For a couple of generations, Xiaomi has called them Smart Bands instead of Mi Bands, but the result remains the same: a few euros, lots of features. Xiaomi Smart Band 8 it promises to be the best in its category and, after the tests in this review, we can only confirm it. For 39,99 euro find a good package of sensors for health and sports, even if not entirely complete; quick, albeit not perfect, notification management; a good screen, although not very large. Also this year, Xiaomi launched a product that has reasonable compromises to keep the price low. But it has improved several details compared to the previous generation, confirming its commitment also in this price range.
Xiaomi Smart Band 8 is not a perfect product, but those who want better will have to spend (even a lot) more: in this review, we help you understand whether the compromises proposed by Xiaomi are not limits for you. Because a large percentage of users, you don’t need to spend a cent more.
Our review of Xiaomi Smart Band 8
Opening the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 package (where you also find the power cable with two magnetic pins), at first glance it is difficult to find the differences with the previous generation. We find ourselves in front of the same smart band with an oval-shaped screen, silicone bracelet (in our case black). Not excessively thick, sensors and charging pins on the back. Xiaomi has not changed the recipe of this product – but has improved it.
Even in the design, albeit in small details. For example, in the way it attaches the strap to the main body. Instead of “engaging” the body in the silicone bracelet, we find two buttons with which to release it in a decidedly simpler way. This helps several use cases, such as the ability to clip it to your shoes during a run.
This change in the strap allows it to not wrap the body in silicone, instead showing off the shiny reinforced glass body which gives a slightly more elegant look, in our opinion. They remain very similar, but we like that Xiaomi invests in the design of its cheaper band. And also in some details regarding the display and features, as we will see.
Smart Band 8 a sinistra, Smart Band 7 a destra
Beyond the few but welcome changes, Xiaomi’s cheap smart watch is not a gala dinner product. But if you want a discreet watch to keep on your wrist for notifications throughout the day, to record your steps and amateur sports activities, the simple design of the Smart Band 8 seems more than suitable to us.
Add the fact that it measures 48mm x 22.5mm x 10.99mm and weighs only 27 grams: you will remember that you have it on your wrist only when you need it. As for water resistance, you can dive up to 5 atmospheres (so 50 meters).
A small but responsive and functional display
As for the display, Xiaomi does not update the main features. We find ourselves faced with a 1.62 inch AMOLED panel and with a resolution of 192×490 pixel, like last year. We really like the color rendering, they are brilliant thanks to the great contrast provided by the AMOLED technology. Some may find it small, especially if you want to read notifications in their entirety. But this product seems to us more suitable for evaluating whether or not a notification deserves to be read on the smartphone, and with this display you will be able to do it without too many problems. And the software does a good job of showing essential information during sports, so much so that we can read everything even without glasses.
The brightness rises slightly to 600 nits, which although it doesn’t help much in direct sunlight, makes it easy to read notifications and metrics throughout the day, both outdoors and under artificial lights. Then there is the sensor for ambient brightness, in order to adapt the amount of light based
Xiaomi also did a good jobor with the widgets that you can add and edit on the Mi Fitness app, which allow you to have the information that is most important to you under control, from your heart rate to the weather.
Xiaomi Smart Band 8 review: a daily companion
The possibility of changing the watch face dall’app Mi Fitness makes it possible to customize the Smart Band 8 as you like: there are so many of them, organized into intuitive categories. Navigation remains similar to the past and very intuitive: on the right you will find the widgets (also customizable), on the left the quick actions, at the top the notifications and at the bottom all the various apps.
The Xiaomi band has rather limited management of notifications, which however cThis seems to be enough for many users. Once you have connected the smart watch with the Mi Fitness app on your smartphone, you can select whether to receive all notifications or only those from some apps. However, you cannot reply: you will see the notification and then you will have to open the apps on your smartphone.
The only possible actions from the band are the call rejection (even if you can’t answer), the possibility to silence the smartphone and it camera shot via the appropriate app. To these is added the media control (your music, podcast, audiobook, video app) that allows you to freeze playback, go forward or backward. Particularly convenient during sporting activity or if you have your smartphone away, but connected to headphones or speakers.
During testing for this review, the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 has always reported notifications very quickly, so much so that it seemed to us that the smartphone and the band were vibrating at the same time. We did, however, have some problems. For example, when a series of messages arrived, even on different storages, on Telegram or Whatsapp, we could only see the first of the series. It seemed like the band was notifying us of the same message or email multiple times, when in fact more than one had arrived.
Convenient are the various functions such as wake up in the morning or timer – there is a version of the timer with the “Pomodoro Method” to stay focused. Too bad there’s no NFC for paymentswhich in this price range would really make the difference: you will have to use cards or your smartphone.
Health and sports features
There are many solid health and sports features which, although not as accurate as smart watches for more “professional” athletes, are quite accurate considering the price. Comparing it to smart watches that also cost much more on the opposite arm, we didn’t see much variation in the reading heart rate or of theblood oxygenation.
Also precise sleep monitoringwith which we had a much better experience than Xiaomi bands of the past. Not only are the measurements precise, but the Smart Band 8 understands when you are sleeping and avoids turning on when you move your arm. And then there’s the ambient light sensor: If you have to look at the smart watch in the middle of the night, the brightness will be at minimum and it won’t bother you (and they won’t yell at you at the cinema if you look at the time).
We didn’t have any problems with the m eitherstress monitoring or other parameters: everything works smoothly and easily.
As for physical activity, the big flaw It’s about the lack of GPS. Before going out for a run, we need to make sure that the band connects to the smartphone and that Mi Fitness also registers the GPS connection in the background – which requires going to the Android settings (in our case). Not the most comfortable thing in the world for runners or bikers.
But once set, you see the main information on your wrist, feel a vibration every kilometer (and you can also control the music). We would have preferred a button to start and end workouts, but the responsive display helps even with sweaty hands. And we really like the fact that it can start or end workouts automatically, especially in this price range.
We also tested it during bodyweight workouts at home, gym activities and a few laps of swimming. Don’t expect professional level statistics, but if you do sport just for the pleasure of it and to keep yourself healthy, that’s enough. It covers over 150 activities, although some of these only show you elapsed time and heart rate.
Autonomy and charging
Xiaomi has equipped its Smart Band 9 with a 5000mAh battery 190mAh, which according to the company allows autonomy of up to sixteen days. We first wore it when it was at 65% and used it for a full week before the low battery warning. On average, with a full charge you can receive notifications and fully use the smart watch for ten to twelve days, even more if you want to download it completely. The lack of GPS helps. But given the very rapid notification reception times and the accuracy of the sensors, it seems like an excellent result.
The Xiaomi Smart Band 8 review: is it worth it?
At 39.99 euros you can’t find better than the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 – but the reasons to buy it go beyond the low price. Lightweight and with a discreet appearance, it can be fastened to any wrist without bothering you (even for those who are not in the habit of wearing watches). It has great autonomy and has fluid and simple to use software, with rather precise sensors.
Those who need GPS (and don’t want to have their smartphone with them while running or cycling), or want to be able to respond to notifications and phone calls, will have to look elsewhere and spend much more. But if you want a band for notifications and to count…