Xiaomi Mi Band 5 fitness bracelet Review - 5 stars!

By: nickolay-polovinkin | 17.07.2020, 12:06

Xiaomi Mi Band 5 Against Its Competitors in 2020

The first release was sold out on the Internet on the first day of sales. The iPhone? No! It's just a thirty-dollar Chinese fitness bracelet. Of course, not a simple and no name. It is the successor of the super-popular genus Mi Band, the fifth version. Let's see, whether the device justifies the hype raised around it and at the same time compare it to the direct ancestor Mi Band 4.

Xiaomi Mi Band 5 is a fitness bracelet with a 1.1-inch touchscreen OLED display, heart rate monitor and waterproof. It’s without GPS and so far without NFC (but it depends on the version).

Best Choice
Xiaomi Mi Band 5 Fitness Tracker
Xiaomi Mi Band 5 Fitness Tracker
Author’s Choice
Mi Band 5 boasts a sufficiently large OLED screen, magnetic charging, two weeks of autonomy, protection from dust and water. It supports many training modes, monitors sleep and physical activity. It is able to continuously track users’ heart rate. All this data is available for viewing and analysis in the Mi Fit mobile application
Read Verified Customer Reviews

But how is it compared to other trimmers available on the market?

Let’s see what makes it so different.

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Xiaomi Mi Band 5 Fitness Tracker review
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  • Excellent value for money
  • Good sized screen with animated watch faces support
  • Neat magnetic charging cable
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  • Easy to use and feature-rich Fitbit app
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Docooler Honor Band 5 Smart Bracelet review
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Xiaomi Mi Band 5 (Author’s Choice)- Detailed Overview

Xiaomi Mi Band 5 Fitness Tracker Xiaomi Mi Band 5 Fitness Tracker
  • Excellent value for money
  • Good sized screen with animated watch faces support
  • Neat magnetic charging cable
Check Price

So what makes Xiaomi Mi Band 5 different is the abundance of features that come directly on the fitness bracelet.

What is interesting about it?

The fact that this is a successor to the line of the most popular fitness trackers. Inexpensive, but functional and predictably high quality. And in the novelty everything should be slightly improved compared to its predecessor.

What is in the box?

The device itself is in the form of a traditional plastic capsule, a silicone strap where it is inserted, a USB charging cable and instructions.

The charging cable is very different from the previous ones. Now this is not a small docking station where you had to insert the capsule of the bracelet, but a magnetic connector that can be attached to the device without removing the strap. That's convenient!

How does it look like?

Very similar to Mi Band 4. The difference in external dimensions is minimal. But there are differences, so, alas, the old straps will not fit the new device. The photo below shows three versions of Xiaomi fitness bracelets: 2, 4 and 5 (from left to right). The third model was not at hand. On the glossy plastic-coated front panel there are display and touch button below it.

The ends of the capsule are surrounded by a notch to attach to the strap. Its contours are more symmetrical, without rounding to the back. Theoretically, this design can better hold the bracelet without falling out. From the marking XMSH10HM you can see that the bracelet without NFC is in front of us, the variant with the contactless module will bear the index XMSH11HM. The design difference between version 4 and 5 (new on the right) can be clearly seen in the photo.

The rear panel repeats this in Mi Band 4. It has an optical pulsometer, charging contacts and the manufacturer's logo. From this perspective, you can see that the novelty (on the photo on the far right) is only slightly larger than its predecessor. The photo on the far left shows Mi Band 2.

The same location of the charging contacts could allow to use the identical accessories for versions 4 and 5. But 5 does not fit into the charging dock from 4, and 4, in its turn, does not have a magnet to charge 5. Only if you connect contacts with your hands, then the charge goes.  

In general, those around you are unlikely to understand that you have Mi Band 5, and not the previous version. Until the display is turned on. After all, the appearance of the device with the screen turned on, of course, strongly influenced by the selected style of "dial". You can choose from three pre-installed options on the bracelet itself, plus many more in the Mi Fit application.

But, as usual, the simplest and most convenient, is the one that is by default.

If desired, you can give the bracelet a classic look. Not "Rolex", of course, but it looks neat.

The display's been improved, right?

Yes. The display is bigger (1.1 vs. 0.95 in the last version), but you can't say it's immediately noticeable. The brightness is adjustable, its maximum level is enough even on a sunny day. But in the room it will be stressful, and there is no light sensor and auto regulation. Subjectively, in direct comparison, the display of the "five" slightly shifts into reddish shades compared to the previous model, which has a slightly "green" screen. However, the difference is small, you can't see it in the photo.

Comparison of the screens of Mi Band 4 (left) and the new Mi Band 5

The brightness is about the same level, the contrast is maximum, it's OLED. The screen resolution of the new items  is 126x294. Thanks to this, 12 lines of text are placed on the screen against 10 lines of the predecessor. It is unlikely that you will want to read e-books with such a small screen (and there is no such a possibility), but it is useful to display messengers notifications. The screen can automatically turn on when you turn your hand, this feature is enabled by default in the settings of the Mi Fit app on your smartphone. At night the auto-turn on screen is deactivated, it is useful if you do not remove the bracelet during sleep.

How to connect and configure?

For full operation of Mi Band 5 you will need the mobile application Mi Fit. The connection process is very simple: on the application side we add a new device, smartphone and bracelet find each other via Bluetooth, confirm the connection. If you already have a bracelet paired with the application, it will need to be disconnected, as the system cannot work with two bracelets simultaneously. Then the bracelet can work quite independently, periodically synchronizing with your smartphone. It's the same as in previous versions. At the first connection, the application will give a brief tour of the new bracelet's functions.

The issue of the interface language should be noted separately. To change the language to Mi Band 5, just connect it to the application. The bracelet will automatically set the operating system language on your smartphone. But the bracelet greets us with Chinese characters, and after connection I does not change its mind. Well, we start Mi Fit, go to "profile" - "Fitness Bracelet Mi Smart Band 5" - "language" and see there English in addition to the two versions of Chinese. This is a feature of the Chinese version of the device. There will be more languages in global software. However, except the interface of the bracelet, localization does not affect anything else.

What can Xiaomi Mi Band 5 do?

So, there is a lot of interesting and ambiguous. Let's start with the obvious things, and then move on to debunking myths (or creating new ones).

All Mi Smart Band 5 features in one GIF.

The main screen shows the time, steps taken and the current heart rate. This is on the default dial, and there are others with other datasets. Moreover, you can edit the dial by replacing one of the "widgets" with another. Navigation is done in piles on the screen. On the main screen, in addition to vertical swirls, horizontal swirls, they cyclically switch screens with weather, music and notifications. The Alipay payment system screen has been removed from here, buried deeper in the other options section.

With the main dial it's clear, now we move on. We turn the screens vertically, click on the corresponding icons and see what's there. In the "Status" section you can see the number of steps taken today, the distance, calories burned and the counter of notifications of inactivity. It's just like in Mi Band 4, but there's an interesting improvement: after scrolling a little further, you can see the statistics for the last week's steps, separately for each day. That's a good idea. By the way, the accuracy of step tracking in the fourth and fifth versions is almost the same, the difference in my experience was less than 0.1%.

Next item is PAI. This is a personal activity index, something like "cardio scores" in the Google Fit application. An index that grows under intensive loads with high heart rate. It motivates you not just to walk, but to train more actively. According to developers' calculations, the PAI value should be maintained at least 100 per week. There was no such thing in the 4, one more useful innovation. By the way, when activating Mi Band 5, the corresponding section with the PAI indicator appears on the main screen of Mi Fit statistics, you do not need to configure anything separately.

Pulse. You can measure it right here, or you can see the layout of the pulse for the day in the context of zones: rest, light activity, fat burning, aerobic, anaerobic, maximum oxygen consumption. Interesting, but not very informative. It is much more useful that such a scale is now on the main screen and, of course, is available on the screen in training mode.

Notifications. In the Mi Fit application, you can select the applications from which the bracelet will receive notifications. So you can read retweets without looking at your smartphone screen, for example. This feature only works when the bracelet is within range of the phone's Bluetooth connection.

Stress. A novelty of the fifth version, which has not been before - you can measure the stress level and get a result on a 100-point scale. The measurement algorithm uses the intensity of pulse change and may have nothing to do with reality. But it's a funny thing. The bracelet tells you: if your stress level is high, take steps to reduce it. Truly inexhaustible Chinese wisdom!

Breath. It's also a new feature. Within a minute or other selected time period, you are asked to breathe in and out slowly, and then the bracelet shows how your heart rate has changed after the exercise. A ready-made tool for stress reduction, almost like "breathing in a bag".

Events. It displays events and reminders configured in the Mi Fit app.

Cycles. Section for information on women's cycles. Active (like the entire relevant section in the application) only if the female gender is indicated on the Mi Fit profile.

Weather. Compared to the fourth version of the bracelet, this section has become more extensive, there is a forecast for a few days ahead and details like wind and the intensity of ultraviolet radiation. The bracelet takes all this data from the Internet by synchronizing it with your smartphone.

Training. There are more. Separate modes for cycling, elliptical and rowing machines, yoga and rope ropes appeared. As in the previous version, there is swimming tracking, and the device itself, respectively, is equipped with moisture protection and is not afraid of either a shower or diving.

Everything else is packed in the "More" section. Here you will find the "Do not disturb" mode settings, stopwatch, timer and alarm, camera and player control. The "find device" function sends a beep to your smartphone (it's interesting that you can send a similar beep from your smartphone to find the bracelet, but since it doesn't have a speaker, it will just vibrate). From here you can also enable silent mode on your smartphone. Among other things - world clock (cities for display are selected in the application). The functions of the player and camera control are especially interesting. The second chip is experimental, I haven't managed to start it yet. And the first one proved itself well in the previous version as well. You can control your music using your own player or any other device (youtube application works too). You can pause, move around the tracks and adjust the volume. Another thing is that it's not very convenient to do it on a tiny screen. But maybe it is more convenient than taking a giant smartphone out of the bag. That's what it is, ergonomics 2020.

Detailed analytics and detailed settings, as always, are available in Mi Fit application. The range of possibilities is very wide, from changing the sequence of menu items on the bracelet to viewing heart rate and cadence charts while jogging. You can immediately see the sleep tracking statistics, which was improved in the new version of the device.

What Can NOT Xiaomi Mi Band 5 Do?

It's a strange section, but there's nothing without it. The popularity of Xiaomi smart bracelets inevitably triggers a wave of rumors about what will happen in the next version. And different modifications to the same device only make it worse. So a moment of breaking myths.

In Mi Band 5, despite the leaks, there's no oximeter (a sensor that measures blood oxygen saturation). There's no NFC either, but it could appear in a special modification of the device. I haven't found support for Alexa-type voice assistants anywhere. And there's no frameless screen surrounding the touch button. The picture with its image was walking on the Internet, but you already know what the real device looks like. Mi Band 5 can't measure blood pressure, do a cardiogram and make coffee.

What about autonomy?

Unlike smart clocks, fitness trackers are still more autonomous. The battery capacity of Mi Band 5 has been reduced to 125 mAh, compared to 135 mAh of its predecessor. A full charge takes about two hours, clearly too many for such a tiny capacity. However, it will still be long enough. According to the manufacturer, it's for 10 days. It is less, than at "four" with 20 days of rated autonomy, but all the same does not cause discomfort, especially in the presence of a magnetic charge connector. In reality, five days do eat up half a charge, but with very intensive use with notifications, continuous heart rate measurement, maximum screen brightness and the longest (10 seconds) delay in disconnecting it. In a more gentle mode, you can talk about two weeks without recharging.

How Does It Stack Up Against Competitors?

Fitbit Inspire HR (People’s Choice)

Fitbit Inspire HR Heart Rate and Fitness Tracker Fitbit Inspire HR Heart Rate and Fitness Tracker
  • Provides more sport modes
  • Easy to use and feature-rich Fitbit app
  • Looks more like a fashion accessory
Check Price

The tracker will be a great choice for those who prefer fitness features to come first. It recognizes more types of activity, and Fat Burn, Cardio and Peak HR zones help make training more efficient. With Fitbit Inspire HR you can monitor calorie intake and women’s cycle, but in terms of smart features the device is inferior to its competitors (no music management, limited watch faces customization, you can’t reject an incoming call). The monochrome screen is also not the brightest one.

Xiaomi Mi Band 5 vs Fitbit Inspire HR

  Fitbit Inspire HR Xiaomi Mi Band 5
Display Type Monochrome OLED, 0.7 inch OLED, 1.1 inch
Hear Rrate Monitor yes yes
SpO2 no no
Swim Tracking only duration yes
Music Controls no yes
GPS no no
NFC no not in global version
Battery life up to 5 days up to 10 days

Fitbit Charge 4 (Premium Choice)

Fitbit Charge 4 Fitness and Activity Tracker Fitbit Charge 4 Fitness and Activity Tracker
  • Comes with GPS built-in
  • SpO2 sensor
  • Fitbit Pay for everyday purchases
Check Price

Fitbit’s flagship fitness tracker is not a direct competitor to Mi Band 5, but if you prefer to go jogging without a smartphone, Charge 4 is a good choice. Built-in GPS allows you to track your routes, and the screen will also display real-time distance and pace data. One of the best cardiac rhythm sensors in its class is also worth mentioning, although at very intense loads the data may not be as accurate. Unlike younger models, the bracelet also supports music management, but only in Spotify and only with Premium subscription. With Fitbit Pay, users can pay for their purchases in stores without taking their smartphone out. Just maybe it’s time for Fitbit to move to color screens.

Xiaomi Mi Band 5 vs Fitbit Charge 4

  Fitbit Charge 4 Xiaomi Mi Band 5
Display Type Monochrome OLED, 0.9 inch OLED, 1.1 inch
Hear Rrate Monitor yes yes
SpO2 no no
Swim Tracking only duration yes
Music Controls in Spotify yes
GPS yes no
NFC no not in global version
Battery life up to 7 days (5 hours with GPS turn on) up to 10 days

Docooler Honor Band 5 (Best Budget)

Docooler Honor Band 5 Smart Bracelet Docooler Honor Band 5 Smart Bracelet
  • Includes SpO2 Blood Oxygen Monitor
  • Better sleep tracking
  • For quality for money
Check Price

This inexpensive fitness bracelet is as close to Xiaomi as possible. The Honor Band 5 also tracks steps, calories spent and distance traveled, allows you to control music playback and tracks sleep, including daytime naps. Smartphone notifications are displayed, though Mi Band 5 is better with app icons (Honor has text only). The bracelet’s battery life is comparable, and 14 days will only last with extra features disabled. The silicone strap has a more traditional watch-style clasp.

Xiaomi Mi Band 5 vs Honor Band 5

  Honor Band 5 Xiaomi Mi Band 5
Display Type OLED, 0.95 inch OLED, 1.1 inch
Hear Rrate Monitor yes yes
SpO2 yes no
Swim Tracking yes yes
Music Controls yes yes
GPS no no
NFC no not in global version
Battery life up to 14 days (without advanced sleep tracking) up to 10 days

Samsung Galaxy Fit (Best Multi Functional)

Samsung Galaxy Fit Fitness Tracker Samsung Galaxy Fit Fitness Tracker
  • Quick Reply feature with customizable responses
  • Offers training programs in Samsung Health companion app
  • Works great with Galaxy phones, compatible with any Android or iOS device
Check Price

In addition to the standard set of functions of activity trackers, Samsung Galaxy Fit offers the ability to respond quickly to messages (SMS and messengers). However, only by preset templates. On Samsung smartphones the connection of the bracelet is as simple as possible. The user does not need to download the companion app and does not need to configure anything else, while Galaxy Fit works with Android devices of other brands as well as with the iPhone. The automatic workout type detection function can also be useful. The data is sent to the Samsung Health app, where you can record and view training programs written by professional trainers.

Xiaomi Mi Band 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Fit

  Samsung Galaxy Fit Xiaomi Mi Band 5
Display Type AMOLED, 0.95 inch OLED, 1.1 inch
Hear Rrate Monitor yes yes
SpO2 no no
Swim Tracking yes yes
Music Controls no yes
GPS no no
NFC no not in global version
Battery life up to 7 days up to 10 days

To Sum Up

Xiaomi Mi Band 5 worthily continues the series of best-selling trackers. Compared to Mi Band 4, everything is improved a little bit. Increased display, magnetic charging, more training, PAI function, stress measurement and bag breathing. Smartphone camera control (still experimental) and many minor interface improvements. A little less autonomy can be considered a step back.

In general, Mi Band 5 can be definitely recommended as an upgrade to users of older versions (especially the third and older) or as an inexpensive, but not overpriced, fitness tracker for a wide range of tasks, including swimming. Those who need a standalone GPS, should look at more expensive devices, and those who want to use no-contaсt payment, should wait for the NFC version.

4 reasons to buy Xiaomi Mi Band 5

  • Traditionally great value for money
  • New training modes, PAI, stress measurement
  • Convenient magnetic charging
  • Feature-rich Mi Fit app

2 reasons not to buy Xiaomi Mi Band 5

  • Not the best battery life
  • No NFC support (in the Global version)

Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 5

Great inexpensive fitness tracker

Mi Band 5 boasts a sufficiently large OLED screen, magnetic charging, two weeks of autonomy, protection from dust and water. It supports many training modes, monitors sleep and physical activity, and is able to continuously track users’ heart rate. All this data is available for viewing and analysis in the Mi Fit mobile application. There is no NFC version of the bracelet on the global market yet.

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