When we reviewed the Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 (Review) last year, we were convinced that it was the gold standard for smart bands in 2021. However, for reasons best known to Xiaomi, the tech giant has not launched its successor, the Mi Smart Band 7, in India this year. Amazfit aims to take advantage of that void by launching its first fitness band for India.
Called the Amazfit Band 7, the fitness band is packed to the brim with features such as support for voice commands and it even has support for an app store. Can the Amazfit Band 7 take down the wildly popular Mi Smart Band 6 at its own game? I’ve used the fitness band for a few weeks and here’s what I think about it.
Amazfit Band 7 price, design and specifications
The Band 7 is Amazfit’s first fitness band for the Indian market. It’s the successor to the Band 5 and is priced competitively at Rs. 3,499. Unlike the Mi Smart Band 6, which is only available in a single colour, Amazfit’s Band 7 is available in three colours: black, pink and white. However, these colours are simply the colour of the straps that hold the black rectangular unit in place. Unlike the other smartwatches from Amazfit, you can’t buy the straps separately so you’ll need to choose wisely at the time of purchasing the band.
Like most fitness bands, the Amazfit Band 7’s design consists of a TPU strap and a rectangular core unit. The watch has a rectangular-shaped display with rounded corners and thick bezels all round. It’s as tall as a 47mm Apple Watch Series 8, but about half its width. There’s no physical or capacitive buttons on the Band 7, so navigation happens only via swipe gestures.
The removable core of the watch has a 5ATM rating for water resistance, so it should be good for splashes of water and light submersion. The core unit is made of polycarbonate and has the BioTracker 3.0 PPG biometric sensor, which is used for tracking heart rate, blood oxygen levels and stress. At the back, there’s two flat pins for charging the device using the bundled magnetic charger.
The core unit of the Amazfit Band 7, along with the strap, weighs 28g which is quite light. The strap is soft and comfortable and I did not face any issues or irritation while wearing it. What did annoy me was the strap’s pin buckle system, which is quite difficult to fasten and there were plenty of instances during the review period where the strap opened up. Pressing down the pin into the tiny cavity is a difficult task by itself and requires a lot of patience and pressure. For some functions, the fitness band needs to be strapped really tight and this can make it uncomfortable to wear over time. This is needed especially for SpO2 monitoring, which otherwise simply won’t work.
While the band does not have a speaker, it does have a microphone and vibration motor which vibrates for all sorts of notifications and alarms. The mic is used for accepting voice commands for Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant. The device packs all the necessary sensors to measure heart rate and blood oxygen levels and comes with a 232mAh battery, which is quite large for such a small fitness band.
Amazfit Band 7 software, performance, and battery life
The Amazfit Band 7 runs Zepp OS which appears to be customised to work on a smaller display. Oddly, on the Band 7, it looks and feels very similar to what’s available on Xiaomi’s Mi Smart Band 6, especially when you enter the Settings menu. The smaller display means that there’s less place to display many options at once, and because of this, there’s a lot of scrolling to be done. Some apps like Calendar look very odd and are extremely confusing to use, so I often found myself lost in the interface when doing so.
The main menu, which displays all of the built-in apps for example, can only display two apps at a time, which makes it quite difficult to figure out how far up or down you are in the list. To make things worse, there is no scroll-bar-like indicator on the side to show how long the list is or the point where you have scrolled down to either.
A swipe to the right of the homescreen takes you to the notifications area, which does a good job of displaying all types of notifications in their entirety. However, it’s not possible to reply to any of these. A swipe to the left from the main watch face reveals a widget-like interface which relays glanceable data from various built-in apps such as Activity, Heart rate, PAI, Sleep etc. Swiping left or right from the watch face goes into a loop and will bring you back to the homescreen. As for watch faces, there are plenty to choose from and they are highly customisable.
As for the native apps on the Amazfit Band 7, there’s enough to keep one busy whether it’s fitness tracking or general health, wellness, and all sorts of activities.The watch can track running, walking, cycling, dancing, boxing, water sports, winter workouts, and even board and card games like Chess, Checkers, Go or Bridge. Each of these apps also relay a lot of data. It involves a lot of scrolling but there’s plenty of information available on the watch itself, which is impressive.
There’s also an app store which can be accessed from the companion app. While the app selection is limited to just fourteen apps (at the time of publishing the review), you can install and uninstall these and there are some useful ones such as Watch Storage Space, BMI and Calculator.
The Zepp Health companion app is not the easiest one to master. It is the same one used for Amazfit’s more expensive smartwatches such as the GTR 4 (Review). I set up the Band 7 with a Pixel 7 Pro and granted the limited permissions that this fitness band requires which made the setup quite quick. You will still need to set up the additional features such as Amazon’s Alexa voice assistance, Calendar, Weather and more, individually, as you use the fitness band.
The 1.47-inch AMOLED display may feel a bit too small, especially when Xiaomi offers a taller panel on its Mi Smart Band 6 at the same price. While brightness was not a problem, I did have some issues with touch sensitivity and gestures. I found the interface to run smoothly when swiping through the built-in apps and the app menu, but it stuttered a lot when swiping through the notifications area. The touch sensitivity of the display isn’t the best either and the smaller size made swipe gestures quite confusing, especially when I was in the middle of a workout and needed to access a certain feature. There were times when I resorted to opening the smartphone app to start a workout, instead of fidgeting with the display.
Alexa Voice integration worked quite well. Activating it needs a bit of work as it requires a few swipes to reach the widget, post which, you can tap the display for Alexa to start listening. However, the responses will only be displayed on-screen and not read out loud as there’s no built-in speaker. While a voice assistant may be a novel feature to have on a fitness band, you have to remember that it relies completely on the smartphone, which you will need to have in the vicinity in order for it to function.
The Amazfit Band 7 does a good job when tracking health and fitness activities. Sleep monitoring is quite accurate and the results are very detailed as it lets you know not just about the stages during sleep, but also breathing patterns while sleeping. The band, just like the other Amazfit smartwatches, can also track naps, which is nice to have.
Heart rate monitoring was quite accurate when compared to an Apple Watch Series 8. The watch does not have GPS built-in, so it relies on a smartphone for position data on runs or walks outdoors. This also means you will need to carry your smartphone with you if you need this data. The route tracking accuracy even when connected to a smartphone was not as accurate as I expected it to be. However, step counting was surprisingly on point.
The Amazfit Band 7 also supports SpO2 readings but they were consistently inaccurate when compared to a standalone pulse oximeter. Sit-stand detection, just like with the more expensive Amazfit GTR 4, did not work well.
As for battery life, it was up to expectations. The Amazfit Band 7 lasted about four and a half days on a single charge with the display’s brightness set to 50 percent (as it does not have an ambient light sensor) and the always-on functionality enabled. During this time, I used the watch for mild workouts and mainly for tracking notifications with all auto-health tracking features like heart rate monitoring, sleep monitoring, stress monitoring and blood oxygen monitoring, enabled.
Amazfit claims that its alway-on display feature cuts down battery life by 50 percent, so one should expect up to two weeks or more with it disabled, which seems good enough. When connected to a standard 10W power adaptor, the Amazfit Band 7 charges from 0-100 percent in about 1 hour, 41 minutes, which is quite average when compared to the Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6.
At Rs. 3,499, the Amazfit Band 7 offers plenty more features than Xiaomi’s slightly dated Mi Smart Band 6. You get plenty more sport exercise modes, an always-on display, bigger battery, voice assistant, and a mini app store. However, what the Band 7 makes up for in terms of features, it loses in terms of functionality due to the smaller display and slightly broken software experience, which is not as optimised or polished for gesture-based navigation.
Xiaomi’s Mi Smart Band 7, which is the successor to the Mi Smart Band 6, has yet to launch in India. This band packs a bigger display with AoD capability and more sport modes along with a slightly bigger battery compared to the Mi Smart Band 6. If you are looking to spend a bit more, Realme’s Watch 3 Pro can get you a smartwatch-like experience which also includes Bluetooth calling at Rs. 4,999. It features a bigger display, speaker and even standalone GPS.
If you aren’t in a hurry, it makes sense to wait a bit till Xiaomi’s Band 7 or maybe a newer version arrives in India. But if you need to get a fitness band right away, then the current Mi Smart Band 6 is not a bad deal, unless you really plan on using the additional features offered by Amazfit’s Band 7.