Few wearables outside the Apple Watch have taken the market by storm like the Xiaomi Mi Band series. A combination of price, battery, form and function ensures that the Mi Band 7 will remain Xiaomi’s best budget product for another year.
While at first you may feel that very little has changed. There are some very minor tweaks that evolve the Mi Band and make it the perfect daily fitness tracking partner for all Android phones — or even an iPhone.
Video — Xiaomi Mi Band 7 Review
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The clue is in the name of the Xiaomi Mi Band 7, it is mainly a silicone band with a small screen that can be detached and attached to various straps, clips and even a key ring from certain retailers. While most of our everyday technology has exploded in recent years, this is a bit refreshing in its simplicity.
While the lack of fanfare with the design is commendable, it’s hard to differentiate between the Mi Band 7 and its predecessors. Kudos to Xiaomi for not making any changes for the sake of it as this does mean that many existing accessories – such as replacement straps – should work just fine.
Think of the Xiaomi Mi Band 7 as an old pair of slippers, it’s known in all the right ways and that’s a good thing, as it doesn’t try to disrupt proceedings with fancy new hardware or significant new functionality. Unfortunately, there are no new colors for the dial. You have to change the silicone band to inject some extra flair here.
That said, since the Mi Band 7 is just a thin strap with a sub-2-inch screen, I think it actually works best in the standard low-profile black design. Keep in mind that the Mi Band line starts at around $40-50 and it’s a forgivable design choice. Without NFC connectivity for wireless payments on global variants, this will help keep prices low.
The fact that we’ve seen fitness bands evolve from the early Fitbit-era no-display band to full-color AMOLEDs shows how far this style of wearable has evolved in such a short time. After introducing color in line with the Xiaomi Mi Band 4, the footprint of the display has grown millimeter by millimeter every year since then. The 1.62-inch AMOLED display has a 326ppi, which is incredible considering its size.
It’s a deceptively good screen that’s much smoother than I expected. I find it annoying that the capacitive home button has been removed, but gesture navigation and animations are fluid, as this is only a few steps higher than a scientific calculator in the effort. Being able to skip tracks and read notifications feels more “analog” than on your smartphone’s screen — something that feels great, even despite being essentially overloaded with information.
The ability to use the Always-on display feature for the first time was something I was really looking forward to and after a recent software update it hasn’t disappointed. There’s definitely some battery life, but it’s worth it because you get time information at a glance without activating or interacting with the Mi Band 7. Each watch face has unique designs that also benefit from function, making it even more fun to experiment with. I wouldn’t call it the killer feature any longer, but it’s certainly one of the best new additions and could be the reason many people upgrade from an older model.
Xiaomi has added some new watch faces to take advantage of the larger screen, and the addition of MIUI’s Super Wallpapers is interesting, but not necessarily great. I found that the animations would jump slightly when activating the screen. While it was fun in principle, I just stuck with the default watch face as it provided all the information I wanted at a glance. Through the Zepp Life app you can choose from a motley selection of designs ranging from mechanical to abstract art.
I’ve found that the 500 nit maximum brightness is just enough for readability in sunny environments, but the curvaceous, glossy screen hinders the Mi Band 7. It’s small enough, though, that you can cover it with your hand and make out everything on the screen. screen without too many problems.
Comfort and fit
With a weight of only 13.5 grams and a compact size, you hardly notice that you have something on your wrist every day. I have found the Mi Band 7 to be extremely comfortable thanks to its shape and size, but the band closes in a way that also makes it secure.
Since the display is flat and elongated, nothing sticks out to hinder your wrist movements. Heck, you could probably tie this to your ankle for a run and it wouldn’t be a bad experience.
Everything is waterproof to 5ATM, meaning you have to wear the Mi Band 7 in the shower – or even a dip in the pool is no problem. I would recommend removing and drying as you can get irritation due to the rubber band.
Fitness and health tracking
There’s still no onboard GPS, meaning you’ll need to take your phone with you for mapped out runs or hikes. I personally don’t have a big problem with this, as those who are serious about fitness probably prefer a dedicated tracker.
Xiaomi has beaten tracking 120 workouts. Yes, 120. That’s a fourfold increase from its predecessor’s 30 modes. That’s not all, as there are options for tracking data in recovery mode in addition to training load data points.
I can’t say too much about the accuracy, but you have plenty of options that put a lot of full-fat smartwatches in the shade. The automatic tracking of the workout can be a little slow to implement, something you may need to consider. Being able to track things, even from a rudimentary standpoint, will always be more useful than just guessing the stats yourself.
The Zepp Life app (formerly MiFit) lets you sync all your fitness and health data with Google Fit. This data is tagged in the Fit app, making it easier to see when you actually wore your band or other wearable associated with your Google account.
To make sure you get the best battery life, I recommend reducing the continuous heart rate measurement to a maximum of every 30 minutes. I left constant blood oxygen (SpO2) tracking on and after receiving the Mi Band 7 I fully charged to 100% once. In the 6 days since I started wearing it, I haven’t had to look for the somewhat annoying charger.
Xiaomi claims you can get a battery life of up to 15 days and with a few tweaks you might be able to, but you’ll lose some of the fun features this slim wearable has to offer. For sleep tracking, this is where this kind of device will always beat a big, bulky and power-hungry smartwatch.
While charging, I found that removing the bulbous screen portion of the wristband was the only consistent way to ensure power consumption. This is a bit annoying but the charging method hasn’t changed since the Mi Band 5.
The lack of NFC support outside of China is one of the few ongoing pain points for a tried and true product that gets a little better every year. If you want a daily companion for basic fitness tracking with little to no bulk, there’s simply nothing better.
However, if you have an older Mi Band, such as the Mi Band 5 or newer, there probably isn’t enough for you to consider picking up the new model. Personally, I think the Mi Band 7 is the perfect alternative to a full-fledged smartwatch like the Galaxy Watch 4. If all you want is basic health and workout tracking, a sleek form factor and excellent battery life, this is – still – the undisputed king. of the fitness bands.
Where can I get the Xiaomi Mi Band 7?
While Xiaomi smartphones are quite difficult to buy in the North American markets through reputable retail channels, accessories and wearables are easier to come by. You can pick up the Mi Band 7 directly from Xiaomi’s official Amazon store for $69 shipped.
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