The market for smart bracelets (or smart band) and connected watches has been booming in the last two years, China has really flooded the market with cheap products with sometimes a few good surprises. Xiaomi didn't wait for China to wake up, the Mi Band range has been around for a few years now and has managed to find a place in bracelets for less than 30 euros. I bought a Mi Band 3 for about 15 euros and despite its ridiculous price it outperformed most bracelets on the market. I then bought a Mi Band 4 and with this model Xiaomi once again succeeded in its bet to offer a complete product for an attractive price. The Mi Band 5 has arrived, so I had to test it out.
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YHC Correa Metal para Xiaomi Mi Band 5,Pulsera de Metal de Acero Inoxidable para Mi Band 5 Correas (...
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23/06/2020 I buy the Mi Band 5 on Aliexpress 27/07/20 I get the Mi Band 5 and I can start testing it. The delivery time was longer than usual. The Covid crisis must have caused it.
Waarom deze smartwatch?
I bought my first Mi Band out of curiosity. In fact, I had never bought such a product before I bought the Mi Band 3. For the price I bought it for, I wasn't taking many risks. I really liked this Mi Band 3 because, beyond the price, the data that the wristband was able to provide was just as reliable as other much more expensive products. That's what motivated me to buy the Mi Band 4 and now the Mi Band 5. The Mi Band 5 is based on the Mi Band 4, if you put them next to each other, you can't tell them apart. If Mi Band 5 is not different in format, it is in functionality that Mi Band 5 is a leap forward compared to the previous model.
Structure of my tests
I test products according to a pre-established structure (see below) to provide you with maximum information. Unfortunately, this takes a lot of time. Unlike some sites where products are tested on a single day, I use the products I test for a minimum of a few weeks and sometimes even a few months. If the test is not complete at the time of your visit, I invite you to come back later or ask your question in the comment section below.
The Mi Band 5 packaging is quite basic, it contains the watch, a black strap, a charger and a manual (in Chinese because I ordered a Chinese model). The strap is identical to the one used on the Mi Band 3 and Mi Band 4, the charger is different.You can buy another bracelet as you want, there are bracelets of all colors on Aliexpress and they sometimes cost less than a euro.
The charger is on the other hand different, Xiaomi changes the type of charger each generation. The Mi Band 5's charger is magnetized, so it won't work with the previous models but it is much more practical than the one delivered with the Mi Band 4 because you don't have to detach the watch from its strap.The magnet is strong enough to be able to hang the bracelet from it if you charge it for example on the USB port of a computer.
As I wrote above, the manual is in Chinese but there are so-called "global" versions that come with a manual in all languages. The Chinese version becomes the global version (in English) after the first synchronization with the phone.The Chinese version is also cheaper.
The configuration of the bracelet is very simple even if you bought the Chinese version. Just download the free Mi Fit application and add the bracelet (bluetooth) to the application. The application will then push an update to the phone, the process is very simple, you don't need a manual.
The Mi Fit application is available in most languages, so you will be able to configure your watch in a simple way. You will be able to choose the type of home screen, configure notifications, manage permissions and much more.
The application is not necessary for the wristband to work properly unless you want to use certain types of exercise or GPS is required.
The Mi Band 5 bracelet is probably not going to win a beauty contest, the bracelet is not really elegant but it is well designed. Contrary to many other bracelets, the screen doesn't light up systematically when you touch it, only the area at the bottom of the screen allows you to activate the screen. The rubber strap is flexible and strong but with the experience of 3 Mi Band models, I notice some wear at the closure. When I make important movements on my wrist (e.g. opening a door), the strap of my Mi Band 4 frequently comes off. Fortunately, you can find all kinds of bracelets for less than 1 euro. If your bracelet wears out like mine, you can easily replace it.
The Mi Band 5 connects in Bluetooth with your smartphone, it is not WIFI or GPS compatible.
The battery was one of the strengths of Mi Band 4, the autonomy exceeded 3 weeks. With the Mi Band 5, the autonomy is about 2 weeks using the automatic heart rate measurement as well as the sleep measurement.
The range seems to be lower than with Mi Band 4 but with 2 weeks it is still comfortable.
The Mi Band 5 is equipped with an Amoled screen and for this price, it's pretty amazing. The Amoled screen offers almost infinite contrast, so the black is very black and the readability of the characters is very good. On the other hand, the characters are very small. The screen is well lit, you will be able to read it in daylight but it also reflects light strongly, so you will have a little trouble reading the display when your environment will be reflected on the screen.
The Mi Band 5 offers the following features: - status: summary of your activity of the day (calories, distance travelled, ...) - PAI: scoring system to assess whether you are active - Heart rate: live measurement of your heartbeat - Notification: receiving your SMS messages from the phone as well as wristband notifications (e.g. to say that the battery is almost empty) - Stress: indicator of your state of stress - Breathing: a breathing exercise to help you lower your heart rate. - Events: reminders for your calendar - Weather: weather of the day and the following days - Sport modes: lists all the sport modes available to start a physical activity. - Settings
The "Stress" and "Breathing" features are new, but they frankly don't bring much benefit. The "Stress" feature is supposed to measure your stress level but frankly I don't know if you should give any credit to the measurements. Sometimes the watch shows me a high level of stress when I am calm and not stressed at all.
The breathing feature doesn't seem to be very useful either, it tells you how often you should breathe to lower your heart rate. If you breathe more slowly your heart rate will decrease, ok, I already knew that, I don't need a watch to remind me of that.
The other features are similar to what you can find on this kind of bracelet. The Mi Band 5 is quite complete but that was already the case with the Mi Band 4.
Number of steps I measured a difference of about 10% between the actual number of steps and what the bracelet measures. For every 10 steps, the bracelet measures 11. This difference can vary depending on your type of walking. This difference of 10% is not very high, I have measured larger deviations on other watches.
I measured the heart rate of the bracelet and compared it to the measurements made with a Polar H10 belt, both devices were running at the same time.
On a static exercise (e.g. elliptical bike), the measurements are very similar, I measure a deviation of one or two beats from the average and maximum measured.
On a moving exercise such as cycling for example, I measure larger differences that come from the placement of the bracelet. In the screenshots above, the application shows a slow rise in heartbeats when in reality they rise much faster. Why is this? The bracelet moved during the exercise and was only placed correctly after a certain amount of vibration. Once in place, the bracelet took measurements closer to those of the Polar Belt but with a greater distance between them than for static exercise . It is therefore preferable to tighten the bracelet before starting the exercise and do some tests to ensure that the pulsations are measured correctly.
The Mi Band 5 bracelet must be used in combination with the Mi Fit application from Xiaomi. This application is totally free, all features are accessible to everyone, so you don't have to pay to unlock certain functions. Mi Fit works on all recent smartphones, so you don't have to use a Xiaomi phone to enjoy it. The application is quite complete but it can be quite confusing, the menus are not always intuitive and if you don't use it often you will sometimes have to search a little to find your way.
The home screen of the application is composed of several sections that summarize the different data collected by the watch. The first section is dedicated to your heart data, sleep data and activity summary. The second section is devoted to the sports sessions that have been recorded by the watch. You will find all the activities by type and by day. For each of the activities you will find the data related to the course, time, speed, altitude difference and heart rate.
At the top of the screen, you can start a walking, running or cycling session. You can use the screen of your phone to track your activity, the bracelet allows you to collect heart data but the application can work without the bracelet. I regularly use the application to track my bike trips, it is quite comparable with other applications such as Strava for example. The only thing I miss is the real-time speed display, only the average speed is displayed.
You can connect all kinds of objects to the application. There is of course the Mi Band bracelet but you can also connect watches, scales or connected shoes. So you can either start an activity from the application or do it from the watch.
The Mi Band 5 bracelet is compatible with all brands of smartphones able to communicate by bluetooth and running a recent version of Android and iOS.
Mi Band 5 takes the basics from Mi Band 4, press the bottom of the screen to turn it on and slide the screen up/down to access the menu. I sometimes had to press the button several times but mainly because I didn't have the watch in front of me, I was looking at the watch through my phone's screen.
The menu consists of the following items: - status (summary of your day) - PAI (your activity scores) - pulse rate - notifications (sms, calls, ...) - stress (indicator of your state of stress) - breathing (to do a breathing exercise - weather - sports (11 modes) - parameters
Some sports have been added since the last version, some features like stress or breathing are new.
Not yet available / tested
Compare Mi Band 5 with the others
I assigned a score of 1 to 10 for each test that determines the strengths and weaknesses of a product. I am using 0 for criteria that have not (yet) been tested. A score of 1 to 3 indicates poor performance (and yes, it does), a score of 4 to 6 indicates average performance, a score of 7 to 8 indicates good performance, and a score of 9 and 10 indicates exceptional performance. . The score is calculated based on my measurements and when there are no measurements, it is a subjective opinion based on my experience.
The scores are not static, they change over time because the performance of new products changes and this must be taken into account.
Mi Band 5
Reliability of measurements
Ease of use
Global ranking 1. Amazfit Gts 48.5 / 77 2. Huawei Watch Gt Active 41.5 / 70 3. Mi Band 4 41 / 70 4. Mi Band 5 40.5 / 70 5. Mi Band 3 39.5 / 70 6. Umidigi Uwatch Gt 38.5 / 70
Test / Review conclusion
The Mi Band 5 bracelet does not bring a revolution compared to the Mi Band 4, only a few (sometimes useless) features have been added. The difference between Mi Band 3 and Mi Band 4 was much greater than between Mi Band 4 and Mi Band 5.
Despite this lack of innovation, the Mi Band 5 remains an interesting product and in this price range there is not much equivalent. The quality of the measurements is good, the autonomy is good and the product is quite easy to use.
The Chinese version can be updated to an English version (not to other languages). This means that you can buy the bracelet at a derisory price (between 20 and 30€) while benefiting from all the functionalities.
Strengths Correct measures Autonomy Screen legibility Ease of use
Weaknesses Unnecessary new features Wear and tear of the bracelet (over time, it will eventually loosen) Placement of the bracelet for sports in motion
Price Mi Band 5
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