What you need to know
- Xiaomi has unveiled the latest model in its budget fitness band series, dubbed the Smart Band 8.
- It has blood oxygen and heart rate monitoring, and features 150 sports modes — it can even be attached to a shoe buckle.
- It retains a 1.62-inch AMOLED screen, but has a new design with a metallic texture.
- It's launching globally for just €39 ($40).
For the last eight years, if you wanted a budget fitness band that offered a good mix of features and value, the default option was the Mi Band. Xiaomi was so successful in selling these fitness bands around the world that it became the largest manufacturer of budget wearables, and that continues to be the case to this day.
While fitness bands have largely given way to affordable smartwatches, Xiaomi still thinks there is a market for the Mi Band, so it launched a new one. The Smart Band 8 eschews Mi branding, but make no mistake, it is the successor to the Mi Band 7. It has the same 1.62-inch color AMOLED panel, and it now gets Gorilla Glass 3 protection and a new metallic design that makes it look a lot more premium.
As the name suggests, fitness is a key part of the Smart Band 8, and it comes with the ability to track over 150 sports modes. What's particularly interesting is that you can even attach it to your shoe buckle in what Xiaomi calls Pebble Mode, and it will provide insights into your running gait and activity data.
The rest of the features are standard; you get blood oxygen and heart rate monitoring, the 190mAh battery is designed to last at least a week on a full charge, and you get an extensive selection of watch faces — over 200. What's new is a fast charging feature that lets you charge the battery in an hour, and the new design means you get the ability to accessorize the Smart Band 8 with plenty of different bands.
What hasn't changed is the value — the Smart Band 8 will go on sale for just €39 ($40), making it a downright bargain. It's already listed on Xiaomi's U.K. site, and should be heading to other markets soon.
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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.