Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro vs Huawei Band 7(/6)

Xiaomi Smart Band Pro 7 has a larger display in roughly same size case and is MUCH more expensive than Huawei Band 7. Adds a few extra features, and has bad band attachment.


(updated on the inferior software and DST a week later – and again a week later after a factory reset…)

Scope

This is NOT a review of either as such.
Find reviews e.g. here at GSMarena: Xiaomi smart Band 7 Pro and Huawei Band 7

I will only mention Huawei Band 6 rarely but see my compare between 6 and 7 here.

 

Names

In the bellow I will call the Xiaom Smart Band 7 Pro (model M2141B1) XB and the Huawei Band 7 for HB7 (and 6 for HB6).

 

Overall differences

  • The XB got a 35% larger display mainly due to less bezels and it being 10% wider.
  • The band attachment among the three is the worst on the XB and the best on the HB7.
  • The XB is 11% thicker than the HB7.
  • The XB feels more like a pill-box-on-a string, due to attachment, thickness and less rounded corners.
  • The XB got ambient light sensor and offers auto brightness adjustment.
  • The XB got a ridiculously low amount of space for user selected watch-faces (1 to 4).
  • The XB is fully supported by the app on Android market, the app is rudimentary though.
  • The XB and HB7 offers Always-On-Displays (the HB6 does not). The support is better on the XB.
  • The XB should have GPS build in, I would prefer not wasting battery on it stealing my location data!! 
  • The XB got no side button, everything is touch, you turn it on by charging it, a clever workaround…

 

Band attachment

HB7 left, XB right (made with scaled advertisement renderings)

The HB7 has the best solution, with the band attachments going into the case, and using an (almost) standard 16mm pin solution.
The HB6 has some 2mm hooks at each end of the case, that the band hooks on to.
The XB got some 6.5mm hooks going downwards in an about 45° angle. This is a solution reducing the range of arm sizes it will suit. AND As the band goes out from the bottom, it leaves the top part sticking up. This makes the device more vulnerable to bumps, more annoying with light garment sleeves, and looks more like a pill-box-on-a-string. Not as ugly as an aPple Iwatch, but far worse than the HB7….

For the HB7 & HB6 the attachment method makes a HUGE difference for Milanese mesh bands, see here, and I fear that the XB is at the least as bad as the HB6 here.

Here advertisement images from an ebay-listing where I ordered them for he XB:

The band attachment is a bit strange, there is a push-button for releasing, BUT do NOT place a finger on the other side as counter hold on a rubber-band, as it will prevent the button from going in and releasing the band…. I made a small sketch of the mechanism cut through:

 

Design

Apart from the too low band attachment of the XB mentioned above, the XB is also less rounded, especially at the corners, making it feel less smooth and body- and garment-friendly then the HB7.

This is from their own advertisement renderings:

This is part of what makes it look uglier and more like a pill-box-on-a-string. But I also fear there is a much higher risk of bumps to a corner breaking the display at some point. Sharp corners = weak points!!

The standard bands that all three comes with are about equal. I don’t think one is substantially worse nor less uncomfortable than the other…. I ordered a Milanese band before I ordered the XB… To put it mildly I’m not a fan of these rubber bands…

BTW do not be alarmed by their advertising renderings on the black model. Though the top ‘rim’ is a shiny black, it is not chrome-look.

 

Dimensions

The three are not hugely different, though the XB is 10% wider, and marginally higher, but the bezels are less on the XB.
Oddly the XB got larger bezels at the bottom than the top, despite the ambient light sensor being  at the top…

XB top left, HB6 top right, HB7 bottom left

Bottom to top: XP, HB6, HB7, note that the HB7 got no band-hooks!

The case of the XB is 11.65 mm thick less the hooks, (11.15 mm also excluding the protruding rectangle)
The case of the HB7 is 10.5 mm thick, (9.9 mm excluding the protruding circle)
The case of the HB6 is 11.3 mm thick, (10.7 mm excluding the protruding rectangle)

The case of the XB is 50.8 mm long, (44.7 mm excluding the down pointing hooks at each end)
The case of the HB7 is 43.4 mm long, (and the band goes 3.3 mm into the case from each end)
The case of the HB6 is 47.1 mm long, (43.1 mm excluding the 2.0 mm hooks at each end)

The case of the XB is 28.8 mm wide
The case of the HB7 is 26.2 mm wide (+0.5mm protruding button)
The case of the HB6 is 25.6 mm wide, (+0.5mm protruding button)

The display of the XB is 21.8mm × 35.5 mm (7.74 cm²) 280 × 456 pixels. 1.64″
The display of the HB7(/6) is 17.4mm × 33.0 mm (5.7 cm²) 194 × 368 pixels. 1.47″

They all got flat bottoms (less the sensor protrusions), and a slightly curved glass. The HB6 being the most curved (that is why it is thicker than the HB7), and the XB got the least curvature (part of the pill-box-on-a-string….)

The XB got a 235mAh batter, the HB6/HB7 got 180mAh. Despite not using the GPS or Alexa, I do not see a 30% better stamina, with similar usage. So poorer software or hardware for the XB needing a larger battery to do the same…

 

Watchfaces

All there offers the ability to change watchface, and comes with a few preloaded (that can not be deleted)
Through the respective apps you can add more. But here things become very different.

The HBs has a huge number of free watchfaces available – And if you want to play in the Huawei world, you can buy more, and if on a Huawei phone, you should even be able to make your own ones….The XB app offers its free, and much fewer, but so it was for the HB6 when it was launched, so likely more will follow for the XB.

On the HBs I’m sure there is some limit on the numbers you can download – I never reached it, and guess it is above 20. On the XB it is EXTREMELY SMALL depending on the size of the ones you want to download, you will only have room for about 1 to 4, and as downloads on the XB can take over a minute for one, it is not just removing some temporarily. They seem to have allocated between 6.75 and 6.91 MB (is an M!!), and a watch face typically is 1.5MB, some simple down to 0.9 many over 3 a few over 4MB. So if you pick the smallest you can find, you might be able to squeeze in 6 or 7, on the other hand you can easily find a pair where the XB can not have both, even after deleting any others. Completely absurd with less than 7MB available in 2022 for a $100 device!!!
As it was factory-new yesterday it gave a message when there were no room. Now it just quits the download, with no message. Oh and a detail: You can not cancel a download if you clicked a wrong one, you will have to wait for it finishing download, and then delete it….

 

App

First of praise to Xiaomi for the app available in the android market being able to support the newest device in the family.
Huawei on the other hand tries to break security by tricking you into side-loading their app, thus bypassing every security measure…. (The Huawei app on Ios, DO support both HB6 and HB7 though)

That is about as far the praise goes for the Xiaomi app now. I guess that in just about every other aspect it is on par or worse than the Huawei one – and that is not a great app!

There certainly may be some corner of the app where I have not been, that is better, but the overall impression is – well not impressive….

For one thing there are very little control of the phone settings, you have to fiddle with that on the tiny watch display. Apart from what is related to what is synced with the app for monitoring, I think the only setting you can change is the item order in the menu! You can not change simple settings like setting an alarm, setting brightness, selecting Always-On-Display settings (not even turn that on/off).
On the item ordering, you can not hide stuff you do not want, only drag them to the bottom of the list. (On the full display items, you can choose the order, and which to display though)

The app does not even disable stuff not supported by the device, on the primary screen….. You can manually hide the tiles, but it does not by even default hide unsupported nor irrelevant tiles. During setup they ask my sex, and yet they do not hide the Cycle setting for a male…. You have to hide that manually.

I guess they tried to make the app as generic as possible, but they really should have a ‘plug-in’ handling model specific stuff.

 

Always-On-Display (AOD) watchfaces

Here XB does a much better job than the HB7 (And the HB6 does not offer it at all) On the HP7 you can choose from a VERY limited number of AOD watchfaces, 4(!) and all ugly!.
The XB on the other hand, has Standard and AOD faces coming as pairs. AND if you select one without an AOD face (I guess designed for another watch originally), it falls back to the simple AOD hands.
Why you can not select them independently, I do not know, but that might be just software updates away? Or maybe they prefer to keep the selection simpler.

It would also have been nice offering the user the choice of the brightness difference between standard and AOD display.

 

Control

The XB allegedly has GPS. But there seems to be no way in neither the app nor on the device to turn that on/off, so I fear that it will be always on, wasting battery with the mere purpose of stealing my location info.

It MIGHT be seems that GPS is only turned on if I manually activate an outdoor workout mode – if so everything is fine, as I’m unlikely to trigger that accidentally and even less likely to do it on purpose (except perhaps for testing)….

The device offers brightness in five fixed levels or “Auto” based on the ambient light sensor. But if Auto is selected, you can not select neither a brighter nor a dimer scheme. It would be so simple to add, but I guess stuff like that is likely to come as software updates. (Despite being as new as it is, it offered an update when I first connected. Currently v2.1.32   2.1.40 – my guess is they fixed the embarrassing DST bug, but no changelog offered…. )

 

Stamina

With my usage pattern the stamina of the three seems almost identical. About 9% battery use per day So can easily last a week, but not quite two. The good stamina also indicates that the XB’s GPS can hardly be on always as I feared above.

 

Alternative

The obvious alternative to the XB would be a Huawei Watch Fit 2, with its sleeker band attachment (closer to the HB7).

But for one thing it (like the HB7) is not properly supported for Android, except for security-wise bad sideloading the app. As another thing the sleeker band attachment means that a case this size is less suited for my wrist (about 18cm), so I will pass on that one (I have bought a previous version but passed it on, in favour of the HB6).
If anyone know of interesting compact alternatives, please feel free to suggest – and NO I do NOT want an Iwatch! They look horrible IMHO.

 

More on the inferior software

One REALLY annoying thing that might be enough for me to ditch the band, is that it keeps pestering me with nagging.
I assume they see this nuisance as nudging, but at the very least the watch or app should have an option to turn the silly sh.. OFF!!!! .


It is over half a century since I went to kindergarten, so do not feel any need for their silly ‘encouragements’!!!

And it is not only something flooding in the notifications, it is displayed overlaying the watch face, and you have to handle the pest before seeing the time – making the device close to useless as a watch!!!
Update:
v2.1.40 seems to have helped here. The silly notification is still there BUT it does not auto-open over the watch-face. So now it is ‘limited’ to noise in your notification-stream. There is still no option: Pestering on/off
Update to update, I was wrong, the pestering is still there!!!

As previously said, the software is far from impressive, yet I’m astonished that anyone can make software today that does not handle daylight saving time!!!
1) The watch did NOT adjust the clock this morning, (despite being able to show the date), first after connecting it with the app, the clock was set.
2) Attempting to sync the day after exiting DST makes the app crash. After a couple of attempts it actually do sync the data (before crashing)
3) Attempting to display any of the graphs with [2:00 ; 3:00[, makes the app crash:

And the alleged “6hrs and 2 mins” sleep illustrates the bug, as it was one hour more….
Attempting to show the graphs per week (or per month) does work including October 30.
Attempts to sync again, just give the same bug:


I hope that the app after midnight MIGHT work better as long as I do not attempt to display the data for today per hour.

The first version of the software was released 2½ years ago, so an embarrassing bug like this ought to have been found and fixed, at the least two years ago…. IMHO
This is not small a kickstarter project with 500 users, the app got over 10000000 downloads!!

ADD Tuesday after the DST switch. Well the program is sort of working again. It can show the previous data on week and month base, but no longer on day basis….
There are more bugs in the day display, that was there before the DST switch also:

Note the “17:00” around where “23:00” ought to be ?!?!? Could it be a time-zone bug, affecting only one of the timestamps, or how could this get past any alpha- not to mention beta-test?

It was quite usual that it lagged input for large periods, even if worn tight on the arm 24/7 (well except while in bath)
It does seem to be more ‘happy’ today, though still buggy, missing several hours:

(Note also that it only displays values aggregated into half hour intervals, so you can not really see if a small or large measurement in a half hour period is a single minute or 29 minutes, or anywhere in between…. )
A theory could be that once you showed the image of the day, it can not add to it.
I will try tomorrow to leave the watch and app untouched, and see if this will help (today it’s past midnight, so too late for today….)
I tried that, and it proved even worse: So really shitty firmware bordering useless!!!

I’m currently clueless on how to make it work in a stable fashion, doing just a few basic things

  • show time (Without silly nagging needing interaction!)
  • record heart rate
  • record SpO2
  • record sleep

It does seem to record sleep, most nights though.

 

Reset… (update 20221107)

I did a factory reset and it seems to have stabilised, things – at the least for now. Yesterday it recorded a full day, so there is a chance that is was the DST-shift that messed things up completely – if so there is a good chance they’ll have enough time to fix the bug(s) before next year… I hope it will not need a factory reset more frequent than a recharge(!), but I guess I could live with it as a weekly task!

 

Conclusion

Is it worth the money: Certainly not, with current software. But I think the hardware is OK, so there is a fair chance that it could get usable at some point….