Xiaomi's budget Smart Band fitness trackers have always offered plenty for their price. The latest Xiaomi Smart Band 8 is no different, with several design tweaks to change up the appearance and usability. Coupled with its still affordable price (around S$50), it remains an easy recommendation for anyone shopping for an inexpensive fitness tracker.
- 1.62-inch AMOLED screen (192 x 490 pixels)
- Size: 48mm x 22.5mm x 10.99mm, 14g
- 190mAh battery (up to 16 days battery life)
- Requires Android 6.0 or later, iOS 12.0 or later
Although the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 looks similar to its predecessor, it's now slightly larger and heavier with a new metallic frame. But it still feels light and comfortable on the wrist. More importantly, the Smart Band 8 looks a bit more upmarket and premium with the glossy aluminium sides. The strap mechanism is different, too. It's now a two-piece strap, like on smartwatches, instead of a single unibody version. I feel it's easier to change these straps. But you won't be able to reuse your older straps. Like the previous model, there are no buttons on this fitness tracker. This means you'll have to make a few more swipes to return to the Home screen. It's something I really missed after using the Fitbit Inspire 3 and its two haptic buttons.
While it still sports a similar 1.62-inch AMOLED screen, Xiaomi has apparently increased the refresh rate to 60Hz (up from 30Hz previously). Personally, I don't think users will even notice the change since unlike a smartphone, they are probably not spending too much time navigating the user interface. What they will likely notice is the new ambient light sensor. It means you don't have to fiddle with the brightness settings, just set it to Auto. However, I did find the Always-on display (AOD) too dim to use outdoors. Now, the actual display itself is brighter than the previous version. At up to 600 nits, it's decently bright to be visible outdoors in the sun.
As usual, the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 doesn't have built-in GPS. It will use your phone for detailed tracking. If you want integrated GPS, Xiaomi has a Pro version with that feature, and a larger display. But the Smart Band 8 does have plenty of health and fitness tracking features, from all-day monitoring of heart rate and SpO2 to sleep and stress tracking. I did notice the heart rate monitoring can seem iffy at times. For example, my heart rate would spike by a crazy amount during a workout for a couple of seconds, before dropping back to a more normal reading. Otherwise, the health and activity tracking (sleep, blood oxygen, steps) seem pretty spot-on. Just don't expect any insights or smart features (like mobile payments), unlike more advanced devices.
The interface is simple and intuitive to use, with useful features like weather and media controls just a few swipes away. Note that the Zepp Life app, which was supported in older Xiaomi fitness trackers, is no longer available on the new one. You can transfer your Zepp Life data to the Mi Fitness app, but you may lose some functionality. The Xiaomi Smart Band 8 has a slightly larger 190mAh battery (up from 180mAh). Xiaomi says you can get over two weeks uptime without the AOD. After using it for more than a week, I haven't had the need to charge it. Overall, I would say the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 offers plenty for its price (around S$50), and is a top option for anyone looking for a cheap, feature-packed fitness tracker. Get it now from Lazada, and Shopee.
Review unit provided by Xiaomi.
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