What you need to know
- On Thursday, Xiaomi teased its upcoming Smart Band 8 Pro wearable on Weibo.
- It has a 1.74-inch AMOLED display, 60Hz refresh rate, 336 ppi pixel density, and 16.7 million colors.
- The Smart Band 7 Pro costs a mere £74.99 / $89.99, so we expect another sub-$100 fitness tracker.
- Xiaomi will fully reveal the Smart Band 8 Pro, Mix Fold 3, and Pad 6 Max during an August 14 livestream.
At what point does a fitness tracker become a fitness smartwatch? That's the question we asked with the Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro, a 1.62-inch tracker with built-in GPS. Now Xiaomi is making us even more confused with its 1.74-inch Smart Band 8 Pro, scheduled to launch next week.
Revealing photos of its new tracker on Weibo, Xiaomi gave us a glimpse of the Smart Band 8 Pro's upgraded display. Aside from the size increase, it has 336 pixels per inch (10 more than the 7 Pro) and a 60Hz refresh rate, the standard for most smartwatches like the Apple and Galaxy Watches.
Xiaomi didn't list the 7 Pro refresh rate, so we can presume it was 30Hz or lower. The same goes for the Smart Band 8 Pro's new 16.7 million display colors; we don't know how much of an upgrade this is over the last generation, but our 7 Pro reviewer already said its display "looks really good," so we can only go up from there.
NotebookCheck, which reported and translated the Weibo posts, notes that the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Pro will have smartwatch-like widgets; the promo images show how you can see your music, heart rate, and activity data simultaneously. Xiaomi also promised different colors and styles for its bands.
Xiaomi will reveal the Smart Band 8 Pro alongside the Mix Fold 3, its latest foldable with upgraded cameras and the latest Snapdragon chipset, on August 14.
Unlike the Mix Fold 3, which is expected to only sell in China, Xiaomi may sell the Smart Band 8 Pro worldwide. You can currently see a global version of the Smart Band 7 Pro available on Amazon.
The Smart Band 7 Pro was one of the rare fitness trackers to support GPS tracking instead of using connected GPS from your phone. Since the Smart Band 8 Pro will follow in its footsteps, we can also expect built-in GPS, at least 500 nits of brightness, over 100 sports modes, 5ATM water resistance, and health tracking for heart rate, blood oxygen, sleep, stress, and menstrual cycles.
On the more negative front, we also suspect it won't have a built-in mic or speaker for Bluetooth calls, just like the 7 Pro. That was the main missing feature that disappointed our reviewer.
The question is whether fans of fitness trackers will want a faux-smartwatch when they can choose a lighter, cheaper fitness tracker like the Mi Band 7 or Amazfit Band 7 instead for half the price, or pay more for an actual smartwatch.
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Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.