Wow, this $ 45 fitness tracker is awesome

Lexy Savvides / CNET

The best cheap fitness tracker you can buy is the $ 45 Mi Band 6. It’s hard to pass up if you’re on a budget but still want features like automatic workout detection, a blood oxygen sensor, sleep tracking, and rate monitoring. heart rate 24/7. Bonus: it is compatible with Android and iOS.

There is no shortage of fitness bands and smartwatches under $ 100. The $ 70 Amazfit Bip S and the newer Bip U are some of our favorite budget watches, but if you’re looking for something smaller, with very similar health and fitness tracking and a nicer display, the Mi Band 6 is a great one. choice. I’m a big proponent of finding cheaper alternatives to high-profile products, even going so far as to create an entire YouTube series dedicated to the cause. Here’s why I think the Mi Band 6 is a viable competitor for similar products from big brands like Fitbit and the newer Amazon halo view.

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A bright display makes the Mi Band a pleasure to use

This thing is so light that I often forget it’s on my wrist. Which is a good thing in the middle of a workout when I’m trying to focus on my next rep, or at night when I don’t want to feel a big smartwatch rubbing against my pillow.

A 1.56-inch AMOLED display might seem small, but thanks to its 326 ppi pixel density, the Mi Band 6’s text and graphics are incredibly crisp. I never feel like I need to pull out a magnifying glass or squint my eyes to understand what a text message is saying. Most importantly, it’s easy to see the screen in direct sunlight.

The screen and interface are also responsive and I didn’t experience any performance or lag issues. One thing I would add to the wishlist for the next gen is an automatic brightness sensor so that it can sense ambient light and adjust the intensity of the display on its own.


The screen is easy to see.

Lexy Savvides / CNET

Here is the list of smart features you get on the Mi Band 6:

  • Music Playback Control
  • App notifications from your phone, as well as call and message alerts
  • Find my phone
  • Phone mute option (Android only)
  • Calendar and event reminders
  • Remote camera shutter

As you can see there is no shortage of tools on board and it is even better than Fitbit 5 $ 180 Fee by having a find-my-phone app and a camera remote. While I would love a speakerphone and mic so I can take quick calls from my wrist, for the price I can’t expect that much.

The Mi Fit app is the weakest part of the whole experience. Compared to the smooth experience and icons you see as you navigate the group itself, the app feels like an afterthought. Even weeks later, I still take the time to figure out exactly where each feature is, like my sleep metrics and workout stats.

On the bright side, there are plenty of third-party apps that can leverage the Mi Band 6 to customize almost everything from watch faces to remapping actions for the music control app. My favorite is AmazTools because it allows me to export my training data with GPS and map details to services like Strava.

Workout tracking on the Mi Band 6 is good for the price


Some of the stats the Mi Band gives you after training.

Screenshot by Lexy Savvides / CNET

One of my main critiques of Anterior Mi Bands was the limited range of workout tracking options. If you wanted to record a session of Pilates or yoga, for example, there was only one generic “exercise” type that was not particularly accurate in calculating the overall effort. Now the Mi Band 6 gives you 30 fitness modes ranging from regular running and cycling to Zumba, HIIT and indoor ice skating. It can also automatically detect activities such as running, walking and cycling if you forget to manually start training recording.

You also get sleep tracking and a blood oxygen sensor that can take a spot reading or check it during the day and night in the background.

For the price, I’m happy with the way the Mi Band records workouts. You get detailed information about your pace, split times and heart rate zones after training in the app. The bracelet also tracks a physiological activity indicator or PAI score for you. It measures the amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity you do each day, similar to Fitbit’s active zone minutes metric. The PAI score is a bit vague and more difficult to understand than the Fitbit score, but I like the way it recommends the intensity training that I should do if I’m behind on my score that day.

But if you’re looking for the most accurate heart rate tracker for cardio exercises like running and walking, this won’t be the best fit for you. During a leisurely outdoor walk with a few small hills, the Mi Band said my heart rate peaked at 180 bpm – way higher than the number indicated by my chest belt. There’s also no on-board GPS, which isn’t a surprise considering it costs $ 45, so you’ll need to take your phone with you during your workouts to record the distance information and route. But this phone-assisted monitoring is still a step forward compared to the new one. $ 80 Amazon Halo View, which lacks any kind of distance tracking. I also had to manually sync the band in the Mi Fit app every time I started a workout for the GPS tracking to trigger which was a bit annoying.

Mi Band 6 battery life takes to the next level

I’m used to wearing smartwatches and trackers that last just two days between charges. That’s why, when I read the Mi Band’s 14 days of battery life, I had to do a double take. Surely that cannot be true? It turns out there is a small problem. If you exercise a lot, use the blood oxygen and heart rate sensors frequently, while keeping the screen brightness high, you are more likely to need to recharge after five days. It’s still pretty good compared to some alternatives and I can regularly go a week and change before I need to renew it. I’m sure I could push it back to 14 days if I just used it to get notifications from my phone and follow the steps.

The Mi Band 6 is my favorite budget fitness tracker of the year, especially if you’re just looking to dip your toes into the world of fitness clothing and want something you won’t need to charge very often.

About Yvonne Lozier

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