time check for sleep" thou I hope is going to change with a future update.

    • R3MaK3R says:

      I figured out you have to fall asleep before 6am or else it won't capture it. Haven't figured out when the earliest you can sleep is but I have slept as early as 6:05pm from what I can remember and it captured that. So maybe it's just start sleeping between 6pm-6am and it'll work. It should really be tracking it all day I think but maybe this is some sort of battery saving technique.


      I work night shift and noticed the times it's picked up my sleep and the times it hasn't. Every single time I've slept before 6am mark; so even like 5:50am; it'll monitor my sleep.
      I also noticed if you wake up for a very short amount of time(say to get a drink, or toilet) it also won't count that as a "waking up". only if you wake up at least for a few minutes then go back to sleep. Otherwise it is pretty good for not having a dedicated sleep mode, makes it very easy to use and no worries about it really. What I probably could do is just change my timezone by 12 hours and that'll do the trick but might wreck my stats up.

  • PeteScoff says:

    Now it dropped to $24 at Geekbuying, not bad at that price.

  • Johnadultman18 says:

    all the other bands are significantly higher to purchase in Canada.  I have wore my mi band first generation in the ocean and swimming pool and basically never remove it, only after around 35 days to charge it. I suspect the mi band 2 uses a little more power than first generation but that is expected because of the display.  I may get one just to be able to see my kms without using my phone.

  • dutzy12 says:

    Hello guys. Does anyone how to configure the sleep monitoring for Mi2 band ? When I get into "Edit sleep" settings, there are "Fell asleep"  and "Woke up", but I can not undestand how to set correctly. No matter how I set these 2 parameters, sleep monitoring does not work.

    Mi fit: 2.2.7

    Firmware: 1.0.1.21

  • LT09 says:

    I have one of these, it was bought as a present.  I'd been looking at different brands for quite a while.

    I've had it since mid September 2016, it's now the end of November 2016, I've charged it 3 times, the first one being the initial out of the box charge, & twice since!!  Maybe, this is becasue I don't have most of the alerts on - calls, WhatsApp, email, or the 'lift to show time' as I wear a normal watch too!  The only alert I have is 'goal reached' 

    Like the review, I've found it registers arm swings/movement as a step, which is annoying.  I have pedometer app on my phone which is more often than not in my pocket, & the numbers don't agree!  But saying that, it does get me up & walking about, however, the sleep tracker for me, is probably the bit I use most.  It's interesting to compare nightly patterns, I have to say, there are some discrepencies, as sometimes, it tells me I've not been awake, when I know for a fact, I was awake & up walking around!

    But overall, it's simple enough to set up well, once you've got it to pair with your phone (top tip: change the time on you phone to 24hours!!)  even with limited instructions that come with it (the internet is a wonder thing for finding instruction!!)...  the app is simple & uncluttered.  The graphs are clean & simple too.

    Ultimately, it's down to what you want out of a fit band & how technical the information you want.

  • Napseason says:

    How does the sleep results presents itself in the app? Does it show how long your deepsleep as?

    Thanks for the review. Here is a tip:

    When testing a wearable for tracking sleep. Compare it with a trusted sleep tracker. That way you can tell if the data is reliable or not. 

    You can even compare it with something simple as the app sleepcycle.

    Keep up the good work!

    Greetings Fabian

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