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Xiaomi Mi Band 7 vs Mi Band 6: Which cheap tracker should you buy?

Can its larger screen, smarter health tracking, and revised UI give the Mi Band 7 the win?
By
November 24, 2022
A Xiaomi Mi Band 7 and Xiaomi Mi Band 6 rest on an oak table.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Newer doesn’t necessarily mean better, especially when it comes to new wearables. Now that Xiaomi has finally lifted the lid on the Xiaomi Mi Band 7, you probably wonder how it stacks up against the Mi Band 6. The Mi Band series has long stood among the best wearables for users on a budget, but can the Mi Band 7 continue this trend? Or should you invest in a Mi Band 6 instead? Read on for more.

See also: The best affordable fitness trackers


Design and features

  • Xiaomi stretched the Mi Band 7’s screen to 1.62 inches without sacrificing pixel density.
  • The new always-on display mode adds to the new tracker’s usefulness.
  • Xiaomi also promises more colors, clock faces, and an improved UI with the Mi Band 7.

Xiaomi has resisted the urge to switch up the Mi Band design completely, and it’s a good decision in our book. The biggest draw of the Mi Band series is its simplicity, and the seventh iteration only improves where it matters.

Is the display the Mi Band 7’s biggest upgrade?

The Xiaomi Mi Band 7 now packs a 1.62-inch AMOLED display, up from the Mi Band 6’s 1.56-inch screen. It may not seem a huge improvement, but a larger viewing area for important info is always welcome and valuable when only a glance will do. The new display also hits 500 nits maximum brightness, a minor improvement over the Mi Band 6’s 450 nits.

Despite its size increase, the most noticeable display improvement comes in the form of an always-on mode. The long-awaited feature will allow users to sneak peeks at the time and other important information without tapping the screen. It’s unclear how this will affect the Mi Band 7’s battery life, but it’s a welcome improvement over the Mi Band 6.

Joining the always-on mode and upgraded screen, the Mi Band 7 also gains a reworked UI. Icons and animations see a refresh, while the data presented on screen takes advantage of the AMOLED screen’s contrast ratio. On top of this, you’re also getting more than 100 additional customizable clock faces with nifty MIUI 13-inspired designs.

Why change what isn’t broken?

Are any other changes noticeable? Well, no. It’s tough to tell the Mi Band 7 and Mi Band 6 apart from a distance. Both feature a pill-shaped central tracker mounted snug into a TPU band. The former arrives with at least six color options, complete with new camouflage and fluorescent options. For those seeking a more customizable band, the Mi Band 7 does have a leg up here.

You will notice a considerable change in the battery capacity column, though. The Mi Band 7 includes a 180mAh battery, up from the Mi Band 6’s 125mAh reservoir. Xiaomi believes the new band will typically last 15 days between charges or nine days for more enthusiastic users. In comparison, the Mi Band 6 was advertised with a two-week battery life.

It’s worth noting that this battery bump is probably necessary. The Mi Band 7’s new features could steadily drain its battery in the background, and that’s exactly what we discovered in our review. With all the advanced new features switched on, our Kaitlyn Cimino wasn’t able to go beyond a week without charging the band. Notably, the big battery drain seems to be the always-on display, but you likely wouldn’t want to switch off a feature that sets the Mi Band 7 apart from its siblings.

This higher battery demand seems to be a normal thing for modern Mi Bands, too. During our Mi Band 6 review, we also found the tracker fell well short of Xiaomi’s quoted battery life target.

Full reviews: Mi Band 6 review | Mi Band 7 review


Fitness and health tracking

A user scrolls the workout options on their Xiaomi Mi Band 7.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
  • The Xiaomi Mi Band 6 falls well short in health and fitness features.
  • The Mi Band 7 now brings SpO2 alerts, new training metrics like VO2 max and training load, and additional sport tracking modes.
  • However, onboard GPS is a notable absentee on the newer tracker.

Design should come second to a fitness tracker’s health kit, so how do the Mi Band 6 and Mi Band 7 compare? First off, the two bands share many features, including heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, female health monitoring, and stress tracking. PAI, or Personal Activity Intelligence metrics, is standard across both bands.

While the Mi Band 6 saw loads of upgrades over its predecessor, including the addition of an SpO2 sensor, the Mi Band 7 seemingly wants to be taken seriously by avid gym-goers and runners.

The SpO2 sensor returns but now continuously monitors a user’s blood oxygen level, sounding an alarm if it dips below 90%. It’s a great feature, especially if a user doesn’t want to actively monitor this metric. The Xiaomi Mi Band 6’s SpO2 sensor only continuously monitors levels during sleep, so the Mi Band 7 is a welcome step up.

Is the Mi Band 7 a serious training tracker?

More serious trainers can take advantage of four new data fields to analyze performance. These include VO2 max, aerobic/anaerobic training advice that helps users understand how hard to push their heart to burn fat or build muscle, and recovery time. Training load is also calculated using a seven-day excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC — a standard used by the likes of Garmin. This metric should give users more insight into how their recent exercise activity has impacted their general fitness. You’d usually have to fork out for a more expensive training-orientated watch to gain insight into these metrics, so seeing these on a budget tracker is impressive.

Beyond these serious training features, the Mi Band 7 caters to casual users, too. The band now packs 120 sports modes, up from the 30 offered by the Mi Band 6. Will you use all 120 modes? Probably not, but variety is the spice of life.

See also: The best multisport watches you can buy


Where older Mi Band models may still excel

  • If you value battery endurance, you might want to hang on to your older Mi Band 5 or Mi Band 4.
  • The Xiaomi Mi Band 7 still doesn’t fix the Mi Band 6’s more pressing issues, like the lack of built-in GPS.

We’ve spoken extensively of the Xiaomi Mi Band 7 versus the Mi Band 6, but how does the tracker contend with older models? Well, it still misses a few features its predecessors lacked.

One of the biggest omissions on the Mi Band 7 is onboard GPS. A staple on pricier fitness trackers and smartwatches, built-in GPS would allow Mi Band 7 users to leave their smartphones at home to track their runs, bike rides, and hikes. You’ll need to buy the more expensive, and more smartwatch-like Smart Band 7 Pro for the privilege. Sure, onboard GPS would’ve depleted the Mi Band 7’s battery life even quicker but would’ve also made it more appealing to the serious athletes it wants to court. It would also help Xiaomi sell the band’s more advanced training metrics.

Again, it’s worth bringing up the Mi Band 7’s battery consumption, too. Despite its larger battery size, the Mi Band 7 eats through its battery faster than the older Mi Band 5. This tracker boasted a two-week battery life claim and its predecessor, the Mi Band 4, could last nearly a month between charges. The Mi Band 7 doesn’t have the worst battery life stats, but don’t upgrade from the Mi Band 6 if you want your tracker to last longer.

See also: The best Xiaomi Mi Band 7 alternatives


Specs

Xiaomi Mi Band 6Xiaomi Mi Band 7
Display
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
1.56-inch AMOLED
Tempered glass with anti-fingerprint coating
152 x 486 resolution
326ppi
Up to 450 nits
60+ band displays
Xiaomi Mi Band 7
1.62-inch AMOLED
Always-on display mode
2.5D tempered glass
192 x 490 resolution
Up to 500 nits
100+ band displays
Sensors
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
PPG heart rate sensor
3-axis accelerometer sensor
3-axis gyroscope sensor
SpO2 sensor
Connected GPS
Xiaomi Mi Band 7
PPG heart rate sensor
3-axis accelerometer sensor
3-axis gyroscope sensor
SpO2 sensor
Connected GPS
Battery
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
125mAh
14 day promised battery life
Xiaomi Mi Band 7
180mAh
15 day typical battery life
9 days with heavy use
Connectivity
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
Bluetooth 5.0
Xiaomi Mi Band 7
Bluetooth 5.2
Tracking and other features
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
30 fitness modes
6 auto detection modes
SpO2 tracking
Sleep tracking
Breathing exercises
Stress monitoring
Female health tracking
PAI (Personal Activity Intelligence)
Idle alerts
Camera remote shutter
NFC (limited to Chinese NFC model)
Xiaomi Mi Band 7
120 fitness modes
Continuous SpO2 tracking with low blood oxygen alerts
Sleep tracking
Breathing exercises
Stress monitoring
Female health tracking
PAI (Personal Activity Intelligence)
VO2 Max calculations
Aerobic/anaerobic training alerts
Recovery time
Training load
Idle alerts
Camera remote shutter
NFC (limited to NFC model)
Water resistance
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
5ATM
Xiaomi Mi Band 7
5ATM
App compatibility
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
Mi Fitness app
Zepp Life app

Xiaomi Mi Band 7
Mi Fitness app
Zepp Life app
Charging method
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
Magnetic charging
Xiaomi Mi Band 7
Magnetic charging
Supported devices
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
Android 5.0 and above
iOS 10 and above
Xiaomi Mi Band 7
Android 6.0 and above
iOS 10 and above
Dimensions
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
47.4 x 18.6 x 12.7mm
Strap: 155 - 219mm
Xiaomi Mi Band 7
46.5 x 20.7 x 12.25mm
Colors
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
Black, Orange, Yellow, Olive, Ivory, Blue
Xiaomi Mi Band 7
Black, Blue, Orange, Pink, White, Dark Green, Fluorescent Orange, Fluorescent Green, Camouflage Blue, Camouflage Green.

Xiaomi Mi Band 7 vs Mi Band 6: Which should you buy?

A Xiaomi Mi Band 7 in black rests on a mint yoga mat.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
  • If you can’t wait for the Mi Band 7 or don’t care for its more advanced features, you can probably grab the Xiaomi Mi Band 6 for a little less than the new tracker.
  • Are you seeking a tracker with advanced training stats, a larger screen with an always-on mode, and a bigger battery? Consider the Xiaomi Mi Band 7.
  • For a Mi Band with onboard GPS, the pricier Smart Band 7 Pro remains your only choice.

The Xiaomi Mi Band 7 is a little pricier than the outgoing Mi Band 6, but that isn’t an immediate dealbreaker. You can find the Band 7 on Amazon for around $50. However, it’s fully worth considering that steeper asking price if you want a larger screen, more advanced training monitoring data, and a larger battery. The Mi Band 7 makes the most sense for Mi Band newcomers.

Xiaomi Mi Band 7
Xiaomi Mi Band 7
Bigger, brighter display • Accurate resting heart rate • Continuous SpO2 monitoring
Xiaomi proves a budget band can still deliver big-ticket features.
The Mi Band 7 takes Xiaomi's fitness tracker to the next level with a larger battery, always-on display, and more health and activity tracking smarts than ever.

If you already own a Mi Band 6 or older Mi Band, you may want to think twice about upgrading. You may not need the additional training features, or you might prefer the longer battery life offered by older models. If you fall into either of these camps, rather wait for the inevitable price drop the Mi Band 7 will experience later in its life.

Xiaomi Mi Band 6
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
Affordable • Extended health trackers • Bright display
An additional SpO2 tracker and more features than its predecessors.
The Xiaomi Mi Band 6 is a solid fitness tracker with an AMOLED display and blood oxygen monitoring.

Of course, if you do want a Mi Band with built-in GPS for more serious phone-free training, the Smart Band 7 Pro is a much pricier but viable option.

Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro
Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro
5 ATM waterproof • Long battery life • Always-on display
Mi Band 7 Pro becomes a little more smartwatch than fitness tracker
The Mi Band 7 Pro has a larger AMOLED display than its predecessors. It includes 117 sport-tracking modes, all-day cardiac monitoring, and an onboard coach with pre-planned programs.

Overall, it’s tough to recommend the Mi Band 6 over the Mi Band 7. The latest model builds on the Mi Band 6 with more innovative health tracking, a larger screen, and a bigger battery for just 249 Chinese yuan (~$37). At that price, the Xiaomi Mi Band 7 doesn’t have much competition, even from its own family.


Which Xiaomi Mi Band model do you prefer?

1305 votes

That’s it for our Xiaomi Mi Band 7 vs Mi Band 6 head-to-head. But what do you think of the Mi Band 7? Is it worth getting over the Mi Band 6? Let us know by voting in the poll above.


Top Xiaomi Mi Band questions and answers

The Xiaomi Mi Band 7 is worth buying if you value its upgraded screen, larger battery, and more intuitive health tracking features, but it may not be worth upgrading from the Mi Band 6 just yet.

Xiaomi launched two Mi Band 7 models in China. One includes NFC, while the other does not. It’s unclear which model will launch globally.

The Xiaomi Mi Band 7 features connected GPS capabilities, but this relies on the companion phone’s GPS.