Xiaomi Mi Band 2 review

There's a lot to like about Xiaomi's latest fitness tracker

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We strapped on the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 not sure what to expect but came away very impressed.

That's not to say it's a perfect tracker or the best tracker out there, but for such a low price it's a really tempting buy for anyone who wants to start taking their fitness more seriously, even if it's just getting up from the desk every hour.

For your money you get step, calorie, activity, distance, sleep and resting heart rate tracking, plus vibrating alarms and reminders, smartphone notifications, and an app that's actually rather good. That's a lot of value.

Who's this for?

If you want to get into fitness tracking on the cheap without missing out on too many features, the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is an excellent choice. It does the basics, plus extras like notifications and sleep tracking, and isn't let down by the app either.

All it's really missing is integrated GPS and more advanced stats analysis, so if those are important to you then you might want to look elsewhere. Those of you who are serious about tracking multiple types of activity, and taking continuous heart rate readings, will also need to upgrade to something more expensive.

Those upgrades usually put you in the smartwatch market though - as far as a lightweight fitness tracker goes, the Mi Band 2 impresses.

Should you buy it?

Absolutely - if you're in the market for a fitness tracker then there are very few reasons not to go for the Xiaomi Mi Band 2. Put it in a head-to-head comparison against any other band out there and it will more than hold its own, and probably be cheaper too.

And while some cheap bits of tech look good on paper but fall down in the real world, that's not the case with the Xiaomi Mi Band 2. It works well, syncs quickly, and is comfortable to wear. The fact that the battery life pushes three weeks is another added bonus you shouldn't underestimate.

The Fitbits of this world might offer more features and a slicker overall experience but we can testify to the quality of the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 - do you really need any more from your tracker? And do you really need to spend any more?

The competition

Before you spend your money though, check out some of the competing fitness trackers, which we've listed below. You can also browse through our favorite fitness trackers of the year.

Misfit Shine 2

If you're looking at the very budget end of the fitness tracker scale, then the Misfit Shine 2 is a direct rival to the Xiaomi Mi Band 2, coming in at around £60/$70/AU$80 these days. It doesn't have to be worn on your wrist, and can be clipped to clothing instead, so there's a bit more flexibility there.

While the Misfit Shine 2 can track the basics in terms of steps and sleep, plus a bonus bit of smart home controller magic, it doesn't have a display and doesn't have an integrated heart rate monitor, so the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 still edges it.

Read the full Misfit Shine 2 review

Fitbit Alta HR

Probably the closest Fitbit strap to the Xiaomi Mi Band 2, the Alta HR matches the Xiaomi band pretty much feature for feature, and looks more stylish as well. On top of that, we have to say we prefer the experience of the Fitbit app over Mi Fit - it just feels more capable and more polished.

On the other hand, look at the price - you're going to be shelling out about £100/$100/AU$150 more for the Fitbit Alta HR, and that's a lot of money to pay for the Fitbit branding and a tracker that looks slightly nicer on the wrist.

Read the full Fitbit Alta HR review

Huawei Band 2 Pro

Also from a giant of the Asian tech industry and also aiming to undercut everyone else on price is the Huawei Band 2 Pro, which can be yours for around £80 in the UK and $70 in the US, depending on where you shop.

It even beats the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 in terms of features by adding integrated GPS on top of everything else, so you can track your location without the aid of a phone.

There's actually not that much else to choose between these budget options from Xiaomi and Huawei, but we reckon the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 has the edge in a few areas, including the overall design of the device and the intuitiveness of the app. The Huawei Band 2 Pro comes very close though.

Read the Huawei Band 2 Pro review

First reviewed: December 2017

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.