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3 key features that are missing on the global version of the Mi Smart Band 5

Xiaomi has announced the global launch of its latest fitness tracker, the Mi Smart Band 5. The Mi Band series enjoys a fine reputation for being some of the most value-for-money wearables in the market today, and import units have already been available in Malaysia in recent weeks.

The Mi Smart Band 5 was just launched in China in June of 2020, with a number of small, but significant upgrades to the previous Mi Band 4. These include a larger 1.1″ AMOLED display, along with an improved charging mechanism—this time, it’s a magnetic head that snaps onto the back of the fitness band.

However, besides the naming tweak (why is the “Smart” necessary?), the global variant of the Mi Smart Band 5 is missing a few key features that the China model has.

NFC support

You won’t be getting NFC support, which can be used for contactless payments—which is rather disappointing. As this is a global set, it would certainly have been a nifty way to make payments at public transport terminals, or even credit card terminals. It’s worth noting that there is also an NFC-less version of the Mi Smart Band 5 in China, so perhaps Xiaomi could eventually launch a global variant with NFC at some point in the future.

SpO2 monitoring

Additionally, the Mi Smart Band 5 is missing SpO2 monitoring, which is a feature that is supported on the China variant—along with a few rivals in the local fitness band market such as the Honor Band 5. In case you aren’t familiar, SpO2 measures the amount of oxygen that you have in your blood, which can help athletes to better plan their recovery routines.

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No voice assistant

There were initial rumours that Xiaomi’s latest fitness band would have support for Amazon Alexa, but unfortunately, that has proven to be false. And while China users have access to XiaoAi (Xiaomi’s own voice assistant), global users will have to use more conventional input methods to control their Mi Smart Band 5. For users who purchase import sets of the fitness tracker, XiaoAi does not work outside China.

There is a microphone listed on the global spec list, so perhaps there’s the potential for a voice assistant in the future. One can only hope.

Other specs and features

The rest of the features are identical to the China variant of the Mi Smart Band 5. Battery life is rated at up to 14 days, while there is 24-hour heart rate and sleep monitoring—along with menstrual cycle and ovulation phases. An interesting new feature also allows you to snap photos with your smartphone via your Mi Smart Band 5, which will come in handy when you don’t want to leave the photographer out of your group photos.

Xiaomi’s new fitness tracker is also rated at 5ATM for water resistance, while there are over 65 custom watch faces and 6 coloured straps that you can use. As mentioned before, the Chinese tech giants have also changed the way the charger worked (from the Mi Band 4), which is a relief. The charging mechanism of the previous Mi Band was probably one of my least favourite things about it.

The Mi Smart Band 5 is available in select global markets at EUR39.99 (~RM194), which is significantly more than the EUR34.99 (~RM170) price that the Mi Band 4 was launched at back in 2019. At the moment, we don’t have any official word on availability for the Malaysian market, but pre-orders have already opened in Europe.

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What do you think? Will you miss the NFC and SpO2 features? Or a voice assistant? Let us know in the comments section below.


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