Price: Rs 3,499
Specs: 1.56-inch AMOLED display, 152×486 pixels resolution, 30 fitness modes, heart-rate monitoring, SpO2, 128 grams, 5ATM waterproof rating, Bluetooth 5.0, 125 mAh battery
In the box: Band body, strap, magnetic charging cable,
After all these years of testing fitness bands, it feels appropriate to answer one philosophical question. Do these fitness bands help in staying fit?
Fitness bands keep a tab on physical activity and some basic body stats, but for me, they are about staying aware and motivated to achieve a bit more towards good health. And the Mi Smart Band 6, with all its advanced features, only takes this experience a notch higher.
Just like any other smart wearable, even this fitness band has to be configured with an app (Mi Fit app), which means creating an account (if you don’t have one already), granting permissions and pairing the band. Once done, it is smooth sailing going forward.
The first aspect of staying fit is to be active. The Mi Smart Band 6 motivates in every way. To start with the basics, the band actively tracks every footstep. Be it 20 steps from my room to the kitchen or the 5,000-steps morning walk on the terrace – the big, bright 1.56-inch AMOLED screen is good to glance at during the workout. I had to tap on the screen to check the progress as the ‘raise to wake’ feature isn’t turned on by default, and I could not locate in the Mi Fit app either. The tracking is pretty accurate but on the stingy side. Mostly when the Mi tracker showed 5,000 steps, the count was around 5,300 on my Apple Watch. The difference is not huge (difference of 600 steps for 10,000 steps) and didn’t bother me much.
I am not into workouts but happened to have an indoor cycle for review, and the calories burnt were in the same range. Outdoor walks were usual before the pandemic, however, for me, it is only indoor walks on the terrace now. For those who have started hitting the park or gym, the workout modes can come in handy. For outdoor activities like walks, running and cycling, the band can record the route but only if one carries the smartphone along. It can also auto-detect select workouts, including walking, treadmill, cycling, outdoor running, elliptical and rowing. However, this feature never kicked in during my terrace walks. In all, it supports 30 fitness modes, and heart rate measurement even during workouts was accurate.
We often ignore this, but other than eating right and physical activity, sleeping too contributes big time towards good health. While nothing beats a good night’s sleep (7-8 hours recommended), it could vary from person to person. I have had nights where I slept for 8 hours and yet woke up feeling lethargic, whereas there are nights when even 5 hours of sleep made me feel energetic. Sleep tracking on the Mi Smart Band 6 is bang on! Of late, I have been focusing more on quality of sleep, and this assisted me with insights. I was able to have a quick look at the bedtime, wake up time and sleep duration from the band itself. However, statistics of deep sleep, light sleep, REM and awake minutes are available on the app.
The Mi Fit app also displays additional information such as sleep regularity, comparing seven days of sleep tracking, including usual time of sleeping, waking up, deep sleep time and more. The band was also quick to record the daytime nap I had over the weekends. But most importantly, the lightweight band was comfortable to wear while sleeping.
Health is not just about physical fitness but also involves mental health. Given the current times (COVID-19 pandemic), stress has got to most of us. The band gives stress ratings but I am not sure how accurate it is as even when I was stressed, it just showed mild and normal. In addition, it can measure blood oxygen levels, a much-needed feature. I had to tightly tie the band to my wrist and keep my hand still with the display facing upwards. The SpO2 reading was similar to measurements on standalone oximeter and Apple Watch.
When it comes to health and fitness, the Mi Smart Band 6 checks all these boxes. It also acts as a smartphone companion as it mirrors notifications too. Although the display is a bit small to glance through the messages, it did help me in deciding about picking up the phone to check and respond when busy with work.
Against the claims of 14-day battery backup, Mi Smart Band 6 lasted seven days on a single charge on wearing it 24X7 at full brightness. Although it has a proprietary charger, it magnetically attaches to the band to stay in place.
While all is good about this band, including its lightweight and water resistance quality, one thing that bothered me was how quickly the display got scratched. Within two weeks, there were some deep scratches.