Finally, the wait is over! The Xiaomi Smart Band 8, the latest addition to Xiaomi’s popular fitness tracker lineup, continues to make waves in the wearable industry. This highly anticipated device comes hot on the heels of the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Active and Xiaomi Redmi Pad SE tablet releases. As of 2023, the market is flooded with budget-friendly smartwatches and fitness bands, making one wonder if there’s still a place for such devices. However, Xiaomi, known for its innovative yet cost-effective products, has once again proven that budget fitness trackers like the Band 8 are not only relevant but also essential for users seeking reliable health and fitness monitoring.

In this review, we will dive deep into the Xiaomi Band 8, exploring its design, features, and functionality. While the previous iterations of the Mi Band series may have seemed less exciting, the Band 8 aims to revitalize the lineup with improvements that cater to the evolving needs of consumers. Join us as we take a closer look at what makes the Xiaomi Band 8 stand out in the competitive budget fitness trackers.

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Review: Great Value Fitness Tracker or Has Losing Its Identity?

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Features

  • Metallic midframe
  • Custom watch faces
  • 1.62″ AMOLED Display &
  • 5 ATM Water-resistant
  • Mi Fitness App
  • 16 Days Battery Life, Magnetic Charging
  • Health and Fitness Insights
  • 150-Sport Modes
Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Review: Great Value Fitness Tracker or Has Losing Its Identity?

Unboxing Experience

As I eagerly unbox the Xiaomi Band 8, I’m greeted by a sleek and compact package. While this particular version is the global variant, it showcases the brand’s signature minimalist design. On the back of the box, there are some enticing highlights that pique my interest: AMOLED HD screen, 150+ sports modes, heart rate monitoring, and more. It’s clear that Xiaomi wants to make a statement with this release. Opening the box, I find the Xiaomi Band 8 nestled snugly inside. It’s accompanied by a magnetic charging cable, which hints at convenient recharging, and a user manual to help me get started. The packaging is straightforward, emphasizing the importance of the device itself.

Design and Build Quality

The Xiaomi Band 8 boasts a sleek and minimalist design that is both modern and functional. It follows the classic rectangular form factor that has become synonymous with fitness trackers, but this time with a 1.62-inch AMOLED screen. While it may not break new ground in terms of design, it maintains a familiar and comfortable style that many users appreciate.

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Review: Great Value Fitness Tracker or Has Losing Its Identity?

While Xiaomi claims that the frame is made of metal, it’s important to note that it feels more like a high-quality plastic with a metallic finish. This design decision not only adds a touch of elegance but also keeps the device lightweight. The frame is available in different color options, with the black version of the Band 8 featuring a matching black frame or silver-like ceramic. This color consistency contributes to a cohesive and premium appearance.

The bottom side of the Xiaomi Band 8 provides into its charging mechanism and sensor placement, crucial aspects of its functionality and convenience. First charging contacts, which make contact with the charging cable when the device is placed on the charger. Beneath the charging contacts, the Band 8 houses a set of optical sensors that play a pivotal role in its health and fitness tracking capabilities. These sensors include a heart rate sensor and a blood oxygen (SpO2) sensor.

The Xiaomi Band 8 maintains a lightweight and unobtrusive design, making it comfortable for daily wear. The strap of the Band 8 is constructed from TPU, a material known for its flexibility and skin-friendly properties, It is comfortable to wear and minimizes the risk of skin irritation or allergies, which is crucial for a device intended for continuous use. The combination of a lightweight frame and TPU strap ensures that the device does not weigh down the wrist, even during extended periods of use. Users can comfortably wear the Band 8 throughout the day without experiencing discomfort or fatigue.

Also, Xiaomi has introduced a new strap attachment mechanism that allows users to easily change straps. The availability of various strap options, including leather, metal, and necklace straps, adds to the versatility of the Band 8. This design choice not only enhances aesthetics but also contributes to user comfort by allowing them to choose a strap that suits their preferences and style.

Moreover, the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 is built to withstand wear and tear. It’s equipped with Gorilla Glass 3 on its display, making it reasonably scratch-resistant. Plus, it’s water-resistant, capable of surviving up to five atmospheres of pressure, which means you can take it swimming without worries.

Waterproof Rating

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Active has an impressive water resistance rating of 5ATM. But what does this rating mean, and why is it significant? The “ATM” rating is a measure of a device’s water resistance, with each ATM representing 10 meters of water pressure. In the case of the Smart Band 8, the 5ATM rating implies that it can withstand water pressures equivalent to a depth of 50 meters. To put this in perspective, this level of water resistance is more than sufficient for most water-related activities that individuals engage in. Beyond swimming, the Band water resistance extends to everyday scenarios where your smart band might encounter splashes, rain, or accidental spills.

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Review: Great Value Fitness Tracker or Has Losing Its Identity?

While the Xiaomi Band 8 is designed to be water-resistant, it’s essential to remember that water resistance does have limitations. The device is not intended for use in high-pressure environments such as scuba diving or in saltwater, as salt can be corrosive. Additionally, exposure to hot water or steam may compromise the device’s water resistance over time. To maintain the longevity of your smart band’s water resistance, it’s advisable to rinse it with fresh water and dry it thoroughly after exposure to seawater or chlorinated pool water.

Display Quality

Moving on to the display and user interface, the Xiaomi Band 8 features a 1.62-inch AMOLED display that boasts vibrant colors and sharp details. While it may seem similar to its predecessor at first glance, there are significant improvements under the hood. The Band 8 boasts a 60Hz refresh rate, resulting in a smoother and more responsive user experience. Also, strikes a balance between providing ample space for information and keeping the device compact and wearable. This display takes up most of the front end of the band, with minimal bezels, making it a joy to interact with and ensuring that texts and icons are easily readable without making the band feel bulky on your wrist.

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Review: Great Value Fitness Tracker or Has Losing Its Identity?

A key aspect of any display’s performance is its resolution, and the Smart Band 8 doesn’t disappoint. With a resolution of 192 x 490 pixels, this display delivers sharp and detailed visuals. The pixel density of 326 PPI further enhances the visual experience. Higher pixel density means that individual pixels are packed closer together, resulting in smoother and crisper images. This is particularly important when viewing watch faces with intricate designs. Also, with a maximum brightness of over 600 nits, this display outshines many competitors in the fitness tracker market. What does this mean for users? It means that you can effortlessly view your data and notifications, even when you’re outdoors in direct sunlight.

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Review: Great Value Fitness Tracker or Has Losing Its Identity?

Unlike some fitness bands that require you to raise your wrist or tap the screen to view the time or notifications. But, with an “always-on” display, the Xiaomi Band 8 keeps its display active at all times, this means you can effortlessly check the time or glance at your notifications without any extra effort, enhancing overall usability. Additionally, Xiaomi has incorporated auto-brightness adjustment into the Xiaomi Band 8, a notable feature absent in some budget fitness trackers and has been long-awaited by users. This technology adapts the display’s brightness to match ambient lighting, enhancing visibility outdoors while conserving battery indoors.

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Review: Great Value Fitness Tracker or Has Losing Its Identity?

Multi Watch Faces

The device offers seven pre-installed watch faces. These watch faces are more than just a means of telling time; they allow you to express your style, mood, and personality. With many different options to choose from, you’ll never run out of ways to personalize your smart band from sleek minimalism, and vibrant colors, to intricate designs, there’s a watch face that suits your taste.

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Review: Great Value Fitness Tracker or Has Losing Its Identity?

Changing watch faces directly from the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Active is a simple process. On the current watch face, press and hold the touchscreen for a couple of seconds. This action should trigger the watch face customization mode. Once in customization mode, you’ll see a selection of available watch faces that you can choose from. But, to access to liberty of over 150 different watch faces you need to pair the band with the MI Fit App.

The Band 8 offers a wide selection of watch faces, some of which include built-in games, adding an element of fun to fitness tracking. However, the display’s pill-shaped layout is starting to show its age, and a shift to a more conventional display shape would be a welcome change.

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Review: Great Value Fitness Tracker or Has Losing Its Identity?

Software and User Experience

To connect the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 to your smartphone, you’ll need to download the Mi Fit app, available for both Android and iOS. The app not only helps you pair your phone with the Smart Band but also enables you to customize various settings, including app notifications, call alerts, alarms, and health and fitness stats. The app also offers tips and recommendations for improving your sleep quality and overall well-being. For those who use other fitness apps like Strava or Zep, the Xiaomi Fitness app offers seamless integration. You can connect your accounts and ensure that your data is synchronized across platforms.

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Review: Great Value Fitness Tracker or Has Losing Its Identity?

Once set up, your Xiaomi Smart Band 8 is ready to go. Navigating the Xiaomi SmartBand 8 is intuitive and user-friendly, especially if you’ve used previous iterations of the Mi Band series or other smartwatches. The user interface is similar to that of an Apple Watch or a Wear OS-based smartwatch, with a series of cards or widgets that you can swipe through to access different features and functions. There are widgets for health tracking, notifications, weather, sleep tracking, and more.

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Review: Great Value Fitness Tracker or Has Losing Its Identity?

Swiping left or right reveals essential functions like sleep monitoring, heart rate tracking, weather updates, and even mobile music control. For Chinese users, Alipay and WeChat Pay integration is also available.

Swiping down on the display provides access to notifications while swiping up unveils an extensive menu that includes detailed statistics, workout modes, heart rate analysis, blood oxygen levels, stress monitoring, weather forecasts, and more.

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Review: Great Value Fitness Tracker or Has Losing Its Identity?

Further customization options extend to brightness settings, including auto-adjustment and the intriguing custom photo screen lock feature. Users can also fine-tune the device’s vibration intensity and select from a range of vibration settings, including default, strong, or even off. The inclusion of a “Do Not Disturb” mode allows for uninterrupted focus during workouts or moments of rest. Additionally, the order of widgets can be tailored to suit individual preferences.

Widgets and Games

The Xiaomi Smart Band 8 introduces widgets to its interface, providing quick access to essential information. These widgets offer a sneak peek at your stats and allow you to dive deeper into specific apps with a single tap. You can easily customize your widget layout through the Mi Fit app, tailoring the Smart Band 8 to your preferences.

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Review: Great Value Fitness Tracker or Has Losing Its Identity?

Additionally, the Mi Band 8 comes with a few games, such as 2048 and a ping-pong-style game. While these games may not be the primary reason for owning a fitness tracker, they add a touch of entertainment to your wrist. The ability to have these games as watch faces is a clever way to integrate them into the device’s interface.

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Review: Great Value Fitness Tracker or Has Losing Its Identity?

Notifications and Additional Features

While the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 provides notifications for calls and messages, it’s important to note that these notifications are informative rather than interactive. In other words, you can see incoming calls and messages on your band, but you’ll need to access your smartphone to interact with them. While the device lacks a built-in speaker, it compensates with vibration alerts that effectively notify users of incoming calls and messages.

Beyond notifications, the Smart Band 8 offers additional features that enhance its overall utility. These include:

  • Camera Control: You can use your Smart Band 8 to control your smartphone’s camera. This feature comes in handy for capturing photos remotely, especially in group settings or when you’re setting up a shot.
  • Find My Device: Losing your smartphone is a common occurrence, but with the “Find My Device” feature, you can easily locate your phone if it’s within Bluetooth range. Your band will help you pinpoint its location.
  • Unlock Phone: For added convenience, you can use your Smart Band 8 to unlock your smartphone without entering a PIN or password. This feature streamlines the authentication process and saves you time.
  • The device also supports NFC contactless payments, though the supported payment systems may vary by region.

Health and Fitness Features

The Xiaomi Smart Band 8 continues to impress with its health-tracking capabilities. Heart rate tracking, SpO2 monitoring, sleep tracking, and stress tracking are among the standout features. The accuracy and responsiveness of these sensors are on par with the best in the industry. If you prefer, you can manually enable these tracking features as well.

For more casual users, the detailed metrics in some modes might feel overwhelming. Xiaomi’s “Vitality score” encourages users to engage in heart rate-intensive exercises but lacks comprehensive explanations, leaving users with data but limited actionable insights. The Band 8 covers all essential health metrics, including heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, sleep, and stress levels. It even offers a breathing assessment during sleep. However, our testing revealed occasional inaccuracies, especially in sleep tracking.

Wearing the Mi Band 8 during various workouts, it proved to be comfortable, lightweight, and non-intrusive. Even when fastened tightly for accurate readings, it remained comfortable. However, there was a notable difference in calorie burn calculations compared to the Apple Watch, with the Mi Band often reporting lower figures, which seemed more accurate.

The device can monitor a wide variety of exercises, from traditional activities like running and cycling to more unconventional ones like tug of war and kite flying. It even supports tracking for esports, which is a unique and entertaining feature. However, it’s important to note that it lacks a built-in GPS, necessitating the use of a paired smartphone to track GPS-based activities accurately.

One significant improvement is the band’s ability to automatically recognize workouts more accurately. It excels at suggesting when a workout has begun, and it supports over 150 different workout modes, including specialized modes like boxing and running analysis, it caters to a wide range of users. For those who prefer more detailed tracking during runs, there’s a running clip accessory that offers additional data, including feedback on your running posture.

Battery Life and Charging

Despite its small size, the Mi Band series has always had exceptional battery life, and the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 continues this tradition with a remarkable 16-day battery life. Yes, you read that right, 16 days! This is a significant improvement over its predecessor, the Mi Band 7, and it’s all thanks to an increase in battery size. However, it’s important to note that your actual battery life may vary depending on which features you enable.

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Review: Great Value Fitness Tracker or Has Losing Its Identity?

During my first charge cycle, I managed to get a solid 12 days of usage. This was with all-day heart rate tracking set to one-minute intervals and improved sleep accuracy enabled. If you opt for the always-on display feature, you can expect the battery life to be around six days. To strike a balance between battery life and usability, I chose the “lift to wake” feature, which also showcases the Mi Band 8’s improved responsiveness compared to its predecessor.

Charging the Smart Band 8 is now faster than ever, thanks to the addition of fast charging. You can recharge it from 0 to 100% percent in under an hour. However, one thing to note is the updated charging cable. Unlike previous models with a magnetic mount in line with the cable, the new right-angled cable design might take some getting used to. It initially had a few kinks, but over time, it relaxed enough to remain reliably connected.

Conclusion and Verdict

One of the standout aspects of the Xiaomi SmartBand series has always been its affordability. While the eighth generation isn’t as budget-friendly as its predecessors, it still offers excellent value for money. Xiaomi has managed to keep the price increase minimal, making it a competitive choice compared to other Chinese fitness trackers on the market. Notably, there haven’t been recent updates from competitors like Samsung, cementing Xiaomi’s reputation as a frontrunner.

While the Xiaomi SmartBand 8 offers a lot to love, there are some drawbacks to consider. These include the lack of shortcut customizations, the absence of a barometer and altimeter, no smart home assistant integration, and the new strap attachment mechanism that may not be as secure as previous models. Moreover, the band still lacks built-in GPS, which could be a dealbreaker for some users.

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Review: Great Value Fitness Tracker or Has Losing Its Identity?

So, the Xiaomi SmartBand 8 is an excellent fitness tracker that continues the legacy of its predecessors. Its affordability, impressive health tracking features, and exceptional battery life make it a compelling choice for fitness enthusiasts. It introduces several significant improvements, such as design enhancements, a smoother display, and interactive modes like boxing and running analysis. However, the extensive data and metrics in various modes may overwhelm some users. While Band 8 excels in offering a comprehensive fitness-tracking experience, there’s room for improvement in terms of data interpretation and accuracy. Nevertheless, it remains an excellent choice for users looking for a budget-friendly fitness tracker with a punch.

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Review: Great Value Fitness Tracker or Has Losing Its Identity?

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