About a month ago, Xiaomi brought out the Mi Band 5, the natural successor to the Mi Band 4. Although it has arrived in Spain under the name Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 5, the truth is that the bracelet does not differ from the global version. With this new launch, the Asian firm intends to elevate its most recognized wearable to a greater point of perfection . It will do so through a series of improvements that come with the aim of improving some of the shortcomings of the Mi Band 4. Unfortunately, the company again sins in some of the aspects that received the most criticism in past iterations. Will it be the benchmark bracelet again in a market already saturated with options? I have had the opportunity to test the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 and compare it with the Mi Band 3 for a whole month to answer this question.
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|Xiaomi Mi Band 5|
|screen||1.1 inches with color OLED technology and 294 x 126 pixel resolution|
|Dimensions||46.95 × 18.15 × 12.45 mm|
|RAM memory and internal storage||512 KB of RAM and 16 MB of flash memory|
|Finishes||Polycarbonate and glass with rubber strap|
|Autonomy||14 days of use (approximately 2 weeks according to the manufacturer)|
|Connections||Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy (LE)|
|Applications||Synchronization with Mi Fit and third-party applications|
|Principal functions||168 x 75 x 9 millimeters and 188 grams|
|System and compatibility||Compatible with Android 5.0 or later versions and iOS 10 or later versions|
A design that evolves and improves the key points
In aesthetic terms, the Mi Band 5 improves certain key aspects that were criticized in the Mi Band 4. Starting with the size of the screen. Now we have a 1.1-inch panel , a panel that takes better advantage of the glass surface, growing to 0.15 inches compared to the 2019 model. This is due, in part, to the reduction of the touch button, which now It happens to be totally flat and much smaller than that of the Mi Band 3, for example.
Another improvement that comes with this new generation has to do with the charging connector. Until now, the location of this connector required us to remove the capsule from the strap bracelet to charge the battery. The Mi Band 5 not only allows us to dock the charger without removing the capsule from its corresponding compartment , it also improves the docking process itself by magnetizing the connection pins.
For the rest, the Mi Band 5 is practically identical to its predecessor, as it maintains the same dimensions. When it comes to weight, the bracelet feels really light. In fact, the strap that holds it is considerably lighter than that of the Mi Band 3 . Thanks to this, we can remove the capsule more easily, something that was not easy in other versions of the Xiaomi smart bracelet, such as the Mi Band 2 or the Mi Band 3.
The screen improves in size and brightness but forgets the most important thing
So is. The increase in screen to 1.1 inches is accompanied by an increase in the maximum brightness of the panel. The figure given by the manufacturer is 450 nits, about 50 nits different from the Mi Band 4. In practice, the bracelet can be seen in environments with a lot of sunlight , although with some difficulty if the rays fall directly on the screen.
Having a larger screen allows us to have the data of the steps, the pulsations and the time in the same mask without changing the application.
The consequent increase in the diagonal also brings a series of improvements associated with the applications installed on the bracelet. By having a larger surface area, the viewing of certain software elements improves significantly. Seeing the history of steps, the weather forecast or the notifications of the bracelet itself is now much more comfortable , since we will not have to be continuously sliding the content with our finger. Of course, the system still does not recognize certain special characters and emoticons. Otherwise, the screen will show an empty square icon.
Returning to the issue of brightness, Xiaomi has once again left one of the most useful elements that we can find in this type of device in the inkwell. We are talking about the brightness sensor , which once again shines by its absence, forcing us to change the brightness manually through the system options. It is true that the Mi Fit application allows us to create a personalized Night mode that reduces the brightness of the bracelet depending on the time of day. Unfortunately, this setting reduces the brightness to its minimum level, a level that seems insufficient if we are not in a completely dark environment. Nor is it that the options on the bracelet help to change the brightness with ease.
Synchronization and connections: one of lime and one of sand
The official presentation of the Mi Band 5 in China made us dream of a smart bracelet with GPS and NFC to make mobile payments without depending on the smartphone. As has been happening since the Mi Band 3, Xiaomi has once again discarded this connection in Europe. In fact, the specifications of the Mi Band 5 do not differ at all from those of the Mi Band 4, since it only has Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy. Neither NFC, nor GPS. Bluetooth only .
As for data synchronization with the Mi Fit application, the behavior of the bracelet is frankly good. Compared to the Mi Band 3, the connection and the data dump is much faster and more agile : in a few seconds the bracelet will be fully synchronized with the official Xiaomi application. The same happens if we change any parameter of the bracelet in the application, as well as in the installation of new 'spheres' and 'masks'.
Features, applications and monitoring: improving the present
We put aside the technical section of the bracelet to talk about its possibilities on a more practical and less tangible level. According to the manufacturer's information, the Mi Band 5 comes with five new sports functions, including yoga, rowing and rope jumping . In total, the bracelet has up to eleven different types of activities. It also has a system that automatically detects runs and walks.
In practice, the detection and recognition of all these activities has improved dramatically. And this is especially appreciated when starting to run and detect false positives. Both aspects had a significant room for improvement in the Mi Band 2 and the Mi Band 3. In fact, the step counter in the second and third iteration of the Mi Band was susceptible to accepting certain wrist movements such as those shown. performed by playing an instrument (drums, guitar, bass ...) or lifting weights quickly. The Mi Band 5 not only does not take these types of movements into account, it is also capable of detecting the steps correctly while we perform continuous arm and wrist movements .
Settings and functions of the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 in Mi Fit.
Another improvement that comes with this new generation has to do with the detection of the heart rate and sleep. Now the bracelet is able to display data faster and more accurately. If we want to see the variation of the pulse in real time, for example, the bracelet will only take 8 or 9 seconds to display all the information on the screen , a quite important improvement compared to the Mi Band 3.
The Mi Band 5 allows us to establish dynamic 'masks' and 'spheres' with movement.
The new iteration also includes a function that allows us to calculate the stress level based on the pulsations . Its operation is somewhat erratic, to tell the truth. It is also quite slow, as it takes about 15-20 seconds to display the information on the screen. As an anecdote, the bracelet also has a Breathing mode that helps us relax through breathing exercises. What this mode does is calculate the heart rate at the beginning of the exercise to compare it later with the same variable at the end of the process.
My Fit shows us different records on the main screen: hours of sleep, stress level, PAI, steps ...
Focusing on the applications of the bracelet, the great novelty regarding the Mi Band 4 comes with the incorporation of a menstrual cycle calendar and a remote camera trigger . The calendar in question allows us to obtain a daily record of female health through the different phases of ovulation. It also has a reminder function that allows us to set alerts depending on the phase of the cycle.
As for the remote shooting function, the behavior of the application is as expected: the bracelet enables a touch button that allows us to capture photographs through the camera application . The delay time is just 1 second, so the action is practically immediate. The same is true for the remote music playback function. The bracelet incorporates a fully inserted player that is used to change aspects such as the volume of the music or the song that is being played. The good news is that both functions are compatible with any phone and system application, regardless of brand or manufacturer.
Battery and charging: delivering as promised
We come to one of the most controversial sections of the Mi Band 5. For the first time in history, Xiaomi has reduced the battery capacity of its smart bracelet with respect to the rest of the models launched by the company to date. Specifically, the battery has a capacity of 125 mAh, about 10 mAh less than the Mi Band 4 . Interestingly, the results do not differ much from what we found on the Mi Band 3 and the Mi Band 4.
During the first two weeks of testing, the autonomy of the bracelet making widespread use of its functions and activating continuous heart rate monitoring has lasted 14 days . All this with the phone's Bluetooth deactivated to avoid receiving notifications. If we alternate the activation of notifications and Bluetooth with constant monitoring, the autonomy is reduced to approximately 9 days .
When it comes to charging the bracelet, the average time is approximately 1 hour and a half , depending on the starting percentage and the charger. The ideal is to charge the bracelet from 10%. From 0 to 100%, the charging time can be as long as 2 hours.
Conclusions and opinion of the Xiaomi Mi Band 5
After seeing all the key points of the Mi Band 5, it's time to draw conclusions. Continuing with the usual Xiaomi line, the official price of the bracelet in our country is about 40 euros , a little less if we go to unofficial stores. Taking into account what the bracelet offers compared to other proposals on the market, I cannot think of any other better option to buy for less than 50 euros. Now, is it worth renewing the bracelet if we have an older version? It depends.
It is a fact, the news regarding the Mi Band 4 are somewhat anecdotal . And this is something that is not understood if we take a look at the Chinese version of the bracelet, a version that incorporates a microphone that allows you to start a conversation with Xiaomi's native assistant (hello, Google Assistant). It also includes a blood oxygen meter that helps complement the data obtained by the heart rate sensor, not to mention the presence of an NFC chip that allows us to make mobile payments.
None of these components are present in the European version. Nor will it help us to resort to stores that export the bracelet, since Xiaomi vetoes all these functions outside their country of origin . After two generations with differences compared to the Chinese versions of the bracelet, the conclusion is that the company needs to draw all its arsenal to avoid stagnating in a market that is increasingly tightening in the race to gain the largest share of use.
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