Xiaomi Mi Band 6 v Amazfit Band 5: cheap trackers face-off

Which budget fitness tracker should you have on your wrist?
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When we think of cheap fitness trackers, the Xiaomi Mi Band is the first name that springs to mind. For six years the Mi Band 6 has undercut the big players and managed to deliver a solid fitness tracking experience on a budget.

But there are newcomers that are threatening Xiaomi's dominance of the cheaper end of the tracker spectrum. That includes the Amazfit Band 5, which is made by Huami, which also manufactures the Mi Band.

Wareable verdict: Xiaomi Mi Band 6 review | Amazfit Band 5 review

The Amazfit Band 5 launched after the Mi Band 5 in 2020 and while there's no sign of the Amazfit Band 6 just yet, there is a Xiaomi Mi Band 6.

Both are cheap, both offer a lot of the same features, so is there a huge advantage to go for one over the other? We've lived with both trackers to let you know where the wins and losses are.

Here's how the Xiaomi Mi band 6 matches up to the Amazfit Band 5 – and don't forget to check out our best fitness tracker round up.

Xiaomi Mi Band 6 v Amazfit Band 5: Price

When it comes to price, neither of these trackers are going to leave huge dents in your bank balance.

Let's start with what we do know. We know that the Amazfit Band 5 costs .

The Xiaomi Mi Band 6 costs , which is an increase in the US from the Mi Band 5, but the same in Europe and the UK.

Xiaomi Mi Band 6 v Amazfit Band 5: Design

Xiaomi Mi Band 6 v Amazfit Band 5: cheap trackers face-off

Xiaomi Mi Band 6

Given Huami manufactures the Mi Band for Xiaomi, there's a lot of crossover in terms of design. And there's not been a huge effort to make the Mi Band 6 and the Amazfit Band 5 look all that different.

We'll start with the Amazfit Band 5, which uses a polycarbonate design with a TPU plastic strap that measures in at 12.4mm thick.

That sits around a 1.1-inch full color AMOLED touchscreen display with a 126 x 294 resolution. You're also getting something that has a 5 ATM waterproof rating, making them safe for pool swimming up to 50 metres and showering with it on.

Xiaomi Mi Band 6 v Amazfit Band 5: cheap trackers face-off

Amazfit Band 5

For the Mi Band 6, you're getting something with a similar sized polycarbonate case and plastic strap combo with the same style pin clasp that we can't say we absolutely love. That houses a larger 1.56-inch, 152 x 486 resolution AMOLED display. You're getting the same water resistant rating as the Amazfit Band 5 here too.

Some different color looks aside, what's really different here? Well, it's the display quality and size that separates them. There's less bezel and a punchier, brighter one on the Mi Band 6, but the one on the Amazfit Band 5 isn't bad either if you can live with more bezel that's well disguised with a good watch face.

Other than that, these trackers offer similar looks when they're on. They're sporty in style and while not as sleek-looking as trackers from Samsung or Fitbit, they're looks most will be happy to don.

Xiaomi Mi Band 6 v Amazfit Band 5: Health and fitness tracking

Xiaomi Mi Band 6 v Amazfit Band 5: cheap trackers face-off

Amazfit Band 5

As fitness trackers and keeping tabs on your health, these two are level pegged.

They both use the typical motion sensors to track steps, enable sleep monitoring and track indoor activities and pool swimming. There's a heart rate monitor on both to continuously monitor heart rate and track heart rate during exercise. That sensor is also used for PAI health assessment scores and continuous stress tracking using heart rate variability measurements.

There's also SpO2 sensor support on both devices that will let you take on the spot measurements as opposed to continuously monitoring them like some Fitbit devices do during sleep monitoring. You’re also getting women’s health tracking and breathing exercises features that live on the Bands and the companion apps here too.

For daily activity tracking, we found them pretty reliable for step counts and distance covered and that data is well presented on the Bands and the companion apps.

The optical heart rate monitors offer a similar story here as well. For continuous monitoring, these trackers are a better fit. For exercise, they're a bit more unreliable. Particularly for high intensity exercise.

Xiaomi Mi Band 6 v Amazfit Band 5: cheap trackers face-off

Xiaomi Mi Band 6

For sleep monitoring, both of these trackers perform well. They'll capture sleep stages including REM sleep, generate sleep scores and offer insights into why you might have had a good or bad night's sleep.

The Mi Band 6 fared well I our testing recognising sleep time and offering similar sleep stage durations – although we did find sleep scores to be a little over-generous.

The Amazfit Band 5 also offered reliable data with plenty of detail, although we found sleep duration details to be over estimated, which often painted a rosier picture.

When it comes to sports tracking, The Mi Band 6 packs in 30 sports profiles that include running, cycling swimming (pool only) and will even count jumps for skipping. The Amazfit Band 5 has just the 11 sports modes but core modes match what you get on the Mi Band 6. There's connected GPS support on both fronts, which means you can track outdoor activities more accurately if you take your phone along with you.

For activities like running, pool swimming, indoor rowing, core metrics are on the whole reliable. Both devices are better suited to 20-30 minute workout time as opposed to running or cycling for hours if you crave optimum accuracy.

Based on our experience, these trackers offer similar fitness and sports tracking experiences. They perform well in the same departments and struggle in the same ones too. If you want something for tracking steps, sleep and some sports tracking time, they'll serve you well enough.

Xiaomi Mi Band 6 v Amazfit Band 5: Smartwatch features

Xiaomi Mi Band 6 v Amazfit Band 5: cheap trackers face-off

Amazfit Band 5

If you use an an Android phone or iPhone, both of these trackers are compatible and should offer largely the same experience. You'll need the Mi Fit app to set up the Mi Band 6 and the Zepp app for the Amazfit Band 5.

That means you'll get notifications, though they're not actionable on either device, meaning you can't reply from the wrist, even with stock responses.

You'll be able to control music playing on your phone, view calendar updates, use as a remote shutter for your phone's camera and pick from a bunch of different watch faces.

Xiaomi Mi Band 6 v Amazfit Band 5: cheap trackers face-off

Xiaomi.Mi Band 6

The way those features work are near identical based on using what appears to very similar software.

You will of course get a bigger display on the Mi Band 6 to fit in more information on single screens and to make the watch faces at your disposal look a little nicer.

There's no NFC on either trackers, so there's no support for payments. For the Mi Band 6, that is available in China but not on the global version.

A big extra you're getting on the Amazfit is built-in Amazon Alexa. There's no speaker, but there is a microphone to ask queries and it'll display responses on the screen. It will let you do things like set alarms, make shopping lists and even control smart home devices.

If that's something that appeals. then the Amazfit Band 5 will be the one for you. Other than that, you're getting similar features with the Mi Band 6 giving you a bigger display to make use of them.

Xiaomi Mi Band 6 v Amazfit Band 5: Battery life

When it comes to battery life, you're well served with either of these trackers. You won't be charging them everyday that's for sure.

The Mi Band 6 features a 125 mAh capacity battery just like the Mi Band 5 and that should get you up to 14 days in typical usage and 20 days in power saving mode. In our heavy usage testing, it was 7 days. If you turn off more power intensive features like continuous heart rate monitoring, you will get longer.

There's a similar capacity battery in the Amazfit Band 5 and that can give you 15 days in typical usage, 25 days in power-saving mode and a big 90 days in standby mode. It's a similar story to what you'll get from the Mi Band 6 on the Band 5. Use all of the features and you'll get closer to a week, but you do have the capacity to get a couple of weeks out of it.

Which should you choose?

Both of these fitness trackers scored the same in our reviews. They're solid fitness trackers that deliver a good core fitness tracking experience. They're easy to use and while they're not the most exciting looking, they're well-made budget trackers.

The Mi Band 6 gives you a larger, brighter display – and is certainly the more usable device.

However, the Amazfit Band 5 offers Amazon Alexa. It might have a slightly smaller display, but it's still great quality.

We'd also say that the Zepp app is better than the Mi app – and health data is better presented on Amazfit's platform than Xiaomi's. And that does count for a lot.

Ultimately, you can't really go wrong with either if you want a cheap fitness tracker that isn't a disaster or problematic to live with.

How we test

Michael Sawh


Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of T3.com.

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.

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