Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro Review
Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro Review
The line between smartwatches and smartwatches is as thin as ever in 2022. It usually comes down to the ability to run third-party apps, make and receive calls, and use cellular data. The Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro is a smart band disguised as a smartwatch and aims to further blur the gap between wristband and watch form factors.
It retails for €100/£120 which is more than double the current price of the regular Xiaomi Band 7. You get a wider screen, built-in dual-band GPS, a battery that’s rated for 12 days of mixed use, and a few other extras. Is the price justified and are the extra features worth the premium, or should you just go ahead and get the non-Pro Smart Band 7? Let’s examine.
Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro specifications
- Display: 1.64″ color AMOLED, 280 x 456 pixels color display, 326ppi pixel density, 500 nits peak brightness, 2.5D curved glass
- strips: Detachable silicone bands, width 22 mm, adjustable length 130-205 mm
- Characteristics: 5ATM rating, real-time heart rate monitor, 24/7 blood oxygen level monitor, sleep tracker, stress tracker, sports tracker, VO2 Max, pedometer, meditation, smart notifications, idle alert, drink reminder, phone finder, weather forecast, music and camera control, Amazon Alexa voice assistant
- Sports modes: Outdoor Running, Indoor Running, Outdoor Walking, Indoor Walking, Outdoor Cycling, Indoor Cycling, Strength Training, Football, Yoga and Cricket (100+ more in Mi Fitness App)
- Sensors: PPG optical heart rate sensor, SpO2 sensor, 3-axis accelerometer, rotor vibration motor
- Connecting: Bluetooth LE 5.2, dual-band GNSS, compatible with Android 6+ and iOS 12+
- battery: 235 mAh
- colors: Black, ivory
- Dimensions: 44.7 x 28.8 x 11 mm
- Weight: 20.5 grams
Our review unit comes in an ivory color that delivers an almost white hue. It looks nice when it’s brand new, but it picks up a lot of dirt after a few days of use, especially on the underside of the case. The body is made entirely of plastic, while the top half boasts a shiny metal border around the screen that adds style. One welcome addition on the Pro model is a wider watch band that also has a buckle mechanism for a more secure fit, whereas the regular Band 7 has a hook clasp that is harder to secure and loosens over time.
The Band 7 Pro weighs 20.5 grams, which is exactly 7 grams more than the Smart Band 7, but it’s still super light and we find it comfortable to wear all day. You forget it’s on your wrist after a few minutes, although the larger body tends to stick out more when wearing long-sleeved shirts compared to the Smart Band 7. Although the case on the 7 Pro is larger, Xiaomi chose not to add any physical buttons that we feel that it is a missed opportunity.
There’s a larger 1.64-inch AMOLED screen on the Band 7 Pro with a resolution of 280 x 456 pixels, a maximum brightness of 500 nits, and 2.5D curved glass. The 326 ppi screen is plenty sharp and has 40% more horizontal screen space than the Band 7. The wider screen is especially useful on watch faces as you can have complications for almost every significant device and health indicator, and you’ll also be easier to -read notifications.
The Band 7 Pro also brings automatic brightness control which is something you can’t find on the Band 7. The Always On Display (AOD) mode shows the time and date even when the screen is off at the expense of battery life.
The Band 7 Pro is 5ATM water resistant which means swimming sessions in the pool are perfect. The watch band is made of silicone and has a proprietary buckle mechanism. Xiaomi also offers more options for premium vegan leather. There is no official IP rating for water or dust. The retail box contains the Band 7 Pro and a proprietary two-pin magnetic charger that terminates in a USB-A cable.
Xiaomi has packed all the health and fitness tracking features from the Band 7 into the Band 7 Pro, including 24/7 heart rate monitoring as well as continuous SpO2, sleep and stress monitoring. The new bit on the Band 7 Pro is a dual-band GNSS sensor with support for GPS, QZSS, BeiDou, Galileo and GLONASS positioning that allows you to track your rides without the need for a paired phone.
Key features of Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro
You get access to sports tracking for over 110 activities including device-guided running courses that combine walking and interval running with wristband instructions. Unfortunately, there are no recovery time recommendations or guided workouts for sports other than running. The Mi Fitness app can store up to a month’s worth of health and exercise data that you can export to share with friends or track your progress.
Xiaomi’s Mi Fitness is your main station for pairing and managing settings, watch faces and everything else on your paired Android or iOS smartphone. The app has a neat layout spread across four dashboards – Health, Exercise, Device and Profile which allows you to change settings and other functions on the bracelet.
There is no NFC on our international unit, while the Chinese units support contactless payment and transit cards. You can’t receive calls here either, which is another notable omission and something competitors offer at this price point. There’s a built-in microphone that you can only use to talk to Amazon Alexa, although you have to set up the app on your phone and connect to the Band 7 Pro beforehand. Once you’re all set up, you can ask Alexa to set alarms, control home appliances, and show you the weather forecast.
Xiaomi has an extensive list of watch faces on its Mi Fitness app and you can store up to 7 watch faces at once on the Band 7 Pro, but the 5 pre-installed are not interchangeable so you only really have two extra watch faces at a time which is quite limiting.
The vibration motor here is strong in its default state and can be programmed for an even stronger buzz setting from the menu. Various features include an alarm, timer, weather widget, music controls and Amazon Alexa, as well as a camera shutter for your paired phone.
Navigating the interface on the Band 7 Pro is purely touch-and-swipe, though I was initially looking for a physical button as most smartwatches I’ve tested in the past with this form factor tend to have at least one button for controls. On the left side of the lock screen is a quick settings toggle, above it and up to eleven widgets on the right. Swiping up reveals the full app list, which can be organized in icon mode with two rows of app icons next to each other, or in list mode, which has larger icons.
Swiping through notifications sometimes lags, especially if you have multiple messages. The Band 7 Pro stores up to ten notifications before you need to clear the queue. Notification management on the band was mostly inconsistent. If my phone was unlocked and close to range I would get an alert immediately, but when my phone was locked it would take a few minutes to get a notification on the band.
I would have to open the Mi Fitness app on my phone and manually resync the band several times. You can’t directly respond to band notifications, and you also don’t get emoji previews, both features offered on other similarly priced bands and watches.
The GPS connection on the Band 7 Pro is solid and, like other smart bands and watches, it takes a short 5-10 seconds for the receiver to find your location outdoors. Once your location is locked, you get reliable coverage that works well even in parks with lots of trees. It’s nice to have built-in GPS on your wrist, although the tracks recorded by the Band 7 Pro still aren’t as accurate as those on any recent smartphone or more modern smartwatches. The Band 7 Pro routinely showed my location on the opposite side of the street from where I was walking/running.
Running, cycling, and swimming tracking get bonus metrics like active calories burned, cadence, stride length, and average heart rate. Swimming tracking gets the average SWOLF and average strokes for a lap in the pool.
The heart rate and SpO2 measurements are on par with other fitness trackers from last year, meaning they show an accurate display for health monitoring, but are by no means medical grade. It only takes a few seconds for the band to collect these types of data, which is better than some competitors that require you to wait up to a minute or would require multiple readings.
Sleep tracking showed accurate sleep and wake times and also presented average beats per minute (BPM), average SpO2 and rapid eye movement (REM) readings for each sleep session. You can read your metrics directly on the watch which is a nice bonus.
One odd thing to note is the slow firmware update process. As soon as I set up my Band 7 Pro with the Mi Health app, I got the update. Xiaomi said the update might take a while, but in my case, it took over an hour to download and install the firmware, something I haven’t experienced on any other wearable before.
Xiaomi claims the Band 7 Pro’s 235mAh battery can last up to 12 days of typical use on a single charge. I was able to use it 7 days during a two-week test period that included all features except the always-on display, which was enabled with at least three one-hour workouts per week. GPS and health tracking alone consume between 10-12% per hour of use.
Lighter use should reach the claimed 12-day values, though you’d be sacrificing most of the features offered by the Band 7 Pro. Still, the regular Band 7 and its predecessors routinely offer more than a week of use between charges, so if you want to charge less then you should stick with one of those models. Fully charging the Band 7 Pro with the included proprietary 2-pin charger takes just under 60 minutes.
The Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro is a great fitness tracker with a large screen and all the features you’ll find on the smaller Smart Band 7 with some notable improvements like a built-in GNSS receiver. You get 24/7 heart rate monitoring, continuous SpO2 monitoring, stress and sleep monitoring, and sports tracking for over 110 activities. Health tracking is fast and offers reliable data as long as you don’t use it for medical analysis, while fitness tracking is on par with other wearables we’ve seen in the past year.
The wider and slightly sharper AMOLED display here is excellent and is easier on the eyes when reading notifications and navigating the OS compared to previous entries in Xiaomi’s smart band lineup.
The Band 7 Pro looks and feels good on your wrist. You could easily mistake it for a high-end smartwatch, and the lightweight build materials and nice watch band make it easy to wear for days. A physical button or crown element would be a great addition to navigate through the UI when you don’t want to touch the screen. The built-in dual-band GNSS tracking is a nice built-in feature and does the job, albeit less accurately than the receiver on most smartphones.
However, we think the price of the Band 7 Pro is too high in its current state and most users will be better off with a regular Xiaomi Band 7 or a smartwatch in the €100 range. We can safely expect prices to drop in the coming months, which would make the Band 7 Pro an easy recommendation.
- Excellent AMOLED screen with AOD and automatic brightness
- Dual-band GNSS
- Lightweight design
- Decade of battery life
- No Bluetooth calls
- Synchronization problems
- Light UI in some areas such as notifications
- A few reasons to get over the Xiaomi Smart Band 7
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