And five! Regulated like clockwork, Xiaomi offers us, like every year, an update of its successful Mi Band connected bracelet. A success largely due to its excellent value for money. The Mi Band 3 cost 30 euros and the Mi Smart Band 4, 40 euros. Unsurprisingly, the 2020 model goes to… 50 euros! Is this increase justified and is the Mi Smart Band 5 still a must in its price segment? That’s what we’ll check right now.
A 20% increase in display area
Still with Amoled technology and color – which is particularly appreciable at this price point, the screen goes from 0.9 to 1.1 inches. The display area is certainly limited, but the tiny font is surprisingly legible, as long as you fully increase the brightness of this screen, especially outdoors. Better not to forget your glasses!
A much more ergonomic charging cable
Another novelty, the tracker is now inseparable from the silicone bracelet. The latter cannot therefore be replaced. On the other hand, the user gains in ease of use when he has to recharge his Mi Band. Before, you had to detach the module to insert it into a sort of mini charging station. Now, a simple cable with a magnetic tip is provided (see photo above). Just clip it on the back of the module to start charging. Much more practical!
Autonomy: still the strong point of the Mi Band
However, it is not necessary to perform this manipulation often. Despite its larger screen, the Mi Smart Band 5 still offers impressive battery life. Xiaomi promises 14 days and we do not fall very far with light use. By activating a few notifications (calls, SMS, Messenger and Gmail, for example), by often setting the brightness to maximum, by performing several weekly sports sessions and by using the heart rate sensor as much as possible, we achieve everything. even quite easily to pass the 10-day mark!
New activities to follow
It is now possible to follow 11 activities, five more than last year. In addition to the basics, you can now monitor your Yoga or skipping rope session. Of course, the most detailed results focus on sports such as running or walking for which it is possible to synchronize the Mi Band with the GPS of your smartphone. This monitoring, detailed on the Mi Fit app (which is also used to synchronize the bracelet with an Android smartphone or an iPhone) is more than enough to set up a small fitness program. Especially since the heart rate monitor has improved. We are not that far from the results recorded on competing products such as those from Withings.
Thanks to this more efficient sensor, Xiaomi adds strings to its bow. Sleep tracking is more precise and the armada of health functions is enhanced: you can assess your stress level, get a vitality index (PAI), perform breathing exercises and much more.
Design unchanged: for better or for worse
All is not rosy, however, on an activity tracker that sold only a few dozen euros. While it shines with its lightness (approximately 24 grams, silicone strap included) and will therefore be completely forgotten on your wrist, even at night, the design, which has only slightly evolved, will not be to everyone's taste. The colored versions offered by Xiaomi will have a hard time completely forgetting the bracelet's fastening system, which is impractical and quite ugly. You have to pass it through a loop that creates a fairly visible and unsightly extra thickness when you have a small wrist.
100% tactile control
As on the previous version, the screen offers a touchscreen interface that allows access to a number of functions without having to go through the smartphone, including to start a running session with GPS tracking. Simple swipes or pressures with the fingertip are enough. The touch button at the bottom of the screen, almost invisible and essential for going back through menus, is a bit confusing at first, but you get used to it. It is true that we would have preferred a real physical button, especially to start, pause and end an activity – with touch we sometimes have to start over several times.
A rather efficient notification system
Like any good connected bracelet, the Mi Smart Band 5 gives the possibility of receiving its notifications on its small screen and does it quite well. During a call, the name of your interlocutor is displayed (you can refuse this call or mute it), when sending an SMS, the message is displayed in full (even if you have to scroll it s 'it is very long), which allows you to read it at a glance. On the other hand, the emoticons still do not pass. Small squares are displayed instead (see photo below). For emails, only the subject is displayed … and that's already not bad!
Application: when will there be a real overhaul?
The Mi Fit application allows you to easily connect, via Bluetooth, your bracelet to your smartphone, even if the multiplication of Xiaomi apps sometimes creates confusion (Mi Fit, Mi Account, Mi Home … all this would deserve a little simplification). But what we would like most of all is that it gets a good facelift.
Fonts are small and deserve to be harmonized. The home page is totally lacking in style and identity (see above). Some words, although we should welcome the fact that it is not that common, are poorly translated. Besides, Xiaomi is making efforts: “le tempo di allenamento” instead of “training time” was corrected during our test.
There is also a tendency to wander in the menus and under the tabs in the end quite (too?) Numerous, but from this point of view, almost all the players in the sector have the same problem. By wanting to be exhaustive, it quickly complicates the user's task.
The verdict of the test
Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 5
For the modest sum of 50 euros, the Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 5 connected bracelet will be a good companion … even if its charmless appearance may tire quite quickly. Those who want a little help to bravely get back into shape before winter will appreciate the service rendered. This Mi Band follows quite effectively and with good endurance a good number of activities, the quality of sleep or the level of stress. Without forgetting to notify calls, SMS and other messages. For next year, let's hope that the interface will be brought up to date and that the design will be improved: this Xiaomi bracelet will have to deserve its … 60 euros!