miband 2 review south africa

miband 2 review south africa

Review: Xiaomi MiBand 2 – a reliable bang-for-your buck fitness tracker

At nearly half the price of some of its more famous competitors, the Miband 2 is a great value-for-money wearable for fitness newbies.

miband 2 review south africa

miband 2 review south africa

Chinese hardware giant Xiaomi has been making inroads in everything from mobile phones to wearables for some time now. The  Xiaomi MiBand 2 was release last year as an upgrade on the Mi Band 1S.

It’s fair to say that we are all becoming more aware of how active (or not) we are and fitness wearables do a good job at helping as track that. But some of the bigger brand names can be quite expensive. When most of us are simply looking for a jazzed up pedometer, fitness trackers just aren’t worth the investment.

But that’s where the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is different. With a battery that will last around 20 days on a single charge, monitor your steps, heart rate, sleep patterns.

It also offers some notifications for calls, texts and apps at nearly half the cost of some of its competitors, this tracker is an excellent entry-level option.

So, let’s get right into the nitty gritty.


Available for R1418 from miband.co.za (free delivery countrywide).


The MiBand 2 offers all the basics you’d expect from a fitness tracker – it’ll track your steps,  monitor your heart rate and sleep and alert you when you have been inactive for more than an hour (if you enable this setting). It is all quite basic, but if you’re only just entering the wearables market, you don’t need anything more.

The display offers the option of showing time, steps, distance, calories, heart rate and remaining battery. The time display comes with two different options – just the time or time, day and date.

You can set your goal for daily steps and the band will buzz when you get there. The band also offers continuous heart-rate monitoring during runs, although as with all wearables that aren’t strapped to your chest, these readings can be a bit inaccurate. This is not a big deal if you’re just looking for an overview of where you’re at.

The one-touch button allows you to take a heart-rate reading on the spot, a big improvement on the previous version which required you to enter the app to get a reading.

The band also offers buzz notifications for incoming calls from your phone. Ideal if, like me, your phone is almost always on silent and you almost always miss calls as a result.

One hiccup is that the band sometimes thinks you are asleep if you are just sitting very still on the couch. As you can see in the above screenshot, when I spent some time watching a movie, it thought I’d gone to bed. This is a rare occurrence, though.

My favourite feature, though, is without a doubt the “silent” alarm. As with its predecessors, the alarm wakes you up by vibrating / buzzing on your arm. This is so much better than being startled by your phone’s loud hailing first thing in the morning.

The app

Xiaomi is constantly improving its software and one of the biggest changes in recent months has been the addition of telling the app that you are about to start a run, both on the app and on the treadmill.

The band itself does not have built in GPS, though, and you will have to carry your phone with you when pottering out for the best results, but the tracking is decent and fairly accurate.

Here are some screenshots of a nice hilly slog I did.

As you can see, the app will show pace per km, average pace, fastest km and slowest km as well a map of your route (if you turned GPS on your phone on), a graph of the altitude, as well as calories burned and other info that you’d expect from a decent run tracker.

The treadmill tracking is slightly disappointing. The distance is a fair way out, despite being able to “calibrate” your run, it won’t let you set the distance for much further if your step count does not align with it. The result is that the band will tell you you’ve burned far fewer calories than you did.

However, the app syncs seamlessly with GoogleFit, and you can always change values in here if you are using trackers to help you count calories.


Despite its price, the MiBand doesn’t look cheap. Even on my small wrist, it never felt bulky or got in the way. The bands which holds the actual tracker can also be swapped around for different colours and materials.

The single tap button is easy enough to use to scroll through the info on the screen. However, the screen isn’t easily viewable in bright sunshine. The only other slight annoyance is that even when put in do-not-disturb mode, the button will sometimes activate when you are sleeping with your arm slightly awkwardly and take a heart rate reading. Since it buzzes whenever it takes this reading, it can be a bit irritating.


If you are looking for a straight-forward, value-for-money fitness tracker that offers you the most-used features of more expensive trackers at a fraction of the price, it’s worth buying.