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Xiaomi Mi Band 8 vs Mi Band 6: Is it time for an upgrade?

Two generations later, Xiaomi has brought a lot of new features to the lineup.
By

Published onMay 4, 2023

A Xiaomi MiBand 6 on a user's wrist displays the time.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

The latest Xiaomi Mi Band is officially on shelves regionally, with a global rollout coming soon. Based on the specs and design of the newest model, there’s a lot to look forward to. But what about that loyal older sibling on your wrist? To find out if it’s high time for an upgrade, we compare the Xiaomi Mi Band 8 vs the Mi Band 6 and dig into the value of each device.


Mi Band 8 vs Mi Band 6


Design

An affordable fitness tracker will never go out of style, but that hasn’t stopped Xiaomi from adding considerable style upgrades to its latest model. Though some design features are carried over from the Mi Band 7, others are completely new.

To start, the Mi Band 8 is longer and wider than the Mi Band 6. It is also slightly thinner at 10.9 vs 12.7mm. The 8 brings back the same 1.62-inch, 192 x 490-pixel, AMOLED display as its predecessor with always-on mode capabilities, and can now reach 600 nits at peak brightness. This is significantly bigger, brighter, and more usable than two generations ago, especially since the new model also features a 60Hz refresh rate.

The Mi Band 6 packs only a 1.56-inch screen without always-on mode and just 450 nit maximum brightness. Added real estate is an obvious improvement, but so is the always-on mode which keeps stats and data accessible at-a-glance. The Mi Band 8 even offers watch faces that do double duty as entertainment with on-screen, playable games.

A user wears the newest model as a pendant.
Xiaomi

Strapped to its snazzy display, the Mi Band 8 also features a two-piece band rather than the unibody design of the Mi Band 6. This isn’t a completely novel change, as observant shoppers will recognize a similar look on the Mi Band 7 Pro. However, it’s the biggest change Xiaomi has brought to the strap on its base lineup, and it aligns the device with other popular wearable brands like Fitbit and Apple. More importantly, the device can now be worn around the neck as a pendant or clipped to an athletic shoe. It will track key fitness metrics from these alternative positions making it a much more versatile device.

The Mi Band 8 introduces a new strap design as well as the ability to wear the tracker pill as a necklace or on your shoe.

Pill and strap design changes also mean the Mi Band 8 features a new proprietary charger, which powers up its 190mAh battery. The Mi Band 8 will last up to 16 days in regular mode and up to six days with always-on mode enabled. The Mi Band 6 features a 125mAh battery and a 14-day battery life claim. During our review, however, we found advanced features drain the device much faster, resulting in a battery life of about a week.

Features

A Xiaomi Mi Band 6 on a user's wrist display GPS as available.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Beyond what they look like, bigger differences surface in what each device can do. For the basics, the Mi Band 6 and Mi Band 8 share many core features, including heart rate monitoring, sleep and stress tracking, female health monitoring, and Personal Activity Intelligence (PAI) metrics. They also both feature an SpO2 sensor, though the newer model offers continuous monitoring 24/7, (rather than just at night), as well as low SpO2 level alerts. Neither model offers onboard GPS nor, as far as we know, many smart features at all. In China, a standard model and an NFC model have both been launched, but it’s not yet clear if the same will be available globally.

Compared to newer models, the Mi Band 6's health and fitness features are limited.

Like the Mi Band 7, the 8 pulls ahead of the 6 with VO2 max monitoring and advanced training analysis such as training load, training effect, and recovery stats. The Mi Band 8 also offers 150 sport modes which is five times that of the Mi Band 6 (and more than you can possibly put to good use). Along with the 8’s updated 6-axis accelerometer, Xiaomi has also added movement-based fitness courses to the Mi Fitness app, which users can follow and track for further training.

Price and colors

A set of the latest models display new watch faces with playable games.
  • Xiaomi Mi Band 6 (global, no NFC): $49 at Amazon
  • Xiaomi Mi Band 6 (China, no NFC): 229 yuan (~$35)
  • Xiaomi Mi Band 6 (China, NFC): 279 yuan (~$42)
  • Xiaomi Mi Band 8 (China, no NFC): 239 yuan (~$34)
  • Xiaomi Mi Band 8 (China, NFC): 279 yuan (~$40)

The Xiaomi Mi Band 6 originally launched at $49.99 but can now often be found for closer to $35 from third-party retailers. It is available in six colors: Black, Orange, Yellow, Olive, Ivory, and Blue.

A global model of the Xiaomi Mi Band 8 is not yet available. It is also uncertain if there will be an NFC version of the global Mi Band 8. For now, existing models are available in two colors: Light Gold and Bright Black.

Xiaomi Mi Band 6Xiaomi Mi Band 6
AA Editors Choice
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.
Xiaomi Mi Band 8Xiaomi Mi Band 8
Xiaomi Mi Band 8
Accurate health and fitness tracking • Affordable price point • Unique form factor
MSRP: $43.00
Once again, Xiaomi delivers a well-rounded fitness tracker at an approachable price.
The Xiaomi Mi Band 8 features an all-new strap design and the same vibrant touchscreen display found on the previous generation. On the wrist, as a necklace, or even attached to a running shoe, the device tracks key fitness stats and offers useful health monitoring tools to users eager to keep an eye on their wellness. It's a powerful, entry-level tracker at a great price.

Specs

Xiaomi Mi Band 8Xiaomi Mi Band 6
Display
Xiaomi Mi Band 8
1.62-inch AMOLED
Always-on display mode
192 x 490 resolution
Up to 600 nit
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
1.56-inch AMOLED
152 x 486 resolution
Up to 450 nit

Sensors
Xiaomi Mi Band 8
PPG heart rate sensor
6-axis motion sensor
SpO2 sensor
Connected GPS
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
PPG heart rate sensor
3-axis accelerometer
SpO2 sensor
Connected GPS
Battery
Xiaomi Mi Band 8
190mAh
16-day standard battery life
6 days with AOD
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
125mAh
14-day battery life

Connectivity
Xiaomi Mi Band 8
Bluetooth 5.1
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
Bluetooth 5.0
Water resistance
Xiaomi Mi Band 8
5ATM
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
5ATM
Charging method
Xiaomi Mi Band 8
Magnetic charging
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
Magnetic charging
Supported devices
Xiaomi Mi Band 8
Android 6.0 or later
iOS 12.0 or later
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
Android 5.0 or later
iOS 10.0 or later
Dimensions
Xiaomi Mi Band 8
48 x 22.5 x 10.99mm
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
47.4 x 18.6 x 12.7mm
Colors
Xiaomi Mi Band 8
Bright Black, Light Gold
Xiaomi Mi Band 6
Black, Orange, Yellow, Olive, Ivory, Blue

Xiaomi Mi Band 8 vs Mi Band 6: Which should you buy?

The Band 8 is likely the better buy for most shoppers and worth an upgrade.

If you want to wear your band beyond your wrist, the Xiaomi Mi Band 8 is the best pick. It’s a more versatile device with a fuller feature set in terms of health and fitness tracking. Likewise, when it comes to powerful training tools, battery size, and the best display, the Mi Band 8 is three for three. It’s a major improvement over the Mi Band 6, which makes sense as it’s two generations newer.

That said, it’s also brand new and priced as such. Now two generations behind, the Mi Band 6 can be found heavily discounted. Even the Mi Band 7 will likely be available at discounted prices once the Mi Band 8 hits global shelves. Meanwhile, if you have an older model already, upgrading is a tougher decision. The Mi Band 8 brings enough to the table to merit swapping up, but only if its headlining features are ones you are interested in using. We recommend upgrading to the 8 if you want more dedicated training analysis and a more user-friendly display.

If you want an even better training companion, we recommend the Mi Band 7 Pro ($89 at Amazon). It’s expensive compared to the other bands. However, it’s also the only model to offer built-in GPS for running and cycling without a phone in your pocket.


FAQs

Both generations offer connected GPS but not built-in GPS. You will need to carry your phone to record data for outdoor workouts.

The Mi band 6 does not have NFC. In China, there is an NFC and a non-NFC model of the Mi Band 8, however, it is unclear if both options will be available globally.

You cannot use Alexa with the Mi Band 6. There is a model of the Xiaomi Mi Band 8 with a voice assistant available in China, but it is not yet clear if global models will support Alexa.

No. You will only receive alerts that a call is incoming.

The Xiaomi Mi Band 7 Pro is the most powerful Mi Band with the largest screen and built-in GPS. The Xiaomi Mi Band 8 is the best non-Pro option.

The Mi Band 8 introduces a new, versatile strap design and display improvements. It also adds additional training features, a larger battery, and an upgraded motion sensor.

The Xiaomi Mi Band 6 is still a commendable, budget fitness tracker. However, it is only worth buying at a significant discount given the existing alternative within the lineup.

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