Review, Wearable

Affordable Fitness Band Like the Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Can Be Useful for Health Tracking

Fitness bands have come a long way. Not only have they gotten much more feature-packed, they still remain (relatively) affordable. One such fitness band is the Xiaomi Smart Band 7, and thanks to its range of features, the device has helped me monitor my COVID-19 symptoms over the past week.

I recently recovered from the illness – for the second time, unfortunately enough – and I found the fitness band to be quite useful. In my opinion, the accessibility of wearables like the Smart Band 7, thanks to its budget-friendly nature, can be useful for health tracking.

The one feature of the Smart Band 7 that I used the most when I had COVID-19 was its ability to track blood oxygen level. After all, one of the risks of the illness is low blood oxygen level, so it’s convenient to be able to measure my blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) at any given time.

While a pulse oximeter does the same thing, what gives the Smart Band 7 an edge is the fact that it can track my blood oxygen level throughout the day. If my blood oxygen saturation falls below a certain threshold – I can choose between 90% to 80% – the wearable will send an alert.

Of course, it’s worth noting that the majority of fitness bands like the Smart Band 7 are not medical devices, so it’s important to not take the readings as absolute values. However, if the readings are low, it’s a good idea to seek medical consultation. This is one area where a fitness band can prove to be helpful.

There’s also the fact that most fitness bands are quite affordable. The Xiaomi Smart Band 7, for one, can be gotten for RM199 through ShopeeLazada, or Xiaomi Authorised Stores nationwide. If you time your purchase right, you can get it at a lower price point too, especially during big sales like 11.11.

The budget-friendly nature of fitness bands means that most folks will be able to get one to monitor their wellbeing, among other things. Beyond health and fitness, a good smart band can be useful in other regards too, including receiving push notifications from a connected device.

In this regard, the Smart Band 7 does a reasonably good job. Granted, I can’t interact with notifications from the wearable itself, but it still offers the convenience of getting push notifications from a phone. Plus, this is a sub-RM200 wearable – there’s only so much we can expect from a product this affordable.

Another noteworthy feature of the Smart Band 7 is its 1.62-inch 490 x 192 AMOLED screen. With a peak brightness of 500 nits, the display is visible even under bright sunlight. However, it doesn’t support automatic brightness, which is unfortunate, but (again) not exactly surprising at this price point.

It’s worth noting that the Smart Band 7 supports always-on display as well, so I can just glance at it to check the time. But there is a downside to enabling this feature: it draws quite a bit of power.

Xiaomi claims that the Smart Band 7’s 180mAh battery can last up to 14 days, but in my usage, I can only get four full days of use out of the fitness band, including using it for sleep tracking. Granted, I enabled almost every single feature it offers, including the always-on display, all-day bloody oxygen tracking, and frequent heart rate monitoring.

I imagine disabling some of these features – especially the always-on display – can extend the battery life of the Smart Band 7 quite a bit. But in my opinion, it’s worth enabling all of these features to fully utilise the fitness band. Having to charge up the wearable once every four days is completely acceptable to me.

Whether you want the convenience of a wearable, monitor your health, or keep track of your fitness routines, you can’t go wrong with an affordable fitness band like the Xiaomi Smart Band 7. It’s a basic wearable, to be sure, but for only RM199, it offers great value for money.

If you want a more sophisticated wearable, there are higher-end options like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro or the latest Apple Watch lineup for iPhone users. But if you’re not quite sure yet what you want out of a wearable – or you’re limited by budget – the Smart Band 7 is a good starting point.

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