Review: Redmi Smart Band Pro is a good alternative to Xiaomi Mi Band 6
Redmi has recently announced Smart Band Pro. It has recently become available on Amazon in certain countries such as India.
This an activity band that comes with a large 1.47 inch AMOLED display and the standard gamut of fitness sensors, including blood oxygen. At first glance the wearable shares a lot with the Xiaomi Mi Band 6. To remind, the company is owned by the Chinese tech giant so the resemblance should come as no surprise.
This latest wearable from Redmi follows hot on the heels of Watch 2. The second generation smartwatch builds on the first effort with a larger AMOLED display, along with built-in GPS. Despite these upgrades Redmi Watch 2 only sells for around $60. Most would agree that’s incredibly reasonable for something that has built-in GPS. But this is what Redmi is known for – low cost connected devices.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
Smart Band Pro is not the first fitness band from the Xiaomi sub-brand. It follows Redmi Smart Band which was released back in April 2020. That one is a fairly basic affair that sells for just $15. For that you get something that keeps tabs on your steps, distance, calories and sleep. It has 5 sports modes so the built-in heart rate monitor is useful for monitoring workouts.
Just 5-6 years ago a wearable that does all that would sell in the three figure price range. That’s how much prices have come down. And it’s only going to get better from here.
As the name suggests, now we are getting something a bit more sophisticated. A better equipped and much more capable version of the original. Something that will give budget fitness trackers a run for their money. What follows is my review of the Redmi Smart Band Pro.
Design & hardware
Redmi Smart Band Pro review: Design & hardware
- Looks like a ‘boxy’ version of Xiaomi Mi Band 6
- Beautiful, clear 1.47 inch AMOLED
- Blood oxygen sensor
- Two week battery life on a single charge
Look & feel
Redmi Smart Band Pro is a quite nice looking wearable. Its design highlight is definitely the bright, extremely vibrant and colourful 1.47 inch AMOLED display.
This is quite high res (194 x 368 pixels) and offers up to 450 nits of brightness which makes everything easily readable both indoors and out. The Redmi band has an ambient light sensor allowing the screen to adjust brightness automatically depending on surrounding conditions and this, no doubt, helps. The colours are very lifelike and vivid thanks to 100% NTSC.
You have an always-on display option but enabling this will eat into battery life. With this switched on the band will revert to a simple screen showing the time and date when not in use. Taping the display or lifting your wrist will prompt the full watch-face into action. No physical buttons, though, but you don’t really need them as the touch functionality of the screen works flawlessly.
The build of the fitness tracker is 2.5D tempered glass and something called polycaprolactam. This is a type of lightweight nylon, plastic material. The fitness tracker in no way feels or looks cheap – I would characterise it as sporty. As you’d expect, the band is is attached to a silicone wristband with a pin and hole type mechanism which keeps it in place. The whole thing weighs a mere 15 grams.
Redmi Smart Band Pro vs Xiaomi Mi Band 6
Xiaomi has a lot of know-how when it comes to designing fitness trackers and Redmi has clearly tapped into this knowledge. Put Redmi Smart Band Pro and Xiaomi Band 6 next to each other and you’ll notice how similar they really are.
The main difference are the dimensions. Redmi Smart Band Pro is a bit shorter but wider and thinner than the Xiaomi Mi Band 6, i.e it has a more squarish look. So there is a clear visual difference between the two.
Its exact dimensions come in 42.05 x 24.45 x 10.15mm. Xiaomi Mi Band 6 has a elongated design with dimensions coming in at 47.4 x 18.6 x 12.7mm. The build and everything else appears to be identical. Even some of the watch-faces appear to be the same!
Water resistance will suffice for most purposes apart from those who are into deep see diving. The 5 ATM rating (down to depths of 50 meters) means you can go swimming with it or showering worry free.
Personally, I prefer the look of the Redmi band to Xiaomi’s product. Despite the fact that its more square-ish, you can tell it is clearly a fitness band. The dimensions don’t cross over into smartwatch territory. But because Smart Band Pro is wider, this allows for bigger fonts which make everything easier to read. Granted there is a bit more scrolling involved.
As far as colour options – you only get black. One would expect Redmi to add other colour choices in due course.
Sensors, battery life
Under the hood there are no surprises. You get the usuals including a 6-axis sensor (low power-consumption 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope), PPG heart rate sensor, SpO2. The last on this list is an improvement over the first generation device. In case you are wondering, these are the exact same sensors you’ll find inside the Xiaomi Mi Band 6.
The quality of the display is one highlight of Redmi Smart Band Pro. The other highlight is battery life. The wearable packs a 200mAh battery. Interestingly this is bigger than the 130mAh that can be found inside Mi Band 6.
With normal use, the battery allows Redmi Smart Band Pro to go for about two weeks between charges. This can be extended to nearly three weeks when power saving mode is switched on. But this is with limited functionality.
Charging is done via a magnetic touch cable. Simply align the pins and the cable snaps on to the tracker where it stays firmly in place.
Redmi Smart Band Pro review
Fitness and health tracking
The wearable packs a lot of health and fitness functionality for its low price. In addition to the usual steps, calories, distance and sleep, you’ll find some advanced health functions. This includes blood oxygen monitoring (both on-demand and automatic while you sleep), along with stress tracking, female cycle stages and breathing exercises.
Some of this functionality needs to be enabled via the smartphone app. If you want to experience the maximum health tracking benefits like I do, choose a 1 minute interval for continuous heart rate monitoring, 10 minute interval for blood oxygen sampling during sleep, switch on Advanced Sleep Monitoring and all-day stress tracking. But don’t expect two week battery life with all of this enabled. It will be closer to a half of that.
Other functionality that can be enabled includes alerts when your resting heart rate goes above a certain level. There’s also a similar setting for heart rate during exercise. So lots of nice customisation options for health and fitness.
The large display of Redmi Smart Band Pro is conducive to following all of these on the go. Swiping from the top down shows your notifications. A flick of the finger from the right to the left takes you through the heart rate, blood oxygen, weather workout, overall daily fitness stats and settings displays.
All of this is customisable and you can have up to 7 widgets on the fitness band at the same time. Additional ones can be found and installed through the smartphone app. These are all one page affairs so tapping on the tracker when on a main widgets display doesn’t do anything apart from keeping the screen awake.
For a more detailed overview of functionality on offer do a down up swipe gesture from the home screen. This will reveal the full list of widgets that you can open up by tapping. Here’s the order: Workout, Activity, Stats, Heart rate, SpO2, Sleep, Stress, Breathing, Cycles, Weather, Music, Camera, Alarm, Stopwatch, Timer, Notifications, Find Phone, Flashlight, Settings.
Those widgets contain quite a bit more info which is viewable by scrolling when the page is open. They also allow you to take on-demand stress and blood oxygen level readings and trigger some smart functions.
Mind you, apart from the activity history, most the fitness stats on the tracker are only for the current day. For longer terms trends and other info head over to the iOS or Android Xiaomi Wear app.
The smartphone software is quite a simple affair. It does the job but leaves a person wanting a bit more.
Like most other health and fitness apps you get a main dashboard with panels showing the various stats. Tap on any of these for daily, weekly and monthly totals.
The sleep stats, in particular, are very detailed. What impressed me is that the tracker will also pick up on naps. This is something that can not be said of even some big name brands.
All of this works perfectly well, as does the tracking of your activity. I would not classify it as first class but it is acceptable. I would say, though, that blood oxygen readings are a bit on the low side.
Lots of watch faces
The app is also where you can download different watch faces (there are more than 50 of them). You can’t store multiple watch faces on the device itself so the only way to switch between them is via the app. There are some nice choices available and you’ll have fun hunting around for one that you prefer. The wide display and quality AMOLED makes some of them look very good.
I do feel, though, that the app lets down somewhat what is a perfectly good fitness tracker. You can’t help but feel that it has some catching up to do with the hardware as far as quality.
The most annoying issue I encountered was to do with the sync. It can take a while to complete, and on occasions the band would disconnect from the tracker before completing the sync. In fairness, the Redmi Smart Band Pro is a new wearable – not even available in some markets just yet. So these issues should be ironed out with subsequent firmware updates.
For example, when I started testing the fitness band there were no additional watch faces available in the app. These were only enabled after a couple of days of testing. So it is still early days and Redmi is clearly making tweaks and upgrades to the software.
- Connected GPS
- More than 110 fitness activities
- Three activities with auto-recognition
This Redmi Smart Band Pro review would not be complete without a look at its sports monitoring abilities. The band is capable of tracking over 110 fitness activities, and three of these are with auto-recognition (treadmill, outdoor running and outdoor walking). That’s quite a big increase in ability over the first generation device. No built-in GPS, mind you, so you’ll need to rely on Connected GPS.
I tested some of this on a few short runs and walks. The easiest way to enable GPS tracking is through the smartphone app. Start the activity from there and the fitness band will do a good job in mapping your activity.
You’ll get some stats along the way which runners will appreciate. This includes pace (for each kilometre), heart rate, steps, active calories, elevation gain and loss, heart rate zones, average stride length and average cadence.
All of this data is shown as a summary, other data will additionally display in charts. Finally, the wearable will also calculate your Vo2Max from GPS tracked activities, but this is where performance stats end.
Redmi Smart Band Pro review: The bottom line
Redmi Smart Band Pro is a perfectly decent little fitness tracker. It feels quality made and very similar to the Xiaomi Mi Band 6, the flagship wearable of the outfit’s parent company.
The highlight of the band is definitely its beautiful AMOLED display. It is incredibly vibrant and easy to read both indoors and out.
Battery life is another item in the Pros column. Having said that, with all the fitness tracking health and fitness functionality switched on it will be closer to one week than two weeks. Nevertheless that’s quite decent for something that tracks your activity, heart rate and stress around the clock, and blood oxygen automatically when you are sleeping.
I would like to see improvements in the smartphone app. Syncing sometimes takes a long time which can be a bit annoying. Hopefully Redmi will resolve this with subsequent software and firmware updates.
The fitness band is not available in all markets just yet. But you can pick it up on Amazon in certain countries such as India and mi.com in certain countries, such as the UK. There it currently sells for £35 (down from £45) which means when it hits the US it will retail at around $50 or slightly above.
That’s pretty much the price point of the Xiaomi Mi Smart 6. With practically nothing to separate those two devices in terms of functionality, it comes down to design preference – i.e. do you want something elongated or more square looking.
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