Xiaomi MI Band 2

One of the most interesting products the company has in its lineup is the Mi Band. Announced in August 2014, Xiaomi’s first Mi Band wearable aimed to bring basic activity tracking to the masses thanks to its seriously low $13 price point. Now Xiaomi is back with a new, more expensive fitness tracker – the Mi Band 2.

Aside from the strap, the Mi Band 2 doesn’t really look anything like the original Mi Band. It still comes in the form of a dongle that fits snugly into a silicone strap, and it’s thin and light enough that you’ll forget you’re wearing it most of the day.

Xiaomi decided to include an OLED display this time around, which is very nice most of the time. Indoor visibility is just great, but it’s pretty tough to read outdoors in the sun. In fact, trying to check the time on a run just isn’t possible at times, but actualy having a display is better than not having one. Xiaomi says the .42-inch display is also UV coated, scratch resistant and anti-fingerprint.

Underneath the display sits a snazzy capacitive button that lets you filter through the current time, steps, distance, calories heart rate and battery.

The Mi Band 2 also comes with an IP67 rating for water and dust resistance. This means you can wash your hands without taking it off, but you shouldn’t go swimming with it.

The Mi Band 2 does everything you’d expect from an entry-level fitness tracker. It tracks your steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned and your sleep. And for the most part, it’s very good at tracking all four of those metrics.

The device will automatically record your workouts in the Mi Fit app, which is quite convenient. It can sometimes take a minute or two to recognize when you’ve started exercising, but it still should be accurate enough for most people.

The Mi Band 2 will also record your light and deep sleep, and it does a pretty good job at both. It will automatically detect when you go to sleep, so there’s no need to open the app and press a sleep now button. Once you wake up, you can check all your sleep stats in the Mi Fit app. You’ll be able to see how much light and deep sleep you experienced, how many minutes you were awake, as well as the exact times you fell asleep and woke up.

The Mi Band 2 also supports silent alarms, so you can wake up with a subtle vibration if you aren’t a fan of noisy alarm clocks. One of the best things about the Mi Band 2 is the Idle Alert feature. The device will give you a short vibration if you’re inactive for one hour, and you can customize what times of day this feature is turned on.

One other neat trick it offers is notification support. Well, you won’t get full notification support here, but the device will buzz your wrist when you have an incoming text or phone call. It works most of the time, but not always.

Xiaomi says the Mi Band 2 can last up to 20 days on a single charge. It’s pretty easy to charge the Mi Band 2, as well. Just remove the dongle from the band, plug it into the proprietary charger, then hook it up to a computer.

The Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is one of the better entry-level fitness trackers in the sub-$50 price range. It’s only $40, and it can track your daily activity and sleep without a hitch. It also looks really nice and has great battery life.

The problem is, most of the other features Xiaomi included in this tracker just don’t work very well. The heart rate monitor only works when you’re completely still, the display is hard to read outside, and the Mi Fit app needs a lot of work.

You shouldn’t buy the Mi Band 2 if you’re a serious athlete or if you need something with an accurate heart rate monitor. But if you only have $40 or $50 to spend and want something that can keep tabs on your daily activity, this device might be the perfect thing for you.

Video review

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