«Mi bands» are still one of the most popular bracelets. Another wave of demand was spurred on by the release of the Mi Band 4 version with NFC – with it, even owners of smartphones without this module got the opportunity to pay in the store with a gadget, not a card. And here is something new again — Mi Band 5. With an interesting take it for a test, especially since there are quite a few improvements compared to the fourth version. Did the fifth «mi band» get rid of all the shortcomings?
Strictly speaking, the name «fitness bracelet» has long been outdated. According to our observations, only 20 percent of all users actually use it for fitness or sports. Everyone else is like a watch, like a banal step and calorie counter, like a device for monitoring sleep, or just like a “buzzer” on your wrist that allows you not to miss a call. It seems to us that manufacturers cannot but notice this, and all improvements should be directed towards ordinary users, not athletes. With Xiaomi Mi Band 5, something like this happened.
Design and screen
The bracelet remained practically the same, a capsule in a rubber strap. Is that the screen has become larger: now 1.1 inches instead of 0.95 in the fourth generation. The same bright, perfectly readable even in sunny weather.
An important point — Xiaomi engineers still heard the voice of the people (they could have heard earlier), who insistently asked to review the charging system. Each time, getting the capsule out of the strap and putting it in the lodgement is somehow not at all user friendly. In Mi Band 5, it is enough to attach the magnetic connector of the charger to the contacts on the device — it is much faster and easier.
The dials for the screen are a wagon and a small cart. Moreover, a trolley with eight different options is already in the bracelet, and the wagon is waiting for you in the Mi Fit application, through which synchronization with a smartphone is carried out.
Of course, new features have appeared in the next generation. In terms of their number, bracelets are already starting to catch up with simple models of smart watches, although they are actively resisting.
Stress gauge. A mysterious thing, the benefits of which we still have not been able to evaluate. We have repeatedly tested it on smart watches, trying to excite the body in every possible way (for example, by playing an emotional shooter). But each time they were convinced that these measurements had nothing to do with the real level of stress. But there is a function, yes, you can rejoice.
Breathing exercises. If suddenly your stress goes off scale, you can try another new option. In the «Breathing» mode, you are invited to breathe rhythmically — the rhythm is set by an indicator on the screen. A minute workout seems to help, but you can set the time yourself.
Women’s cycles. We have been looking for this option in the menu for a long time, but it turned out that it is only available if the user is female. It’s a pity, and it would not hurt a man to know when your girlfriend’s «these days» are on the way.
New workouts. Yes, now there are more of them — for example, the modes of work on the elliptical and rowing machine, jumping rope or yoga have been added. In case you are still in the 20% that we talked about at the very beginning.
PAI index. Here’s what’s really super mega-useful. PAI is an index of physical activity, which is calculated taking into account real loads. Many bracelet users still believe in the “step rate” and “reach” it at the end of the day — they say, 10,000 passed, I’m done, I’ll go to dinner. Mi Band 5 with PAI calculation directly offends the feelings of these naive believers, as if hinting: those 2000 steps that you lazily walked around the office, discussing a contract with a client on the phone, this is never a useful physical activity!
If you please, do something more active, at least for 20 minutes, so that your pulse jumps, and your heart cheers up and feels like a cool pump. By the way, the same PAI with full training will exceed 100 much faster than you walk your norm. In short, PAI gives a much better idea of daily activity than pedometers and other simple things.
One of the main trump cards of all smart bracelets is the ability to work for a long time without recharging. While the new smartphone models have a clear trend towards increasing the battery to 4000-5000 mAh, the Mi Band 5 unexpectedly received a smaller battery. Here it is only 125 mAh, although the capacity of the fourth version is 135 mAh. How did this affect autonomy? She fell, but not much. In the sleep mode monitoring mode, heart rate control, periodic training, Mi Band 5 lasts 6-7 days, while Mi Band 4 is guaranteed to survive a week. If you do not compare the bracelets directly, it is quite normal.
What we didn’t like
Xiaomi has always distinguished itself by being able to hear consumers. The company does a lot of work with mi-fans and when developing new devices, it really takes into account their wishes. In this regard, it seemed strange to us that the Mi Band 5 turned out to be slightly “under-rotated”. What specifically didn’t we like?
There is no NFC module. It’s strange, but in the fifth version it is not yet available, although the Mi Band 4 already works fine with contactless payment.
The text is still small. Even for a person with 100% vision, it is difficult to make out the fine print of notifications on public transport or just on the move. This is the problem of all “mi bands”, and only those who have never tried another bracelet can ignore it.
There is no assessment of the level of oxygen in the blood. After the “coronavirus” spring, manufacturers rushed to add this feature to all gadgets, since a decrease in the level may indicate the presence of a disease. But it’s not here, which is strange.
Imperfect interface. This applies to both the Mi Fit application, which would do well to present information in a more visual form, and the bracelet itself. For example, if you receive two messages from the same user, you can only see the number of messages in notifications. And, say, Honor Band 5 fully displays both the number and the text of the latter.
In a word, every house has its own cockroaches. Mi Band 5 turned out to be very good, although we expected more. Modification with NFC, for sure, will appear (although there is no official information on this yet), the interface and options can be finalized programmatically (if they deem it necessary). So the fifth “mi band” can still be considered, albeit not ideal, but one of the best fitness bracelets on the Russian market, especially since the cost is quite adequate.
By the way, we have a whole selection of the latest models of fitness bracelets: if you want to know more about gadgets from other manufacturers, be sure to read.