In the wearables market, we have tonnes of fitness trackers that look the same and mostly share identical features to track your fitness with activities. The ‘same’ here implies the design aesthetics of those trackers which sit on your wrist the whole day. They either come in a capsule-esque design or have a sleek rectangular design. And, generally, these are affordable and offer more or less the same features, specially the recent ones. While they fall under affordable products in the wearable segments category, the following line would be smartwatches, which don’t fall under the budget segment.
That said, a new fitness tracker aspires to be a smartwatch in terms of looks, yet it doesn’t cost you a hole in the pocket but offers more or less the same features as a fitness tracker — the Huawei Band 6. It launched in India at Rs 4,490 in July this year. And I received the unit last month, and I have been testing it ever since. It also suffices to say that you can consider this as a full-time review if you’re out in the market looking for a fitness tracker that looks good on your wrist rather than looking like a conventional fitness tracker.
Huawei Band 6 — Design
The Huawei Band 6 features a large colorful display measuring 1.47-inches. I say large because it’s more prominent with a widescreen and you can view a lot of info at a glance, and it is not stressful to your eyes, which I felt was convenient. Moreover, the display here is a Full AMOLED panel with 282ppi. It gets bright enough outdoors, and it has an auto-dimming feature in low light, which is handy during the night while sleeping.
Apart from the touch screen controls, there’s a button on the outer shell that helps you interact with the screen to wake it up and interact within the interface across the UI. The outer shell is made of polymer material that appears sturdy and comes in Dark Gray or Gold color; our review unit, however, came with the Dark Gray color.
The outer shell is attached to silicone straps featuring color options: Graphite Black Strap,
Sakura Pink, Amber Sunrise, and Forest Green, which the review unit has shipped in; I like the dark colors in general, and the Forest Green was comfortable for me. Nonetheless, there are a couple of other options to choose from, which are handy. What’s not convenient is that the straps here are non-detachable like other conventional options out there, but yes, if you should be extra careful before choosing your color options.
On the whole, with the polymer material and lightweight silicone straps, the Huawei Band 6 indeed feels extremely light on my wrist. It is good to have a smartwatch-like fitness tracker without being as heavy as a smartwatch. While the silicone straps do make the band feel light on your wrist, I am not sure how well that will come along in terms of quality — after regular wear and tear over the coming months. Besides, there’s a 5ATM rating for water resistance, which is another nifty feature if you’re into hardcore workouts or swimming.
Huawei Band 6 — Features
The key features on the Huawei Band 6 include All-day SpO2 monitoring, heart-rate monitoring, stress monitoring, and sleep tracking. The band is accompanied by the Huawei Health app (available for both Android and iOS platforms), and I have used it primarily on iOS, which worked well during our testing. The app is quite useful and helps in firmware updates for the band too.
The SpO2 monitoring works well, provided you’ve turned it on in the app. The same goes for stress monitoring, sleep tracking, and heart-rate monitoring as well. This could affect battery life, reducing it to a week rather than the promised two-week battery life. Heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking seemed accurate when I compared it with my Honor Band 4, which also utilizes and pairs with the same Huawei Health app. It’s good to have SpO2 monitoring enabled, and you can go through how well it was for a week’s/month course. One good thing I liked about the Band 6 would be the ability to glance through graphs — thanks to the broader screen; for readings like SpO2, heart rate, and stress monitoring.
There’s a weather update section that showcases temperature, area or location, and UV index. Moreover, I loved the breathing exercises too, which made me do my breathing exercises regularly and did a good job showcasing heart rate after finishing the cycle. The other handy features include setting the alarm/timer, starting a stopwatch, and flashlight. And, since it pairs via Bluetooth with your phone, it also features ‘Find Phone’ that would come in as a nifty feature if you find it hard to search the phone in your surroundings.
Huawei Band 6 — Workout modes
Huawei claims that the Band 6 supports up to 90 workout modes. However, in our testing unit, the band included prominent ones like outdoor run, indoor run, outdoor walk, indoor walk, outdoor cycling, indoor cycling, pool swim, jump rope, elliptical, rower, and others. During the workout, I haven’t used all the modes but the basic ones, which did a reasonable job tracking steps, calories, and heart rate. When compared side by side with my Honor Band 4, the differences were very minimal.
Any workout primarily calculates heart rate, distance, time, steps, calories, and training stress. Thanks to the larger screen, these can be constantly monitored, and you can glance at them all. These readings are stored on the dedicated app too, and there is cloud sync facility availability from Huawei if you choose to opt-in. Everything is well informed through charts and graphs, which give you an idea of your activity — on both the app and Band 6. An activity record section also lets you glance at your steps, remaining rings that need to be completed assuming you’ve set a target for the day or a month.
Huawei Band 6 — Notifications
The other best-case scenario with the Huawei Band 6 screen is the notification viewer. The band uses Bluetooth 5.0 for pairing with your phone. And again, the emphasis here is on the bigger screen, which lets you glance at your notifications without hassle. The touch input is lag-free that lets you read the content or while scrolling; be it a tweet, a text, or any Instagram notification, for that matter. The screen displays the caller’s name during the call; and you can decline the ring without the need to reach out to the phone.
The one downside is that you cannot interact with the notifications; which lets me remember that I am dealing with a smartwatch-looking fitness tracker and not a smartwatch itself. Within the app, you can also choose to disable specific app notifications like Twitter or Facebook to avoid distraction; as it creates haptic feedback on your wrist every time you receive one. It can be not very pleasant at times, especially when you’re working on something. Another simple trick would be enabling DND mode with a couple of swipes to stop these notifications from popping up on the Band 6.
With iOS limitations, Android users have a perk with the Huawei Band 6. They can use the band to control their device’s music during workouts; and the screen can also act as a camera shutter button and lets you set a timer for the shot.
Huawei Band 6 — Battery
The battery is something that users can look forward to when considering getting the Huawei Band 6. It charges with an allocated magnetic cable and attaches through magnets on the back, a nifty feature. Band 6 gave me a promised 14-day battery life provided I’ve disabled the health monitoring features. And, used it only to track my workout activity like walking or running. However, with continuous monitoring features enabled;; which the band is intended to be utilized for, it gave me close to eight days on a single charge. Regardless, the Huawei Band 6 takes a little less than two hours to fully charge, which is convenient.
And last but not least, Band 6 has tonnes of watch faces to choose from; the big screen comes with a wide variety of options. While the default ones are quite a few, you can choose new ones and install them manually through the app. Though not all watch faces are great; there are a couple of ones you can find that are themed and choose as per your preferences.
Huawei Band 6 — Verdict
The Huawei Band 6 costs Rs 4,490 in the county, and you can get one through Amazon India. If you’ve read this review to get an impression to buy this Band 6 or not; I will oblige you to look at the competition too. The closest ones with the Band 6 in the country is the Mi Band 6, which costs a little less (Rs 3,490); for which you get more or less similar features. Like the Huawei Band 6; the Mi Band also shares an AMOLED display, SpO2/heart rate tracking, magnetic charging, a 14-day battery life, and water resistance. However, bands from Xiaomi in India have always been looking consistent when it comes to design. Though the company managed to hop in a slightly bigger display than the Huawei Band 6; it seems no different from its previous iteration.
Meanwhile, the Huawei Band here has opted for a FullView display, which is colorful and bright — and gives you more content to look for at a glance alongside packed with all the essential features. Regardless of falling under the fitness tracker category, the Huawei Band 6 aspires to give you a smartwatch-like experience in terms of looks on your wrist.◾