Image source: Fitbit

Xiaomi Mi Band 7 vs Fitbit Charge 5: which to go for?

Xiaomi and Fitbit are amongst the best known names in the wearables space. In this article we pit their flagship fitness bands against each other – Mi Band 7 vs Charge 5.

The first was released in early June. The Xiaomi Mi Band is a budget fitness wearable that offers excellent battery life and doesn’t skim on features. Now on its seventh generation, with each passing year it offers more while keeping the price pretty much the same.

Fitbit Charge 5, on the other hand, is something a bit more expensive. But it is a much more serious fitness and health tracker that has been around since late 2021.

Which is right for you? Hopefully this article will help.


Xiaomi Mi Band 7 vs Fitbit Charge 5: Design and technical specs

Looks

Fitness bands have not really changed all that much over the past decade in terms of the way they look. Sure you get some more premium material and skin friendly straps, but the general idea is the same. A no-nonsense, functional and sporty form-factor.

One area, however, that has seen a clear improvement is screen technology. What’s more, there seems to be a trend in recent years of wearable brands increasing the size of the fitness band display.

Xiaomi is no different. Pretty much every year we get a bigger display on the Mi Band. In 2022, the screen size has increased to 1.62 inches. If this is not big enough for you, there’s also the option to purchase the Mi Band Pro. That one has an even larger screen in addition to some other upgrades under the hood, most importantly built-in GPS.

Fitbit Charge 5, on the other hand, has a 1.04 inch display so it is not as tall as the one that can be found on the Xiaomi, but it is wider. Both of these are touch-enabled and have an always-on option. Another commonality between the two devices is the lack of physical buttons. So you will need to rely purely on the touch-functionality in order to navigate the menus and start and finish exercises.

Xiaomi Mi Band 7
Xiaomi Mi Band 7

While you can pop out the pill-shaped core Mi Band 7 unit out of the strap, Charge 5 adopts a different approach. Its main unit is held in place by the interchangeable straps. Of course, you can pair either of these devices with different coloured silicone straps, including some options made of more premium material.

Another difference is to do with the build. The Xiaomi device is made of a more plain polycarbonate case (plastic). Fitbit has, on the other hand, opted for an aerospace grade aluminum case. This ensures a snazzier look and a device that is more robust.

Fitbit Charge 5
Image source: Fitbit

Beyond that there are few design differences worth mentioning. Both of these devices are very light-weight and have excellent 5 ATM water-proofing. The dimensions are fairly similar, too, with Xiaomi Mi Band 7 being slightly taller but narrower than the Fitbit.

All things considered, there is not much to separate the Xiaomi Mi Band 7 and Fitbit Charge 5 in terms of looks. So your decision lies on your personal preference. The bigger differences are hidden under the hood.


Sensors and battery life

For starters, the list of sensors that can be found on Charge 5 is much longer. Not really surprising considering the considerable price difference between the two.

An accelerometer, gyroscope, optical heart rate sensor and SpO2 can be found on both of these devices. No altimeter for counting floors on either of these. For some reason Fitbit has decided to drop it as the earlier Charge generations had this sensor.

The additions that come on the Fitbit over the Xiaomi include an ECG and an EDA sensor. Just as important is the fact that Charge 5 packs built-in GPS. On the Mi Band you will need to rely on Connected GPS when tracking outdoor activity, meaning you will need to have your smartphone with you for satellite connectivity. Unless, of course, you opt for Mi Band 7 Pro which packs GPS technology.

But while Fitbit clearly has the advantage when it comes to sensors, it is the Xiaomi which shines when it comes to battery life. You can expect a full two weeks on a single charge which means a simple 30 minute top-up every few days will keep your wearable going indefinitely.

The one week battery life of the Fitbit is not bad and compares well against the competition. With GPS switched on you can expect around 5 hours on a single charge – which, depending on your fitness level, might be enough to run a marathon.

Here’s an overview of the tech specs of Xiaomi Mi Band 7 and Fitbit Charge 5.

Xiaomi Mi Band 7
Fitbit Charge 5
Physical size
46.5 x 20.7 x 12.25mm
36.78 x 22.79 x 11.2 mm
Material
Polycarbonate, silicone wristband
Built of more lightweight material including an aerospace grade aluminum case and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 display. The housing and buckle are made of anodized aluminum.
Display type
AMOLED touchscreen
AMOLED touchscreen
Display size
1.62 inch
1.04 inch
Display resolution
326 PPI
326 ppi
Battery life
up to 15 dаys typical, 9 days heavy
up to 7 days, or up to 5 hours with GPS
Water-resistance
5 ATM
5 ATM
Weight (core unit)
13.5 grams
15 grams
Sensors
Accelerometer, gyroscope, optical heart rate sensor, SpO2
3-axis accelerometer, Optical heart rate monitor, Pulse Ox, Multipurpose electrical sensors compatible with ECG app & EDA Scan app
GPS
Requires phone
Built-in GPS (support for 5 systems)
NFC
China-only
Yes
RRP
$65
$150

Xiaomi Mi Band 7 vs Fitbit Charge 5: Functionality

Both these devices are pretty comprehensive when it comes to tracking fitness and health around the clock. They monitor steps, distance, calories, sleep breathing rate, blood oxygen saturation, stress management and more. They also have abnormal heart rate alerts (low/high) and women’s health tracking. So all the basics are nailed down.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

The devices also play nice with both iOS and Android phones. Charge 5 syncs with the Fitbit App and Xiaomi with the Mi Fitness or Zepp app. Having tested both software ecosystems, we would put Fitbit ahead in terms of simplicity, insights and overall user experience.

The caveat is that Fitbit has an optional premium subscription. Yes, you can get away with not using it. But this means that you will only be able to review the last week’s worth of some of the stats, and the Daily Readiness Score will not be available to you. We make no secret of the fact that we are not fans of premium subscriptions. But it seems to be a trend that is picking up.

Despite that, you do get much more on the Fitbit than on the Xiaomi, even without the premium subscription. This includes the ability to take ECGs, an EDA sensor for detailed tracking of stress, irregular heart rhythm notifications, heart rate variability and skin temperature variation data.

In addition to that you get built-in GPS. For those that like to run or cycle, this will be very important. It means that you can track your outdoor pursuits in great detail and with accompanying maps while leaving your phone behind.

Sure, you can do all this on the Mi Band, as well, but you will need to have your smartphone in your pocket. This is because the Xiaomi needs to piggy-back on your smartphone’s sattelite signal in order to get GPS data.

The extras that can be found on the Mi Band include support for more sports modes – 120 in total. This might seem like a lot when you compare to the Fitbit’s 20 or so. But the vast majority of Xiaomi’s sports modes are basic so you should not put too much stock into this difference.

The other addition is a PAI score that can be found on the Mi Band. Its aim is to encourage you to regularly raise your heart rate over your week.

All things considered, it is clear that the Fitbit is the more serious of the two when it comes to health and sports tracking. But for the price, the Xiaomi offers a lot.

Here are the differences illustrated.

Xiaomi Mi Band 7
Fitbit Charge 5
Electrocardiogram (ECG)
Yes
No
Electrodermal Activity (EDA)
Yes
No
Irregular Heart Rhythm Notifications
Yes
No
Heart Rate Variability
Yes
No
Skin Temperature
Yes
No
Daily Readiness Score
Yes
No
Relaxation breathing reminder
No
Yes
SpO2
During sleep only
Continuous and spot checking
PAI
No
Yes
Workout modes
20
120
NFC
Yes
China only

We’ll round off this comparison with smart functionality. You do get a bit of it on both of these devices.

This includes support for smartphone notifications on the Fitbit along with the ability to respond to them using default and custom replies for Android users. You also get a selection of watch faces and, more imporantly, Fitbit Pay with which you can make contactless payments.

The Mi Band also offers notifications, in addition to a weather forecasts, alarms, reminders and music control. The last on this list is something you cannot do on the Fitbit.

Band over the Charge 5.



Xiaomi Mi Band 7 vs Fitbit Charge 5: The bottom line

Both the Fitbit Charge 5 and Xiaomi Mi Band 7 are excellent choices if you are looking for a no-nonsense fitness device. They come from respectable brands and are packed with health and fitness features.

Considering it retails for more than twice the cost of the Mi Band, it is not surprising that Charge 5 offers more. This includes additional health sensors, built-in GPS and NFC capabilities. So if you are looking for a comprehensive health device, the Fitbit is clearly the one to go for. It is also the choice for those after a more serious run and exercise tracker. Worth noting is that while most of the functionality is free, there are some features that sit behind a pay wall.

The Xiaomi Mi Band is for those after a wearable that won’t break the bank. It offers quite a bit for the price, including support for more than 120 different sports, excellent two week battery life and a large AMOLED touch-display.

So it really comes down to what you are after and your budget. If you don’t need all the bells and whistles of Charge 5, Xiaomi Mi Band 7 does not dissapoint. The device can be picked up for around $65. Have a read through our detailed review of Mi Band 7 on this link. Or head over directly to Amazon to check its current price.

Fitbit Charge 5, on the other hand, is clearly the more powerful device that is comparable to a smartwatch when it comes to its health and fitness smarts. It will set you back around $150 on the company’s website (check price on Amazon).

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One thought on “Xiaomi Mi Band 7 vs Fitbit Charge 5: which to go for?

  • I agree with your comparison and I think the charge 5 has good applications but its reliability for battery life is somewhat questionable as to how long it lasts. I and many others have had problems with battery drain! I in the end returned mine.

    Reply

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