In this article we look to the future of the most popular budget fitness band in the world. It is our take on what to expect from Xiaomi Mi Band 8, including possible technical specs and release date.
Generation 7 dropped only a few months ago so there is nothing at the moment as far as leaks. Which means this article is about what one could reasonably expect from the 2023 version, based on the progression of features of the last few iterations of the device. Of course, when additional information does become available, we will update this piece.
Also, don’t forget to check out our hands-on review of Xiaomi Mi Band 7. Is it worth buying? If you don’t need built-in GPS and are looking for an affordable or entry-level fitness tracker, than the answer is yes. It has all the things that have made the predecessor versions of the band so popular.
In fact, just two weeks following its release, some 1 million Mi Band 7s were snapped up! And that’s before it was even made available for purchase internationally. Strong sales have continued since then.
Xiaomi Mi Band 8: Design
The biggest news with the 2022 Mi Band release is the fact that two iterations dropped. A normal variant and for the first time a Pro. They come with pretty much the same health and fitness specs. The difference is the inclusion of built-in GPS on the latter. Beyond that the other major change is to do with the design.
The base variant stuck to the tried and tested look of prior generations. Something that clearly resembles a fitness tracker, measuring 46.5 x 20.7 x 12.25mm.
Pro, on the other hand, is treading the line between fitness bands and smartwatches. It features much wider 44.7 x 28.8 x 11 mm dimensions. Plus it has some more premium materials in its build such as a metal chassis in addition to the polycarbonate case.
Will we get a non-Pro and Pro next year?
We’re not so sure. Particularly as the non-Pro sells for around $50 and the Pro for about twice this price. That’s quite a big difference. At that price point, you can’t really consider the Pro to be a budget wearable. Our view is that there will need to be more than just built-in GPS and a larger display to warrant the additional variant again next year, at such a large price difference.
A bigger display with each subsequent generation has become somewhat of a tradition of the Xiaomi wearable. The size of the screen has been bumped up for several years in a row now.
In 2021 we got a 1.56 inch AMOLED that contours to the shape of the band, up from 1.1 inches before. That’s quite a sizeable increase. This grew further in 2022.
The non-Pro Mi Band 7 has a pill-shaped display that has been bumped up to 1.62 inches (192 x 490 pixels). It also got an always-on option. The Pro packs a square-shaped screen with an even larger 1.64 inch (280 x 456 pixels) AMOLED.
One cannot reasonably expect any further increases unless Xiaomi comes up with a radically new design. It would burn the line between fitness bands and smartwatches a bit too much. If you want something that looks like a smartwatch, you may as well buy a smartwatch. An AMOLED sized somewhere in between the two 2022 versions would make sense. Throw in some more premium build material and you don’t need the Pro.
The quality of the display on Mi Band 7 and 7 Pro is pretty high (326 ppi) so this might also stay the same on Mi Band 8. But an area of improvement could be screen protection. All the Xiaomi Mi Bands so far are succeptible to scratching. That could easily be changed with a Gorilla Glass display or similar.
A capacitive or physical button?
The all-screen front on Mi Band means Xiaomi has had to do away with the physical button below the display that can be found on some of the predecessor generations. So you need to rely purely only on the touchscreen to navigate the screen. This includes swipping, tapping and tap holding. That’s all well and good but a physical button can be useful in wet conditions, while you are wearing gloves, etc.
Might we see a return of some sort of physical button on Gen 8? We wouldn’t rule it out. A good route might be something akin to the capacitive button which can be found on some Fitbit fitness bands and smartwatches.
Any other hardware changes?
Battery life on the current vanilla version is an excellent 15 days on a single charge. This has remained relatively unchanged in the last few generations although the battery life does take a hit with adavanced features. The Pro can keep going around 12 days despite a larger capacity battery. This is primarily due to its larger, more power-hungry display.
Awesome battery life is one of the main attractions of the Mi Band and we expect this to remain to be the case in the future. However, wireless charging would be a nice addition. It would make refuelling your device easier.
The water resistance is also quite good at 5 ATM on the current generation, suitable for swimming. Expect more of this on the next generation.
Xiaomi Mi Band 8: Features
Apart from the design changes, Mi Band 7 and 7 Pro come with several other upgrades over the predecessor generation. One of these is an improved SpO2 sensor. You can now track blood oxygen around the clock. Previously you could only take measurements on demand. This makes the blood oxygen saturation readings much more useful.
The company has also improved the accuracy of its stats, including heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking. This now includes sleep breathing quality through the blood oxygen sensor. Which, in turn, has a potential to spot signs of Sleep Apnea. What’s more, the band looks out for irregular and sporadic sleep patterns, along with REM sleep by factoring in heart rate variability readings.
The current generation also brings more sports modes over its predecessor. Now there are 120, a four-fold increase from the 30 of Mi Band 6.
Other than there was nothing really new this year.
Fitness & health tracking
The Mi Band ticks most boxes for those after a basic fitness tracker that won’t break the bank. This includes steps, distance, calories, stress, heart rate, blood oxygen, sleep, female health tracking, activity and more. Expect generation 8 to come with all this and more. Of course, the quality of statistics should be improved as the next device will come with the latest tech on offer and improved algorithms.
You won’t find the bells and whistles of a Garmin, Apple or Fitbit on the Mi Band but you do get a lot. In 2022, for the first time we got some advanced performance metrics such VO2 Max, ATPPC, Aerobic, and Recovery Time. For now these seem like work in progress, but it is a step in the right direction. Let’s hope Xiaomi improves and expands on this next year.
An altimer remains the one obvious omission. This is used to calculate floors climbed. We hope to finally see this on Gen 8.
Another possibility is a skin temperature sensor. A number of companies such as Fitbit and more recently Apple have added this. It would allow for better all-round health tracking.
And what about built-in GPS, by default? Mi Band 7 relies on your smartphone’s sattelite signal for this. So if you are doing a run outside and want detailed maps of your exercise and accurate stats, you need to have your smartphone with you – which is not ideal.
Of course you can opt for Pro, which has this, but then you are not really buying a budget wearable. To remind, the Pro supports five satellite systems, GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, GQSS, GNSS. This means it can acquire a satelite signal on its own.
We would also not mind if the whole app ecosystem received a revamp. A the moment you have a choice of the Mi Fitness app and Zepp Health. Neither of these is really that great from a user friendliness perspective.
Some iterations and regions of the Mi Band have an NFC option. However this is not widely available globally. An NFC chip with proper support for a wide range of regions and banks on Mi Band would be nice.
Finally, Mi Band 7 allows you to control music from a connected smartphone. Built-in storage for music would be a useful addition, albeit an unlikely one.
Xiaomi Mi Band 8: Release date, price
Xiaomi has been fairly regular at releasing subsequent generations of the Mi Band every year. Since 2016 these were unveiled in May or June, with 2021 being the exception when we saw it a bit earlier. But in 2022 things returned back to normal. As mentioned, we actually saw two iterations this year.
- Xiaomi Mi Band – July 2014
- Xiaomi Mi Band 1S – November 2015
- Xiaomi Mi Band 2 – June 2016
- Xiaomi Mi Band 3 – May 2018
- Xiaomi Mi Band 4 – June 2019
- Xiaomi Mi Band 5 – June 2020
- Xiaomi Mi Band 6 – March 2021
- Xiaomi Mi Band 7 – May 2022
- Xiaomi Mi Band 7 Pro – July 2022
Looking forward to Xiaomi Mi Band 8, we don’t see any reason for this release schedule to change. Which means the earliest we can expect the next generation is March 2023, with a more likely release date in late May or early June.
As far as price, this has slightly increased over the years. The current generation will set you back around $50 (check current price on Amazon). This type of price point is probably the top end of what a person would want to pay for a budget fitness tracker. This is why we don’t really see Xiaomi bumping up the price and further.
Retailing for double the cost of the base version, the Pro (check price on Amazon) is quite expensive for a fitness band. If we do see a Mi Band 8 Pro, don’t be surprised if it undercuts this price.
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