In the last few years we’ve seen a steady increase in the number of smart bands being launched and also the overall adoption of it by the users, considering the fact that a large chunk of users is battling some kind of lifestyle instability, the demand for the fitness trackers and smartwatches that track physical activity has seen a surge in India. The recently unveiled Honor Band 5 is available at Rs 2,599 and takes on the Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4 with features that are commonly not seen on other smart bands. The Honor Fitness band claims to be able to measure the oxygen saturation in the blood and have depth resistance of up to 50 feet. The band has been launched in three color variants, Midnight Navy, Coral Pink, and Meteorite Black.
The Honor Band 5 comes in a rectangular form factor and compared to the full dial size, the actual display is much smaller allowing the accommodation of a touch-sensitive region marked by the rings. The display has a resolution of 240 x 120 and uses AMOLED technology to give a full-color output, the display is made of 2.5D glass and the fitness tracker comes with a 24 x 7 Heart Rate monitor and the ability to track sleep. The Honor Band 5 is powered by a li-po battery with a claimed battery life of about 14 days, the device uses Pulse Oximetry to find the Oxygen Saturation at a given point of time in the body. The user can track different types of physical activities on the device with the band including outdoor and indoor running, elliptical, rowing, swimming, etc. The device comes with 10 fitness modes as outdoor running, indoor running, outdoor walking, indoor walking, outdoor cycling, indoor cycling, swimming, free training, elliptical and rowing.
The Honor Band 5 comes with a 6-axis accelerometer, gyroscope, optical heart rate sensor, and infrared wear. The strap is pretty comfortable and fits tightly in the hand to offer a secure fit. The fit is extremely comfortable given the 17 orifices for a precise and comfortable fit. The smart band charged to 30 percent in just half an hour and took about an hour and a half for a full charge. The device can be easily paired to the Huawei Health application and the display can be turned on by tapping on the small circle with the dual rings at the bottom of the device. The device shows the current time in the middle, the number of steps walked during the day in small letters towards the bottom and the current temperature at the top right corner. This is the default watch face and the device comes with several other watch faces that show other data like calories, total distance and other options.
The display can be swiped up or down to access the icons for the number of steps, heart rate, SpO2, Sleep Tracking, and other modes. Tapping on the more button gives access to the other secondary features such as a timer, stopwatch, faces, brightness, battery, and System. There are multiple watch faces that allow you to access the different features of the fitness band. The brightness is pretty good and we could use it most of the time at about 70-percent brightness, even under bright sunlight, the display was legible at full brightness. The device can be powered off or restarted using the System option in the settings, the Find Phone allows you to find your misplaced phone in the vicinity, the device rings with a voice alert when you select this option for this feature to work the Bluetooth on the phone should be on and the device should be connected to the Honor Band 5.
The biggest downside of the watch was the lack of a manual power on button when the device runs out of charge or has been manually powered off there is no way of powering it on using a button, the device can only be powered on again by connecting it to a charger. This increases the hassle of having to carry the charging dock everywhere along with the cable and power source. The display isn’t very responsive when swimming, swiping on the display has its resistance with wet hands and display. While tracking swimming, the device gets locked and takes an extra 5 seconds to unlock the device. The device recognizes freestyle, butterfly, backstroke, and breaststroke modes of swimming, if your activity involves a mix of the strokes then the activity is broken down based on each stroke and then displays the overall activity as a medley. The application shows metrics such as pool length, number of strokes, calories burnt, average pack, aver stroke rate and others. You need to press and hold the rings for about 3 seconds to pause an activity, the band then flashes two icons to either stop or resume the activity.
The sleep monitoring tracks it in three parts, deep sleep, light sleep, and REM sleep. The Honor Band 5 also identifies if you woke up at any point and measures the breathing quality automatically. The health application gives good insight and offers some suggestions such as how much water should be had close to bedtime. The device also alerts you if you’ve been sitting for a very long time and reminds to you stand up and stretch your legs. The battery realistically lasts about 4 to 5 days of medium usage with about 3 hours of physical activity tracking each day. With heavier usage, the Honor Band 5 lasts about 2 to 3 days. If you use the band only to track your steps, then the device might last as much as a week. You can choose the device to automatically lower the brightness at night and avoid the Screen On feature to help conserve battery.
The device has a very simple design and a scratch-resistant display. The band offers good waterproofing and is comfortable on the wrists with good battery life. The activity and sleep tracking are pretty good on the band. The display was adequately bright to be used in most situations. The biggest downside of the watch is the ability to manually turn on the device when needed without using a power source.