The Fitbit Charge 5 and Xiaomi Mi Band 7 promise strong tracking skills, and are two of the best fitness trackers you can strap on right now.
But is there really a huge difference in terms of what these trackers have to offer?
We've comprehensively tested both, so we've dished out our thoughts on what you can expect from Xiaomi's most popular tracker and Fitbit's flagship one.
Here are the key differences between the Fitbit Charge 5 and the Xiaomi Mi Band 7.
Xiaomi Mi Band 7 v Fitbit Charge 5: Price and alternatives
The Mi Band 7 is best described as budget fitness tracker, while the Charge 5 is one of Fitbit's most advanced devices, and comes with a price tag to match:
Xiaomi Mi Band 7 price: $55 (approx)/£54
Fitbit Charge 5 price: $149/£169
Xiaomi hasn't shared official US pricing for the Mi Band 7, but it's available on Amazon. Prices there have varied but at the time of writing it's been priced at $55.
Even with that conversion, the Mi Band 7 comes in significantly cheaper. Fitbit's cheapest tracker is the Fitbit Inspire 2, which costs $99/£89.99 and the Mi Band 7 is still cheaper.
Xiaomi Mi Band 7 v Fitbit Charge 5: At a glance
|Mi Band 7||Charge 5|
|Screen resolution||192 x 490||N/A|
|Continuous and spot SpO2 tracking||Yes||During sleep only|
|Optical and ECG heart rate tracking||Optical only||Yes|
|Battery life||18 days||Up to 7 days|
Xiaomi Mi Band 7 v Fitbit Charge 5: Design and screen
While these two trackers have band-style designs, the approaches do differ.
The Charge 5's module and screen are held in place by a removable strap while the Mi Band 5 uses a strap that you can push the module and screen out of when you need to change that strap.
Both offer a collection of different colored straps, but with the Charge 5, you're getting different styles and materials as well letting you smarten up the look or create a more elegant look.
There's a difference in case materials too, with the Charge 5 packing a aluminium case and Xiaomi using a plastic one.
Mi Band 7
We'd say the responsiveness of the raise to wake support on the Xiaomi is better than Fitbit's, but whichever tracker you go for here, you're getting a great display.
In terms of waterproofing, both trackers are equipped to be dunked in water up to 50 metres depth and offer pool swim tracking if you want to take them for a dip.
We'd say the Charge 5 is the more attractive tracker, but then you're paying more for that sleeker look.
Xiaomi Mi Band 7 v Fitbit Charge 5: Fitness and health tracking features
Mi Band 7
This primarily why you'd want these trackers and whether it's counting steps, monitoring heart rate or tracking sleep, these trackers have got you covered and more.
We'll start with the Mi Band 7, which covers step counts, distance covered, calories burned and will fire idle alerts your way too. It doesn't have an altimeter to track elevation but does include Xiaomi's PAI scores to encourage you to regularly raise your heart rate over your week.
The Charge 5 offers similar sensors to track steps, distance and has Fitbit's PurePulse heart rate sensor to track heart rate 24/7. It also doesn't include an altimeter.
We'd say the Charge 5 fare a little better on the tracking accuracy front and the presentation of the data on and off the Band feels nicer too.
At night, the Mi Band 7 offers a good sleep tracking experience, capturing sleep stages including REM sleep, producing sleep scores and offering some comparisons with other Mi Band users. If enabled, you can also track heart rate, breathing quality and SpO2 data at night.
Fitbit similarly offers rich sleep tracking and is one of its biggest strengths. It offers similar data and can also capture heart rate and blood oxygen data at night. We'd say the Charge 5 is more reliable in general, but the Mi Band 7's sleep tracking has been very good for us.
Switching over to health tracking and with the Mi Band 7, you can continuously monitor heart rate, stress, and SpO2. You can also take on the spot SpO2 readings and set up high and low alerts, which you can't do on the Charge 5. Xiaomi also includes women's health tracking features and the ability to follow guided breathing exercises on the tracker.
The Charge 5 also has an optical heart rate monitor to continuously monitor heart rate and does also include an SpO2 sensor focusing on looking at variations in blood oxygen during sleep, which can be a sign of sleep apnea. This feature does require a Fitbit Premium subscription however.
Then Fitbit ramps things up with an ECG sensor to deliver more accurate heart rate readings and to help assess the heart for atrial fibrillation. You're also getting a temperature sensor to monitor skin temperature during night and while not regulatory approved, offers another way to keep an eye on your general wellness.
Fitbit also focuses on your mental wellbeing generating and does that through generating stress scores based on sleep, exertion and heart rate variability data. You also have an electrodermal activity sensor (EDA) sensor, which measures stress responses. There's a host of mindfulness features lurking inside of the Fitbit companion app as well.
If you want a fitness tracker that can also play health tracker, the Charge 5 is the one you want. If you are mainly all about having reliable activity, sleep and resting heart rate data, the Mi Band 7 will serve you well.
Xiaomi Mi Band 7 v Fitbit Charge 5: Sports tracking features
While these might not be the primary reasons to pick up these trackers, they do offer the smarts and sensors to track your exercise.
Unlike the Mi Band 7, the Charge 5 has built-in GPS as opposed to the connected kind Xiaomi offers.
Fitbit offers 20 exercise modes including automatic exercise recognition for activities like running, walking and pool swimming.
Delving into the software and there are features like workout intensity maps, Active Zone Minutes and there's also Cardio Fitness score, which is basically VO2 Max under a different name.
You also get Fitbit's new Daily Readiness scores (if you pay for Fitbit Premium). Those are based on activity tracking, heart rate variability measurements and most recent sleep.
As mentioned, Xiaomi uses connected GPS, so requires launching its companion app to track outdoor exercise.
It offers 120 workout modes with more dedicated tracking than Fitbit for activities like indoor rowing and skipping. That covers core workouts like running, cycling and pool swimming with Xiaomi offering richer swim metrics.
Something you don't get on the Charge 5 that you do get on the Mi Band 7 are the kind of training insights usually found on pricier sports watches. So we're talking things like training load and training effect insights and recommendations on ideal recovery time.
In terms of how these two trackers perform as sports watches, we'd say there's good and bad.
The Charge 5 does have onboard GPS, but it's not the most accurate we've used. It's not much better with the Mi Band 7's connected GPS support, so if tracking outdoor exercise accurately is a priority, you're not getting great results here.
When you're tracking heart rate during exercise, we'd say the Charge 5 fares better based on our testing. The Mi Band 7 typically reported average and maximum readings noticeably off from a heart rate monitor chest strap while Fitbit's tracker held up well against an external monitor.
If you want a fitness tracker that holds up as well on the sports tracking front, we'd be veering more towards the Charge 5.
Xiaomi Mi Band 7 v Fitbit Charge 5: Smartwatch features
Mi Band 7
Both trackers can operate as smartwatches and there are certainly some features that might persuade you to go for one over the other.
We'll start with the Charge 5, which offers the ability to display notifications with Android users able to respond to some notifications using default and custom replies. You do get changeable watch faces and there's Fitbit Pay for contactless payments.
With the Mi Band 7, you're getting notifications, weather forecasts, alarms, reminders and the ability to control music playing on your phone, which you can't do on the Charge 5.
The differences in the screen sizes does mean some features work a bit nicer on the Charge 5. There's more room for notifications for instance. Both offer a good array of watch faces that are well suited to the vibrant AMOLED screens you get here.
We'd say the Fitbit edges Xiaomi here in this department, but there are some features here that you might want to grab the Mi Band over the Charge 5.
Xiaomi Mi Band 7 v Fitbit Charge 5: Battery life
The Mi Band 7 and the Charge 5 are trackers that can essentially give you a week's worth of tracking time, though Xiaomi's tracker does have the capability to go longer.
With the Charge 5, you're getting the promise of up to 7 days battery life. If you're using the screen in always-on mode, that drops down to 3-4 days. In our testing, we tended to get 5-6 days.
On the Mi Band 7, you can get up to two weeks potentially, but using features like continuous heart rate, stress and SpO2 monitoring will eat into that battery. It's a similar story when switching to an always-on mode.
Fitbit has the same problem and using features like GPS on a regular basis will dent battery, but ultimately these trackers have the capability of keeping you away from the charger for a good week based on our testing.
Xiaomi Mi Band 7 v Fitbit Charge 5: Which should you buy?
So we've established that despite the price difference, these trackers can offer solid options in terms of keeping tabs on your fitness and health, but where are the biggest gains and losses? Here's our take:
Buy the Fitbit Charge 5 if..you want a fitness and health tracker that has great sleep tracking, serious health sensors and design better suited to including smartwatch features. It's the more powerful device – and the Fitbit app is miles ahead. However, some of the best features do require a subscription.
Buy the Xiaomi Mi Band 7 if...you want a tracker with longer battery life and you're mainly concerned with tracking steps, sleep and heart rate 24/7. It's a great way to save money, but that only works if you have a more passing interest in your daily stats and sleep.
How we test