The Xiaomi Mi Band 8 and Mi Band 7 are two of the most popular fitness trackers in the world, which makes picking between them a considerable challenge.
Xiaomi doesn't typically change too much between the Mi Band's yearly iterations, and the differences between these two activity bands are, as expected, relatively minimal.
However, there are several key points of comparison to be aware of. And in this guide, we'll be highlighting all the key differences between the Mi Band 8 and Mi Band 7.
We'll look at the modifications Xiaomi has made to the design, features, battery life, and price, as well as make note of the things that have been kept the same.
Note: The release of the Xiaomi Mi Band 8 global edition is yet to be announced, which means we haven't yet been able to compare it to the Xiaomi Mi Band 7 in real-world conditions. Following its release and our testing, we'll update this piece with a more comprehensive verdict.
Below, we'll dive into all the differences between these two trackers. However, there's also a lot that Xiaomi has kept the same, so let's provide a glance at the main similarities between these generations.
- 1.62-inch AMOLED display; 192 x 490 pixel resolution
- Phone required for GPS tracking
- 5ATM water rating
- PPG heart rate sensor
- SpO2 blood oxygen tracking
- Magnetic charging cable and two-hour charge time
The designs of the Mi Band 8 and Mi Band 7 may look identical at first glance, but there's plenty Xiaomi has tinkered with here.
The most eye-catching difference between the two is the new two-piece band mechanism of the Mi Band 8, which replaces the unibody design that housed the Mi Band 7 module in place (as shown in the image above).
We think the change is a positive one, bringing the series into line with the rest of the fitness tracker market and providing a much more modern look.
The Mi Band 8 module is still very versatile, too, with Xiaomi's official unveiling showing how it can be placed into necklace pendants or onto running shoes and still track activity.
While Xiaomi hasn't changed the display size from the Mi Band 7, the shape of the case has changed slightly.
The newer model measures 48 x 22.5 x 10.99mm, while last year's Band 7 is 46.5 x 20.7 x 12.25mm. It means the Mi Band 8 is slightly longer and wider, but also thinner.
We don't expect many will notice the difference, and we don't expect it to really feel different for those upgrading, but it is one to be aware of, nonetheless.
Display brightness and refresh rate
The display may not be any bigger or smaller, but Xiaomi has pumped up the brightness for the newer model - and it should be a bit smoother when scrolling, too.
While the Mi Band 7 maxed out at 500 nits brightness, its newer sibling can instead reach 600 nits. And the 30Hz refresh rate has also been adjusted to 60Hz.
We expect the brightness difference to be subtle in testing, though the change in refresh rate should actually provide a considerable boost when tapping through the Mi Band 8's menus and screens.
With no native GPS arriving through the Mi Band 8, and pretty much the same array of sensors being packed under the hood, the fitness and health tracking experience on offer appears largely similar.
However, there are a few differences we'll be looking to test out more fully in our extended Mi Band 8 review.
The Mi Band 8 just pips its predecessor when it comes to sports tracking modes, offering 150 total profiles - that's up from 130 on the Mi Band 7.
It's not yet clear what they actually are, and whether they really extend the profile beyond simply just tracking heart rate, but we'll find out in due course.
Elsewhere, the sports tracking experience appears to be the same, with VO2 Max estimates, training load insights, and PAI scores.
Xiaomi has curiously reverted to Bluetooth 5.1 for the Mi Band 8, which means this is the one area in which the Mi Band 7 is technically more advanced, given it supports Bluetooth 5.2.
In reality, the differences are extremely minimal between these two versions of the standard, with the data transfer rate, signal range, and frequency range all identical.
It's not really clear why Xiaomi has made this move, but we highly doubt anybody is missing out here.
Motion sensor and tracking insights
When announcing the Mi Band 8, Xiaomi touted the improved, 6-axis motion sensor. However, given the Mi Band 7 offers the same 3-axis accelerometer and a 3-axis gyroscope, we're not entirely clear on what has actually changed here.
Either way, based on what Xiaomi has mentioned thus far, we're expecting to see improved insights - with fitness courses being suggested in the Mi Fitness app.
We're also expecting any improvement in this area to be bolstered by the ability to place the Mi Band 8 onto a running shoe, but, at this stage, we'll have to wait and see.
While the design changes and additional alterations all have a relatively unknown effect on battery life, Xiaomi has provided some estimations that show us the difference between these two trackers.
As with all of the key differences between these two, we'll reserve full judgment for when we can test the Mi Band 8 and Mi Band 7 alongside each other in identical conditions.
The Mi Band 7 packs in a 180mAh battery unit, which is pretty impressive for such a small module.
However, Xiaomi has changed things inside that new Mi Band 8 case and managed to bump it up to a slightly larger 190mAh battery pack.
For context, the difference was much greater between the Mi Band 7 and Mi Band 6, with the latter only featuring a 125mAh battery.
Whether this slightly larger unit equates to a bigger battery life remains to be seen, but Xiaomi's own tests suggest it will.
The company indicates Mi Band 8 users should receive 16 days in regular use, and switching to always-on mode will see this shrink to 6 days.
Meanwhile, Xiaomi suggests the Mi Band 7 can manage 15 days in normal use and 9 days in 'heavy use'.
In our Mi Band 7 testing, we found it fell significantly short of that estimation in most typical cases, so stay tuned for our extended comparison in this area.
Price and availability
While the Mi Band 7's global edition arrived in May 2022, we're yet to see the Mi Band 8 released outside of the company's native China.
That means the older model is still much easier to get a hold of - and is available in a much wider range of band colors than the new-gen model.
As ever, the global edition is also optimized for life outside of China, which means certain features are helpfully added or removed.
What we do know about the Mi Band 8 is the price - or, at least, what this translates to.
Xiaomi currently offers the newer Mi Band for CNY 249 (around $35 / £30), with an NFC version also optional for CNY 299 (around $45 / £40).
We expect the price of the global edition to be closer to $50-60 / £50-£60 when it does eventually arrive.
We'd also be surprised if an NFC edition was offered, given this feature is usually designed for contactless payment and transport support and will be reserved for partnerships in China.
Which is best?
While we're still awaiting the global edition of the Mi Band 8 in order to conduct our full tests and offer a definitive take on which is the best fitness tracker, the on-paper changes suggest the newer model is the better pick.
We expect the band mechanism and refresh rate changes to be relatively significant, while there's also a chance the battery life has been improved.
However, a lot of this choice does also come down to value, and it's almost certain the Mi Band 8 global edition will be around $20 / £20 more expensive than the Mi Band 7.
For those not overly concerned with the upgrades on offer here, rest assured the Mi Band 7 is still a superb fitness tracker to consider.
How we test