Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Review: The best just got better

If you glance through the reviews section on GizChina, you’ll notice that unlike a lot of others we don’t often deal with superlatives in our review headings. The Mi Band 2 though, is an exception.

After a crazy-successful stint with the original Mi Band, Xiaomi released a bit of an incremental update in the Mi Band 1S by adding a heart rate sensor. The fitness band remained practical and affordable, which is a feat hard to pull off.

Xiaomi seem to have found their peace in the ‘don’t fix if it ain’t broken’ mantra. It would definitely have been a challenge for Xiaomi to add necessary features without going overboard, while trying to stay relevant in the wearable market which is getting tougher by the day.

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Review: Pricing

The Mi Band 2 was launched in China for an utterly lucrative price of $23. For those outside of the country, the Mi Band can be had for $39.99 with free shipping, which despite being 2/3rds higher than the original price, is still a great price to pay as you shall read in the review here.

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Review: In the box

Apologies for the horrid focus. Still trying to learn how to use the camera…

The Mi Band 2 ships in the typical cardboard-themed Xiaomi retail boxes we all have come to love. This box is no different in general appearance (and perhaps the dimensions) from those in which the Mi Band 1 and the 1S shipped.

What you get inside:

  • The Mi Band 2 capsule with OLED display
  • Wrist strap
  • Charging cable
  • User’s manual

Pretty no-nonsense like the whole of the band.

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Review: Build Quality

Having used the previous Mi Bands, I can say that the Mi Band 2 is by far the best built one. The strap feels a bit more polished — and rubbery — at the same time, which should help give it a bit more longevity.

ohto 64_resultWhile I was quite happy with the build quality, I got an unexpected chance of testing it out nonetheless. While bowling (cricket), my arm hit my waist at quite a high speed, flinging the Mi Band 2 in the air. The gadget fell side-first, but damage was a lot less than I expected.

That said, long-term usage will invariably damage the top of the OLED screen especially if you’re into any sort of adventure sports.

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Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Review: Battery Life

Amazing as ever, and the number one reason why the Mi Band is my go-to fitness tracker since it came out. I received the Mi Band 2 on the 13th of June with 74% battery.

I’ve used it with all kinds of features on — sleep tracking, vibrate on calls, daily alarms, notifications for a couple of apps, etc — and I have 40% battery still remaining. I also have enabled ‘gesture wake up’, which seems to work really well.

This is quite insane, if you ask me. At this rate, a month of battery life shouldn’t be surprising!

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Review: Other & Mi Fit app

The Mi Fit app now supports a few more functions and is a lot easier to use compared to the previous version of the app. Features such as notifications for apps (you can choose which ones you want to be notified for; the Mi Band 2 also has icons on the OLED screen for some!).

The locking mechanism on the strap has gotten better also, and it’s a little easier to use now.

There’s a capacitive area on the Mi Band 2 which you can touch to:

  • turn the OLED screen on
  • move between various screens
  • turn off the vibration during an alarm
  • turn off the vibration during a call

Some screens from the Mi Fit app:

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Review: Gallery

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Review: Conclusion

Very happy the way Xiaomi are approaching the wearable situation. I don’t think they even need a smartwatch for now — perhaps for another year. Whatever usable features we’ve seen on smartwatches from China, the Mi Band 2 has already.

There’s virtually nothing I would rather have the Mi Band 2 do. Widespread availability would be a boon, but then that’s not something directly related to the product.

A little more on my thoughts about the Xiaomi Smartwatch: they probably don’t need one for now unless they’re really keen on the ‘for the record’ aspect of it.

Thanks to Geekbuying for shipping the Mi Band 2 for review! Check them out if you wish to buy one.

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