Xiaomi has established itself as a serious player in the wearables market, with its Mi Band range offering an extensive host of features at an extremely affordable price. 2020’s Mi Band 5 served as our favourite budget fitness tracker of the year and its successor – the Mi Band 6 – doesn’t disappoint either.
The Mi Band 6 (or Mi Smart Band 6, as it’s sometimes known) boasts a larger display than its predecessor and as of a further announcement in September, features that were once China-exclusive, like NFC, now available to a global audience.
When was the Xiaomi Mi Band 6 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 confirmed that the Mi Band 6 would go on sale in markets including the UK from late April 2021, however, it wasn’t until the company’s September 2021 event that we learnt that the Band 6 with NFC would also be launching outside of China.
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 cost CNY 229 (approx. £26/US$35), while stepping up to the China-specific NFC-enabled model would set you back CNY 279 (approx. £31/US$43).
When the Band 6 arrived in international markets, it was priced at £39.99/€44.99/₹3,999/US$42.30, while the NFC-enabled version for global audiences clocked in at €54.99.
For reference, here’s how much previous Mi Bands cost:
- Xiaomi Mi Band 3: £19.99/$19.99
- Xiaomi Mi Band 4: £34.99/$34.99
- Xiaomi Mi Band 5: £39.99/$39.99
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 seemingly render 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 6 – it’s now a 1.5in AMOLED touch panel that extends to the edge of the tracking unit (i.e. not the strap). As official imagery shows, this allows for plenty more information to be displayed on your wrist, including weather, steps, calories burned, charge and heart rate, all at the same time.
Technically, this means the Mi Band 6 consumes more power than its predecessor, however, 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 aesthetics or proportions; with the same sleek, minimalist form 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 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 fitness, recently. All the regular activities, like walking, running, cycling and pool swimming (possible thanks to 5ATM swim proofing) are still here, with five of most popular ones (walking, treadmill, cycling, rowing and elliptical) now automatically detected by the Band 6 too.
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 it supports, reaching 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 saturation 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 initially shared on French site Logger.fr.
New iconography, emoji support and new animations are all included on the Mi Band 6 too.
Available at launch in China but reserved until the company’s 15 September global announcement for markets elsewhere, the Band 6 can also be bought in an NFC variant that facilitates AliPay in the brand’s native China and supports Mastercard on the global iteration.
As leaked in the iconography, the NFC model also supports Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant.
To see what devices the Band 6 is up against, read our roundup of the best fitness trackers.