Android Central Verdict
Xiaomi hasn't changed too much with the Mi Band 7, but it didn't need to. It instead added a few new features like a larger AMOLED screen, always-on mode, continuous blood oxygen monitoring, and a bigger battery. The rest of the features are intact from previous years, including 5ATM water resistance, an exhaustive list of workout modes, detailed health and stress monitoring features, and plenty of customizability. You miss out on a digital assistant integration and the notifications aren't actionable, but on the whole, the Mi Band 7 continues to be the best budget fitness band.
Larger and brighter AMOLED screen
Always-on mode for the first time
Class-leading battery life
Extensive health monitoring features
Good mix of workout modes
5ATM water resistance
No actionable notifications
No digital assistant
Missing third-party apps
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Xiaomi has dominated the wearable market for the last seven years on the back of the Mi Band series. The budget fitness bands have allowed Xiaomi to consolidate its position as the third-largest wearable manufacturer, with sales of 9.8 million in Q1 2022.
Xiaomi does so well in this category because of its focus on value; the Mi Band series delivers a robust feature-set while managing to undercut its immediate rivals, and Xiaomi has bolstered the series with larger AMOLED screens and exciting new additions.
The Mi Band 7 continues in the same vein. The band has a larger AMOLED panel than its predecessor, an always-on mode, automatic blood oxygen monitoring, and new training modes. There isn't too much that's different from the Mi Band 6, with Xiaomi instead focusing on a few key areas that needed some attention. The end result is that the Mi Band 7 is among the best fitness trackers — if you're looking for a wearable in the vicinity of $50, there's nothing even remotely as good.
Xiaomi Mi Band 7: Price and availability
Xiaomi unveiled the Mi Band 7 globally on June 21, 2022, and the fitness band is now available for sale in most markets where Xiaomi has an official presence. It is also listed on Amazon in the U.S. for $60, and as of writing, you can pick it up for just $52. The Mi Band 7 debuted at £54 ($65) in the U.K., and is available directly from Xiaomi, as well as official partners. In other parts of Europe, it is available for €60 ($61).
There's no mention of when the Mi Band 7 will debut in India, but I'll add further information to this post once Xiaomi launches the fitness band in the country. The global launch is limited to the Mi Band 7; there's a Mi Band 7 Pro with a larger screen and built-in GPS, but that model is limited to China for now. There's an NFC-enabled version of the Mi Band 7 as well, but that variant is also sold exclusively in Xiaomi's home market.
Xiaomi Mi Band 7: What you'll love
Xiaomi hasn't altered the overall design of the Mi Band series for a few generations, and that's true for the Mi Band 7 as well. The fitness band has the same oblong module that's detachable, and it's encased in a silicone band that's comfortable to wear throughout the day. I'm using the Neon Orange band with the Mi Band 7, and the color makes it stand out just that little bit more.
If you're not a fan of these bands, you'll find a wide variety of leather options available. In short, this is the same design we've seen for several years, and the Mi Band 7 is virtually indistinguishable next to the Mi Band 6.
That said, the fitness band comes with a larger 1.62-inch AMOLED screen. That may not seem like a huge change over the 1.56-inch panel on its predecessor, but it makes a big difference in daily use — you just get that much more screen real estate for reading text on your wrist. The resolution has also increased to 490x192 (versus 486x152) to take advantage of the larger screen, and the brightness has increased to 500 nits (450 on the Mi Band 6).
But the biggest addition for me is always-on mode; the Mi Band 7 is the first Xiaomi fitness band to get the feature. While Xiaomi has offered AMOLED panels on its fitness bands starting with the Mi Band 4, the manufacturer prioritized battery life above all else, and as such, it didn't roll out this particular mode until now.
The screen quality itself is on par with the Mi Band 6, but the increased brightness makes a difference under harsh sunlight, and the always-on mode is an excellent addition. However, the battery life takes a considerable hit with the mode enabled.
Xiaomi touts a 14-day battery life between charges, but that isn't really the case in real-world use. With a lot of the fitness and health monitoring features enabled, you're likely to get just over a week's worth of use out of the Mi Band 7.
The Mi Band 7 has a larger 180mAh battery (125mAh on the Mi Band 6), and for its part, it lasts a lot longer than its predecessor with the same set of features enabled. With the always-on mode active, battery life falls to under four days.
That's still much better than what you get with most smartwatches, and the benefits on an always-on mode is worth the additional battery drain for my use case. If you don't see yourself using the feature, the standard raise-to-wake screen gesture is still intact within the software settings.
Rounding out the battery side of things, the Mi Band 7 uses the same pogo pin connector as its predecessor, and there's a bundled cable in the box. Without the always-on mode, you'll see much better battery life figures over the Mi Band 6, and in this area Xiaomi's fitness bands continues to lead the category.
The Mi Band 7 pairs over Bluetooth 5.2, and it works with all Android phones with Android 6.0 and above, and iPhones running iOS 10 and above. Connecting the fitness band to your phone is about as straightforward as it gets; you'll just need to scan the QR code to get started.
Once the band is paired, you get a ton of customizability. The Mi Band 7 has a decent selection of settings on the band itself, but a bulk of the features are accessible via the Android app.
This is also the easiest way to install new watch faces, tweak settings for health and activity monitoring, download updates, and so much more. On that note, Xiaomi did a good job this time around with the watch faces; the Mi Band 7 has over a hundred to choose from, and you'll find a good mix of minimalist, quirky, colorful, and interesting options.
The Mi Band 7 has the same array of sensors as its predecessor, including a heart rate sensor and a module for monitoring blood oxygen levels. You also get 110 workout modes, move alerts, incoming call and text alerts, all-day stress monitoring, and relaxation reminders.
You can set up the fitness band to continually monitor heart rate over the course of the day — it does so in five-minute intervals by default — and new this time is the ability to do the same with blood oxygen levels. The Mi Band 7 takes a reading every 10 minutes, and if it finds that the levels are below 90%, it sends an alert. Of course, you can always change that threshold to trigger an alert; there's a lot of configurability here.
If you've used a Mi Band before, you'll already be familiar with most of these features. Xiaomi hasn't changed too much here, and that's fine by me. The Mi Band 7 does a great job mirroring notifications and calls to the wrist, and the native music service lets you easily control music playback on your phone. The taller screen is definitely useful for reading text, and the built-in utilities like weather take advantage of the added real estate.
Navigating the UI is intuitive, and the Mi Band 7 feels good for the most part in this regard. The interface isn't what I'd call fluid, but it isn't noticeably sluggish either, and you can easily view incoming notifications, launch a workout, and set up an alarm or schedule an event reminder directly on your wrist without too much of a hassle.
Most budget fitness bands aren't reliable for fitness and health monitoring, and for its part, the Mi Band 7 does a decent job in this area. I used the Apple Watch Series 7 alongside the Mi Band 7, and there was a variance of 15% between the two. That's not bad considering where the fitness band is positioned. This band isn't aimed at enthusiast users, but for those looking to get a broad sense of daily activity metrics.
Xiaomi Mi Band 7: What needs work
The biggest issue with the Mi Band 7 continues to be lack of actionable notifications. While it's great that the fitness band mirrors notifications to your wrist, there's no way to do anything with that information on the band itself. You'll have to pull out your phone if you need to respond to a message.
Now, Amazfit launches a version of the Mi Band with Alexa integration, but that variant isn't official just yet. So if this is a feature that you absolutely need to have, you should wait for the Amazfit model.
It's also frustrating that the global Mi Band 7 doesn't work with payments. Xiaomi was said to be working with MasterCard to enable this feature in global markets, but that hasn't materialized, and the NFC model of the fitness band continues to be limited to China.
Finally, charging the band takes just over two hours. This isn't something you have to worry about too much considering the stellar battery life, but I would have liked to see some sort of fast charging here.
Also, the bundled cable is also quite easy to lose; I have all Mi Bands Xiaomi released so far, but only two cables. Xiaomi really needs to switch to a universal standard for its wearables or offer an easy way for users to pick up additional charging cables. To its credit, the Mi Band 7 uses the same connector as its predecessor, and I want to see that continue with future models.
Xiaomi Mi Band 7: The competition
Like I said at the start, Xiaomi utterly dominates the budget fitness category, and if you need an alternative, last year's Mi Band 6 continues to be a great choice in 2022. You miss out on a slightly larger battery and screen, but the rest of the features are intact. The only big omission is the always-on mode, but the upside is that the Mi Band 6 is that much more affordable, coming in at just $40.
If you need better software features and detailed metrics, Fitbit's Inspire 2 is a good option to consider. The fitness band costs $70, and includes a lot of the same features as the Mi Band 7.
Xiaomi Mi Band 7: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if:
- You want a budget fitness band that's decent at fitness and health monitoring
- You need a fitness band with a high-quality AMOLED screen and always-on mode
- You need a device that has weeks-long battery life
- You're looking for 5ATM water resistance
You shouldn't buy this if:
- You want actionable notifications on your wrist
- You need Alexa or Google Assistant integration
Xiaomi didn't reinvent the wheel with the Mi Band 7, but there was no need to do so. Instead, the brand delivered features that users actually care about. The Mi Band 7 has a larger screen that makes it a little better for reading notifications, and the larger battery means you'll only need to charge it once a week, even with all the monitoring features enabled.
It is comfortable to wear, the 5ATM water resistance ensures you can use it anywhere without any issues, and it's effortlessly easy to switch out the band. The addition of an always-on mode rounds out the list of features I've wanted to see on the Mi Band series, and when it comes to fitness and health monitoring, Xiaomi is the one to beat in this category.
If you just need a budget fitness band to hit a daily step goal and monitor your heart rate and blood oxygen levels, the Mi Band 7 is just about the best option in the market. Xiaomi has once again delivered the best budget fitness band, and for under $60, there isn't anything else that gives you the same feature-set.
The Mi Band 7 has a larger screen, bigger battery, and new features that make it stand out a little bit more. It continues to deliver the basics, and if you're in the market for a budget fitness band, this is the obvious choice in 2022.
Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.