Image source: Xiaomi

Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 7 vs Mi Smart Band 6: should you upgrade?

Like clockwork, each year we get a new Xiaomi activity band. Typically it lands in June or May. Last year it dropped a bit earlier – in March. This year it made its debute in late May.

For now the Mi Smart Band 7 (or Mi Band 7 as it is also known) has been made official in China but expect a release in Europe and the US soon. There were lots of leaks and rumours in the run-up to the event but this does not mean there were no surprises on the big day.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

The previous generation is one of the best selling budget fitness bands globally. It has a strong and loyal following and we have no doubt the seventh iteration will fly off the shelves, too.

This article is an overview on what exactly is new. Mi Band 7 comes with some handy upgrades over its predecessor. Read on to find out exactly what they are.


Xiaomi Mi Band 7 vs Mi Band 6: General and hardware

Like the predecessor generations, Mi Band 7 packs a rubberized, practical look. There’s no mistaking this is a fitness band and Xiaomi is sticking to a design that’s functional and budget-friendly.

Generation 4 introduced a larger full color 0.95 inch AMOLED display with 120 x 240 pixel resolution. Mi Band 5 bumped this up to 1.1 inches allowing for 20% more visibility. The resolution also went up slightly to 126 x 294 pixels. This grew to a 1.56 inch AMOLED with 152 x 486 pixel resolution for Mi Band 6.

Xiaomi Mi Band 6 vs Mi Band 5: what’s new and different?
Xiaomi Mi Band 6 | Image source: Xiaomi

Today’s version comes with an even larger 1.62 inch display. It packs a resolution of 192 x 490 pixels, with 326 ppi, and up to 450 nits of peak brightness.

Xiaomi says the viewing area has increased by around 25% over its predecessor, which is pretty good. The company has taken advantage of the larger display to tweak the user interface by revamping some of the icons and data visuals. You also get a bunch of new watch-faces.

Xiaomi Mi Band 7
Xiaomi Mi Band 7 | Image source: Xiaomi

All of this provides for a nicer viewing experience. The screen with a tempered glass layer looks very impressive and an improvement over some of the earlier generations which have a rather large bezel.

A bigger display is always good, as long as it doesn’t increase the size of the wearable too much. Xiaomi have found a nice compromise here. Any bigger and you’re crossing into smartwatch territory.

Another novelty is that you get an always-on option for some of the watch-faces. So it’s not an across-the-board thing.

Just like on generation 6, the edge-to-edge display means there was no room for a physical button. Previously it resided just underneath the screen. Which means you’ll need to rely on the touch-display and gestures to navigate around the menus.

The actual dimensions of the device have not changed. In fact they’ve come down slightly to 46.5 x 20.7 x 12.25mm. At just over 13 grams, the weight also remains pretty much the same.

Lots of colour options once again. Xiaomi mixed things up a bit with Mi Band 7 and introduced a couple of pricier cameo versions.

Under the hood

The excellent 5 ATM rating and swim-proof design stays the same. As do most sensors.

Mi Band 7 and 6 share a 6-axis sensor (low power-consumption 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope), and a PPG heart rate sensor. Some of this has, of course, been upgraded with latest sensor technology.

The main improvement this time around is all-day SpO2 sensor. On the predecessor generation, you could only take these types of measurements on-demand. Which makes the blood oxygen saturation readings much more useful.

Battery life

Next up is the all-important battery life. This has always been an important selling point of the Mi Bands.

We’re happy to report that the 7th iteration does not disappoint on this count. The predecessor works for two weeks on a single charge thanks to its 125 mAh lithium ion battery. This has increased slightly despite the boost in specs thanks to the much more sizeable 180 mAh battery.

A few years ago Xiaomi introduced a new way to charge the Mi Band. You no longer need to pop the unit of the band. Just resting the device on the magnetic charging dock will do the job. You’ll recharge Mi Band 7 the same way. The charging time is less than 2 hours.

Here’s a table illustrating all differences in design and hardware between the last three Mi Smart Band generations.

Mi Band 7
Mi Band 6
Mi Band 5
Build
polycarbonate, silicone wristband, Alluminium alloy buckle
polycarbonate, silicone wristband, Alluminium alloy buckle
polycarbonate, silicone wristband, Alluminium alloy buckle
Display size
1.62 inch
1.56 inch
1.1 inch
Display resolution
192 x 490 pixels
152 x 486 pixels
126 x 294 pixels
Display type
AMOLED
AMOLED
AMOLED
Dimensions
46.5 x 20.7 x 12.25mm
47.4 x 18.6 x 12.7mm
46.95 x 18.15 x 12.45
Weight
13.5 grams
12.8 grams
12.0 grams
Water-resistance
5 ATM
5 ATM
5 ATM
Sensors
6-axis sensor: Low power-consumption 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope, PPG heart rate sensor, SpO2.
6-axis sensor: Low power-consumption 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope, PPG heart rate sensor, SpO2.
6-axis sensor: Low power-consumption 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope, PPG heart rate sensor, Digital MEMS microphone
NFC (in-China only)
Bus access card/Alipay/Union Pay/NFC
Bus/access card/Alipay/Union Pay/NFC
Bus/access card/Alipay/Union Pay/NFC
Battery life
up to 15 days
up to 14 days
up to 14 days
Battery type
180 mAh
125 mAh
125 mAh
Charging
Snap-on magnetic charging
Snap-on magnetic charging
Snap-on magnetic charging

Xiaomi Mi Band 7 vs Mi Band 6: Activity tracking and smart functionality

The Mi Band has been around for a while. Its low price means everyone can get into the health craze.

The wearable covers the basics well when it comes to tracking your activity and sleep around the clock. You’ll get info on steps, distance travelled, active minutes, calories burned, sleep, stress and inactivity reminders. The company has this side of things nailed down.

The wearable also tracks Personal Activity Intelligence, better known as PAI. This helps you quantify your activity level by how hard your heart rate worked during the day.

The main sensor that is still missing is an altimeter for counting floors climbed. We will need to wait for the 2023 version for this. The women’s health tracking features remain the same in this iteration.

But each year the company improves the accuracy of its stats, including heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking. This now includes sleep breathing quality through the blood oxygen sensor. This has the potential to spot Sleep Apnea. The band looks out for irregular and sporadic sleep patterns, along with REM sleep by utilizing heart rate variability.

Xiaomi Mi Band 7
Xiaomi Mi Band 7 | Image source: Xiaomi

As mentioned, one of the advantages of the latest iteration is that it has the ability to track blood oxygen saturation around the clock. You also get vibration alerts if your blood oxygen content drops below 90%. You should be aware that switching on the all-day monitoring functionality will, no doubt, reduce battery life.

Another boost is the 120 sports modes, a nice increase from the 30 of Mi Band 6. This includes popular sports modes such as Indoor fitness, Indoor ice skating, HIIT, Core training, Stretching, Stepper, Gymnastics, Pilates, Street dance, Dance, Zumba, Cricket, Bowling, Basketball, Volleyball, Table tennis, Badminton, Boxing and Kickboxing.

Some of these modes come with advanced performance metrics for the first time. This includes VO2 Max, ATPPC, Aerobic, and Recovery Time. We are fans of these types of metrics so are looking forward to testing out the new functionality.

Unfortunately still no built-in GPS. Just like on predecessor iterations – you will need to rely on your smartphone’s sattelite signal for detailed tracking of outdoor exercise. Xiaomi has probably done this to keep the price down.

Mi Band 7
Mi Band 6
Mi Band 5
Sports modes
120
30
11
SpO2
Yes (all-day with alerts)
Yes
No
Performance metrics
Yes
No
No

Xiaomi Mi Band 7 vs Mi Band 6: Verdict

Xiaomi continues to improve its Mi Smart Bands with each passing year. The main news this time around is the even larger display with an always-on option for some watch-faces. The change really makes the wearable look slick.

Other additions include an improved SpO2 sensor which can now track blood oxygen 24/7, along with many more sports modes. Plus you get the benefit of a bunch of performance metrics such as Vo2Max and Recovery Time. Mind you, still no built-in GPS – only Connected GPS which is a bit of a dissapointment.

But the excellent battery life, water proofing and everything else from the predecessor generation is all still there. In fact, battery life has been improved by one day.

Xiaomi Mi Band 6

Xiaomi Mi Band 7
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The price difference is very small – just a few dollars. So if you’re in the market for a new budget fitness band go for the latest iteration. 

The improvements this year are incremental. So if you already have Mi Smart Band 6 you’ll need to decide whether the new screen and other additions are worth it to you. Mi Band 7 has recently become available in the US and Europe. You can purchase it on Amazon (check price).

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One thought on “Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 7 vs Mi Smart Band 6: should you upgrade?

  • Had the mi band 4 since it came out and it was a great fitband/tracker. It recently fell apart at the join of face and body. So got the new 7 and it’s so much better, yes the NFC don’t work, you can arrange everything in an order that suits. Also there is around 100 watch faces in the app to choose from. Not used any of the fitness stuff yet but that’s on the horizon.

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