July 3, 2022

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Beauty Made Perfect

Which cheap tracker should you buy?


A family of Xiaomi Mi Band 7 devices highlight the new lineups color options.

Newer doesn’t necessarily mean better, especially when it comes to new wearables. Now that Xiaomi has finally lifted the lid on the Xiaomi Mi Band 7, you probably wonder how it stacks up against the Mi Band 6. The Mi Band series has long stood among the best wearables for users on a budget, but can the Mi Band 7 continue this trend? Or should you invest in a Mi Band 6 instead? Read on for more.

See also: The best affordable fitness trackers

Xiaomi Mi Band 7 vs Mi Band 6: Specs comparison

Xiaomi Mi Band 6 Xiaomi Mi Band 7

Display

Xiaomi Mi Band 6

1.56-inch AMOLED
Tempered glass with anti-fingerprint coating
152 x 486 resolution
326ppi
Up to 450 nits
60+ band displays

Xiaomi Mi Band 7

1.62-inch AMOLED
Always-on display mode
2.5D tempered glass
192 x 490 resolution
Up to 500 nits
100+ band displays

Sensors

Xiaomi Mi Band 6

PPG heart rate sensor
3-axis accelerometer sensor
3-axis gyroscope sensor
SpO2 sensor
Connected GPS

Xiaomi Mi Band 7

PPG heart rate sensor
3-axis accelerometer sensor
3-axis gyroscope sensor
SpO2 sensor
Connected GPS

Battery

Xiaomi Mi Band 6

125mAh
14 day promised battery life

Xiaomi Mi Band 7

180mAh
15 day typical battery life
9 days with heavy use

Connectivity

Xiaomi Mi Band 6

Bluetooth 5.0

Xiaomi Mi Band 7

Bluetooth 5.2

Tracking and other features

Xiaomi Mi Band 6

30 fitness modes
6 auto detection modes
SpO2 tracking
Sleep tracking
Breathing exercises
Stress monitoring
Female health tracking
PAI (Personal Activity Intelligence)
Idle alerts
Camera remote shutter
NFC (limited to Chinese NFC model)

Xiaomi Mi Band 7

120 fitness modes
Continuous SpO2 tracking with low blood oxygen alerts
Sleep tracking
Breathing exercises
Stress monitoring
Female health tracking
PAI (Personal Activity Intelligence)
VO2 Max calculations
Aerobic/anaerobic training alerts
Recovery time
Training load
Idle alerts
Camera remote shutter
NFC (limited to NFC model)

Water resistance

Xiaomi Mi Band 6

5ATM

Xiaomi Mi Band 7

5ATM

App compatibility

Xiaomi Mi Band 6

Mi Fitness app
Zepp Life app
Xiaomi Mi Band 7

Mi Fitness app
Zepp Life app

Charging method

Xiaomi Mi Band 6

Magnetic charging

Xiaomi Mi Band 7

Magnetic charging

Supported devices

Xiaomi Mi Band 6

Android 5.0 and above
iOS 10 and above

Xiaomi Mi Band 7

Android 6.0 and above
iOS 10 and above

Dimensions

Xiaomi Mi Band 6

47.4 x 18.6 x 12.7mm
Strap: 155 – 219mm

Xiaomi Mi Band 7

46.5 x 20.7 x 12.25mm

Colors

Xiaomi Mi Band 6

Black, Orange, Yellow, Olive, Ivory, Blue

Xiaomi Mi Band 7

Black, Blue, Orange, Pink, White, Dark Green, Fluorescent Orange, Fluorescent Green, Camouflage Blue, Camouflage Green.

Design and features

  • Xiaomi stretched the Mi Band 7’s screen to 1.62-inches without sacrificing pixel density.
  • The new always-on display mode adds to the new tracker’s usefulness.
  • Xiaomi also promises more colors, clock faces, and an improved UI with the Mi Band 7.

Xiaomi has resisted the urge to switch up the Mi Band design completely, and it’s a good decision in our book. The biggest draw of the Mi Band series is its simplicity, and the seventh iteration only improves where it matters.

Is the display the Mi Band 7’s biggest upgrade?

The Xiaomi Mi Band 7 now packs a 1.62-inch AMOLED display, up from the Mi Band 6’s 1.56-inch screen. It may not seem a huge improvement, but a larger viewing area for important info is always welcome and valuable when only a glance will do. The new display also hits 500 nits maximum brightness, a minor improvement over the Mi Band 6’s 450 nits.

Despite its size increase, the most noticeable display improvement comes in the form of an always-on mode. The long-awaited feature will allow users to sneak peeks at the time and other important information without tapping the screen. It’s unclear how this will affect the Mi Band 7’s battery life, but it’s a welcome improvement over the Mi Band 6.

Joining the always-on mode and upgraded screen, the Mi Band 7 also gains a reworked UI. Icons and animations see a refresh, while the data presented on screen takes advantage of the AMOLED screen’s contrast ratio. On top of this, you’re also getting more than 100 additional customizable clock faces with nifty MIUI 13-inspired designs.

Xiaomi launched two Mi Band 7 models in China. One includes NFC, while the other does not. It’s unclear which model will launch globally.

Why change what isn’t broken?

Are any other changes noticeable? Well, no. It’s tough to tell the Mi Band 7 and Mi Band 6 apart from a distance. Both feature a pill-shaped central tracker mounted snug into a TPU band. The former arrives with at least six color options, complete with new camouflage and fluorescent options. For those seeking a more customizable band, the Mi Band 7 does have a leg up here.

You will notice a considerable change in the battery capacity column, though. The Mi Band 7 includes a 180mAh battery, up from the Mi Band 6’s 125mAh reservoir. Xiaomi believes the new band will typically last 15 days between charges or nine days for more enthusiastic users. In comparison, the Mi Band 6 was advertised with a two-week battery life.

It’s worth noting that this battery bump is probably necessary. The Mi Band 7’s new features could steadily drain its battery in the background. Judging by the Mi Band 6’s increased consumption over the simpler Mi Band 5, you could have a tough time meeting that 15-day figure. There is a precedent for this, too. During our Mi Band 6 review, we found the tracker fell well short of Xiaomi’s quoted battery life target.

See also: Xiaomi Mi Band 6 review

Fitness and health tracking

Mi Band 7 colorways 1
  • The Xiaomi Mi Band 6 falls well short in health and fitness features.
  • The Mi Band 7 now brings SpO2 alerts, new training metrics, like VO2 max and training load, and additional sport tracking modes.
  • However, onboard GPS is a notable absentee on the new tracker.

Design should come second to a fitness tracker’s health kit, so how do the Mi Band 6 and Mi Band 7 compare? First off, the two bands share many features, including heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, female health monitoring, and stress tracking. PAI, or Personal Activity Intelligence metrics, is standard across both bands.

While the Mi Band 6 saw loads of upgrades over its predecessor, including the addition of an SpO2 sensor, the Mi Band 7 seemingly wants to be taken seriously by avid gym-goers and runners.

The SpO2 sensor returns but now continuously monitors a user’s blood oxygen level, sounding an alarm if it dips below 90%. It’s a great feature, especially in the era of the pandemic. The Xiaomi Mi Band 6’s SpO2 sensor only continuously monitors levels during sleep, so the Mi Band 7 is a welcome step up.

Is the Mi Band 7 a serious training tracker?

More serious trainers can take advantage of four new data fields to analyze performance. These include VO2 max, aerobic/anaerobic training advice that helps users understand how hard to push their heart to burn fat or build muscle, and recovery time. Training load is also calculated using a seven-day excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC — a standard used by the likes of Garmin. This metric should give users more insight into how their recent exercise activity has impacted their general fitness.

You’d usually have to fork out for a more expensive training-orientated watch to gain insight into these metrics, so seeing these on a budget tracker is impressive. It’s unclear how accurate this data is without taking the Mi Band 7 for a spin.

Beyond these serious training features, the Mi Band 7 caters to casual users, too. The band now packs 120 sports modes, up from the 30 offered by the Mi Band 6. Will you use all 120 modes? Probably not, but variety is the spice of life.

See also: The best multisport watches you can buy

Where older Mi Band models may still excel

  • If you value battery endurance, you might want to hang on to your older Mi Band 5 or Mi Band 4.
  • The Xiaomi Mi Band 7 still doesn’t fix the Mi Band 6’s more pressing issues, like the lack of built-in GPS.

We’ve spoken extensively of the Xiaomi Mi Band 7 versus the Mi Band 6, but how does the tracker contend with older models? Well, it still misses a few features its predecessors lacked.

One of the biggest omissions on the Mi Band 7 is onboard GPS. A staple on pricier fitness trackers and smartwatches, built-in GPS would allow Mi Band 7 users to leave their smartphones at home to track their runs, bike rides, and hikes. However, the tracker’s connected GPS relies on your smartphone for GPS data. This makes the Mi Band 7 inconvenient for active folk like previous Mi Bands.

The Xiaomi Mi Band 7 is worth buying if you value its upgraded screen, larger battery, and more intuitive health tracking features.

Again, it’s worth bringing up the Mi Band 7’s battery consumption, too. We’ve not yet reviewed the Mi Band 7, we can only speculate and quote Xiaomi’s 9-day heavy usage battery duration claim. While that’s impressive compared to more expensive watches, it’s still well short of the Mi Band 5’s two-week claim and the Mi Band 4‘s near month-long endurance. Don’t upgrade to the Mi Band 7 if you seek an ever-lasting tracker.

See also: The best Xiaomi Mi Band 7 alternatives

Xiaomi Mi Band 7 vs Mi Band 6: Which should you buy?

Xiaomi Mi Band 7
  • If you can’t wait for the Mi Band 7 or don’t care for its more advanced features, you can probably grab the Xiaomi Mi Band 6 for a little less than the new tracker.
  • Are you seeking a tracker with advanced training stats, a larger screen with an always-on mode, and a bigger battery? Consider waiting for the Xiaomi Mi Band 7.

At present, the choice is pretty obvious. The Mi Band 7 is only available in China, and it’s unclear when it’ll be available internationally. This naturally makes the Mi Band 6 the only option for buyers beyond China or those who refuse to import the band. But once the Mi Band 7 makes its global debut, it should become the Xiaomi Mi Band of choice for new buyers.

xiaomi mi band 6 press render orange blue strap bands

Xiaomi Mi Band 6

Now with SpO2 tracking and more sport profiles

The Xiaomi Mi Band 6 (aka Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 in some regions) is Xiaomi’s latest flagship fitness tracker. True to form, the Mi Band 6 offers more features than you’d expect for a sub-€50 wearable.

If you already own a Mi Band 6 or older Mi Band, you may want to think twice about upgrading. You may not need the additional training features, or you might prefer the longer battery life offered by older models. If you fall into either of these camps, rather wait for the inevitable price drop the Mi Band 7 will experience later in its life.

Overall, it’s tough to recommend the Mi Band 6 over the Mi Band 7. The latest model builds on the Mi Band 6 with more innovative health tracking, a larger screen, and a bigger battery for just 249 Chinese yuan (~$37). At that price, the Xiaomi Mi Band 7 doesn’t have much competition, even from its own family.

Which Xiaomi Mi Band model do you prefer?

192 votes

That’s it for our Xiaomi Mi Band 7 vs Mi Band 6 head-to-head. But what do you think of the Mi Band 7? Is it worth getting over the Mi Band 6? Let us know by voting in the poll above.



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