Xiaomi Mi Band 7 reviewon September 2, 2022 at 09:18 Tech Advisor

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At a glance

Expert’s Rating

Pros

Featured packed for the priceAll-day heart rate, blood oxygen and stress trackingSupport for 120 types of exerciseLarger always-on display

Cons

Always-on display comes at a big cost to batteryMore expensive than its predecessorNot the smartest wearable

Our Verdict

Xiaomi continues to offer one of the most feature-packed wearables in the budget fitness tracker market with the Mi Band 7. It boasts key display and fitness tracking upgrades to provide better insight into your health, but it’s still not quite as smart as some alternatives, and battery life can be hit-and-miss.

Price When Reviewed

£54.99

Best Prices Today: Xiaomi Mi Band 7

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£51.49
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£54.99

Xiaomi has made a name for itself with its ultra-affordable, feature-packed Mi Band series, and the latest Xiaomi Mi Band 7 looks to continue that trend with a bigger display, improved all-day tracking capabilities and new exercise measurement metrics, all in a slightly more expensive package.

But, despite the slight price hike, the Mi Band 7 is still an impressively capable fitness tracker ideal for those that want to get more insight into their health, sleep and fitness – just don’t expect smartwatch-level smarts.

Design & build

Large 1.62in always-on display is a bonusImproved charger designCompact, sleek design that doesn’t draw attention

At a glance, you might not see much of a difference between the Xiaomi Mi Band 7 and its predecessor, the Xiaomi Mi Band 6, but there’s one crucial difference: the size of the display.

Lewis Painter / Foundry

While last year’s fitness tracker measured in at 1.56in, the Mi Band 7 sports a larger 1.62in AMOLED display that Xiaomi claims increases the viewing area by 25%. It’s also brighter this time around at 500nits, and the increase makes it much easier to use outdoors in bright sunlight.

One exciting new addition is the introduction of always-on display tech. As the name suggests, the display can stay on at low brightness to provide constant access to the time, fitness tracking bars and any other widgets you have on your chosen watchface – though at a huge cost to battery, but more on that in a bit.

Flip the fitness tracker over and you’ll find the usual suite of sensors and Xiaomi’s proprietary charging connection points. The good news is that, unlike previous generations, the tweaked charger design means you no longer need to remove the tracker from the strap to top it up.

Lewis Painter / Foundry

All that aside, it’s very much business as usual with the Mi Band 7, sporting the same pill-shape tracker design we’ve come to know and love over the years. It’s fairly compact on the wrist, with a fairly flush build helping you forget that it’s even there.

As with previous generations, there’s a variety of flexible silicone straps available to help inject a bit of colour into proceedings, but overall, it’s an understated fitness tracker that doesn’t draw too much attention to itself – unless you opt for a bold, bright watch face that is!

Software & features

No third-party apps, payments or smart assistant supportBasic functions like weather, calendar and music control work finePlenty of watchfaces to choose from

The Xiaomi Mi Band 7 is a fitness tracker first and foremost, and that means it’s not quite as smart or capable as dedicated smartwatches on the market.

The Mi Band 7 lacks key smarts including the ability to utilise the built-in NFC for payments (outside of China, anyway!), voice assistant support and third-party apps. However, for those that want more of a smartphone ‘companion’ than a full-blown smartphone on the wrist, the inexpensive wearable ticks a lot of boxes.

Lewis Painter / Foundry

That comes in the form of notification mirroring, available on both iOS and Android, along with the ability to perform basic tasks like checking the weather, reviewing upcoming calendar events and even controlling music playback from your smartphone – a particularly handy feature, though certainly not exclusive to Xiaomi’s wearable.

The gesture-based UI is generally easy to understand, closely mirroring the basic functions of Wear OS smartwatches with customisable quick-access tiles to the left and right of the watchface, though with a swipe down for notifications and a swipe up for access to apps.

There are a handful of colourful watch faces that help showcase that large bright AMOLED display with more available to download via the companion app, but there isn’t much in the way of customisation and, without third-party apps, there aren’t many useful complications to add either.

But while the smarts are relatively basic, the Mi Band 7 certainly makes up for it in the fitness tracking department. 

Lewis Painter / Foundry

Health & fitness tracking

Impressive health and fitness tracking for such a cheap wearableNew continuous blood oxygen monitoring and SpO2 alertsSleep tracking can be hit-and-miss

While it’s business as usual in most departments, the Mi Band 7 further bolsters its budget-focused fitness tracking capabilities.

One area of focus is the SpO2 monitor, which is now capable of continuous blood oxygen monitoring and low SpO2 alerts. The latter could be handy for alerting users to potential sleep apnoea at night, but as with most consumer-level wearables, it shouldn’t be relied on as a medical device.

Still, it’s handy to get a heads-up on potentially low blood oxygen levels, especially from such an affordable fitness tracker.

Blood oxygen tracking aside, the Mi Band 7 boasts the same all-day heart rate and stress monitoring, sleep tracking and general fitness tracking capabilities as its predecessor. The latter is displayed in distinctly Apple Watch-like fashion, monitoring steps, active hours and calories burnt, though the trademark rings have been replaced by a rainbow in Xiaomi’s wearable.

Lewis Painter / Foundry

Sleep tracking isn’t quite as reliable as other fitness trackers though. While it’ll provide all the standard metrics – time awake, REM, light and deep sleep, total time in bed and time asleep – I’ve found that it’s not quite as smart when it comes to automatically ending the sleep monitoring.

On more than one occasion in testing, a quick trip to the loo in the middle of the night has prematurely ended that night’s sleep tracking, and that meant losing out on a few hours’ worth of data. It’s not the be-all-and-end-all, but for those that like to dive into sleep metrics as I do, it can be rather frustrating.

When it comes to dedicated exercise tracking, the Mi Band 7 offers support for a whopping 120 sports – up 30 compared to its predecessor – and it covers most popular forms of exercise including walking, running, cycling, hiking and swimming, along with more niche options like chess. I can’t imagine chess burns many calories, but hey, what do I know…

When it comes to traditional exercise, like running and cycling, Xiaomi has added new training metrics in the form of training load, training effect, recovery time, and (rather impressively) VO2 Max monitoring, all viewable via the companion app post-workout.

The data offering still isn’t quite as in-depth as high-end wearables from the likes of Garmin, but hey, Xiaomi’s option costs a fraction of the $449/£399 Garmin Venu 2 Plus and it covers most key areas. For running, that includes lap breakdowns, average pace, cadence and heart rate alongside the aforementioned new metrics.

Lewis Painter / Foundry

The only real downside to exercise tracking on the Xiaomi Mi Band 7 is the lack of built-in GPS, meaning you’ll need to lug your phone around whenever you’re exercising. It’s common along budget-focused trackers, but it’s frustrating nonetheless – especially if you’ve used a wearable with built-in GPS in the past.  

If you do most of your exercise outdoors and like the idea of leaving your phone at home, you might prefer the $119.95/£129.99 Fitbit Charge 5 with built-in GPS.

Battery life

14-day battery life claims aren’t accurateBig sacrifice to data collection to improve batteryAlways-on display shortens battery life by more than 50%

The Xiaomi Mi Band 7’s battery is larger than its predecessor at 180mAh compared to 125mAh, but with the addition of a larger display, there isn’t much difference in overall battery life.

The company claims that it can last up to 14 days with light use and nine days with heavy usage, but I’ve not quite found that to be the case in testing. With advanced tracking – Sp02 monitoring, constant heart rate tracking and more – enabled, I found the Mi Band 7 would last closer to 7 days before it’d need a top-up.

That only gets worse if you enable the always-on display, a fact the smartphone alerts you to when you activate it. In fact, it says that it’ll cut overall battery life by over 50 percent, and with that and advanced tracking enabled, I ran out of battery within just 3 days.  

It’s also worth noting that, as with most wearables, dedicated workout tracking will also shorten overall battery life.

So, while there is certainly potential for long battery life, you’ll have to make some big compromises to do so.

The good news is that charging via the contact charger doesn’t take too long, with a full charge in around an hour.

Lewis Painter / Foundry

Price

Xiaomi’s Mi Band collection has always been praised for its affordable nature, but that price has slowly crept up over the years, with another notable jump this year.

The Xiaomi Mi Band 7 will set you back £54.99/€59.99 (around $65), £15/€15 more than its £40/€45 predecessor. There is a larger display and improved tracking on offer to justify that price hike, and it’s still one of the cheapest and most capable around, it’s just not as cheap as it once was.

If you’re tempted by Xiaomi’s budget-focused fitness tracker, you can buy the Mi Band 7 directly from Xiaomi alongside retailers like Amazon in the UK.

As with most other Xiaomi tech, the Band 7 isn’t available in the US, but plenty of the trackers in our best fitness tracker chart are. We’ve also got a selection of the best smartwatches for those on the lookout for something a little smarter.  

Verdict

The Xiaomi Mi Band 7 remains one of the best budget-level trackers around, with a tempting price tag and an impressive array of sensors to track your health, fitness and dedicated workouts.

The larger always-on display is a particularly nice addition, helping showcase the vivid watchfaces on offer while making it easier to read text at a glance, though the always-on tech comes at a heavy cost to overall battery life.

Lacking any new smart features, the real improvements are in the fitness tracking department with all-day SpO2 monitoring, new workout metrics (including VO2 Max) and the ability to track more workouts than ever before.

It’s a little pricier than its predecessor, and the lack of built-in GPS may irk fitness fanatics, but it’s still a great little inexpensive tracker for keeping an eye on your general health and fitness.  

Specs

1.62in 490×192 AMOLED display326ppiAlways-on supportUp to 500nits brightness2.5D tempered glassPolycarbonate body160mm to 224mm interchangeable antibacterial TPU strapsAluminium alloy buckleVibration motorOptical heart rate sensorBlood oxygen saturation monitoringSix-axis motion sensor5ATM water resistance100+ watch faces120 sport modesBluetooth 5.2 LE180mAh battery14-day battery life2 POGO pin magnetic charging46.5mm x 20.7mm x 12.25mmStandard band colours: White, black, light blue, cream, dark green, orangeSpecial band colours: Camouflage blue, camouflage green, fluorescent yellow, fluorescent orange13.5 gramsSupports Android 6.0/iOS 10 and up
Fitness Devices, Wearables

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