Xiaomi Smart Band 7 review: a bigger screen that makes the difference

Xiaomi Smart Band 7 review: a bigger screen that makes the difference

Always more generous in sports modes, Xiaomi now offers more than 110 on its Smart Band 7, 4 of which can be detected automatically (walking, running, rowing machine, elliptical trainer). Most of the sports modes, however, are only used to record a heart rate without providing specific functions for the defined practice (no number of forehands and backhands in tennis, for example). The swimming function is nevertheless able to detect the number of pool lengths performed, the rowing function measures the frequency, and the jump rope activity counts the number of jumps, but this is the minimum that can be expect. As it stands, the different activities offered are mainly used to clearly differentiate the recordings, but this is the lot of most activity bracelets.

Additional training data

Essential information is nevertheless provided for the analysis of our performance (pace, cadence, distance, aerobic level, etc.). The Smart Band 7 even adds more advanced training analysis, calculating VO2 Max (maximum oxygen uptake), training load and recommended recovery time. Not enough to compete with a sports watch, especially since this data is not used in the context of training programs, but still interesting for athletes who would only use this Xiaomi bracelet.

A heart rate measurement that can still be improved

The main limitation of entry-level activity bracelets, the accuracy of heart rate measurement is not a strong point of the Smart Band 7 either. Xiaomi’s bracelet does not do so badly, however. During steady-paced activity, the sensor manages to track a relatively stable rate with a reasonable margin of error. It is still sensitive to movements and especially to contractions of the wrist and must be tight for the measurement to be done correctly, as with many bracelets and even watches.

It’s a different story when it comes to tracking an irregular heart rate during activities with rapid changes in pace (interval running, for example). Well positioned, the Smart Band 7 is able to correctly measure the maximum heart rate during exercise and calculates an average close to that obtained with our reference Polar H10 chest strap. As can be seen on the curves below, Xiaomi’s sensor is not doing so badly, despite an obvious lack of precision and a few misses. This can be enough to get an overall idea of ​​the effort made during an activity.

Heart rate curve obtained with the Xiaomi Smart Band 7 activity bracelet (orange-yellow), superimposed on the curve obtained with the Polar H10 chest strap (red), for an interval run.

Without a GPS chip, the Smart Band 7 must rely on that of the smartphone to record the route during an outdoor outing.

The Xiaomi Smart Band 7 uses its motion and SpO2 sensors to track sleep and detect possible sleep apnea. The analyzes provided by the sensor are generally relevant, but sometimes periods of awakening are not detected. In general, it is also difficult to observe the complete stages of sleep, the Smart Band 7 noting a multitude of fractions of light sleep and REM sleep.

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