Readers like you help support Pocket-lint. When you make a purchase using links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read More.

Xiaomi has been in the fitness band game for a long time. It launched its first band - then called Mi Band - way back in 2014 before Apple had even launched its first smartwatch.

Since then it's built its reputation on delivering really affordable bands with basic fitness tracking to keep you active. Things have changed a lot since the beginning, with the addition of bigger AMOLED screens, more powerful processing, and more advanced fitness measurements, but the latest generation still holds true to that accessible price tag.

Style it out

  • 48 x 22.5 x 10.99mm - 27g without strap
  • Single push-button strap release
  • 5ATM waterproofing

There's a lot to like about the way Xiaomi has put its latest Smart Band together. It's not all that complicated, it's not fussy, and certainly isn't made from the luxurious premium materials you'd get on a high-end smartwatch, but it is cute and customisable.

xiaomi band 8 - yellow strap on wrist

I've only had a short bit of time with it so far, but I really like the simple one-button mechanism for releasing the strap from the tracker. What it does is give you the ability to chop and change straps, or decide on a completely different way to wear it, depending on what you want to use it for.

Since it is mostly a glorified step counter (with a six-axis sensor for detecting movement), you can wear it as a pendant around your neck, or even slot it into a durable silicone holder that clips to the front of your running shoe. Plus, there are a good number of alternative bracelet and strap styles to choose from, so you're not just stuck with the basic rubber strap that comes in the box.

xiaomi band 8 - shoe clip runner

It is made from plastic that has a metallic finish and - yes it's a little cheap feeling - but it's a nice-looking reflective coating, and one that means you're not just wearing a dull hunk of plastic on your arm.

In fact, its sleek design and lightness are big selling points. It's not like a heavy watch you can tell is always on your arm. You can ignore it and get about your day, or wear it to sleep at night without really being disturbed by it. You can even wear it in the pool, because it's waterproof to 5ATM.

xiaomi band 8 - side profile

Another big part of styling is - of course - the watch face, and rather than just give you one or two to play with, the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 has over 200. Some are classic, analogue styles, others are colourful and playful, there are digital ones, and even some that come with games to play when you're bored.

Display, performance and fitness

  • 1.62" AMOLED display - 192 x 490 pixels - 600 nits brightness
  • 6-axis motion sensor - Ambient light sensor - Optical heart-rate sensor
  • 16-day battery life - 1hr charge time

All of those watch faces are - of course - displayed on the pill-shaped (or "racetrack shaped" according to Xiaomi) screen on the front of the tracker. It certainly seems decent enough on first look, with the display area pushing close up to the edges of the casing with minimal bezel. It takes up nearly all of that space on the front.

xiaomi band 8 interface

As an added boost this year the screen can hit refresh rates up to 60Hz which - when joined with the new processor inside - should mean smooth and responsive performance. I've only had a short time to play with it, but it certainly doesn't seem slow or overly laggy so far.

The UI is entirely touchscreen controlled too, with basic swiping and tapping gestures to scroll through the function list which includes things like heart-rate, workout, and other fitness and health-based functions.

xiaomi band 8 - rear

I've already mentioned the 6-axis motion sensor, but that's also joined by a heart-rate sensor on the underside which delivers your all-day heart-rate and blood oxygen saturation readings.

It can track your sleep too and - thanks to a 16-day battery - you won't need to charge it every day to make use of that feature. When it does need charging, you snap it onto a simple magnetic charging cable, leave it for an hour, and it's fully refilled.

xiaomi band 8 - on wrist

First impressions

It's hard to be too critical of the Xiaomi Smart Band 8, especially because of how affordable it's set to be when it's available to buy. In fact, that's always been the Xiaomi Smart Band way: a low price and just enough tracking capabilities to make it worthwhile.

No, it's not going to deliver the same level of performance data you'd get from a Garmin Watch, or even a Fitbit, but for the money you do get a lot. And at £39 in the UK when it lands, it's a cute little bargain.