Xiaomi has established itself as a serious player in the wearables market, with its Mi Band range offering an extensive range of features at an extremely affordable. Indeed, 2020’s Mi Band 5 has been our favourite budget fitness tracker since reviewing it back in September, offering an incredible level of functionality for just £39.99.
Despite its success, we’ve been excited about a successor for quite a while – this article was first written back in December. Three months later, our prayers were answered with the arrival of the Mi Band 6 (or Mi Smart Band 6 as it’s sometimes known) at Xiaomi’s ‘Mega Launch’. It looks set to be an even more appealing purchase this year, even if we don’t have UK pricing just yet. Here’s everything you need to know.
When will the Xiaomi Mi Band 6 be released?
The Mi Band 6 was officially unveiled at Xiaomi’s ‘Mega Launch’ event on 29 March 2021. This was widely expected to be among the announcements, with Head of Product Marketing Abi Go teasing its launch ahead of time:
5, 4, 3, 2, 1 #MiSmartBand6 see you tomorrow! #XiaomiMegaLaunch pic.twitter.com/v2RB92cwYI
— Abi Go (@abigoabi)
March 28, 2021
Here’s how to watch the event back if you missed it.
Xiaomi has confirmed that the Mi Band 6 will go on sale in the UK from late April 2021, but a more specific availability date isn’t yet known. This is earlier in the year than Xiaomi usually releases its budget wearable, with the Mi Band 5 arriving in July 2020.
How much does the Xiaomi Mi Band 6 cost?
At the official launch event, Xiaomi only revealed Chinese pricing for the Mi Band 6. The base model will cost CNY 229 (approx. £26/US$35), while stepping up to the NFC-enabled model will set you back CNY 279 (approx. £31/US$43). The latter won’t be released globally, meaning the only variant available in Europe won’t support Google Pay.
Xiaomi has said full UK pricing will be provided nearer its release, although it’s more likely that this will roughly match the price in US$. If that ends up being the case, it would end up being cheaper than the Mi Band 5, although considering the upgrades here, we think that’s unlikely:
Xiaomi Mi Band 3: £19.99/$19.99
Xiaomi Mi Band 4: £34.99/$34.99
Xiaomi Mi Band 5: £39.99/$39.99
However, Xiaomi is far from the only manufacturer of budget fitness trackers these days. Honor launched the €49.90 (approx. £42) Band 6 just a few days earlier, while competition from the likes of Amazfit and Fitbit remains strong.
Xiaomi Mi Band 6 specs and features
Despite its low price, the Mi Band 6 offers a range of premium specs and health-focused features that could make it the new gold standard when it comes to budget fitness trackers. Let’s go through all the key areas one by one:
The display has seen a significant upgrade on the Mi Band 6 – it’s now a 1.5in AMOLED touch panel (at a Full HD+ resolution). As official imagery shows, this allows plenty more information to be displayed on your wrist, including weather, steps, calories burned, charge and heart rate at the same time.
This means the Mi Band 6 will consume more power than its predecessor, although Xiaomi has stuck with the same 125mAh cell as the Band 5. The company claims the same 14 days on a single charge, suggesting power efficiency has been improved.
To make room for the larger screen, Xiaomi has ditched the capacitive button in favour of an all-touch user interface. Besides that, it’s not a huge departure from the Mi Band 5 in terms of design, with the same sleek, minimalist aesthetic and rounded corners we’ve become accustomed to. There’s more of an opportunity to express yourself with the straps, where you’ll find a choice of six strap colours – Black, Orange, Yellow, Olive, Ivory and Blue.
While it can do plenty of other things, the Mi Band 6 is a fitness tracker first and foremost. This can be seen in its ability to now track 30 different types of workouts – double what you’ll find on the Mi Band 5. Notable new additions include gymnastics and zumba alongside stretching and HIIT tracking for those who’ve had to trade the gym for home recently. All the regular activities, like walking, running, cycling and pool swimming (possible thanks to 5ATM water resistance) are still here, with five of most popular ones (walking, treadmill, cycling, rowing and elliptical) now automatically detected by the Band 6.
Extensive health tracking
The Mi Band 6 is designed to be a complete health companion. That’s reflected in its wide range of tracking features which go far beyond the regular step counting and heart rate monitoring you might expect in budget fitness trackers.
Among the most notable new additions this year is blood oxygen monitoring (known as SpO2), an important indicator of overall health. There’s also full sleep tracking, which can monitor naps, REM sleep and the quality of your breathing while asleep. The latter extends to a deep breathing guide while you are awake, as well as stress monitoring. All this can be displayed within the Mi Fit and Mi Wear companion apps, which is also where you’ll find personalised recommendations and the ability to change your watch face.
Screenshots of an updated user experience, designed to accommodate new features like Alexa, and portray a different visual language were shared on French site Logger.fr.
Xiaomi Mi Band 6 leaked UI elements | Source: Logger.fr
New iconography, emoji support and new animations will all be included on the Mi Band 6.To see what the device will be up against, read our roundup of the best fitness trackers.