The Xiaomi company once made a real revolution in the market of fitness bracelets, creating an inexpensive but functional solution. Therefore, there are always high expectations from the manufacturer’s models, which did not escape the Xiaomi Mi Band 7. Especially since the new bracelet got a bigger screen and battery. In my review, I will tell you whether these innovations were useful and whether owners of previous versions should upgrade.
Features of Xiaomi Mi Band 7
|Display||1.62-inch AMOLED screen with a resolution of 490×192 points (326 ppi) and a peak brightness of 500 nits|
|Sensors||Optical heart rate monitor, 3-axis accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, proximity sensor|
|Contactless payments||No NFC in this version|
|Health Tracking||Pedometer, heart rate, blood oxygen saturation (SpO2), sleep tracking, breathing exercises, stress monitoring, women’s health|
|Sports||110 modes, VO2 calculation, training notifications, recovery time|
|Water resistance||5 ATM|
|Battery and battery life||180 mAh, up to 14 days|
|Estimated price||$65 / €60|
Design and materials
The compactness of sports bracelets does not leave much space for designers, but it cannot be said that the company Xiaomi aimed to change the appearance of the Mi Band 7. The model looks almost the same as the previous version, except that the enlarged body, which has become as a result of using a larger display.
The body of the fitness bracelet is also made of plastic, the screen is covered by tempered glass, and the strap is made of silicone with a pleasant, almost silky-to-the-touch surface, which should prevent skin irritation during constant use. The design of Xiaomi Mi Band 7 has also not changed: all electronics are placed in a capsule with a display that is inserted into the strap. For the first generations of the bracelet, this was a problem, the strap stretched over time and the capsule could get lost, but now it stays in place very well and is pulled out with noticeable effort.
Straps for the Mi Band 7 come in different colors and materials, and given the popularity of the model, you can count on many third-party offers, as it was with previous bracelets in the series.
There are no additional buttons on the body of the Xiaomi Mi Band 7, all interface control is done through the touch screen, although, honestly speaking, I would like a physical button that would allow you to take a step back when navigating the menu.
In general, the new Xiaomi fitness bracelet does not attract attention with its design, but it remains recognizable. And the enlarged screen leaves a little more space for creativity to the authors of digital dial-pieces that can be displayed on the main screen of the Mi Band 7 interface.
Display, functionality and interface
The bracelet received a 1.62-inch AMOLED screen with a resolution of 490×192 points (326 ppi) and a peak brightness of 500 nits. It would seem that the difference with the 1.56-inch display in the Mi Band 6 is not very big, but due to the larger screen width, it is 20% larger in the new model, and visually it is very noticeable.
More information can be placed on the display, which also made it possible to improve navigation through the menu, it is simply more convenient to hit the icons with your fingers. It does not work everywhere, for example, the settings menu is represented by a dense list, the sections of which, especially on the go, are not always possible to get to exactly. In addition, a step back in the interface is done by swiping from the left edge of the screen, and it is not very convenient to do this on a still relatively small display. As I said above, a separate mechanical key would be great here.
The set of sensors in Mi Band 7 has not changed compared to the previous version and includes a 3-axis accelerometer, a 3-axis gyroscope, a barometer, a proximity sensor, as well as an optical sensor with a green laser, which is responsible for measuring pulse and blood oxygen saturation.
Xiaomi traditionally does not reveal which processor and how much memory is used in the Mi Band, but for a sports bracelet, the interface works without strong delays. More precisely, they are not larger than you expect from such a device.
Despite the increase in the display, the menu logic has not changed. The main screen in the Mi Band 7 is always a dial-piece, which can additionally show various information, for example, the number of steps taken, the weather, and the battery level. In addition to the standard ones, additional dial-pieces can be downloaded to the bracelet from the Internet.
Swiping from the dial to the right or left opens access to widgets, they are all system, you will not be able to download additional ones, but there are enough of them and they can provide various opportunities and information. For example, controlling a music player on a smartphone, or showing physical activity for the day.
If you swipe from top to bottom on the dial screen, a notification curtain will open in the manner of how it is implemented in smartphones. This, by the way, is an innovation of the Mi Band 7, in version 6 notifications were shown as an additional widget, and here, with the increase in the display, they were decided to be moved to a separate part of the interface. However, the screen of the bracelet is still not large enough to comfortably read or somehow interact with notifications.
By swiping up from the bottom of the watch face, you can access the main menu, which is represented by application icons. They are also standard without the possibility to install additional ones, and mostly duplicate the information that can be displayed in widgets. That is, you will have to go to the main menu, although it is quite convenient.
What is not convenient in the interface is the settings menu, which is represented by a list. It contains items with long descriptions that simply cannot fit on a screen, let alone a slightly larger one. Therefore, their descriptions begin to move like a scorlling text. This is always annoying, especially if the description is long and you have to wait till it comes back to the beginning.
settings. After all, while you are scrolling through the menu, the first part of the description could have already passed and you have to wait until it returns to the beginning.
In general, I would like to note that the Xiaomi Mi Band 7 is easy to use, but the company clearly has something to improve on the interface. As well as functionality, because the bracelet does not support contactless payments via NFC. As in the case of Mi Band 6, we need to wait for a separate version with NFC, which will support Xiaomi Pay, and hope that Xiaomi and Mastercard will continue their cooperation. Of course, it would be better if NFC was in every bracelet model.
Connecting to a smartphone
Mi Band 7 connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth 5.2, both Android and iOS models are suitable for this, you just need to install the application. And this is where the interesting begins, because Xiaomi abandoned the former MiFit application, replacing it with Zepp Life, but in stores Google Playand App Store you can also find the less popular app Mi Fitness, which can also work with the Mi Band 7, and in my opinion has a nicer interface. Why there are two apps with the same functionality for the company’s sports bracelets, I don’t know, but both work well and support all the features of the Mi Band 7.
With the help of both Mi Fitness and Zepp Life, the bracelet is first set up, its operating system is updated, and data is synchronized with the smartphone. Both programs accumulate analytics and build graphs, through which it is more convenient to track your physical activity, sports and health than on the screen of the bracelet.
In addition, the applications allow you to change the settings of the Mi Band 7 and download additional watch faces.
Health and sports
The first Mi Band was released 8 years ago, during which time the capabilities of Xiaomi fitness bracelets have expanded significantly, but the main positioning has not actually changed – it is still a relatively inexpensive tracker for tracking health, physical activity, sleep, and sports. According to the Mi Band 7 can count the number of steps taken, measures heart rate and blood oxygen saturation (SpO2), counts sleep phases, and also tracks 110 types of sports, from running to figure skating.
The sensors for measuring the pulse in the bracelet have not changed, it also uses a green laser and an optical sensor to record the movement of blood in the vessels. At rest and while walking, the heart rate readings are not too different from the data shown by the Apple Watch SE. When you do sports, the error can increase, because the size of the sensors is relatively small, so drops of sweat can impair the operation of the optical sensor. A tightening of the strap helps here, but it is also worth considering the physiological characteristics of the user and the presence of scars or tattoos on the hands.
Measuring blood oxygen saturation in Mi Band 7 is quite conditional, the bracelet often shows a significant deviation compared to other devices. At least in my case it’s an SpO2 reading of 93-95% while the pulse oximeter was reading 98-99%. Again, tightening the strap tighter and not moving during the measurement can improve accuracy, but the margin of error remains large. Maybe it will be improved later through a software update.
The bracelet is able to automatically track sleep time, its stages and quality, providing simple tips on how to improve these indicators.
As in other models starting with version 5, the Mi Band 7 has a Personal Activity Intelligence indicator, or PAI for short, which is calculated over time and depends on the characteristics of the user’s heart rate and physical activity. In fact, this is a variation on the theme of such an indicator as cardio toughness, which shows how well the cardiovascular system can withstand the load, accordingly, constant moderate sports increase this indicator. The same with PAI, only in a more playful form, because the system calculates points for physical activity, and the user’s goal is to reach 100 points within 7 days.
There is no built-in GPS module in Mi Band 7, for more accurate distance tracking during sports, you need to use a smartphone in parallel. But you can swim with the bracelet, it has 5 ATM water protection.
In general, users of the previous generation of the bracelet will not find the capabilities of the Mi Band 7 to track health and physical activity to be great innovations. However, if this is your first sports bracelet, then you can expect to see all the features available in such models.
Mi Band 7 autonomy
As the manufacturer claims, Mi Band 7 provides 14 days of battery life, and this is true, but there is a caveat. To achieve this result, the user needs to turn off almost all automatic tracking features, such as continuous heart rate measurement, limit notifications and only turn on the screen manually by tapping it to wake up. If you use the Mi Band 7 in normal mode with partially automatic measurement of indicators, slightly more notifications, and waking up the screen after raising your hand, battery life will decrease to 7-8 days. And when all functions are turned on, battery life will be reduced to 3-4 days.
If you compare it with smartwatches, which on average live 1-2 days, the autonomy of Mi Band 7 can be called not bad, but it is actually less than the manufacturer notes.
The bracelet charges via the same magnetic connector as the Mi Band 6, so the charging cable has not changed and is still included.