Notes on the Huawei Band Part 2

Continued from Notes on the Huawei Band Part 1

8. The Huawei Band is designed to work with the Huawei Health and Huawei Wear apps. Huawei Health is actually optional and doesn't perform any syncing tasks with the Band. The Health app is designed for more advanced Huawei wearables and provides minimal useful data when used for the Band, specifically metrics related to running activities and sleeping.  If you're only interested in data related to movement and regular Bluetooth syncing, the Huawei Wear app is adequate.



8. Battery life is good considering that Bluetooth is always enabled on the device. Since the sensor and the screen are the only two components that use power, the product charges quickly and power loss is gradual.



9. The strap is very comfortable and Huawei even provides an extra loop in case the included loop breaks off over time. It's exactly like a traditional plastic watch strap and is thin enough to be unobtrusive.

Obviously, design watch straps are a matter of preference. For my part, the plastic black version of the strap reminds me of the classic Swatch designs back in the 90s. Unlike the Vivosmart HR and Fitbit Charge HR's straps, it doesn't cause irritation when used over time. Moreover, the overall design of the Band and watch strap makes it less bulky than the Garmin or even the Fitbit Charge HR. I wouldn't mind wearing the Huawei Band over the Vivosmart HR during casual outings. It's certainly less pretentious than either the Vivosmart HR or Fitbit Charge HR when worn with semi-formal attire.

10. There is no way to power off the Huawei Band. Both the Band and Bluetooth power down when it runs out of battery.

11. When the power runs down, the clock is reset to factory defaults. Once the Band syncs to your Android device, it follows your smartphone's time and date settings.

12. If you purchased the Band in a non-English market, the Band follows the language settings of the Android or iOS client.

13. The Huawei Health app runs in the background of Android devices and impacts battery severely even if you have Bluetooth disabled.

Note: I used the Huawei Band with my months-old Moto G4 Plus and the drop in battery life was perceptible with the app installed. The Huawei Wear app, which runs the Bluetooth API tasks, doesn't have the same impact however. Unfortunately, to get the full experience of the product, both the Health and Wear app are recommended.



14. Step tracking is on the conservative side compared with the Fitbit Charge and Vivosmart HR. Surprisingly, sleep monitoring in anecdotal use was more reliable than the Garmin Vivosmart HR. As an entry-level activity tracker, it's actually not bad compared with other products of the same price and feature range. On the downside, there isn't any option to adjust stride length.

15. Since the entry-level Huawei Band transmits very minimal data over Bluetooth, syncing is pretty reliable and considerably better than Fitbit products. In general, the Huawei Wear app immediately detects the product once Bluetooth is enabled on the Android device.

Note: I tested Bluetooth syncing with the Huawei Band using my Moto G4 Plus and also found out that it doesn't cause issues with Garmin Connect syncing with my Garmin Vivosmart HR.

The Huawei Band is a two-trick pony. It detects movement and is a somewhat usable watch. I'm not that finicky about design so I like the overall look of the Band and the product is certainly more comfortable than any Fitbit wearable or Garmin. From a technical perspective, Bluetooth syncing and the activity tracking are adequate for casual users. The simplicity of the Huawei Wear and Health app makes it ideal for mainstream users, though there is no doubt both apps have more functionality when paired with newer Huawei products.



Unfortunately, users can't disable Bluetooth transmission or power off the Band. Although today's users never seem to remember to disable Bluetooth on their smartphones, and manufacturers release products with Bluetooth always on, I'm not comfortable with devices that don't have options to control power and data transmission. Moreover, the impact of the Huawei apps on the battery life of Android smartphones is unnecessary.

Will I wear the Huawei Band regularly? It won't replace my Vivosmart HR for physical activities that's for sure, but I may occasionally wear it on non-formal evenings out - just like a real watch.

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