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Xiaomi Smart Band 8 review: Fitness tracking on a budget

It’s easy to get caught up in all the pomp and glamor of the annual parade of smartwatches from Apple, Google, and Samsung. Still, unless you’ve been paying attention, you might have missed that the Chinese juggernaut Xiaomi has been steadily eating up global market share with its lineup of surprisingly good fitness-focused wearables.
The secret to Xiaomi’s success in the wearable space is the same as the secret to its success with smartphones: selling the same features as its competitors at a lower price. This is what makes the Smart Band 8 such a great device. It’s capable of matching its competitors spec for spec, and doing it all at a lower price.
Compared to its predecessors, the Smart Band 8 doesn’t represent a radical change in form. Instead, it follows the trail Xiaomi has been blazing for its past few models. Just as the biggest change between the 6 and the 7 was the larger and brighter screen, the same is true from the 7 to the 8. Likewise, the battery has grown from 125mAh in the Mi Band 6 to 180mAh in the 7 and now to 190mAh. All told, although the changes are minor, they fully justify the $10 price difference between the Smart Band 8 and last year’s model.
Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 8 8 / 10 $46 $49 Save $3 When it comes to fitness tracking, the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 has everything you need to get healthy. With a long battery life, super-fast charging speed, bright AMOLED screen, and tons of features, this will be the entry-level fitness tracker everyone else is competing with. Pros Only $50
Weeks-long battery life
Lots of watch faces Cons Unsecure strap clasp design
Non-standard magnetic POGO charger
Can’t set favorite workout modes $46 at Amazon
Price and availability
If you’re looking to get the Smart Band 8, it is available for $50 on Amazon. It comes with a basic black strap, but if you’re not a fan, there are other third-party options available should you choose to swap it out.
Specifications Battery Life 2 weeks Display 1.62″ AMOLED Health sensors OHR, SpO₂ IP rating 5ATM Dimensions 48 x 22.5 x 11mm Colors Graphite Black/Champagne Gold Price $50 Display resolution 192 x 490 Battery 190mAh Connectivity BLE 5.1
What’s good about the Smart Band 8?
Unquestionably, the best thing about the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 is how much fitness tracker you get for just $50. The Smart Band 8 has a slim profile at 44 × 22.5 × 11 mm and weighs just 27 g. It has a 1.62 inch, 192 × 490 resolution, AMOLED touch-screen display that can put out up to 600 nits for easy viewing in all but direct sunlight. These are pretty run-of-the-mill specs for fitness bands, but the Smart Band 8 is half the price of Fitbit’s Inspire 3 and $30 less than Garmin’s vivofit 4.
The battery on the Smart Band 8 is also worth mentioning. Although it’s only 190mAh, I routinely get more than two weeks of use out of it (with always-on display turned off and default brightness settings). When it’s time to recharge, I only have to leave the Smart Band 8 plugged in for an hour to get it back up to 100%. Compare this to the Fitbit Inspire 3, which only has around 10 days of charge on a 240mAh battery and takes two hours to fill back up.
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Regarding fitness tracking features, the Smart Band 8 doesn’t stand out from the pack, but it definitely holds its own. It has over 150 workout modes to choose from, and it puts extra attention to its running modes with stride and cadence calculation. If you affix the Smart Band 8 to your shoe (there’s a first-party accessory, though it’s excruciatingly hard to find), you can switch your band to Pebble Mode to unlock stats such as running form, flight ratio, and ground contact time. These kinds of metrics are virtually impossible to get from wrist-based fitness devices.
One thing I especially love about the Smart Band 8 is the plethora of watch faces available. Whereas the Inspire 3 had 21 faces you could scroll through in a minute, the Smart Band 8 has dozens, ranging in style from elegant and stylish to irreverent and interactive. The games won’t win Game of the Year, but they will keep you occupied while you’re waiting in line.
What’s bad about the Smart Band 8?
The wrist strap is my least favorite aspect of Xiaomi’s Smart Band 8. Instead of a traditional pin-and-buckle strap, the Smart Band 8 has a shaped plastic pin pushed through a slightly smaller hole in the flexible TPU strap. I can appreciate the simplicity of the design in principle, but in practice, it can come undone just by putting your hand in your pocket. Thankfully, several alternative straps are available online, many with more reliable clasps.
I also have to gripe about the non-standard charger. The Smart Band 8 uses a magnetically attached two-pin POGO charger (the same charger as the Smart Band 7), which works reasonably well. My problem is that it’s one more cable that I have to keep track of when I travel. I’d rather be able to grab one of the many USB-C cables I have on hand and not worry if I forget my bespoke Xiaomi cable. It’s 2024. We can do better.
My final and smallest gripe has to do with the workout modes. There are 150 of them, but you can’t use the app to set your favorites for easy selection from your watch. Instead, you have to select them from the Smart Band 8, and it will remember your favorites and order them how it pleases. This isn’t to say that it doesn’t do a decent job; rather, it’s a job I’d prefer to have in my hands.
Should you buy it?
If you’re looking for a smartwatch-adjacent fitness band, there’s not a lot of fault to find with Xiaomi’s Smart Band 8. At just $50, it’s more affordable than the Fitbit or Garmin alternatives — and it may be more feature-rich than either of those options. The impressive battery life offsets the inconvenience of the non-standard USB charger, and if you don’t like the clasp, Amazon abounds with easily acquired alternatives.
The only dealbreakers would be if you need a feature that the Smart Band 8 doesn’t have. If you don’t live in China and you’re looking for a wearable with NFC, you’ll have to look elsewhere. If you want a watch that can connect with GNSS independent of your smartphone, again, this isn’t the watch for you. But if you’re just getting into fitness after the New Year and want a device to help you along the way, there’s not much better than the Xiaomi Smart Band 8.

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