Why the Xiaomi Smart Band 7 is no longer a budget tracker

Opinion: The Smart Band 7 is all grown up
The Mi Band 7 is no longer a budget option
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The Xiaomi Smart Band 7 is now official with big improvements across the board. It's easily the best Mi Band to date – but it's also the most expensive.

It’s difficult to believe, but when the original Mi Band was launched, you could pick it up for less than $30. That pricing remained until the Mi Band 4, which jumped to around $40. The Mi Band 5/6 hovered around $50.

The Mi Band 7 is on Amazon for $69. In Europe and the UK, where we have official pricing , it will be €59/£54 after early-bird discounts. It's no longer a budget fitness tracker.

The Fitbit Inspire 2, which is a comparable device albeit without an SpO2 sensor, has an MSRP of $99 – but is generally available for around $80. The price gap between Fitbit and Xiaomi has narrowed.

In many ways Xiaomi has moved itself out of the budget market, and introduced sub-brands to take that niche. Its Redmi Band is generally available for less than a Mi Band.

But the key question – and one we’ll be answering in our full Xiaomi Smart Band 7 review – is what has Xiaomi added to justify this cost?

The design of the Smart Band has been improved with better screen tech, but it still looks the same as its predecessors.

PPG and SpO2 sensors are common across all devices now, and we haven’t been treated to GPS, ECG or any of the fancy sensors appearing on rivals that Xiaomi used to love adding to its own cut price trackers.

So given that this components should get cheaper each year, what exactly are we paying for?

It seems that Xiaomi is running into the same problems faced by the likes of Fitbit – that the investment in apps, algorithms and analysis is expensive.

Some of the biggest improvements on the Xiaomi Smart Band 7 are software. It now features VO2 Max analysis, Training Effect, Training Load and recovery data.

It will also monitor breathing during sleep, warn of low blood oxygen – all advanced features that stem from the same hardware as the last generation.

Doing all this, even vaguely accurately, isn’t cheap.

Fitbit charges a Premium subscription to bankroll the immense investment of its platform and features. And its devices are more expensive.

But Xiaomi can no longer rely on cheap components and manufacturing to maintain a large advantage. In 2022, wearables have become more complex than that.