Xiaomi Mi Band 6

Xiaomi Mi Band 6

The Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6, released in March 2021, is an upgrade to the popular Mi Band 5 fitness band. There are actually 2 versions of this band, the global version (model # XMSH15HM) and the Chinese version (model # XMSH16HM).

The exclusive supplier for the Mi Band is Zepp Health (formerly named Huami Technology) who are best known for their Amazfit brand. They have a contract to manufacture Mi Bands for the next 3 years (Mi Band 6, 7 and 8)

While Xiaomi has not disclosed the processor for this fitness band, we suspect it may be using the same Dialog DA14697 processor found in the Mi Band 5. Performance is similar to the Mi Band 5 and is quite good.

This watch is using a proprietary operating system for Mi Bands. While there are some available apps, the number is minimal and you do not have access to a large 3rd party app store such as the Google Play Store. This is a significant disadvantage and is common drawback for any smartwatch using a proprietary operating system.

Comparison with the Mi Band 5

There are a handful of differences between the Mi Band 6 and its predecessor the Mi Band 5 as summarized in the following table:

AreaMi Band 6Mi Band 5
Screen1.56″1.1″
Sports Modes3011
SpO2 SensorYesNo
Auto Detect Workouts6No
Mi Band 6 vs Mi Band 5

The most noticeable difference is the screen size. While the fitness band dimensions are nearly identical, the usable screen is much greater on the Mi Band 6 when compared to the Mi Band 5.

Mi Band 6 vs Mi Band 5
Mi Band 6 (left) vs Mi Band 5 (right)

Design

The Mi Band 6 has a typical rectangular fitness band design with a plastic case.  It looks very to most other fitness bands currently on the market. The watch is available in black but you can get choose a black, orange, yellow, olive, ivory or blue strap.

Mi Band 6 Colors
Mi Band 6 Colors

The Xiaomi Mi Band 6 is quite small at 47.4 x 18.6 x 12.7 mm and is similar to most other fitness bands. The band is not the slimmest with a thickness of 12.7 mm but it only weighs 11.9g. It is comfortable and can be worn while sleeping.

The Mi Band 6 comes with a 15mm silicone interchangeable strap. The strap is comfortable and quality is acceptable for this low price point.

You can interact with the watch only using the touchscreen. The capacitive home button found on the Mi Band 5, is no longer included on the Mi Band 6. The touchscreen works very well with no lag. Fonts, menus and icons can easily be read and navigation is not too complex.

The Mi Band 6 has a 5ATM water resistance rating which allows for swimming and showers. The watch has a swimming mode that allows the screen to be locked. Salt water or chlorine could be problematic so make sure to rinse, wipe and dry the watch after swimming.

Screen

The screen of the Mi Band 6 is one of the highlights of this smartwatch. The 1.56″ AMOLED Touchscreen, with 152 x 486 pixels and 326 ppi pixel density delivers a high-quality visual experience. Indoors the display is excellent while outdoors it is acceptable but not great. The screen is an improvement over the Mi Band 5 but some may prefer the wider screen style of the Honor Band 6 over the narrow Mi Band 6 style

Honor Band 6 vs Mi Band 6
Honor Band 6 vs Mi Band 6

Xiaomi does not indicate what screen protection is provided which is disappointing. That being said, given the low price point, the build quality is quite good. Unfortunately, this fitness band does not have an always on screen option but does allow for custom watchfaces.

Battery

The Mi Band 6 comes with a 125 mAh battery. Xiaomi claims that typical usage battery life is 14 days. Real world battery life is approximately 10 days, while not best in class, is reasonable.

Connectivity Features

From a connectivity perspective, the Mi Band 5 has limited functionality when compared to full featured smartwatches. The band can only receive notifications and there is no ability to respond to notifications from the band.

Some users have had success with the 3rd party app ‘Notify for Mi Band’ to respond to notifications. With this app, when a notification comes in, you can open the music control menu, select a pre-written response and press the play button to send. Note that by doing this you will lose the music control capabilities on your smartwatch.

As this is just a basic fitness band, there are a number of features missing that you would normally find on a smartwatch:

  • Does not have a speaker or microphone
  • Cannot answer or place calls via Bluetooth
  • Does not have a camera
  • Does not have cellular connectivity
  • Does not come with GPS
  • Global version (XMSH15HM) does not have Near Field Communication (NFC), hence you cannot make payments. Chinese version (XMSH16HM) does and can use Alipay to make payments in China

Health and Fitness Features

The Mi Band 6 comes with 4 sensors: Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Heart Rate Monitor (HRM),  Pulse Oximeter (SpO2). These cover numerous fitness and health areas. These sensors allow you to track the following 11 metrics: Blood Oxygen Level, Calories, Distance, Fitness Level, Heart Rate, Menstrual Cycle, Sleep, Steps, Stress, Swimming, VO2 Max.

Also included are 30 different sports modes. Heart rate accuracy at rest, casual activities or steady state runs is relatively accurate. For casual tracking, this may be adequate but could be a concern if you are looking for high tracking accuracy for your sports or fitness goals. However with interval training, short bursts of activity or high intensity training, accuracy is poor.

Tattoos, hair, sweat and even skin color are factors that impact accuracy as well. This is a common problem with nearly all wrist based optical heart rate monitoring. While there are a few exceptions that do a pretty good job on heart rate monitoring, such as the Apple Watch 6, serious trainers should look into a chest strap for best heart rate accuracy.

Mi Fit App

The Xiaomi Mi Band 5 uses the Mi Fit app. This is nearly identical to the Zepp App for Amazfit watches. While it is a decent app, it is not best in class. While the app has a lot of functions and features, it is not the most refined or easy to navigate. You can see how the Mi Fit app ranks on our Smartwatch Apps Page.

Known Issues

As this watch has just recently been released, there are no common known issues.

Verdict

The Mi Band 6 is a nice upgrade to the most popular fitness band in the world with a bigger screen, blood oxygen sensor and more fitness tracking.  Nice screen, good battery life with adequate fitness and health functions make it an excellent buy overall.

Specifications

General

Read Review
Watch Type Fitness Band
Gender Unisex
Release Date March 2021
Operating System Proprietary - Other
App Mi Fit
Supported Devices Android 5.0+, iOS 10.0+
Processor Dialog DA14697

Design

Shape Rectangular
Case Size 47.4 x 18.6 x 12.7 mm
Case Material Plastic
Weight 11.9g
Strap Width 16 mm
Strap Material Silicone
Interchangeable Strap Yes
Watch Colors Black
Input Touchscreen
Water Resistance 5 ATM

Screen

Screen Size 1.56"
Screen Type AMOLED Touchscreen
Resolution 152 x 486
Pixels per Inch 326 ppi
Always On No
Custom Faces Yes
Screen Protection None

Battery

Typical Usage Battery Life (Days) 14
Watch Mode Battery Life (Days) Not disclosed
GPS Mode Battery Life (Days) N/A
Charging System Magnetic
Capacity 125 mAh

Features

Notifications Receive Only
Bluetooth v5.0
Bluetooth Calling No
Bluetooth Music No
Speaker No
Microphone No
Camera No
Cellular No
GPS No
Near Field Communication (NFC) No
Payments No
WiFi No
Voice Command No
Memory None
Sensors Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Heart Rate Monitor (HRM), Pulse Oximeter (SpO2)
Tracking Blood Oxygen Level, Calories, Distance, Fitness Level, Heart Rate, Menstrual Cycle, Sleep, Steps, Stress, Swimming, VO2 Max
Sport Modes 30
Automatic Workout Detection Yes
Warranty 12 Months

Summary

Unique Features None
Advantages Good price for specs
14 day battery life
Good quality screen
Good fitness and sports apps
Disadvantages Cannot respond to notifications
No GPS
No app store with third-party apps
No NFC or payment capability
Verdict A nice upgrade to the most popular fitness band in the world with a bigger screen, blood oxygen sensor and more fitness tracking. Nice screen, good battery life and adequate fitness and health functions. Excellent buy overall.

Published: April 02, 2021

Xiaomi Mi Band 6 - WatchSmarty
Xiaomi Mi Band 6

The Xiaomi Mi Band 6 has a nice screen, good battery life and adequate fitness functions making it an excellent overall fitness band option.

Product SKU: Xiaomi Mi Band 6

Product Brand: Xiaomi

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: 35

Price Valid Until: 2023-01-01

Product In-Stock: SoldOut

Editor's Rating:
6.9