After Huawei, Xiaomi is now also releasing the seventh Smart Band. As usual, the manufacturer wants to convince with many features at a reasonable price and attract new users. We took a closer look at the Smart Band 7 and compared it to the predecessors Mi Band 5 and 6. In our test, we clarify what the new edition is good for and whether the purchase is worthwhile for newcomers and owners of the old models.
Scope of delivery, design, setup
As soon as we use the Xiaomi Smart Band 7 for the first time, we feel a little like we are in our own version of the film “Groundhog Day”. Because optically, nothing has changed with the Smart Band 7 compared to the Mi Band 5 and 6 – absolutely nothing. If you put the fitness trackers next to each other, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell right away which band belongs to which generation. Even with the scope of delivery, everything remains the same: the simple cardboard box comes with the tracker including a bracelet, a user manual and a charging cable.
Arguably the biggest change is the name, which could cause a lot of confusion. Without much fanfare, Xiaomi changed the name from Mi Band to Smart Band. Many might continue to refer to the fitness tracker as the Mi Band or, as a mixed form, even as the Mi Smart Band. Officially, the product is now called Xiaomi Smart Band, strictly speaking also retrospectively.
Nothing has changed with the display and the bracelet compared to the Mi Band 5 and 6 either in a positive or negative sense. The display itself is still easy to read, even in strong sunlight. The reaction speed of the display also leaves nothing to be desired, even if there are seldom slight stutters on the display. But they hardly matter. The display itself is now 1.62 inches – one of the few changes from the Mi Band 6, which featured a 1.56-inch AMOLED display. Overall, the tracker is hardly larger because Xiaomi has simply reduced the edges of the display. The option to activate an always-on display is new. Unfortunately, there is still no brightness sensor for ambient light.
On the other hand, Xiaomi has installed the same bracelet in the Smart Band 7 as in the predecessors, which looks pretty cheap and we found the clasp to be a little hard to get used to and fiddly in the test. After all, you can buy corresponding replacement wristbands in different colors on the Internet from as little as ten euros.
Where almost nothing has changed is the setup of the Xiaomi Smart Band 7: We start the tracker, download the Mi Fitness app to our smartphone and pair the Smart Band 7 with our cell phone. In order to simplify the installation of the app, the Smart Band 7 will display a QR code immediately after launch, through which we can download the app. It only takes a few minutes to set up, but we need a free Mi user account to use the software.
Nothing significant has changed in the Mi Fit app since our review of the Xiaomi Mi Band 6 (test report), so we refer to our detailed discussion of the software in our review of the Mi Band 5 at this point. At this point it should only be mentioned that the app prepares all data that we record with the Smart Band 7 in various tables in a pleasantly clear manner. Important data such as steps, sleep, training sessions and activities are displayed to us in individual overviews. Measured values such as our blood oxygen are also available.
The “Competition” and “Standing” menus have been added. The former allows us to invite friends to competitions, for example by comparing activity data such as steps. The “Standing” overview shows us how much time we spent in a day standing – a helpful feature for those users who spend a lot of time at their desk. If you want, you can also set specific activity goals as usual and specify a target body weight.
The app shows our data favorites directly on the first page. This means: We can specify which data diagrams should appear directly on the start page, such as blood pressure, steps, calories, etc. In the Training tab, we can start units manually or activate location detection. Particularly practical: the app even has its own metronome for running training, which we can use to control our step frequency.
Like its predecessor, the Xiaomi Smart Band 7 offers a whole range of functions that characterize a current fitness tracker. In addition to the steps you have taken, you can also measure your blood oxygen, heart rate and your own stress level. The blood oxygen saturation can be monitored continuously, but this has a significant effect on the battery life and is hardly necessary for normal everyday use.
What we noticed very positively was the pedometer. The latter already delivered accurate values with the previous model, but Xiaomi has improved it again with the Smart Band 7, which means that the tracker was able to achieve accuracy with deviations in the low single-digit range per 1,000 steps. As with the predecessor, strong shaking does not cause incorrect measurements.
If you want, you can again set a daily goal in relation to the steps taken. This works very easily via the app. Once we have reached the goal, a message on the tracker’s display informs us of our success. Also, we can set a motion alert to remind us to get active. If we sit for more than an hour, the smart band will vibrate on request to encourage us to get up. We can use the app to set the period of the day during which this reminder should be active.
Xiaomi Smart Band 7 – photo gallery
Xiaomi Smart Band 7 – photo gallery
Many cheap fitness trackers do not have a GPS module. The Xiaomi Smart Band 7 is no exception in this respect, which is why amateur athletes must always have their smartphone with them during training if they want to record a running or cycling route as precisely as possible. Smart sports watches like the Forerunner series from Garmin or the corresponding models from Suunto and Polar are better equipped.
Although the Xiaomi Smart Band 7 measures the distance covered without GPS, you have to accept significant deviations. In our test, the tracker recorded a distance that was actually 6.7 km long as a distance of almost 5 km. This deviation is so large that a recording of corresponding distance training sessions without GPS support from a smartphone becomes practically useless, because this way the pace information is no longer correct either. However, if the tracker is connected to the smartphone via Bluetooth and can access the GPS signal, the route recording works perfectly.
In addition to the option of recording running and cycling units, the Smart Band 7 also offers various other training profiles for a total of 110 different sports. It is obvious that recording some of these profiles does not really make sense, such as chess or kite flying. Nevertheless, we welcome the large number of different options as well as the possibility to have cardio sports units recorded automatically. The automatic training recognition worked very well in our test and is available for running (indoor and outdoor), walking, rowing (indoor) and cardio using an elliptical trainer.
A problem that many fitness trackers and smart sports watches have to struggle with unfortunately remains with the Smart Band 7: The heart rate measurement basically does a good job, but that only applies to training sessions in which the heart rate is relatively evenly distributed level remains. In HIIT or weight training, where heart rate can vary widely and at short intervals, accuracy fails. This in turn affects the calculation of calorie needs. However, Xiaomi has improved the latter: While we still criticized the conservative calorie display in earlier Mi Band models, in the case of the Smart Band 7 we now get a much more realistic estimate of our energy requirements after a sports session.
While Xiaomi has improved a few points in terms of training, practically nothing is happening in terms of sleep tracking. As usual, the Smart Band 7 independently recognizes when you fall asleep and wake up, and it does so quite reliably. After each night, the app summarizes our sleep in a clear chart and evaluates our sleep quality. This rating is based on the duration of each stage of sleep — and that’s where a key sticking point lies.
Because the accuracy of the sleep phase detection leaves a lot to be desired. In our test, the smart band did not detect a single REM phase over four nights. In contrast, our control device, a Garmin Fenix 6 (test report), recorded two to three hours of REM sleep on the same nights – a value that seems much more realistic than the measurement of the Smart Band 7. Nevertheless, this shortcoming can be considered in view of the price , which Xiaomi calls for the tracker, get over it.
Xiaomi specifies the battery life of the Smart Band 7 as up to 14 days. How long the battery actually lasts depends heavily on how we use it. In our test, we tested the Smart Band 7 similar to the Mi Band 6 with permanent heart rate measurement, activated notifications and sleep training for five training sessions per week – with the same result as with the predecessor: the battery lasted around ten days. So Xiaomi probably didn’t make any changes here.
Charging also works like in previous models. We can remove the tracker from the bracelet and plug it into a USB port for charging. Charging takes around an hour and a half.
Xiaomi calls a price similar to the Huawei Band 7 of 59.99 euros for the Smart Band 7. In Germany, the tracker is currently only available in black. The predecessor model Mi Band 6 is currently available at a street price of just under 30 euros, while the Smart Band 7 is currently available from some online retailers 47 Euro can buy – i.e. at a similar price as the Huawei Band 7.
As we expected, the Xiaomi Smart Band 7 does not win an innovation award. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad fitness tracker. The manufacturer has made some detailed improvements that may not justify a new purchase for owners of the Mi Band 6, but definitely make the tracker interesting for new customers. It’s a pity that Xiaomi has once again decided not to integrate a brightness sensor or its own GPS, but the price of this device is simply unbeatable compared to what buyers get for their money.
If you don’t have a fitness tracker yet, you can definitely take a closer look at the Xiaomi Smart Band 7. However, it is worth making a direct comparison with the previous model and also with the almost identical Huawei Band 7 (test report). If you want to save, you can use the cheapest device in case of doubt – even if it ends up being an earlier version of the Mi Band. An inexpensive alternative is the Amazfit Band 5 (test report).