Travel Technology – The Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 – Entry-level fitness tracker… or e-Waste?

Time for a little more travel technology – this time with an eye on the Xiaomi Mi Smartband 6. But will there be a reasonable experience at this price point, or is it heading towards the e-waste pile?

And what are you giving up for such a low price?


I got mine through Amazon UK for £ 32.99 + £ 2.99 delivery to an Amazon locker. Take a look around – the prices for this product apply everywhere at the time of writing.

Out of the box

So let’s get that out of the box. Like most unboxing, I do this in my local office. I mean Starbucks. Same difference.

We open the box and start looking at the contents.

Uncover your secrets!

The contents of the box

Mi Band 6 and charger

Do not judge me.


Setting up the device might seem intimidating given the thickness of the manual, but it’s easier than it looks

Simply scan a QR code (or go to the App Store) to download the appropriate application. If you want to integrate Apple Health, you will need the Mi Fit application, as opposed to the Xaimoi Wear Lite app. Both can apparently update the device, read the data from it, add watch faces, and so on, but Mi Fit can handle interoperability between Apple Health and the Mii Band 6.

After commissioning, the hardware required a software update. Who couldn’t see this coming from miles away?

While the band was on, it was time to take advantage of them. Or not, it depends.

The Mi Fit app is a bit of a mess – with some Apple-like polish, as rummaging around for content and items wasn’t fun.

And there is a shop for faces. Because everything needs a fiddly app store.

However, there is no integration with Stava when using this to track your movements with friends.


Although the display is not always shown, it is very bright as it is an AMOLED style display. I configured the device to turn on when I raise my arm. While it shows up inadvertently, it turns on when I need it … mostly.

The display is also a capacitive touch AMOLED display that allows you to swipe and swipe to your heart’s content.

I found this respect, some of the capacitive points were a little off, but otherwise it did a good job.

The ribbon

I glued with the attached silicone tape. While some reviewers noted it popped out when it wanted to, mine has been behaving itself for the past few months.

It’s a silicone special, so when you come to wash your hands it is sometimes a good idea to take it off and examine the impression it has made. Other tapes are available through your favorite online marketplace and are cheap enough for a device like this one.

Battery life and charging

The device has 125 mAh, magnetic charging within 2 hours. This will be rated for 14 days depending on how you configure the device (e.g. using the PIA score system, what you want to monitor and how long).

I was almost 8 days before I needed a charge – which isn’t a bad thing considering the proprietary cable.

In the extreme case, I left it with a partial load in an office for most of 10 days. When I wanted to get it, the battery was still a third charged.

The cable used for charging is unfortunately not standard – it is a USB-A cable with 2 pins that are magnetically attached to the bracelet.

Make sure you are connected …

Although the USB forum has been writing standards lately, that may not be a bad thing. Surely I would have preferred to use a larger magnetic puck charger (and therefore less losable).


Near-Field Communication technology is not supported on this device, which means you cannot use it to open compatible Smart Locks or as a mobile wallet. You’ll have to grab your phone or wallet if you want more features like this.

Sensors and functions

In addition to tracking steps, the Mi Fit band also tracks:

Blood oxygen

It also has functions for workouts, music remote control, weather (from its own sources instead of built-in weather apps), alarm and event notifications.


Exercise programs

When used with the Mi Fit app, the data ends up in Apple Health without too much problems.

But give him crutches or a walking stick …

I’m not sure how the pedometer is calibrated in the first place, but it presented some challenges when I was on crutches (for reference, I fell and damaged my knee and ankle – and it was recovering very slowly).

That’s not fun.

This is also not the case.

or that for that matter,

I was interested in seeing what my step count was – and the results I got from the device were the information I got on my phone very different.

I’m not sure how the sensors work (since I crutch my leg on the right and wear my bracelet on the right), but the numbers didn’t match what the iPhone captured

When I was on two legs, the Mi Band took more steps than the phone – but that swapped with crutches in the game.

You should pay attention to this if you have restricted mobility. I didn’t try it on the other arm … because I’m left-handed – that would get in the way of life …?

What about privacy

Well let’s open a can of worms, will we? While only a few permissions are listed in the App Store, Mozilla Foundation – Manufacturer of the Firefox browser (a favorite of your editor for many years) has a privacy report. And worth reading.

Mozilla rated it:

  • It became a device-specific data protection declarationwhich was only given when Mozilla asked for it – which wasn’t publicly available anywhere on the internet.
  • The company says that users will not be able to access the privacy policy until they download the app.
  • Xiaomi came under fire in 2020 when Researchers have reportedly found They secretly collected user data while surfing the Internet privately and making phone calls.
  • According to the Xiaomi privacy policy, the company does not sell any personal data to third parties. They state that they may share personal data with Xiaomi partners and the Mi ecosystem. They also pass on personal data to third parties for marketing purposes. You can also share personal data with Huami affiliates and third parties for advertising and other purposes.

If you want to protect your privacy (which we all should be) then you should be careful and assess the risk accordingly. If you like to give your data to Xiaomi, Mi, Huami and Co., definitely. We just don’t know what to do with this data.

And if there has been anything in the past few years, data leaks and data monetization is something companies love. Hell, there are TV makers who lose money selling the TV but make the money monetizing the apps and the data they generate.

This is not a topic for this post – but I could dive into something on data monetization and why you should care about it in another day.

Oh. Peloton Users can look just as unhappy – your device seems just as bad. Check it out

E-waste total or useful?

I was hoping to put this to an extensive test during my stay in Germany. However, it can be lost so quickly that it is easy to forget to put it back on when you take it off. And it’s been going pretty well since then.

Accuracy isn’t particularly important here, as the pedometer proves – so it’s something you can use in addition to the other tools in your health arsenal rather than the gospel being the be-all and end-all. And if you’re on crutches or a walking stick, it is not at all exactly.

I found the notification pushes to be excellent – they’re good if you need to keep your phone away or if it’s across a room. However, a telephone connection is required to communicate and log data.

And both apps (Mi Fit and Xiaomi Wear Lite) have to be released and freed from their misery – or at least given a lot of gloss and ease of use.

However, the privacy policy would give me a break – if I had access to the damn thing before I buy.

I got in and prepared to write for £ 32.99. I’m glad I don’t have to – waste is waste. Although I fear the day I’ll have to change the battery on this thing – at that point it’s just pure eWaste.

There is sure to be a lot to like – assuming you don’t think you’re paying £ 33 for an Apple Watch equivalent – because that’s not what it is. It’s more of a Fitbit with a reasonably nice display.

If you’re using it to keep track of your health and for phone notifications (and to check blood oxygen – which is a good idea occasionally during these times), it’s “good enough.”

And depending on the application or budget, “good enough” can do the job well. I certainly don’t feel like rushing to the Apple Store to get a new Apple Watch or wait for the new Samsung Galaxy Wear devices.

If you hang around or want to toss it in the trash can after a while, it will decide if you want to keep it along with any exercise you want to do with it – unfortunately, it can’t get your body to the gym or outside to do the Exercise we all must do.

Just be careful what data you want to share with Xiaomi.

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