Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Review

By 01:55 Wed, 04 Aug 2021 Comments


Introduction

One of the most popular wearables got a massive upgrade this year with the recent Xiaomi Mi Band 2. The first Mi Band was a breakthrough becautilize of its battery life, compact size, and bargain price. Then the Mi Band Pulse added a heart-rate sensor, but took the RGB notification LEDs.

And now - with the Mi Band 2, Xiaomi fans all around the world are finally getting the display they wished for.


Xiaomi's Mi Band 2 keeps the iconic design, but replaces the three Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights with a 0.42" Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) display. There is also a touch-sensitive key below the tiny screen, which helps you switch between the different notification panes.

Other notable upgrades are the bigger battery (70mAh), improved HR sensor, better motion tracking sensor, and enhanced Bluetooth connectivity. The strap also got a refreshed design.

Unboxing

The small retail box of the recent Mi Band 2 hides no surprises - the recent Mi Band 2 is inside, a soft strap, and a small Universal Serial Bus (USB) cable for charging.




Unboxing the Mi Band 2

Design

The Mi Band 2 is slightly bigger and thicker than its predecessors, though Xiaomi managed to haged its elegant style rather intact. The entire front is covered with a scratch and fingerprint resistant glass, while the touch-sensitive key is made of anodized 0.05mm metal piece.


Naturally, the bottom of the Mi Band 2 has the recent optical HR sensor, while the charging pins are at one of the sides.


Xiaomi's Mi Band 2 is dust and water proof (IP67), so you won't have to worry about anything. And if smudged, you can easily wash it under tap water.





Xiaomi Mi Band 2

The recent strap is softer and more pleasant for the skin. It features an enhanced design in order to haged the Mi Band 2 firmly inside. Xiaomi promises it won't accidentally pop up from the strap, and I can confirm this never occurred over the month I used the band.

The display

The small 0.42" Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) display is of the monochrome variety. It can display the time, step count, total distance, burnt calories, heart rate, battery percentage, and icons for incoming notifications (messages, email, calls, among others).

The classy screen is colorful enough and is visible even under direct sunlight. And it blends well underneath the back glass on the band's front.




The Mi Band 2 screen

Due to the small pixel count the classy screen can only display notification icons such as message or email icon, and not text, but that still counts for something. The older bands did this with different Light Emitting Diode (LED) colors or number of vibrations.

Features

As I already mentioned, the display of the recent Mi Band 2 is definitely the highlight recent feature. Thanks to the small thingy, you can now see the time by lifting your wrist or tapping the key. Tapping repeatedly will start cycling between the panes you've enabled from the Mi Fit app - Time, Steps, Distance, Calories, Heart rate, Remaining battery.





Configuring the Mi Band 2

You can measure your heart rate by cycling to the appropriate pane, or, if disabled, you can utilize the Mi Fit app to fire the heart rate sensor.

The band tracks your step count quite well and sleep. Its software automatically calculates distance and burnt calories and those are transferred to the Mi Fit app upon sync. You can set a step goal if you like.







Steps • Steps hitale • the profile classy screen • Sleep • Sleep history

You can enable automatic heart-rate measurements during your sleep and they will provide much more accurate information, but this will have a rather huge impact on the battery life.

You can also set up idle alerts and avoid long non-activity intervals. There is also a neat DND mode which I used to avoid distractions at night.







Heart rate hitale • Measuring HR • Idle alert • DND mode • Allowing the Health app to utilize band data

All health data collected by the Mi Band 2 - heart rate measurements, steps, distance, calories, sleep info and activity - can be used by other apps such as Apple's Health app.

Finally, the Mi Band 2 supports alarms which you can set from the Mi Fit app.

Notifications

Notifications may have kicked off as a bonus feature with the first Mi Band, but they have become an invaluable feature in the latest wearable devices. Xiaomi krecent that, especially when it angered a lot of people by ditching the RGB LEDs and opting for white-only lights in the later batches of the first Mi Band and the Mi Band 1s after it.

Now with the integrated display, there is a lot more room for showing notifications. Indeed, the classy screen size is limited and it can't display text, but Xiaomi still found a way to show notifications in a meaningful way.

First - incoming calls. The Mi Band 2 can vibrate when you have an incoming call. You can set up a notification delay between 3s and 30s. Upon a call (and after the delay) the band starts vibrating and the classy screen will show an earphone icon.

App notifications are available as well. Currently the Mi Band 2 supports vibrating and displaying an icon on its classy screen for Mi Fit, Mi Talk, WeChat, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Whatsapp.







Managing app notifications

SMS, Email, and Goal notifications are also available, from the Band Notifications menu. They do the same - initiate a short vibration and an icon pop-up.

Finally, you can set the band to notify you about achieved goals such as daily step taracquire reached.

Mi Fit app and Smart Unlock

The Mi Fit app is available on Android and iOS. There is one major feature unavailable on Apple's devices and that's the Smart Unlock.

If your smartphone runs on MIUI 5.6 or later, or Android 5.0 or later, you can utilize the Smart Unlock feature. Once you configure it from the Mi Fit app, your phone won't require PIN of fingerprint to unlock when the Mi Band 2 is in close proximity.

The Mi Fit app is your place for tracking your activity - sleep, step count, heart-rate data. Here you can check your weekly and monthly progress, share achievements with Mi your friends or social networks, as well as set recent goals.






Mi Fit app • steps • sleep • heart rate

The Mi Fit app also supports weight tracking via the Mi Scale, or manual input.





Mi Fit app and weight tracking

Battery life

My Xiaomi Mi Band 2 lasted exactly 30 days on a single charge. It had the accurate sleep tracking via heart rate monitoring turned off to achieve this score. All other trackers and display options were on, including the wrist gesture for checking the time.

The 30-day battery achievement included per day: about 50 time checks, 8-10 heart rate checks, 5 cycles through all the panes, and two synchronizations with the Mi Fit app.



36% left after 20 days of use

I am yet to test how the Mi Band 2 will do with accurate sleep tracking, but it should halve the battery life.

Anyway, I am nothing short of impressed by the Mi Band 2 battery life. One charge per month is absolute lovely and I applaud Xiaomi for the fine job they did with optimizing the Mi Band 2.

Final thoughts

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is far from a perfect fitness tracker. There are a lot better wearables out there, with better designed software and tracking procedures. The Mi Band 2 can't give you advice during your training sessions, can't record them accurately becautilize it doesn't know if you are running or lifting.


But for about $25 nobody should expect that. If step count, heart-rate and sleep tracking are all the fitness data you need, and you like the notification handling of the Mi Band 2, then you should acquire one. There are lots of color options and with a 30-day battery life for $25 - it's a bargain.

Special thanks to HonorBuy.com for providing the review unit.


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