Image source: Xiaomi

Xiaomi Mi Band 5: what to expect from the next generation fitness band

It may be just a few short months since Xiaomi Mi Band 4 was launched, but the Chinese tech-giant is already looking ahead to the next version.

Xiaomi Mi Band 5: Release date

Huami reveals it already has Xiaomi Mi Band 5 in development
Image source: Xiaomi

At its recent Q&A session to discuss Q2 2019 earnings, Huami’s founder and chairman Wang Huang was asked if the company plants to continue working with Xiaomi. For the uninformed, Huami is the manufacturer of Xiaomi’s popular Mi Band fitness tracker.

Wang Huang confirmed that the collaboration will continue and added that they have already started work on Xiaomi Mi Band 5. He also revealed the device will land sometime next year.

“We do not have a fixed time when we’re going to launch Mi-Band 5,” he said.

“But I would say that we have already started working on Mi-Band 5 with Xiaomi and it’s not going to take that long. So we just launched Mi-Band 4, but potentially toward the [Indecipherable] of next year, we may launch Mi-Band 5.”

It’s not too much of a surprise work has already begun, but it’s evident the launch window between subsequent generations is narrowing. Twelve-eighteen months is becoming more and more common. And even less in some cases. Samsung launched Galaxy Watch Active 2 in August, less than six months after unveiling the first version!

Xiaomi has confirmed nothing yet, but it seems we can expect Mi Band 5 to land in the second quarter of 2020, most probably June. This would be about a year after the current version was launched.

Xiaomi Mi Band 5: Design

Huami reveals it already has Xiaomi Mi Band 5 in development
Image source: Xiaomi

The Mi Band is a success story. The budget wearable comes with many of the features of the leading Western brands, but at a fraction of the price.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

The big news regarding the fourth generation tracker is its beautiful 0.95-inch AMOLED color display with 120 x 240 pixel resolution and 2.5D scratch-resistant tempered glass. The previous generation only had a B&W display. Needless to say, the upgraded screen makes for a much more enjoyable user experience.

The just released Xiaomi’s Hey Plus 1S smart bracelet gives us a hint on what to expect from Xiaomi Mi Band 5. What leads us to this conclusion? The design of the current Mi Band is very similar to last year’s Hey Plus device.

This reveals we can expect a largely similar look next year. However the design may move slightly away from the elliptical shape to a more rectangular form-factor. The fifth generation tracker will also reportedly come with a more rugged, durable design.

Xiaomi Mi Band 5: Hardware and features

Xiaomi Mi Band 5: what to expect from the next generation fitness band
Image source: Xiaomi

Apart from the fancier screen, other important changes in Mi Band 4 include the better 6-axis high-precision sensor and an improved heart rate sensor. This allows for more accurate tracking of steps, distance, calories, sleep and more.

One feature that was rumored but didn’t make the cut this year is an electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor. Perhaps we can look forward to this next year. It could also be used to monitor for abnormal rhythm and signs of atrial fibrillation (AFib). The ECG craze started with Apple which introduced the functionality with its Series 4 watch. Others followed this year such as Withings with Move ECG.

Another feature that is expected next year is NFC that will work outside of China. At the moment Xiaomi only sells the non-NFC version outside of the country. The feature allows users to make payments on the go and could potentially be used as an ID card at work or for public transport.

Nothing else is known about the next generation device but improvements to fitness tracking are to be expected with each subsequent generation. The wearable covers the bases when it comes to basic activity tracking but it is, for example, missing an altimeter for counting floors.

A built-in GPS would also be nice but unlikely as it would increase the price too much. The current version has the ability to tap into your smartphone’s satellite signal. This does the job but it means you need to take your phone with you for those runs if you want to use the functionality. This is unlikely to change next year.

One certainty is that battery life will still be great as Xiaomi knows this is an important selling point of the device. The 135 mAh lithium ion on Mi Band 4 can keep going for up to 20 days between charges. We expect no less from Mi Band 5.

Expect improvements on the software side, too. The company is hard at work on a new health and fitness oriented app. Dubbed Mi Health, it offers more advanced functionality such as advanced sleep metrics and the ability to track menstruation cycles.

Xiaomi Mi Band 5: Price

Xiaomi Mi Band 5: what to expect from the next generation fitness band
Image source: Xiaomi

Xiaomi Mi Band 4 has been flying off the shelves since its launch. Retailing for just under $40 in the US, the tracker is pricier slightly higher than its predecessor but that was to be expected considering the upgrades. Xiaomi will probably look to retain this price point when version 5 launches in 2020.

The company is also reportedly working on its first smartwatch. According to code uncovered in the Wear OS companion app for Android, the device will be called Xiaomi Mi Watch. Nothing is yet known on specs or a possible launch date, but we’ll update when we hear more.

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