Fitness

The Huawei Band 6, one of the best fitness trackers out there

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  • Pros: Long battery life; large screen; good set of features
  • Cons: Additional workouts are hidden within menu pages

IT HAS been 12 days since I first put on the Huawei Band 6, and I haven’t had to charge it since. As I’m typing this, the fitness tracker is ticking down to the last 10% of its battery life. After the first few days, I had almost forgotten about keeping the battery life in check. Huawei said the Band 6 would last two weeks on a full charge, so I reckon I got pretty close.

The impressive battery life is just one of the strengths of Huawei’s latest fitness band. For a wearable that costs US$53 (RM219), the Band 6 has enough features and functionalities to tide over your average health and wellness needs, from SpO2 monitoring to sleep tracking.

It has been a solid fitness companion for me, even if fitness isn’t exactly my forte. But I like to think that it has helped me become a lot more conscious of my wellness, which is the exact purpose of the Huawei Band 6. Like right now, as it buzzes a reminder for me to get up to stretch.

First thing’s first: the Huawei Band 6 is not a smartwatch, even if it pretty much straddles that line. It features a 1.47-inch colour AMOLED display that pushes 194 x 268 resolutions.

It’s a pretty large display by fitness band standards: its predecessor, the Huawei Band 5, has a 0.95-inch screen. In fact, it’s just a little smaller compared to the Huawei Watch Fit, which looks practically the same. 

Designs and looks

The display is a good one, clear and bright enough to work under direct sunlight, though the screen is a tad reflective. The larger screen estate certainly helps when receiving notifications. I could at least skim enough of an email on the screen, though you can’t read the whole thing.

With its larger display size, the Band 6 does look less streamlined than the typical fitness band, but I find that it’s hardly intrusive during rigorous activities (mind you, the toughest thing I did with the Band 6 was to take it cycling in Putrajaya). The device is 18g or so in weight, and sometimes I forget I’m even wearing it.

Review: The Huawei Band 6, one of the best fitness trackers out there The strap is long enough to adapt to any wrist. At the very least, it fits comfortably on me. Huawei also put holes on the short side, where the buckle is, for purposes that I can’t ascertain. But all in all, it’s a comfortable wear. 

The unit itself is not particularly bulky, though it does have noticeably thick bezels surrounding the display, which doesn’t bother me. On the side of the unit is a physical side button to help you access the menu.

The Huawei Band 6 charges via a dual pogo pins charger, which attaches to the Band magnetically. It’s easy to use, though I’m not exactly sure if you can use the same cables from the previous Huawei Bands.

Features and workouts

Let’s look at the features. To start with, it has 24-hour heart rate tracking, which goes on top of SpO2 (blood oxygen levels) tracking. The heart rate sensor also helps monitor your stress levels. If they get too high, you can use the built-in breath training guide to help you relax.

I’m not sure if the latter actually helped me, but having a physical illustration of my stress levels does at least ensure I take some time to just wind down.

There’s also a sleep tracking feature, which can automatically detect when you’re in one of four different sleep states (deep sleep, light sleep, REM and napping).

Review: The Huawei Band 6, one of the best fitness trackers out there Huawei claims that it has a 96.3% improve accuracy in recording your sleep time and quality of sleep. I’d say it’s rather accurate – for one rough night, the Band did point out that I slept lightly for a majority of the night.

There’s a feature to set three daily activity goals – steps, hours active and moderate-to-high intensity activity – which the band tracks using eye-catching coloured rings. You receive motivating reminders and notifications to achieve those goals, which does help me at least be mindful of sitting down for too long.

As for workouts, the Huawei Band 6 comes with a whopping 96 different exercise modes, from your standard indoor/outdoor running to niched workouts like kendo. A good number of them is hidden within the menus, though – it took me awhile to realise that I have to add them to the workout list on the Band in order to access them.

For the most part, however, navigating the Band 6 is simple affair. You can swipe across the main clock screen to more quickly access the heart rate, stress levels, music, activities and weather screens; pressing the physical button brings out the menu. The band pairs with the Huawei Health app, which is a solid app as far as I can tell.  

Review: The Huawei Band 6, one of the best fitness trackers out there There is little fault in the Huawei Band 6, mostly because it’s an uncomplicated device that does what it’s supposed to do, and does it well. For its price, you’d be hard pressed to find a fitness band with a good selection of features that is coupled with long battery life and a screen large enough to pass it as a smartwatch.

They say health is an important investment. I reckon the Huawei Band 6 is a good, and inexpensive, investment to compliment it.

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