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Xiaomi Mi Band 9 wishlist: All the features I want to see

Here's what I would like to see from the Mi Band 9.
By

Published onMay 10, 2024

A Xiaomi Mi Band 7 displays an alternative watch face from he Zepp Life app.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

The Xiaomi Mi Band 8 (a.k.a. the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 in Europe) has an incredibly long list of features considering it costs under $50, which we currently recommend for budget shoppers in our best fitness tracker guide. Every year the next Mi Band arrives bringing further refinements to the series, often delivering features previously reserved for much more expensive devices. Although we still have plenty of time before a new model, here’s my wishlist for what I’d like to see next year from the Xiaomi Mi Band 9.

A hardware back button

The Mi Band 8’s entire UI is navigated through touch, which can be a bit tricky with such a small display. I’d wager this is mostly about cutting costs, but it’s also likely at least a little bit about sticking with the Mi Band’s very barebones, minimalist philosophy. Still, a physical back button would make navigating the UI significantly easier, even if it might add a tiny bit of bulk over the current model and would clutter up the design slightly.

NFC shouldn’t be reserved just for China

The Chinese version of the Mi Band 8 includes NFC for mobile payments, which is a first for the company’s budget tracker. The band currently works with AliPay and WeChat Pay. That’s great, but what about the international version? Xiaomi has opted not to include the feature at all. It would be nice to see the Mi Band 9 bring this feature to all versions, especially since the Chinese version’s payment services are already available in other countries throughout Europe and Asia.

GPS would be nice too

A Xiaomi Mi Band 7 displays its watch face.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
Xiaomi Mi Band 7

NFC is one of the most sought-after features for the Mi Band, right next to GPS, I’d wager. While the Mi Band 8 can use your phone’s GPS, built-in GPS continues to be one of the Mi Band’s biggest missing features. The Xiaomi Mi Band 9 should finally rectify this and offer GPS baked-in.

Now I know what you’re thinking: wouldn’t that drive the price tag above $50? Yes, and that could be a deal breaker for some, but one simple solution would be to offer a GPS variant and a cheaper base model. This might seem unnecessary since there’s already a Mi Band Pro series, but these trackers tend to be a bit closer to an entry smartwatch than a fitness tracker. Some of us want something small and affordable like the Mi Band 8 but are willing to pay a tad more for useful extras.

The Mi Fitness app could still use some UI improvements and better data integration

xiaomi mi fitness app menu 1
Andy Walker / Android Authority
Mi Fitness (formerly Xiaomi Wear)

The Mi Band’s biggest weakness has always been software and unfortunately, that’s still the case today.

In the past, the company offered two official apps, both with different UIs and feature sets; this was more than a little confusing. The Mi Band 8 is only compatible with the Mi Fitness app and that’s it, as the Mi Band doesn’t work with third party apps either. The limited support wouldn’t matter so much if the official app had a UI that worked as well as Fitbit and others, but that’s just not the case.

The app lacks a lot of customization options. For example, there’s no way to switch from metrics to US/Imperial. It’s also a bit buggy, as it’s pretty common to have connectivity problems between the app and the watch. Navigating the app isn’t so bad, but there are a lot of unnecessary steps for some features.

I realize we can only expect so much from a fitness band that’s within the impulse-buying price range, but it’s the only thing holding this tracker back from being virtually perfect. If Xiaomi could improve the app experience it would have a fitness band that’s arguably just as good as trackers that cost double or even triple the price.

Third-party app support would be even better

google fit home screen 2
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

As I mentioned above, the Mi Band 7 and earlier also worked with another app, called Zepp Life. This app was better in some ways and had access to some third-party data syncing options that the Mi app doesn’t. So what does the Mi Fitness app support for data syncing? Strava and that’s it. This wouldn’t be so bad if there were third-party fitness app support, but you can’t even use something like Google Fit as a substitute either.

A revamped app would go a long way, but I could live with Mi Fitness if I could sync my data to and from other apps, or if I could use a 3rd party app altogether as a replacement. While I understand Xiaomi wants to keep the focus on its ecosystem, it also makes the band very frustrating to use for those outside of China. I want to see this change with the Mi Band 9.

Mi Band 9 wishlist: What feature would you like to see the most?

908 votes

Will there be a Mi band 9?

A Xiaomi Mi Band 7 in black rests on a mint yoga mat.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

The Mi Band is one of the most popular budget trackers and has been a big success for the company. The Mi Band is also one of its few products formally released in the United States. It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that there will be a Xiaomi Mi Band 9 at some point in the future.

Adding even more weight to this, a variety of new reports have surfaced recently suggesting the Mi Band 9 has been making its way through various certification agencies. Furthermore, early rumors suggest the Mi Band 9 will have the same 1.62-inch AMOLED display as last year, but with a brighter and higher resolution screen this time around. Not much else is known just yet.

As for when? Let’s take a quick look at the company’s launch history. Be aware we are focusing on global launch dates, not the initial China-only launches.

  • Mi Band 8 — Oct 26, 2023
  • Mi Band 7 — June 21, 2022
  • Mi Band 6 — April 30, 2021

As you can see, Xiaomi has released a new version of its Band every year, though the actual global launch month has varied significantly. It’s pretty much a given we’ll see the Mi Band 9 in 2024, though it is much tougher to say when it will arrive in the year, especially given the Mi Band 8 launched so late. The company would likely want to give at least close to a year’s space in between models, so I’d say we are likely to see the Mi Band 9 in late summer or sometime in the fall.

Should you wait for the Mi band 9?

A Xiaomi Mi Band 7 displays a user's text notification on screen.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

There’s no need to wait for the Xiaomi Mi Band 9 because the current model isn’t even three months old yet. There’s likely close to nine months or more before a successor will be released. The good news is that the Mi Band 8 is already one of the best budget trackers, so if you’re looking to save money, there’s no reason not to pick it up today.

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.

If the Mi Band doesn’t impress you, the HUAWEI Band 7 ($41 at Amazon) is a worthwhile alternative, although it’s a bit harder to find in the US. For those seeking something with a bit more oomph, and don’t mind paying extra for the privilege, we also recommend the Fitbit Charge 6 ($159.95 at Amazon).

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