Xiaomi Smart Band 7 fitness tracker review

The Xiaomi Smart Band 7 is another addition to the flourishing lineup of the self-proclaimed number one wearable brand in the world. It’s proof that you don’t have to spend a fortune to access your daily health and fitness metrics from your wrist, nor do you have to sacrifice fancy features either. 

The affordable wearables market is ever-expanding which is good news considering the current climate, so while the price and fit might be lightweight, this watch certainly isn’t featherweight on features. 

Specs

Available colors: Interchangeable band colors are available 

Compatibility: IOS and Android, Mi app

Battery life: 14 days

Display type and screen size: 1.62” AMOLED

GPS: Yes 

 Water resistance: Up to 50 meters

Heart rate tracker: Yes

Sleep tracker: Yes

Music: Yes

The Xiaomi Smart Band 7 enters our best fitness tracker (opens in new tab)round-up as our tried and tested budget-buy recommendation. We were surprised by the sheer number of features available on the model but didn’t find the watch very user-friendly at times, and the screen can be unresponsive too. But it does look great on your wrist and carries a look not dissimilar to a Fitbit. 

Below, we detail the highs and lows of this model and deliver our verdict on whether this fitness watch is worth your hard-earned dollars. Discover the best place to wear a fitness tracker (opens in new tab) or find out everything you need to know about the Smart Band 7 with our full review. 

Price and availability

The MSRP of the Xiaomi Smart Band 7 varies by location, listed as £54.99 on its main website, and you can add changeable strap colors at checkout for £4.99. Mi (opens in new tab)ships worldwide, and you can also purchase this watch via third-party retailers like Amazon for discounted rates down from $50.99.

We think this fitness tracker is reasonably priced considering the number of features available, its fantastic battery life, and access to an app.

Design and display

Best fitness trackers: Xiaomi Smart Band 7 image of the clasp on the back of the wrist

(Image credit: Sam Hopes)

The Smart Band 7 is the new and improved sibling of the Smart Band 6, with a few fancy features thrown into the mix to add even more bang for your buck.

It looks nearly identical to a Fitbit, with a sizable, crisp color 1.62” AMOLED high-resolution display that provides a 25% larger and brighter screen than its Xiaomi Smart 6 predecessor. The screen size measures the width of our wrist from top to bottom, and the improved interface design allows you to instantly read your core stats without the need to scroll or fuss. 

The fitness tracker itself is easy to set up. You can download the Mi Fitness app straight to your phone and sync the watch (after its first charge) to the app. From the profile tab, you can set up your information like weight, age, and height and navigate your connections to other apps like Strava or Apple Health.

The touchscreen design is handy for on-the-go and easy selections, allowing you to

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14 Fitness Tracker Features That Improve Your Health

Tom WernerGetty Images

Whether it’s a Fitbit, Apple Watch or any other fitness tracker in the market today, these wrist accessories have made regular watches obsolete. As new models come out fairly regularly, it can be hard to keep up with all of the new features. Luckily, we’ve cultivated a list of some of the most useful things you can find on a fitness tracker. These are all focused on ways that you can make your fitness tracker work for you. The features highlighted here can act as your health companion to help you maintain — and improve — your health.

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Heart Rate Monitor

Especially important for workouts, the heart rate monitor can help you on your fitness journey. You’ll understand if you’re exercising efficiently. Think about how many times you feel like you’re at your peak but your tracker says otherwise. It’s also a useful tool to track your cardiovascular progress.

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Sleep Tracking

Just as important as exercise (maybe even more!), getting the right amount of sleep can have a huge impact on your overall health. Many trackers can produce an analysis of your night’s sleep. You’ll learn just how much deep sleep you get and how much time you spend restless and asleep.

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Celebrating Your Success

What’s better than getting a notification that your exercise goal is complete? Many trackers now vibrate with this alert and also send you fun messages to show you just how far you’ve come. Research shows that this type of positive reinforcement is conducive to keeping you on the right track.

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Electrocardiogram (ECG)

Designed to help you keep an eye on your heart health, this sensor may even be able to help you identify atrial fibrillation. Despite some mixed reviews about false alarms, many users have reported that this sensor has actually saved their lives.

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Tracking Your Water Intake

We all recognize that water is a key factor to keeping you healthy, but it’s also hard to keep track of your intake. The apps that accompany fitness trackers make this easy and can also alert you with reminders throughout the day to drink more.

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Friendly Competition

Fitbit and Apple Watch both have their own versions of competitions, whether it’s accepting a challenge with friends or checking to see who closed their rings first. Either way, having this level of accountability is bound to keep you motivated for success.

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Calories Burned

If you’re counting calories, it’s helpful to have your fitness tracker take out the guesswork for you. It’s also a useful tool to track over time and see how much you’re burning during exercise, as well as while sedentary or sleeping.

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Tracking Your Weight

The apps on various fitness trackers allow you to track your weight and see a trend over time. You can also set goals if you want to lose or gain

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How to choose a fitness tracker

Picking a fitness tracker is a deeply personal choice. Unlike most gadgets, you’re meant to wear these all the time. And while many of us share similar health goals, our bodies and needs are highly individualized. The fitness tracker that everyone else raves about may not work for you and vice versa.

That’s what makes buying a fitness tracker tricky. But don’t worry. Here are a few things to consider when you’re deciding which tracker to buy.

Find your “why” and go from there

Fitness instructors love to bang on about “finding your why,” but it’s also the first thing you should ask yourself when buying a tracker. Why do you want a fitness tracker to begin with? To lose weight? Train for a marathon? Improve your sleeping habits? Fitness trackers are a motivational tool, but they can’t help if you’re unclear about your goals.

Once you’ve got your why, it’s easier to figure out what specs and features you should prioritize. For example, say your big why is to train for a marathon. Regardless of skill level, that means you’re going to need something that can track GPS distance, monitor heart rate, and comes with long battery life. But if your ultimate goal is to improve your sleep, you may not need a tracker with built-in GPS at all. You’ll want long battery life, perhaps a SpO2 sensor, and a tracker that’s capable of providing detailed sleep insights.

The Fitbit Charge 4 (left) and Charge 5 (right) belong to one of the most popular fitness tracker lines.
Photo by Jay Peters / The Verge

Understanding sensors and fitness jargon

Spec sheets and fitness buzzwords can be overwhelming. But no matter what fancy marketing a company might use, they all boil down to the same basic sensors and metrics.

First off, all fitness trackers have a combination of accelerometers and gyroscopes to detect motion. Some will add altimeters and barometers to measure elevation or how many stairs you’ve climbed in a day.

For health tracking, nearly all modern trackers have a photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor. These are green LEDs that shine light through your skin to measure heart rate. There are also an increasing number of trackers that include red LEDs or SpO2 sensors to measure blood oxygen levels.

Close up of Garmin Fenix 7S sensor array

The sensor array on the Garmin Fenix 7S
Photo by Victoria Song / The Verge

More advanced or specialized trackers will include a few extra sensors. For instance, if you see a tracker has EKG capabilities, that means it has an electrode. Meanwhile, Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 has a 3-in-1 sensor that measures heart rate, enables EKGs, and analyzes body composition. The Fitbit Sense also has an electrodermal activity sensor, which measures minuscule levels of sweat on your skin to determine your stress levels. Meanwhile, the Oura Ring has body temperature sensors to help determine your sleep quality.


Fitbit Sense

One of Fitbit’s more recent product releases, the Sense includes FDA clearance and allows you to track your stress levels

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Which Fitness Tracker Is Best For You? Apple Watch vs. Fitbit vs. Oura vs. Garmin vs. Whoop

I have two watches on my left wrist, another on my right arm, a ring on my finger and a sensor embedded in my bra. No one should ever wear this many fitness trackers simultaneously. But in this moment, I am letting the latest heart-rate-sensing, sleep-capturing, workout-recording wearables from Apple, Fitbit,

Garmin,

GRMN 0.55%

Whoop and Oura capture all my data, to see which ones do the best job.

Whether you are training for a race or trying to lose the Quarantine 15, a fitness tracker can provide a helpful motivational nudge. But choosing the right one depends on your preferred activities and health goals—and requires an understanding of what data is most useful to you.

New trackers are much more than pedometers and heart-rate monitors. They also measure blood-oxygen levels, a sign of overall health and altitude acclimation. And they capture heart-rate variability, the difference in time between each heartbeat, which can provide feedback about your body’s ability to recover from exercise. But how accurate are the metrics?

The Right Metrics

Studies have shown that wrist-based wearables’ optical sensors—which beam light onto the skin to detect pulse—are generally accurate during rest, but less so during workouts with unpredictable movement, such as strength training.

The data can still be valuable. Zakkoyya Lewis-Trammell, an assistant professor of kinesiology at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, said that while wrist-based trackers aren’t clinical devices, she considers them a reliable tool for comparing day-to-day changes.

One helpful approach: Pick metrics that are as close to the sensor’s data as possible—such as resting heart rate over time, said Seth Martin, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Avoid obsessing over things like calories burned, which is just a calculated guess, he added.

A new metric popping up in wearables looks at whether your body is primed to work out. Fitbit and Oura call it “Readiness.” On Garmin, it’s “Body Battery.” Whoop assigns you a “Strain” score. Several Apple Watch apps, including Training Today, offer similar measurements. A high score means you’re ready for intense exercise; a low score indicates your body needs rest.

A new metric uses heart-rate variability to assign a score: High means ready for exercise, low means get some rest; from left, Garmin, Oura, Whoop and Fitbit.



Photo:

Nicole Nguyen/The Wall Street Journal

It isn’t as valid for people who have diabetes, heart disease or who are pregnant, Dr. Lewis-Trammell said. In those cases, she said, the data should be brought to a physician for evaluation.

For people who do outdoor workouts, GPS accuracy is important for logging distance. Dr. Lewis-Trammell found Garmin devices have a better GPS than others. I confirmed this in my own testing.

On one ride testing the wearables’ GPS-tracking capabilities, the Apple Watch and Garmin tracks were very close to my actual route. The Fitbit didn’t lock a GPS signal until about half a mile into my workout, so it displayed less total mileage. It also cut corners (literally) and showed me riding through neighbors’

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