In this article, we take a look at the future of the world’s most popular budget fitness band. This is our take on what to expect from Xiaomi Mi Band 8, including possible technical specs and release date.
Gen 7 dropped only a few months ago, so there’s nothing as of yet as far as leaks go. Which means that this article is about what could reasonably be expected from the 2023 release, based on the feature progression of the latest iterations of the device. Of course, when additional information becomes available, we will update this article.
Also, be sure to check out our hands-on review of the Xiaomi Mi Band 7. Is it worth buying? If you don’t need built-in GPS and are looking for an affordable or entry-level fitness tracker, the answer is yes. It contains everything that made the band’s previous releases so popular.
In fact, just two weeks after its release, some 1 million Mi Band 7 have been purchased! And that’s before it’s even available to buy internationally. Strong sales have continued since then.
Xiaomi Mi Band 8: Design
The biggest news with the release of the Mi Band 2022 is the fact that two iterations have been dropped. A normal variant and for the first time a Pro. They come with pretty much the same health and fitness specs. The difference is the inclusion of built-in GPS on the latter. Beyond that, the other major change concerns the design.
The base variant has remained true to the proven look of previous generations. Something that clearly looks like a fitness tracker, measuring 46.5 x 20.7 x 12.25mm.
Pro, on the other hand, draws the line between fitness bands and smartwatches. It features much larger dimensions of 44.7 x 28.8 x 11mm. Additionally, it has more premium materials in its construction, such as a metal chassis in addition to the polycarbonate casing.
Will we have a non-Pro and a Pro next year?
We’re not so sure. Especially since the non-Pro sells for around $50 and the Pro for around double that price. That’s quite a big difference. At this price, you can’t really consider the Pro as a budget laptop. Our opinion is that it will take more than just built-in GPS and a bigger screen to justify the additional variant again next year, at such a big difference in price.
A larger screen with each subsequent generation has become something of a Xiaomi wearable tradition. The screen size has been increased for several years in a row now.
In 2021 we got a band-hugging 1.56-inch AMOLED, up from 1.1-inch before. That’s a pretty significant increase. This has increased further in 2022.
The non-Pro Mi Band 7 has a pill-shaped screen that has been increased to 1.62 inches (192 x 490 pixels). It also has an always-on option. The Pro packs a square-shaped display with an even larger 1.64-inch (280 x 456 pixel) AMOLED.
We cannot reasonably expect further increases unless Xiaomi comes up with a radically new design. That would blur the line between fitness bands and smartwatches a little too much. If you want something that looks like a smartwatch, you might as well buy a smartwatch. An AMOLED sized somewhere between the two 2022 releases would make sense. Add premium build hardware and you don’t need the Pro.
The display quality on Mi Band 7 and 7 Pro is quite high (326 ppi), so it could stay the same on Mi Band 8 as well. But one area for improvement could be screen protection. So far, all Xiaomi Mi Bands are susceptible to scratching. This could easily be changed with a Gorilla Glass display or similar.
A capacitive or physical button?
The all-screen front on Mi Band means Xiaomi had to remove the physical button below the display that can be found on some of the previous generations. So you have to rely solely on the touchscreen to navigate the screen. This includes swiping, tapping, and tap-holding. That’s all well and good, but a physical button can be useful in wet conditions, when wearing gloves, etc.
Could we see a return of some sort of physical button on Gen 8? We wouldn’t rule it out. A good route might look like the capacitive button found on some Fitbit fitness bands and smartwatches.
Other hardware changes?
Battery life on the current vanilla version is an excellent 15 days on a single charge. This has remained relatively unchanged over recent generations, although battery life suffers with advanced features. The Pro can keep working for about 12 days despite having a larger capacity battery. This is mainly due to its larger and more power-hungry screen.
Impressive battery life is one of the main attractions of the Mi Band and we expect that to continue to be the case in the future. However, wireless charging would be a nice addition. This would make refueling your device easier.
Water resistance is also quite good at 5 ATM on the current generation, suitable for swimming. Expect more of that on the next generation.
Xiaomi Mi Band 8: Features
Apart from the design changes, Mi Band 7 and 7 Pro come with several other upgrades over the previous generation. One of them is an improved SpO2 sensor. You can now track blood oxygen around the clock. Previously, you could only take measurements on demand. This makes blood oxygen saturation readings much more useful.
The company has also improved the accuracy of its stats, including heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking. This now includes the quality of sleep breathing thanks to the blood oxygen sensor. Which, in turn, has the potential to detect signs of sleep apnea. Additionally, the group monitors irregular and sporadic sleep patterns, as well as REM sleep by factoring in heart rate variability readings.
The current generation also brings more sports modes compared to its predecessor. There are now 120, four times more than the 30 of the Mi Band 6.
Except that there was nothing really new this year.
Fitness and health tracking
The Mi Band ticks most of the boxes for those looking for a basic fitness tracker that won’t break the bank. This includes steps, distance, calories, stress, heart rate, blood oxygen, sleep, female health tracking, activity and more. Expect Gen 8 to come with all of this and more. Of course, the quality of the statistics is expected to be improved as the upcoming device will come with the latest technologies offered and improved algorithms.
You won’t find the bells and whistles of a Garmin, Apple or Fitbit on the Mi Band, but you do get plenty. In 2022, for the first time, we got advanced performance metrics such as VO2 Max, ATPPC, Aerobics and Recovery Time. For now, it seems like a work in progress, but it’s a step in the right direction. Hopefully Xiaomi improves and grows next year.
An altimeter remains the only obvious omission. This is used to calculate floors climbed. We hope to finally see this on Gen 8.
Another possibility is a skin temperature sensor. A number of companies such as Fitbit and more recently Apple have added it. This would allow for better comprehensive health monitoring.
And what about the built-in GPS, by default? Mi Band 7 relies for this on the satellite signal of your smartphone. So if you’re running outdoors and want detailed maps of your exercise and accurate stats, you need to have your smartphone with you, which isn’t ideal.
Sure, you can go for Pro, which has this, but then you’re not really buying a budget laptop. As a reminder, the Pro supports five satellite systems, GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, GQSS, GNSS. This means that it can acquire a satellite signal itself.
We also wouldn’t mind if the entire app ecosystem received an overhaul. At the moment you have the choice between the Mi Fitness app and Zepp Health. Neither is really great from a usability perspective.
Some iterations and regions of the Mi Band have an NFC option. However, it is not widely available around the world. An NFC chip with proper support for a wide range of regions and banks on Mi Band would be nice.
Finally, the Mi Band 7 allows music to be controlled from a connected smartphone. Built-in storage for music would be a useful, if unlikely, addition.
Xiaomi Mi Band 8: release date, price
Xiaomi has been fairly consistent in releasing subsequent generations of the Mi Band every year. Since 2016, these have been unveiled in May or June, with 2021 being the exception when we saw it a bit earlier. But in 2022, things are back to normal. As mentioned, we actually saw two iterations this year.
- Xiaomi Mi Band – July 2014
- Xiaomi Mi Band 1S – November 2015
- Xiaomi Mi Band 2 – June 2016
- Xiaomi Mi Band 3 – May 2018
- Xiaomi Mi Band 4 – June 2019
- Xiaomi Mi Band 5 – June 2020
- Xiaomi Mi Band 6 – March 2021
- Xiaomi Mi Band 7 – May 2022
- Xiaomi Mi Band 7 Pro – July 2022
Looking forward to the Xiaomi Mi Band 8, we see no reason for this release schedule to change. Which means next-gen at the earliest is March 2023, with a more likely release date of late May or early June.
As for the price, it has increased slightly over the years. The current generation will cost you around $50 (check the current price on Amazon). This type of price is probably the high end of what a person would want to pay for a budget fitness tracker. That’s why we don’t really see Xiaomi raising the price and further.
Sold at double the price of the basic version, the Pro (check the price on Amazon) is quite expensive for a fitness band. If we see a Mi Band 8 Pro, don’t be surprised if it undercuts that price.
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