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We had issues with the silicon band supplied with the original Mi Band, which over time began to weaken where the tracker was removed for charging; eventually it became unable to securely hold it to our wrist. But the polycarbonate band introduced with the 1S is much tougher. Even if you do have issues it’s relatively easy to get
hold of spare bands, and these come in various colours should you not fancy the standard black version we reviewed.
Xiaomi says it has upgraded the pedometer algorithm for the Mi Band 2, and much to our excitement it has also tweaked the accompanying Mi Fit app. We had real headaches trying to set up the Mi Band 1S, since the software available in the UK Google Play store didn’t support the heart-rate scanner, but with the Mi Band 2 we simply logged into the Mi Fit app, paired the band and were good to go.
As before Mi Fit syncs data with the band as soon as you launch the app. It offers the usual step-, sleep-, pulse-, distance and calories burned counters, and you can track your activity, sleep and heart-rate by day, week or month. The Mi Band 2 also lets you set alarms, idle alerts and have the Mi Band 2 warn you of incoming calls and texts by gently vibrating on your arm.
With the Mi Band 2 (as with the 1S) you can also add app notifications: you can choose up to five apps for which the Xiaomi will vibrate to alert you to new notifications. Do keep in mind, though, that the more you use this feature the lower the battery life will be.
Setting up app notifications is frustrating, since there is no order to the list of apps you can choose and Mi Fit lists every service running, but you do so only once. Worse is the fact Xiaomi hasn’t better utilised the new screen for app alerts. We accept that the display is too small for printing even just the subject line of a notification, but we’d like to see the icon of the app the
notification relates to rather than the word ‘app’ when a new notification is received.
The one place the Mi Band 2 continues to fall down is third-party app integration – at least in the UK. Though it ties in with Google Fit, one of the most attractive aspects of Fitbits and other fitness bands over here is the ability to compete with friends – we don’t think many UK users will be familiar with Sina Weibo. You can, of course, set your own activity and weight goals using Mi Fit, and by default you’ll get notifications when you achieve these each day. But it’s not quite the same thing.
With a new OLED screen the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 offers better value than ever. We’d like to see better integration with third-party apps, but at this price the Mi Band 2 is impossible to fault. Marie Brewis
0.42in OLED screen Pedometer Optical heart-rate scanner Activity, distance, sleep, weight, calories burned tracking Sedentary reminders; Alarms Call, text and app notification alerts Bluetooth 4.0 70mAh rechargeable battery, 20-day battery life Hypoallergenic IP67 silicon band, 155- to 210mm adjustable 40.3x15.7x10.5mm 7g (tracker only)