Travel Technology – The Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 – Entry-level fitness tracker… or e-Waste?
Time to travel more Technology – this time looking at the Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6. But at this price, is it going to give a reasonable experience or is it heading towards the e-Waste stack?
And what are you giving up for such a low price?
I received mine via Amazon UK for Â£ 32.99 + Â£ 2.99 delivery to an Amazon locker. Check around – prices are everywhere for this product at the time of writing.
Out of the box
So let’s get this out of the box. Like most unboxing, I do this in my local office. I mean Starbucks. Same difference.
By opening the box, we start to look at the contents.
Reveal your secrets!
The contents of the box
Mi Band 6 and charger
Do not judge me.
Setting up the device may seem intimidating thanks to the thickness of the manual, but it’s simpler than it looks
Simply scan a QR code (or go to the app store) to download the appropriate app. If you want to integrate Apple Health, you’ll need the Mi Fit app, as opposed to the Xaimoi Wear Lite app. Both can apparently update the device, read data, add watch faces, and more, but Mi Fit can handle the interoperability between Apple Health and the Mii Band 6.
Once operational, the hardware required a software update. Who couldn’t see it coming a mile away?
With the group on the move, it was time to use it. Or not, depending on the case.
The Mi Fit app is a bit of a mess – with a bit of Apple polish, because searching for content and items wasn’t fun.
And there is a face store. Because everything needs a rigged app store.
However, there is no integration with Stava if you use it to track your movements with friends.
Although the screen is not always displayed, it is very bright because it is an AMOLED style screen. I have configured the device to turn on when I raise my arm. Although it appears inadvertently, it turns on when I need it … most of the time.
The screen is also a capacitive touchscreen AMOLED display, allowing you to slide and stroke it as you like.
I found that respect, some of the capacitive dots were a bit off, but otherwise it did a good job.
I stuck with the silicone strap applied. While some reviewers have noted he comes out when he wants, mine has performed well over the past few months.
It is a special silicone, that is to say that when we come to wash our hands, it is sometimes wise to remove it and inspect the imprint it leaves. Other bands are available and are fairly inexpensive for a device like this in your favorite online marketplace.
Battery life and charge
The device has a magnetic charge of 125 mAh in 2 hours. This is rated for 14 days, depending on how you set up the device (e.g. use the PIA Score system, what you choose to monitor and for how long).
I was close to 8 days before I needed a charge – which, considering the property cable, isn’t a bad thing.
In an extreme case, I left it in an office for almost 10 days with a partial charge on it. When I went to pick it up, the battery still had a good third of charge.
The cable used to charge this is unfortunately not standard – it’s a USB-A cable with 2-pin charging pins that attach magnetically to the bracelet.
Make sure you are logged in …
Although with the way the USB forum writes standards recently, that might not be a bad thing. Granted, I would have preferred to use some sort of larger (and therefore less lost) magnetic washer loader.
Near-Field Communication technology is not supported on this device, which means you cannot use it to open compatible smart locks or use it as a mobile wallet. You will have to take your phone or your wallet if you want more features like this.
Sensors and Features
In addition to the follow-up steps, the Mi Fit group also follows:
It also has features for workouts, music remote control, weather (from its own sources rather than built-in weather apps), alarm and event notifications.
When used with the Mi Fit app, the data ends up in Apple Health without much hassle.
But give him crutches or a cane …
I have no idea how the step counter is calibrated at all, but it presented a few challenges when I went on crutches (for reference I had a fall and suffered knee and ankle damage – and it’s a very slow recovery).
It is not fun.
It is not either.
or this for that matter,
I was interested to see what my step count looked like – and the results I got from the device compared to the information I got on my phone was very different.
I don’t know how the sensors work (because I’m supporting my leg with a crutch on the right and wearing my bracelet on the right), but the numbers didn’t match what the iPhone was recording
When I was on two feet the Mi Band took more steps than the phone, but this was replaced with in-game crutches.
This is something to keep in mind if you have limited mobility. I didn’t try to carry it on the other armâ¦ because I’m left-handed – that would hamper my lifeâ¦?
What about privacy?
Well, let’s open up a box of worms, okay? Although there is the smallest of permissions listed on the App Store, Mozilla Foundation – the creators of Firefox browser (a favorite of your editor for many years) has a privacy statement. And it’s worth reading.
In it, Mozilla assesses:
- Xiaomi- was criticized in 2020 when the researchers would have found they secretly collected user data while private web browsing and phone use.
If you want to manage your privacy (which we all should be doing), you need to be careful and assess the risk appropriately. If you are happy to donate your data to Xiaomi, Mi, Huami and co by all means. We just don’t know what they’re going to do with that data.
And if there is anything the last few years, data leaks and data monetization is something businesses love. Hell, there are TV makers who lose money selling the TV but make the money back through monetization of the apps and data you generate.
That’s not a topic for this article – but something I might dive into on another day about data monetization and why you should care.
Oh. platoon users can look just as unhappy – your device looks just as bad. Take a look at https://foundation.mozilla.org/en/privacynotincluded/.
Global or useful electronic waste?
I was hoping to do a full test while in Germany. However, it is lost, to the point that if you take it off it is easy to forget to put it back on. And that’s pretty much since then.
Precision is not in fashion, as the step counter proves – so it’s something to use in addition to the other tools in your health arsenal, rather than the quintessential gospel. And if you’re on crutches or a cane, that’s not accurate at all.
I’ve found the notification transfers to be great – which is great when you need to keep your phone out of the way, or if it’s across a room. However, to communicate and record data, it needs telephone connectivity.
And both apps (Mi Fit and Xiaomi Wear Lite) need to be taken out and put out of their misery – or at least have a lot of shine and ease of use.
I got into this, getting ready to write for Â£ 32.99. Glad I don’t have to do it at all – Garbage is garbage. Although I dread the day when I will have to change the battery on this thing, then it is just pure e-waste at this point.
Granted, there’s a lot to like – provided you don’t think you’re paying Â£ 33 for an Apple Watch equivalent – because that’s not what it is. It’s more of a Fitbit, with a pretty nice screen.
If you use it to track your health and for phone notifications (and to check blood oxygen – which is sometimes a good idea these days), it’s “good enough”.
And depending on your use case or budget, âGood enoughâ may do the trick. Granted, for me, I don’t want to rush to the Apple Store to buy a new Apple Watch or wait for the new Samsung Galaxy Wear devices.
If you want to drag it around or throw it in the trash after a while, that will determine if you want to keep it, along with any exercises you want it to do – unfortunately it can’t take your body to the gym or the gym. outdoors to get the exercise we all need to do.
Just be careful what data you choose to share with Xiaomi.
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