You can buy the Smart Band 6 for £33.99 at this time on Amazon, but the price does vary somewhat. It can drop below £30 or nudge up a little, but wither way we are talking about a budget tracker here.
For that money you get the following (my summings up are in the brackets)-
1.56″ AMOLED track full screen (decent screen indoors and passable outdoors)
30 professional sports modes (unlikely these do much more than track heart rate etc)
130+ Full Screen Exclusive Watch Faces (most are terrible)
SpO₂ tracking (compares well with the Apple Watch and other trackers I have used)
24-Hour Heart Rate Monitoring (appears to be close to the likes of Apple and Fitbit)
Professional sleep monitoring (sleep monitoring would be more accurate)
14 Days Battery Life (this is a true assessment)
5 ATM water resistance (no experience so far of that)
Remote photo taking and music control (works very well)
That is a lot of features for the low price and in such a small and light (100 gram) package, but if you are thinking that the quality of most that you see above will be poor you would be wrong.
I have been using it for the past week and tried to push it as hard as I could, apart from a couple of days where I was sick, and overall it has proved to be a more than capable tracker.
It is supremely comfortable and strangely not noticeable when worn in bed unlike the Garmin Vivoactive 4 which despite being smaller can actually be annoying enough to wake me up. When you look at the Smart Band there is a sense that it is very high and far too wide to make sense on your dominating hand, but it does seem to just sit there and feel close to invisible. I would, however, say that if you have a wrist below 7″ in diameter you may struggle.
The strap is very soft and able to be sized easily, and the extra benefit of such a low-priced tracker is that the third party straps are also very cheap, for example 23 straps for £12.
So, it wears well and is comfortable which is the least you need from a pure fitness tracker. The initial experience, however, is mixed because the sign-in process is a real fiddle. While having some concerns about Xiaomi in terms of security and being careful what information to allow access to, I eventually managed to sign in and set up the Mi Fit app.
And the app has proven to be another surprise. It is very clean and offers the information you need without fuss and without too much coaching which can often be annoying in some competing offerings. You get a selection of faces that you can install, most of which appear to me made for 6 year-old children, and there are some genuinely useful offerings included. The fact that the new Band 6 uses the entire footprint of the display helps a lot and it ends up feeling like a fitness band that offers more visual information in a ‘smartwatch’ way than the likes of Fitbit.
I tested it with an Apple Watch on one wrist and the Band 6 on the others and the differences in steps were approximately 3% more each time which is quite impressive. Interestingly, against the Garmin Vivoactive it was 2% less so it appears to be somewhere in the middle, which I guess is where you want to be.
The SpO₂ tracking is impressive if quite slow to undertake and I would mark it as adequate. Adequate and impressive should not be in the same sentence, but consumer SpO₂ trackers are never more than adequate and the price helps to lift it up to impressive.
I have not gone deep and checked every stat and measurement, but I have used my experience with multiple Apple Watches and a huge number of trackers from Garmin, Fitbit and the rest, and I am left confused. I am confused because a lot of what I believed about trackers has been walked over by this product and in a big way.
Consumer fitness trackers are not designed to offer medical grade measurements or fitness tracking that can be assessed by serious athletes, but they can help you to get fitter and to lose weight over a longer period. And when I think about Fitbit (all Fitbit devices) and Garmin (just the fitness trackers) I genuinely believe the Band 6 to be superior in most of the important areas.
The Fitbit Charge 5 is £135 and I would argue that it is no way near as good as the Band 6 while being more than 4 times more expensive. That goes against the natural laws of consumerism and highlights that a name is not always the best indicator of quality and value. If you need a fitness tracker that does most of the basics in a consistent and genuinely useful way, I have no hesitation in recommending the Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6. It is brilliant value for money and still would be at twice the price.