Xiaomi Mi Band review

Is this $15 starter fitness band better than your phone?

You're reading this review because you want a budget fitness tracker but you either can't or won't spend much money on one.

The Xiaomi Mi Band is now on sale for £15 on Xiaomi's online store for the US, UK and Europe after Xiaomi sold millions in China and at least six million worldwide.

The new $22 heart rate tracker: Xiaomi Mi Band Pulse review

So the price is right. But how's the tracking?

Xiaomi Mi Band: Design and fit

This is how you design a budget wearable. Keep it simple, stupid.

The Mi Band consists of the oval-shaped tracking module which has a matte chrome finish and neat, chamfered edges and a (default) black or colourful, rubber band. That's it - no fiddly clasps, no buckles, just a neat, cheap tracker that everyone can wear. In the app, there is an option to choose left hand, right hand or neck placement so perhaps Xiaomi is working on Misfit-style necklace accessories too.

Xiaomi Mi Band review

With an IP67 rating, the Mi Band is waterproof down to 1m for up to 30 minutes - even the Jawbone UP3 couldn't manage that. It's ridiculously light, too, and doesn't restrict wrist movement in any way like some smartwatches and bigger activity trackers do. So much so that you barely notice it on your wrist - especially important as it tracks sleep as well as steps. One downside is that both parts are easily scuffed - we're not sure how long the Mi Band will last when worn everyday for months on end.

The Mi Band's main competition at this price are £5 pedometers and well, just using Google Fit or Fitbit on your phone without a wearable device at all. But it functions well as an anchor too - the act of putting it on the morning can make you more likely to have your goals in mind.

There's no display but there are three LEDs on top - the colour of which can be customised in the Mi Fit app - to show you your progress. For instance, the bottom LED will blink if you're less than 30% of the way towards your goal. In theory, the LEDs behaved when charging but didn't perform as they should when we flicked our wrist. It's forgiveable at this price - it's $15! - but the LED function would have been a big Fuelband-like tick in terms of motivating the user if they actually worked properly.

Xiaomi Mi Band: Activity and sleep tracking

Xiaomi Mi Band review

The Mi Band's tracking is somewhere in between apps such as Google Fit and Moves and trackers with real sensors such as heart rate monitors. It tracks steps, distance and estimated calories burned as well as providing a timeline of how long you are active each day. It breaks your day into walks, runs and activities in a somewhat whimsical fashion - that is, in a day when you have decidedly not been running anywhere, you will find a 'run' recorded.

This is pretty annoying but in terms of goals - for instance step goals - these are easy to keep tabs on without getting too bogged down with what the Mi Band thinks you've been doing. We found the Mi Band slightly overestimated our steps and distance travelled each day so bear this in mind when you're snacking on that fried chicken sandwich because you've smashed your goal.

Sleep tracking is much the same, with the Mi Band often out by at least half an hour which might be down to the fact that it's automatic - you don't need to tell Xiaomi you're going to sleep. It claims to track how much deep sleep and light sleep you've had each night - tricky to tell how accurate this is but given that our hand movements seem to be clocking up too much activity, we'd say the light sleep figure is probably also too high.

So it's not the most accurate tracker out there, no surprises here. But, particularly for activity tracking, it could still be more useful than a basic pedometer (no stats) or using your phone in which case the battery will run down. The Mi Band connects over Bluetooth, of course, but if you don't need the caller alerts (see below) it doesn't have to be synced all day. It's also worth pointing out that the Mi Band is compatible with both iPhone and Android and works with Google Fit.

Xiaomi Mi Band: Features

Xiaomi Mi Band review

The Mi Band has a couple of non-fitness features including an alarm and vibrations when you get a call. It's a shame that it can't vibrate when you get text messages and WhatsApps - as smart jewellery without displays do - but again Xiaomi is sticking to the basics to keep costs down and that battery life long.

If you have a Xiaomi phone - which you probably don't - you can also set up the Mi Band as a safe device with its Smart Lock feature. So when the Mi Band is near, your phone unlocks automatically. It's a nice extra, and will do well in China where both Xiaomi phones and Mi Bands are much more common than in the UK, Europe and the US. It would be great to see this feature rolled out to all Android phones but that's no doubt out of Xiaomi's control for now.

Xiaomi Mi Band: Mi Fit app

Xiaomi Mi Band review

A point before we jump into the app experience - generally the Mi Band syncs fine but the first time we paired it with our Moto X, it took us at least five tries, once in which the app said there were too many devices nearby. Fair enough.

The app is really basic with a profile detailing your average steps, total days using the app and total km walked as well as height and weight. That's on top of the main screen of graphics showing how close you are to hitting your daily steps target, a timeline of activities as well as the usual weekly chart. There's not much in the way of long term motivation but you can set up the app to send you a notification after 9.30pm every day with your day's progress with a similar alert each morning to detail your sleep.

Xiaomi has a really great opportunity to expand the Mi Fit app before it launches any other wearables. It already has a lot of users in Asia and it could jump ahead of Jawbone and Fitbit in offering actionable insights that tap into habit forming tactics. As we said, the hardware is light, easy to get along with and the absolute cheapest around - build a killer fitness and lifestyle app and a version 2 Mi Band with improved accuracy and Xiaomi could be unstoppable.

Xiaomi Mi Band
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Xiaomi Mi Band: Battery life and charging

Xiaomi Mi Band review

Xiaomi says the Mi Band is good for 30 days between charges and we've no reason to doubt that. After a week of wearing the Band, the percentage displayed in the app barely budged. That's not as impressive as a Misfit Flash or Jawbone UP Move, both of which don't have displays and can last six months. But again the Mi Band is cheaper than both of these and 30 days is much, much better than any wearable with a screen as well as high end trackers which typically last a week.

Charging is quick - from zero to full in less than two hours - and easy enough with a proprietary cable which the tracking module slots into. It's short and easy to lose though so keep an eye on it.

Xiaomi Mi Band
By Xiaomi
The Mi Band is far from perfect but with a lot of the niggles we encountered, we had to stop and remember this is not a device ten times the price, it's $15. That means it's well worth a punt if you're not sure about fitness trackers or about wearables in general. Just remember to check your activity timeline to make sure it's not gifting you hundreds of steps and the Mi Band could be a great bargain fitness tool. A starter tracker for anyone not sure they are ready to take the plunge with a Fitbit or Jawbone.

  • So. Damn. Cheap.
  • Light, comfortable design
  • Waterproof
  • 30 day battery life
  • Can overestimate activity
  • Limited app
  • Temperamental LEDs
  • Some pairing issues

What do you think?

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  • Mindo80·

    From Specs page:

    Note: Mi Band's phone unlocking feature requires smartphones with MIUI OR Android 5.0 and above

  • Coolashish·

    please correct that the smart unlock feature only work with xiaomi phone. I work with any android phone. I have moto x 2014 and the smart unlock feature works great, we can add it as a trusted device.

  • dhettinger·

    I was initially impressed with the Mi Band. It recorded activity well enough; sleep to a reasonable amount. That said I have yet to have one make it longer then two months of consistent use with out giving up the ghost.

    My suggestion is if you are thinking you might like a fitness tracker and aren't sure if it will really work for you the Mi Band is a great option to wet your feet and see if a larger investment of a for robust tracker would be worth your while. That said in my experience you get what you pay for, the Mi Band is functional and the software works (for a while at least) but isn't anything to write home about. I don't suggest buying this unit with the mindset of "I'm going to save myself $135, awesome". Its just not going to be the case and you will be disappointed.

  • kerst·

    It's a shame that it can't vibrate when you get text messages and WhatsApps - as smart jewellery without displays do - but again Xiaomi is sticking to the basics to keep costs down and that battery life long.

    I think you haven't did any good research. There is a modified app (ok, only for android) you can download were you can let the Mi Band flash and vibrate differently to every app on your phone (email, whatsapp, text messages, snapchat, ...). You can even choose a color for the leds for every app.

    • addys·

      Which is it??

    • sudhan·

      If you want a genie then Try " mi band notify app" . I am using it.. I can customize the notifications of any app, change the colours of led, duration of vibration and flash. Number of times and many more... 

    • link·

      They have just added the vibration alert option for all your applications, you can just choose from a list and decide from which app to get notifications :)

  • Smrartd·

    It doesn't require Xiaomi phone for phone unlock feature. I am using it with Nexus 5 and have paired it as trusted device. Check with your Android phone as well, it pairs with most phones.

  • band·

    there is a custom app out there that allows the band to vibrate and blink for notifications of all apps

  • floptajoe·

    There's another app - Mi Band Notify -  which allows you to customise alerts from any app on the phone. Very handy. 

  • Mmelfeky·

    is it swimming tracker?

  • DoctorWhodunit·

    Anything has to be an improvement over Fitbit. Fitbit is a waste of money and time.

  • rahulnyr·


    The Xiaomi App does not sync with its band post the latest update and the team has no clue on how to rectify it. I've been facing the issue since July 4th and been calling their customer service personnel to get answers that "its the IOS App store issue" or then try and download the older version. I've been sending mails to them but no clear resolutions seems in sight. I guess it's a waste of money and i'm really angry... i could have bought any other band rather than investing in this... 

    There are people who're posting on the App store and their website about this issue but 2 days no response from Xiaomi for Mi Fit App and Band... 

  • rahulnyr·


    It's very basic but good feature, good for someone using a wearable activity tracker device for the first time, unfortunately the last IOS App update ver. 1.0.201 has totally spoilt the experience. The I Phone App and the Mi Band have stopped synchronizing. It's just a piece of silicon on my wrist now.

    Customer Support seems to have no idea about the latest update and the issue even with people pouring in their woes about the app's malfunction since July 2, 2015. The IOS App store has comments, their MI website has comments too.

    Even the on-e-mail service seems to send back a standard reply and not understand the issue.

    • 1943·

      Liked it had for 2 months now will not charge up . Don't know how long they are meant to last 

      • CJ369·

        You're lucky if yours lasted 2 months.

        Got one yesterday, charged it and wore it for less than 12 hours before it stopped working.

        Shortest life for a rechargeable battery that I ever came across. Put the tracker in its charger, but no light displays at all. Battery must be dead.

  • Shri·

    Is it available for  sale in India?

  • superdaves·

    I purchased 2 of these bands and they were great in the first few months of use however it lasted as long as you would expect a $15 electronic device to last.  Overall, great concept, lightweight, mediocre app, less then average lifespan, needs a relatively tech savvy person to debug pairing/usage issues.

    • libby123·

      Would you care to elaborate on solving pairing issues?

  • zzfima·

    Do not buy it!

    After 3 months strap is gone

    After 1 pool is death

  • ngu·

    please help me .I can't creat mi account .Why?

    It says invailt account. Error code .....

  • SurendranMenon·

    The product is good. Worth the price. I bought it on Flipkart at 999/= on a flash sale in India. The battery lasted almost 2 months and it became a good motivator to start tracking activity which I earlier used to do without any tracking. Now the negetives and the solution i figured out. The charging is lottery ...sometimes works sometimes doesnot. Suggest use only a PC or Laptop to charge , not a wall charger. Next...as far as possible donot let the wire hang while charging. The contacts just about meet and if you let the device hang down while charging the contact breaks and stops charging. Took me 3 days to figure this out. Press the device hard with all your strength while pushing into the charging slot. The charging slot size and device size are a mismatch. Lastly it is a good startup device...I have moved on to Myfitnesspal and Mapmywalk but can say that the Mi band was the first motivator. I still wear it since having it on my hand has become a habit . Guess it is a good Plan B in case of failures of plan A

  • viraaJ·

    this mi band saved my life i met with an accident last night someone came to me and pick my phone to call my family And he was unable to unlock my device he came near me and phone unlocks automatically i was saved thanks to mi and i will never ever sell or give this to any one i will keep this for my life

  • Mrazandrey·

    Got a original miband bracelet from Getone app for only $9.99 several days ago, and it works well

    • Gary13146·

      Great seller! I ordered 80mm Panaflo fan, 3 pin connectors and the bracelet . Product was well packaged, and shipped fast. Will do more business again with this retailer.

  • jcs·

    - Good: very nice thing, nice wearing comfort, I used it mostly as a sleep tracker. After a first full charge, the battery exceeded 2 months before recharging, that's great.

    - Bad: unfortunately the sensors stopped working 2 weeks later... I can still communicate with the band, but it will track no more activity, this is very bad, so it worked less than 3 months before getting broken. No violent shock just normal sports, no deep water just normal showers.

    - is there any possibility to make a kind of reset or restart ?

    • ceebee·

      Try using gliderun app from playstore. It will need to setup a new pair with the band but once done you can try and reset the device from there. Gliderun is a but more advanced compared to the stock mifit. It does sync with g fit too.

  • jcs·

    - Good: very nice thing, nice wearing comfort, I used it mostly as a sleep tracker. After a first full charge, the battery exceeded 2 months before recharging, that's great.

    - Bad: unfortunately the sensors stopped working 2 weeks later... I can still communicate with the band, but it will track no more activity, this is very bad, so it worked less than 3 months before getting broken. No violent shock just normal sports, no deep water just normal showers.

    - is there any possibility to make a kind of reset or restart ?

  • zzfima·

    After 3 month using:

    Pros - cheap, sw

    Cons - the bracelet very weak. After 3 months is broken. Battery!!!! After 3 months when battery level is under 80% is just die. So, i need charge it every 5 days

  • maxfrance·

    Sure it's a best bang for the bucks ! No other such bargain on the market, I immediately pre-ordered the 1S version with HR sensor for a measly 21$.

    (I'll probably regret white LEDs only on the newer version for notification purposes)

    Basically I use it for sleep tracking and notifications; being the former pretty accurate, while the latter require a modded app, easily available.

    I can't rate advanced fitness related features because I routinely use other devices for my daily activities; anyway, step counting seems to be overly optimistic.

    The strap itself wears out quickly; after a couple of months the buckle breaks the slim ring the other side of the strap, so you'd better watch out for possible device loss if it gets unbuckled.

    But, at 15$ you sure can't complain about anything; it has an exceptional battery, and I highly recommend it.

  • Pratyush882·

    hIt's accuracy is really low. If you walk 10 steps, it will show 100 steps. Mi fit app doesn't have proper tracking details. Rest everything is OK 

  • kevin-k1·


    can any one help me?

    i choose 3 apps in Mi fit ,but when they notify , the Mi band doesnt vibrate.

    my phone is htc desire 816.

    what shuold I do ?

  • Stooovie·

    Mi Band 1S discounts all deep sleep after you, for example, go to the toilet at night. It simply doesn't detect any deep sleep after that. That's not very accurate, in fact, it's misleading. 

    Also, heart rate is not continuous, it's buried under menus and does not sync with Apple Health.

    If you've got a phone with good steps tracking, avoid this one. 

  • Annette·

    4 WEEKS - then stopped working.  Don't waste your money.

  • ElMiguel·

    Well I've had mine for a few months now and hasn't missed a beat and I swim over 7Ks every week (pool) and sometimes even forget about it and take into the warm spa, spot on with sleep tracking and I never miss a phone call. Broke a band once and lost it somewhere and was able to find it in the bushes by tracking it with my phone.....Absolute little ripper for the money.

  • Devershi·

    hi I just wanted to know that do these devices also detect and add upto to footsteps when your travelling in a car/bus/train/plane?

    And if some one can help me by letting me know what to do and what not to when your using this band 24x7 it would be of great help to me people

    Thank you in advance 

  • koinflipper·

    You did not actually try this fitness band out.  It is a total joke.  My first full day yesterday recorded over 12,000 steps and all I did was 4 loads of laundry and took dog out 6 times about 10 steps from door.  Today, I had already met my goal of 8,000 steps for day before NOON.  I received credit for 2,836 steps for BLOW DRYING my hair (never moved my feet).  This band records all hand motions and the software than processes the data app display does not filter out anything.  This will NOT work as an activity tracker if all I have to do is everyday things without any walking or running and achieve 12,000 steps.

  • Bavlecha·

    hello dear all,

    Please help me..!

    When I'm moving my hands steps are increasing. I'm not getting accurate steps so please assist me any settings for this?

    For instance, today I gave MI band to my mom for study and then my mom start kitchen work with wear strap after a hour she's reached around 5000steps its shocking for me. Its showa the hand moments not a steps by foot so please give me some suggestion on this problem.

    Thanks and regards


  • Bapaxx·

    Why bluetooth turning on by himself ? I have Samsung S5 phone and since I instaled app MI, my bluetooth turning on by himself then I must turn off and again turn on to check data on app?

  • Walpolecherie·

    Brillent item ....Android app works great with lots of Data collected , how many steps i done, when i was most active , when i slept, deep sleep and light sleep, how long i woke for in night and calories burnt , miles walked !!!

    BUT : Iphone App is total let down...does nothing but track steps !!

  • Shorez·

    Hi, Anyone Please tell me, If i forgot my phone, this band reminds me or not?

  • Avalanche87·

    Has anyone got the review for mi band 2 on iPhone? 

  • Robertta·

    I bought the mi band 2 few month ago.

    It is very light and useful but suddenly heart rate doesn't work.

    I think it is very cheap but easy to out of order.