Xiaomi Smart Band 8 review: Affordable fitness tracker with new versatility

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 review: Affordable fitness tracker with new versatility

Cheap tracker. The Xiaomi Smart Band 8 is one of the most affordable fitness trackers on the market. Our test report reveals what the wearable has to offer for just under 40 Euros/~$44 RRP, whether the manufacturer has eliminated a major shortcoming of its predecessor and whether it is worth buying.

Marcus Schwarten, 👁 Daniel Schmidt, Brian Burriston (translated by DeepL / Ninh Duy), Published 🇩🇪

Xiaomi Smart Band 8

With Generation 8, Xiaomi has made its Smart Band much more versatile. Instead of just being a classic fitness tracker with a sports wristband, the wearable can also be combined with stylish bracelets and worn as a necklace or shoe pendant. Technically, a little has changed, but ultimately not very much.

After the China launch in spring 2023, the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 has also been available for a few months in Europe. So it’s high time to put the new fitness wristband from Xiaomi through its paces. For our test, the wearable was available in the version with a black case and TPU strap in the same color.

Display

1.62 inch, 192 x 490 pixel 326 PPI, AMOLED, glossy: yes, 60 Hz

Connections

Brightness Sensor, Sensors: 6-axis sensor, PPG heart rate sensor

Networking

Bluetooth 5.1 BLE

Size

height x width x depth (in mm): 10.99 x 48 x 22.5 ( = 0.43 x 1.89 x 0.89 in)

Additional features

magnetic charging cable, Mi Fitness, 12 Months Warranty, fanless, waterproof

Weight

27 g ( = 0.95 oz / 0.06 pounds) ( = 0 oz / 0 pounds)

The approximately 48 x 23 mm and 11 mm (0.43 x 1.89 x 0.89 in) thin casing of the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 is made of plastic, which is colored in either black or gold. The design sticks to the elongated shape with rounded ends, but no longer completely encases the device in the wristband, as was the case with the previous generation.

However, the manufacturer still dispenses with side buttons. The device is operated entirely via the touch display. The microphone and speaker also do not find their way into the tracker.

If you order the Xiaomi Smart Band 8, you will receive the wearable in the two colors mentioned combined with a TPU strap in black or ivory. The standard strap has an adjustable length of 135 to 210 mm (~5.2 to 8.3 in) and no classic pin buckle. It is closed by inserting a small mushroom-shaped pin at one end of the strap from the outside into one of the 13 holes at the other end. In the test, the clasp was quite fiddly and sometimes a little annoying, and the fit on the wrist is (subjectively) not the best.

The strap can be optionally replaced with alternative versions in other colors and made of other materials such as leather and metal using the quick-release fastener. There is also a necklace and a running clip for the shoe as alternative wearing options. Special modes have to be activated in the app for this, but it is logical that pulse and SpO2 measurement are not available.

The Mi Fitness app from Xiaomi is required to set up and connect to the smartphone and is available free of charge for Android (from Android 6.0) and iOS (from iOS 12). The app requires an account (if you do not already have one) and guides you through the connection setup in several steps (documented in screenshots below).

The app opens up a wide range of possibilities. In addition to downloading numerous free watch faces, there are numerous settings for the various health features, notifications, etc. For example, the heart rate and SpO2 measurement can be set automatically throughout the day.

As with the series, the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 is operated entirely via the touch-sensitive display. The usual gestures for horizontal swiping of selected and customizable widgets and vertical swiping for scrolling through the menu are used here. The video below provides a few impressions.

In addition to the health functions, which we will discuss in more detail below, the menu also includes functions such as weather, stopwatch, music and camera control, alarm clock, timer and flashlight.

Due to the lack of an earpiece and microphone, it is not technically possible to implement a telephone function. This means that the wearable cannot be used to make calls, not even via Bluetooth in combination with a smartphone.

However, notifications can be transferred directly to the Xiaomi Smart Band 8, which worked quickly and reliably in the test. The associated app offers the option of differentiating between various categories or apps and activating or deactivating them individually. You can also set notifications to only appear on the wearable when it is being worn. Reading on the compact display is limited to the first few lines. There is no reply function.

The Xiaomi Smart Band 8 does not support voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Compared to the Xiaomi Smart Band 7 (approx. 42 Euros/~$46 on Amazon), not much has changed in terms of health features. The eighth generation can still measure your pulse and blood oxygen (SpO2) and offers the usual features such as VO2 max, sleep and stress tracking as well as over 150 fitness modes and an assessment of your training load.

Like virtually all fitness trackers and smartwatches, the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 also aims to encourage a more active lifestyle. To this end, there are three daily activity targets (calories, steps and movement), the level of which can be set individually in the app and the achievement of which can be tracked in bars that build up.

The accuracy of the heart rate sensor is sufficient for a wearable in this price range. In our test of the Xiaomi Smart Band 8, the resting heart rate deviated by three beats or a good four percent. In the test, the Smart Band 8 was even more accurate when it came to the performance heart rate and, on average, hardly deviated from the Polar H10 chest strap, used as a reference device. Compared to the previous generation, the sensor works more accurately according to our impressions.

This can also be seen in the heart rate curve during a sports session, which, although not completely congruent with the reference device, is very similar.

The measurement of the blood oxygen content (SpO2) also works surprisingly well for an inexpensive wearable. In our test, the deviations from a Braun pulse oximeter 1 as a reference device were only around 1.4 percent.

If you also wear the fitness wristband at night, you can benefit from sleep tracking. Xiaomi offers a simple and an extended mode including heart rate and REM sleep monitoring.

Sleep monitoring evaluates sleep time and duration, sleep phases, heart rate and, if desired, SpO2. There is a rough overview on the wearable and more details in the app. Unfortunately, during the test period on an iPhone 13 Pro, the app always crashed when calling up the extended results.

Positive: The Xiaomi Smart Band 8 has a smart alarm function that selects the wake-up time in the morning in a 10-minute time window depending on the sleep phase.

The Xiaomi Smart Band 8 can track around 150 different, more or less common sports, including many water sports thanks to its water resistance up to 5 ATM. The scope varies depending on the discipline. For example, when running, the fitness wristband displays the usual key figures such as time, steps, distance, average speed and more.

Unfortunately, Xiaomi has also dispensed with integrated GPS in the new generation of its tracker. This means that some data, such as the distance covered when cycling, can only be recorded in conjunction with a smartphone with location tracking activated. If you don’t have this with you or nearby during sport, you will have to live with less functionality. However, we have to put into perspective that other trackers in this price range generally do not have their own tracking function.

The display of the Smart Band 8, like its Xiaomi Smart Band 7 predecessor, measures 1.62 inches diagonally. The manufacturer uses an AMOLED panel with a resolution of 490 x 192 pixels. The manufacturer specifies a brightness of up to 600 cd/m², which the wearable was even able to outperform by up to 10 percent in our test. This is the top value among the comparison models listed below and is enough to make the display easy to read even in direct sunlight, even if the glass cover is reflective. There is also a new automatic brightness control.

If desired, an always-on function ensures that the time is always visible. This can be activated permanently or at desired times, but of course at the expense of battery life.

The downside, however, is a pulse wave modulation with only 114 Hz for brightness regulation. This can lead to visible flickering and headaches for users when looking at the screen for long periods of time. In practice, however, this should be a rare occurrence.

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession – a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.

Screen flickering / PWM detected 114 Hz

The display backlight flickers at 114 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) .

The frequency of 114 Hz is very low, so the flickering may cause eyestrain and headaches after extended use.

In comparison: 53 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 18627 (minimum: 5 – maximum: 3846000) Hz was measured.

Unfortunately, Xiaomi does not provide any information about the chip used. Use is smooth and no problems were encountered in the practical test. There is no storage space for apps or music. However, different watch faces can be installed

Xiaomi has installed a 190 mAh battery in the Smart Band 8, which is 10 mAh more than its predecessor battery. Xiaomi claims a battery life of 16+ days with “normal use”. In practice, the values are usually lower, as the experiences from our test show.

Depending on the intensity of use and the selected settings for health tracking and always-on display, a charging stop should last around every 5 to 7 days, or longer if many features are deactivated. The charging time with the supplied short and magnetic charging cable with USB-A is around one hour. As usual, a power adapter is not included.

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 charging
Xiaomi Smart Band 8 charging

Pros

+ bright AMOLED

+ versatile wearing options

+ fairly accurate measurements of pulse and SpO2

+ around one week battery life

+ affordable price

Cons

no GPS

no NFC

PWM flickering

The Xiaomi Smart Band 8 was provided by the manufacturer for the review
The Xiaomi Smart Band 8 was provided by the manufacturer for the review

With the Smart Band 8, Xiaomi maintains the biggest shortcoming of the affordable wearable series and once again dispenses with integrated GPS. This is reserved for the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Pro, which has not yet been officially released in Europe.

This is a shame, as it would offer significantly more options for workout tracking without always having to carry a smartphone with you.

If you don’t want to do without GPS, you’ll have to look elsewhere and should consider alternatives such as the Huawei Watch Fit Special Edition (approx. 70 Euros/~$77 on Amazon) or inexpensive smartwatches such as the Amazfit Active (approx. 130 Euros/~$143 on Amazon), although they all cost more.

What is exciting is the fact that the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 is more versatile to wear – not only on the wrist, but also as a necklace or on a shoe (with fewer functions). However, it is doubtful whether this will really catch on in everyday life and among the masses.

Otherwise, the new generation largely builds on the strengths of its predecessor, continuing to offer a large and bright AMOLED display as well as a solid selection of health tracking with considerable accuracy. Various other features, some of which are new, and a slightly longer battery life than the Xiaomi Smart Band 7 round off the more than solid features of the Smart Band 8 from Xiaomi, especially considering the price.

On a positive note, we must emphasize that the recommended retail price has fallen compared to its predecessor in this country. While this still cost just under 60 Euros/~$66 according to the RRP, Xiaomi is already selling the Smart Band 8 for 39.99 Euros/~$44 RRP. The prices for accessories such as interchangeable wristbands are around 10 to 30 Euros/~$11 to $33.

The Xiaomi Smart Band 8 is available directly from the manufacturer. Many other online stores such as AmazonMediaMarkt and Saturn also sell the fitness tracker, in some cases a few Euros cheaper than the manufacturer’s RRP.

More articles related to this device

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 (Smart Band Series)

Transparency

The present review sample was made available to the author as a loan by the manufacturer or a shop for the purposes of review. The lender had no influence on this review, nor did the manufacturer receive a copy of this review before publication. There was no obligation to publish this review.

Pricecompare

Marcus Schwarten, 2023-12-25 (Update: 2023-12-25)

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