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Honor Band 6 Review – A Fitness Tracker or a Smart Watch? Honor Band 6

Back in the autumn of last year, the Honor brand announced a new, sixth generation of its Honor Band 6 fitness tracker. However, back then there was an ongoing separation of the then Honor sub-brand from Huawei, so the global presentation of the device took place even later at CES 2021. But in the spring of this year, the device began to go on sale in different markets, and today we will find out what is new in the Honor Band 6 compared to its predecessor, the Honor Band 5.

Honor Band 6

Honor Band 6 full specifications

  • Display: 1.47″, 368×194 pixels, AMOLED, touch
  • Wireless modules: Bluetooth 5.0
  • Sensors: accelerometer, gyroscope, heart rate monitor, pulse oximeter
  • Battery: 180mAh
  • Storage: 128 MB
  • Compatibility: Android 5.0 and newer, or iOS 9.0 and newer
  • Water resistance: up to 50 meters (5 ATM)
  • Body materials: glass and plastic
  • Strap: silicone
  • Dimensions: 43.0 x 25.4 x 11.4 mm
  • Weight: 18 g without strap, 29 g with strap

Honor Band 6 price

The manufacturer’s recommended cost for the Honor Band 6 is about €50. But depending on the store and the region of shipping, the price tag, of course, may change. You can buy the global version from China for about $45.

Honor Band 6 features

Ok, let’s start with the most important question: what is new? Because the tracker supports the most standard set of features: display of time, date, number of steps taken and distance traveled, monitoring of pulse, sleep and blood oxygen level. There is also weather, timer, stopwatch, alarm clock and playback control. On Honor smartphones with Magic UI 2.0, remote control of the camera shutter will also be available. Naturally, notifications from the smartphone are also sent to the tracker.

There are now 10 training modes (previously there were 9), namely: running on the street, treadmill, walking on the street, walking indoors, exercise bike, ellipse, rowing machine, swimming in the pool, free workout, and (new addition) cycling. In addition, now 6 out of 10 activities can be detected automatically and the tracker will automatically suggest a workout during activity. This was not the case before, let me remind you.

Honor Band 6

Also, now Honor Band 6 can determine the level of stress and make recommendations if it is too high, plus there are breathing exercises. And the bracelet will also help to monitor women’s health, but the function does not work in all countries. Also, many of the announced functions will not work on iOS devices, which should also be taken into account.

Regarding the performance of all the declared functions and capabilities, everything worked for me just fine. But it is clear that the same pulse oximeter should not be perceived as a medical device and this fitness tracker should not be used to diagnose diseases. As for the operation of the alarm clock, the arrival of notifications and the connection with the smartphone, I did not have any difficulties.

What’s in the box

The Honor Band 6 comes in a small cardboard box with a design traditional for Honor devices with white and blue colors. Inside, in addition to the tracker, you can find only a charging cable and a user manual with a warranty. There’s also a white cable, approx. 60 cm long, and with two magnetic contacts.

Compared to the previous generation, which used a separate black cradle and a very short white microUSB cable, I find the new charging option more convenient and neat.

Design, materials, layout and ergonomics

Unlike the Band 5, Honor Band 6 looks completely different and now the design of the fitness tracker even resembles some kind of small smart watch, which is definitely not bad. The shape is rectangular, but the tracker is not too wide, and what is important – there are no usual attributes on the front, such as a touch control button.

So, in general, the design is kinda strict. Thanks to this very restraint, it is well suited for almost any style of clothing. There are no unnecessary distractions, but there are a couple of moments that do not allow us to call the Band 6 design completely conservative. This is a neat smooth rounding of the glass of the front panel and a button on the side with a compact embossed strip, highlighted in bright red.

The case of the tracker is made mainly of pleasant smooth plastic, the back side is covered with a regular rough plastic, and the front is made of durable glass with a high-quality oleophobic coating. The build quality is excellent, all the parts fit well, but the side button is slightly loose. Water resistance, of course, is supported for up to 50 meters (or 5 ATM), so you can wash your hands, take a shower and swim in the pool without taking the tracker off.

The size of the new product turned out to be slightly larger than its predecessor and in fact differs from it only in the width of the case: 43×25.4×11.4 mm. Not much, given the considerable size of the display, and a weight of less than 30 grams is barely felt on the wrist.

In front there is nothing but the screen itself. Above and below there are special grooves for attaching a band, on the left there is a large Honor embossing, and on the right end there is a single physical key. The back side is covered with various technical info, there are also two round contacts for charging and a slightly protruding window with heart rate and blood oxygen level sensors.

The band is removable, but it is not so easy to detach the locks that hold it, even deliberately. It is silicone, soft and with a rather pleasant hypoallergenic coating – the wrist  does not sweat and the skin is not irritated in any way. The clasp is plastic, there is a silicone holder with Honor logo and a lot of holes for adjusting the size.

The bands come in three colors: black, gray and pink. The color of the module itself is the same in all three versions – black. Obviously, the bands can be purchased and changed, but the mechanism could be a lot more simple.

Honor Band 6
Honor Band 6 colors

Honor Band 6 display

The usable area of the display in the Honor Band 6, according to the manufacturer, has grown by 148% to 1.47″. For comparison, the Honor Band 5 only had 0.95″. In addition to the increased dimensions of more than half an inch, the new product also increased the screen resolution up to 368×194 pixels. This is still an AMOLED matrix, and the screen itself is still touch-sensitive.

Honor Band 6

Of course, in the case of such wearable gadgets, such an increase in size has an extremely positive effect on the overall usability and interaction with the device. So it became much easier to control and view information on the Honor Band 6 screen.

Honor Band 6

The screen does not look too small in relation to the body. There are bezels, of course, but they are difficult to notice when the display is deactivated. And if you also choose a watch face with a black background, it will seem that the screen occupies the entire front panel. This is definitely neat.

Honor Band 6

The quality of the display is good, the picture is rich and contrasting. The brightness reserve is entirely sufficient and therefore, even on a bright sunny day outdoors, the information from the screen remains readable. The viewing angles are also fine and atypical distortions are not observed, only the white color gets a bit blue, but in this case, it is not critical.

Honor Band 6

It is necessary to adjust the brightness manually by choosing one of the 5 available levels. Personally, it was enough for me indoors and outdoors on the third level. But the option to lower the screen brightness at night for some reason disappeared. And the always-on feature is still missing.

Honor Band 6

The display is activated by either a wrist gesture or by pressing a physical button on the side. The first is accurate, although it sometimes activates even from a slight tilt of the wrist. The display turns off automatically, and you can also turn it off by simply covering the screen with your palm. It goes out automatically after 5 seconds, but you can select 10, 15 or 20 seconds in the parameters.

Honor Band 6

 

Honor Band 6 battery life

A 180 mAh battery is installed inside and the manufacturer promises 14 days of battery life with standard use and 10 days of intensive use. It is clear that battery life is influenced by many factors, like settings, brightness, and so on, so the total operating time will differ in each case.

Personally, with a brightness of three bars, with sleep tracking, constant heart rate monitoring, notifications, a daily alarm clock and relatively regular calls no more than 12% of the charge goes away per day. That is, in my mode of using the tracker lasts for at least 7 days, but if you plan to actively train, then be prepared for less. And vice versa – you can squeeze out at least 10 days if you use it sparingly and turn off some features.

Honor Band 6

Charging is done via a magnetic cable, and fast charging is supported. In 15 minutes, the tracker goes from 0% to 50%, and after half an hour you can count on 75%, after which the process slows down and in order to charge it to 100%, it will take another half an hour. In the end, a full charge takes about an hour, but, nevertheless, it is still fast enough.

 

UI and controls

All control of the Honor Band 6 interface is carried out using touches and swipes on the touch screen, as well as by pressing the physical key on the side, which in this case acts as the Home button. It takes you back to the home screen (watch face), opens the main menu and the shutdown menu with a touch and hold action.

The home screen shows a watch face as usual. Holding the watch face for a long time opens a list with all pre-installed and downloaded skins from the companion app.

By swiping down on the home screen, you can open a control panel with information about the connection, the current charge of the tracker, the date and day of the week. There are also four quick switches to activate the Do Not Disturb mode, the active screen for a user-specified time, Find My Device and an alarm. Here you can also go to the system settings of the tracker.

Honor Band 6

Swipe up opens a list with the last 10 notifications, each of which can be viewed in full by pressing, after which they are automatically deleted. You can delete all messages at once by scrolling to the very bottom of the list. It is convenient to view notifications, in total it fits somewhere up to 110 characters, and the most popular apps have their own actual icon. Compared to the Honor Band 5, it is much better. Sadly, emojis are not supported. You also cannot respond to notifications, and in the case of calls, you can only refuse them.

Horizontal swipes to the left and to the right allow you to view up to 5 main favorite widgets, although in fact there are 6 of them in the menu. Among them are: weather, heart rate, stress, activity, music and sleep. Not everything will not be displayed for sure, but if you wish, you can remove some, and the order is also configurable. Widgets are simple informative windows, with the exception of music controls. In the latter, you can adjust the volume, pause/play and switch tracks.

By pressing the side button, we get into a full menu with a full list of functions: workouts, training records, heart rate, SpO2, activity, sleep, stress, breathing exercises, music, messages, weather, stopwatch, timer, alarm clock, flashlight, phone search, and settings.

These apps have become much more informative than they were in the previous generation of the tracker. Like you get the hourly weather forecast for the current day and simplified one for a whole week ahead – all this can now be viewed quite comfortably right on the tracker screen. During workouts, you can control music by simply swiping the main window with information on current activity to the left. Alarms can also be configured directly from the tracker; you can not only set the time and enable/disable them but also choose the days when it’s needed.

The settings are divided into several categories: screen, vibration, do not disturb, workout settings, system and information. In the first one, you can change the watch face, change the order of the widgets, set the brightness and active time of the screen by default and in the display-on mode. Vibration can either be turned off entirely, or you can choose one of two modes: weak or strong. You can turn on the do not disturb mode for the whole day or set a schedule (for the night, for example) and vibration from various notifications will not interfere. In the workout settings, you can only enable automatic workout detection. In System settings you can chose from reboot, shutdown, reset; the Information contains all the system information about the device and software.

The Honor Band 6 UI will be displayed in the language of your smartphone.

Huawei Health app

For the initial connection and setting up some functions of the tracker you need to download the proprietary app called Huawei Health. On Huawei and Honor smartphones with EMUI/Magic UI, nothing else is required, but on other Android devices you will also need to install Huawei Mobile Services apps. Personally, I downloaded everything from AppGallery, but I’ll leave a direct download link, because the Play Store version hasn’t been updated for almost a year and I’m not sure if it supports Honor Band 6 at all.

Honor Band 6

I talked about the app itself in more detail in the Honor Band 5 review and since then little has changed, so further I will only touch upon what concerns the new tracker.

It is worth noting a very large list of watch faces, both digital and analog. Plus, they are all tagged, and if you like something, you can see all the variations of the watch faces of a similar nature. They are downloaded directly to the tracker, so you can change them not only through the app.

You can make your own watch face with your own image, which is neat.

The app also includes Huawei TruSleep sleep monitoring, regular reminders to move, constant heart rate monitoring and notifications about the heart rate, as well as a stress level test. Here you can choose from which apps notifications will come, turn on the weather forecast, set alarms, and update the tracker software.

Verdict

The Honor Band 6 is a good fitness tracker, which might not differ that much from the competition and cannot offer anything completely new in terms of functionality. But you know, it just works. This is a tracker with a relatively large and high-quality display, which allows to comfortably view notifications, keep track of time and your physical activity.

Honor Band 6

Coupled with good battery life, lots of sports modes and other features, we get a very decent device. I mean, this fitness tracker is closer to some kind of inexpensive smart watch, because the functionality is very similar. An excellent choice for people who disliked smaller displays from the early models.

Honor Band 6 Review

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