Image source: Xiaomi

Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 vs Mi Smart Band 5: here’s what’s new

After months of speculation, today the Mi Smart Band 6 makes its debut. In previous years the band had landed in June. Xiaomi has decided to push this forward by a few months in 2021.

For now the Mi Smart Band 6 (or Mi Band as it is also known) has been made official in China but expect a release in Europe and the US soon. There were lots of leaks in the run-up to the event but this does not mean there were no surprises on the big day.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

The previous generation is one of the best selling budget fitness bands globally. It has a strong and loyal following and we expect generation six to fly off the shelves, as well.

This article is an overview on what exactly is new. Mi Band 6 comes with some handy upgrades over its predecessor. Read on to find out what they are.


Xiaomi Mi Band 6 vs Mi Band 5: General and hardware

Like the predecessor generations, Mi Band 6 packs a rubberized, practical look. There’s no mistaking this is a fitness band and Xiaomi is sticking to a design that’s functional and budget-friendly.

Generation 4 introduced a larger full color 0.95 inch AMOLED display with 120 x 240 pixel resolution. Mi Band 5 bumped this up to 1.1 inches allowing for 20% more visibility. The resolution also went up slightly to 126 x 294 pixels.

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Xiaomi Mi Band 5 | Image source: Xiaomi

Once again we are getting a bigger screen. Mi Band 6 comes with an always-on 1.56 inch AMOLED with 326 PPI (pixels per inch) or 152 x 486 pixels. Now it occupies practically the entire front area of ​​the gadget. This means that this gives a whopping 50% more screen space than with the Xiaomi Mi Band 5.

All of this provides for a nice viewing experience. The screen with a tempered glass layer looks very impressive and a nice upgrade over the predecessor devices which have a rather large bezel.

As far as dimensions, the tracker is fractionally bigger. It measures 47.4 x 18.6 x 12.7mm vs othe 46.95 × 18.15 × 12.45 mm of its predecessor.

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Xiaomi Mi Band 6 | Image source: Xiaomi

A bigger display is always good, as long as it doesn’t increase the size of the wearable too much. Xiaomi have found a nice compromise here. Any bigger and you’re crossing into smartwatch territory.

The edge-to-edge display means the physical button is gone. Previously it resided just underneath the screen. Which means you’ll need to rely on the touch-display and gestures to navigate around the menus.

There are more than 130 watch faces and a few different straps (Black, Orange, Yellow, Olive, Ivory, Blue) with which you can adjust the wearable to your own liking. Some of these watch faces are animated.

Under the hood

The excellent 5 ATM rating and swim-proof design stays the same. As do most sensors.

Mi Band 6 and 5 share a 6-axis sensor (low power-consumption 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope), and a PPG heart rate sensor. Some of this has, of course, been upgraded with latest sensor technology.

The main addition this time around is the SpO2 sensor. This was widely expected to arrive last year, but better late than never. It allows you monitor your blood oxygen levels.

Next up is the all-important battery life. This has always been an important selling point of the Mi Bands.

We’re happy to report that the 6th iteration does not disappoint on this count. The predecessor works for two weeks on a single charge thanks to its lithium ion battery. This has remained unchanged.

Last year Xiaomi introduced a new way to charge the Mi Band. You no longer need to pop the unit of the the band. Just resting the device on the magnetic charging dock will do the job. You’ll recharge Mi Band 6 the same way. The charging time is less than 2 hours.

Here’s a table illustrating all differences in design and hardware between the last three Mi Smart Band generations.

Mi Smart Band 6
Mi Smart Band 5
Mi Smart Band 4
Case material
polycarbonate, silicone wristband, Aluminum alloy buckle
polycarbonate, silicone wristband, Aluminum alloy buckle
polycarbonate, silicone wristband, Aluminum alloy buckle
Display size
1.56 inch
1.1 inch
0.96 inch
Display resolution
152 x 486 pixels
126 x 294 pixels
120 x 240 pixels
Display type
AMOLED (450 nits brightness)
AMOLED (450 nits brightness)
AMOLED (400 nits brightness)
Dimensions
47.4 x 18.6 x 12.7mm
46.95 × 18.15 × 12.45 mm
 
Water-resistance
5ATM
5ATM
5ATM
Sensors
6-axis sensor: Low power-consumption 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope, PPG heart rate sensor, SpO2
6-axis sensor: Low power-consumption 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope, PPG heart rate sensor, Digital MEMS microphone
3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, optical heart rate sensor, capacitive proximity sensor
NFC (in China only)
Bus/access card/Alipay/union pay NFC
Bus/access card/Alipay/union pay NFC
Bus/access card/Alipay
Battery life
Up to 14 days
Up to 14 days
Up to 14 days
Charging
Snap-on magnetic charging
Snap-on magnetic charging
Via charging dock
Connectivity
BT5.0 BLE
BT5.0 BLE
BT5.0 BLE

Xiaomi Mi Band 6 vs Mi Band 5: Activity tracking and smart functionality

The Mi Band has been around for a while. Its low price means everyone can get into the health craze.

The wearable covers the basics well when it comes to tracking your activity and sleep around the clock. You’ll get info on steps, distance travelled, active minutes, calories burned, sleep, female health tracking, stress and inactivity reminders. The company has this side of things nailed down.

The wearable also tracks Personal Activity Intelligence, better known as PAI. This helps you quantify your activity level by how hard your heart rate worked during the day.

The main sensor that is still missing is an altimeter for counting floors climbed. We will need to wait for the 2022 version for this.

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Xiaomi Mi Band 6 | Image source: Xiaomi

Last year the company improved the accuracy of its stats, namely heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking. The band looks out for irregular and sporadic sleep patterns, along with REM sleep by utilizing heart rate variability.

Mi Smart Band 6 inherits all of this and continues to improve accuracy of stats. Sleep tracking now includes sleep breathing quality through the blood oxygen sensor. This has the potential to spot Sleep  Apnea.

xiaomi mi smart band 6 vs mi smart band 5 what new and different 2 - Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 vs Mi Smart Band 5: here's what's new
Image source: Xiaomi

An advantage of the latest iteration is that it comes with 30 sports modes, a nice increase from the 11 of Mi Band 5. The new ones include: Indoor fitness, Indoor ice skating, HIIT, Core training, Stretching, Stepper, Gymnastics, Pilates, Street dance, Dance, Zumba, Cricket, Bowling, Basketball, Volleyball, Table tennis, Badminton, Boxing and Kickboxing.

The wearable also offers auto-sensing for 6 common fitness activities. These include walking, running, cycling, rowing, cross trainer and treadmill.

There’s also tight integration with third-party messengers as well as Strava support. Alexa support was widely rumored to arrive this year. But there was no mention of this in today’s presentation. Perhaps it might come as a software update.

Finally, there’s also NFC support. Expect this to be for China only.

Mi Smart Band 6
Mi Smart Band 5
Mi Smart and 4
Sports modes
30
11
6
Automatically recognizes activities
6
 
 
Sleep tracking
Yes (Deep, Light, REM). Identifies sleep abnormalities.
Yes (Deep, Light, REM). Identifies sleep abnormalities.
Yes (Deep, Light)
PAI
Yes
Yes
SpO2
Yes
 
Female health tracking 
Yes
Yes
Stress assessement
Yes
Yes
 
Remote shutter control
Yes
Yes
 

Xiaomi Mi Band 6 vs Mi Band 5: Verdict

Xiaomi continues to improve its Mi Smart Bands with each passing year. The main news this time around is the gorgeous full screen experience. It really makes the wearable look attractive.

Other additions include an SpO2 sensor and more sports modes. The excellent battery life, water proofing and everything else from the predecessor generation is all there.

xiaomi mi smart band 6 vs huawei band 6 vs honor band 6 feature comparison 4 - Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 vs Mi Smart Band 5: here's what's new

Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6
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The price difference is very small – just a few dollars. So if you’re in the market for a new budget fitness band go for the latest iteration. If you already have Mi Smart Band 5 you’ll need to decide whether the new screen and other additions are worth it to you.

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