In terms of health tracking, Band 8 offers the exact same core features as its predecessor with 24/7 heart rate monitoring as well as continuous SpO2 tracking, sleep and stress monitoring. There’s still no GNSS sensor on Band 8, so you’ll have to rely on your paired smartphone’s GPS for detailed running or walking data. Our international unit also does not get an NFC receiver which is another big omission.
Xiaomi Smart Band 8 offers to track a total of 151 workout modes ranging from your standard running and weightlifting to more niche activities like kite flying, table football and board games. The good news here is that all 151 activities are available on the band directly out of the box. The Mi Fitness app stores up to a month’s worth of health and workout data so you keep track of your progress. You can also sync your workout data to Strava and Apple Health on iOS phones.
Band 8 comes with several running-specific features including on-wrist running courses with options to set goals for distance, heart rate and time. There’s also a smart companion mode that shows your position compared to your set pace in real-time. Vitality score is Xiaomi’s updated Personal Activity Intelligence (PAI) assessment which factors how active your day was based on your movement and exercise patterns taking into account your age, heart rate and workout data over a seven-day period and assessing a cumulative score.
The screen size and resolution on Smart Band 8 match the Band 7's - a 1.62" AMOLED panel with 192 x 490 pixels. One thing you’ll notice on the Band 8 is the updated 60Hz refresh rate which is noticeably smoother than the older Mi Bands which were stuck at 30Hz. The screen maxes out at 600 nits in auto mode compared to 500 nits on Band 7 and you now get auto brightness, which is a long overdue feature. The screen also supports a double tap to wake up and an Always-On Display (AOD) functionality.
There are plenty of great additional watch face options inside the Mi Fitness app, but for some reason, the iOS app does not have access to the watch face store. Some of the new watch faces also come with mini-games which is another neat addition.
Band 8 also offers basic notifications with the ability to receive text messages without the option to reply. You can also reject calls and send out pre-determined responses via text. The vibration motor here is strong in its default state and can be programmed for an even stronger buzz from the settings menu. The miscellaneous features include an alarm, timer, weather widget, reminders, music controls, breathing exercises and a camera shutter for your paired phone.
Strangely enough, Xiaomi decided to go back to Bluetooth 5.1 when the Smart Band 7 was already on the newer 5.2 version. It still supports Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and the only major drawback we can think of is the lack of Low Energy Power Control (LEPC) which is only present on Bluetooth 5.2.