Wearables are most commonly associated with devices that attach to your wrist, but that’s by no means your only option.
Xiaomi is exploring alternatives on its new Mi Band 8 fitness tracker, following the footsteps of Fitbit and others by promoting the tracker a potential necklace or even shoe accessory.
A design shift makes this possible, with Xiaomi replacing the common unibody strap (where the tracker snapped into the middle) of past Smart Bands with a new two-piece design. Each half of the strap now clicks into place on either side, similar to what you’ll find on the Apple Watch.
But it also makes the Mi Band 8 more versatile, allowing the device to be worn elsewhere on the body. A simple ring allows it to become a necklace, while a running clip lets you attach it to your shoe.
Of course, this redesign means all previous Mi Band accessories aren’t compatible with the new model. It’s a shame, considering how similar it is to the Mi Band 7 in many other ways.
It retains the sleek pill-shaped design, with slim bezels surrounding a 1.62in OLED touchscreen. You can still choose from over 150 different exercise modes, with 5ATM water resistance making it well suited for the likes of swimming.
Fitness and sleep data is generated via monitors for your heart rate, blood oxygen and VO2 max, although these will all be more accurate when the device is on your wrist. It can also track stress levels, count your steps and keep track of calories burned. NFC support means you can use it for mobile payments, but that’s only available on some models in China.
Other key features include phone notification support, an always on display and a range of simple games – including one boxing title which relies on the accelerometer for air punches. The elusive built-in GPS still isn’t available, but that’s not a surprise at this budget price point.
Launched alongside the Xiaomi 13 Ultra flagship phone and Pad 6 tablets, the Mi Band 8 starts at ¥249 in China (approx. £29/€33), but stepping up to the NFC version costs ¥279 (approx. £32/€37). You’ll probably end up paying closer to the Mi Band 7’s £54.99/€59.99 whenever it launches internationally, but European pricing and availability is yet to be confirmed.
It looks set to be a contender for the best fitness tracker once again.