Almost every self-respecting smartphone manufacturer makes wearable gadgets as well. The unspoken rule that a smartwatch or a fitness bracelet should come from the same manufacturer as your smartphone is false. Well, except for the iPhone, if we are talking about the Apple Watch. Today we will talk about the fifth generation of fitness trackers from the Huawei sub-brand – Honor Band 5. Has the Chinese managed to make a decent bracelet, or is the fourth Xiaomi Mi Band still the only logical choice? We will try to answer this question.
Our video about Honor Band 5
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The main characteristics and cost of Honor Band 5
- Display: 0.95″, 240 × 120, AMOLED, touch
- Wireless Modules: Bluetooth 4.2
- Sensors: 6-axis accelerometer, heart rate monitor, PPG, infrared sensor
- Battery: 100 mAh
- Water resistant: up to 50 meters (5 ATM)
- Materials: glass, plastic
- Dimensions: 43 × 17.2 × 11.5 mm
- Strap: rubber, 16 mm wide and 122 + 81 mm long
- Weight: 22.7 g
Honor Band 5 Functionality
The functionality of the bracelet is usual, the same most competitors. But there are some unusual features. True, the availability and operation of some functions also depends on the region of your Huawei account.
There is a standard set: time, date, steps, distance, calories, weather, pulse and sleep tracking, timer and stopwatch, alarm clock, phone search. From the unusual, there is a pulse oximeter.
There are 9 modes available: running on the street, running on the track, walking on the street, indoor walking, exercise bike, ellipse, rowing machine, swimming in the pool and free training. In addition, there is playback control and of course notifications from applications installed on the smartphone. If you have a smartphone with EMUI firmware version 8.1 and higher, you can also control camera from the tracker.
In general, I have no comments about the work of the aforementioned options. It is clear that the accuracy of all measurements is not as good as you get in more expensive options, but this is a well-known fact. The pulse is measured relatively accurately, the alarm clock works fine, notifications as well. Not once did my bracelet disconnect.
Where to by Honor Band 5:
What’s in the box
The Honor Band 5 comes in a small cardboard box along with a charger and a set of documentation. The charger consists of two elements – a cradle and a standard microUSB cable.
Design, materials, layout and ergonomics
If you are familiar with the previous generation of the bracelet, then Honor Band 5 will not surprise you with its design, because it looks exactly the same as Band 4. Its shape is rounded, the glass is convex. Standard, classic look of a fitness tracker. You can only highlight the silver ring under the display and the pattern on the strap.
On the other hand, such design might appeal to those who prefer strict look of accessories with a minimal amount of attention-grabbing details. In addition, competitors are not better in that regard.
The materials are: a plastic case and glass in front. The latter has a good oleophobic coating. Fingerprints and stains may remain, but they are very easy to clean. Obviously, the glass front panel should be regarded as an advantage, because it is more difficult to scratch it than plastic.
The dimensions of Honor Band 5 are small – 43 × 17.2 × 11.5 mm. It is even smaller than the closest and most direct competitor from Xiaomi – Mi Smart Band 4. Due to this, the Honor bracelet will look good even on a thin wrist. Convenience is also good: the bracelet does not cling to foreign objects and gets along well with clothes with long sleeves. The mass of only 22.7 g; it’s very comfy, even if you don’t remove it 24/7.
On the front of the module is a screen and a touch button below it in the form of a silver ring. At the ends on the left and right there are small grooves, thanks to which the tracker is attached to the charging cradle. Above and below are strap mounts. At the back there are markings and inscriptions, a slightly protruding window with sensors and a pair of contacts for charging.
The module is water resistant up to 50 meters (or 5 ATM). No problems when washing hands, in the shower or pool.
I have the black model. More precisely, it is black in all variants, only standard straps may differ. You can also find dark blue, green and pink ones.
The strap is made of soft pleasant rubber, on the outside there is a pattern in the form of diagonal lines. The interior is less rough. The material is pleasant, I have absolutely no skin irritation or other discomfort.
The strap, as you might have guessed, is removable. It looks like a classic watch, because it consists of two parts. There is a plastic clasp and a strap holder, which is additionally attached to the holes on it. The strap is attached to the module using small removable clips. The mount feels reliable.
Honor Band 5 Display
The fitness bracelet is equipped with a small 0.95-inch touch screen with a resolution of 240 × 120 pixels and AMOLED matrix. While deactivated, it is practically invisible, but if you look at an angle, it is noticeable that it is somewhat small. However, it is exactly the same as in Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4. So no problem, it’s a matter of habit.
In general, the screen is decent. Contrasty and rich, and most importantly bright. Even on a bright sunny day, it remains readable (if you select the desired brightness). Viewing angles are excellent and the contents can be seen from almost any possible angle.
Brightness is adjustable within 5 levels. For normal indoor use or a cloudy day, 2 and 3 levels were enough for me. If it’s sunny on the street, then naturally you need to raise it a little. You can also enable the option to reduce brightness at night – this is useful. The screen will not work like that for a certain period (but the period itself cannot be selected), and after it expires, the brightness will return to the previously set level.
The display can be turned on by raising the wrist or using the touch button below the screen. With the button, everything is clear, but with the gesture there are some nuances. It seemed to me that it works too often, even when it is not required in principle. On the one hand – it’s good, you can always check the time. But on the other hand, it trivially increases the battery consumption.
But I was pleased with the option to deactivate the backlight: I turned my wrist, checked what I needed, turned it back and the display immediately went blank – it’s convenient. In general, by itself it will be highlighted for 5 seconds, which is also enough to read the notification, for example.
Honor Band 5 battery life
What can you expect with a built-in 100 mAh battery? The manufacturer tells us two numbers – 6 and 14 days. The first case involves the use of a bracelet with a measurement of heart rate and sleep tracking. The second means the same, but without the ability to activate the display when lifting.
In practice, the bracelet lasted exactly 6 days for me using Huawei TruSleep smart heart rate and sleep monitoring. Plus, during this period, I, of course, studied the capabilities of the bracelet, and also installed two firmware updates. I guess it can hold out for all 7 days. That is, the declared time is entirely true.
The charger, as mentioned earlier, consists of two elements – a cradle and a cable. This has an advantage, because in fact you can use absolutely any microUSB cable, and not just the bundled one.
But in any case, the good thing is that you do not need to remove the strap to recharge the capsule, unlike Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4. It takes about an hour and a half to fully charge.
Interface and Management
You can control Honor Band 5 using swipes on the display and a button under it. Navigating by points is done by swiping up or down, the “Back” action is performed by swiping to the right. And the button returns from anywhere to the home screen, which has a watchface.
Click on the dial, and a menu opens with information about the active connection to the smartphone, battery level, number of missed notifications and weather with the current temperature and icon. Holding the finger on the dial for a long time opens a list of available skins. There are several pre-installed ones, as well as those that the user has already installed independently from the companion application.
Next in order (it is customizable) is activity. It’s an icon with steps and the percentage of steps taken and the set goal. Click on it, and you get a menu with the steps taken, calories burned, distance traveled, the time of active physical activity and how many times the user trained after a long time.
Then comes the pulse icon. Next is the item with the measurement of oxygen level in the blood (for correct operation, you need to tighten the strap and sit still). Then – the number of hours of your last sleep.
Next we see training. On the current firmware (220.127.116.11) there are 9 different activities: running on the street, running on the treadmill, walking on the street, walking indoors, exercise bike, ellipse, rowing machine, swimming in the pool and free training. When starting any of them, they suggest setting a goal (distance, duration, calories) and alerts about distances covered (every half a kilometer, kilometer, and so on). An ongoing workout indicates following information (depends on the specific action): time, heart rate, distance, workout time, speed, steps per minute, calories. You can pause activity by holding the button for a long time under the screen, and from there also complete it.
The item with messages collects up to the last 10 notifications from smartphone. We have a list with a light bulb icon … and the name of the sender, for example. Unfortunately, application icons are not supported. But this may change in future versions of the software, as was the case with Honor Watch Magic. By clicking on the message, the contents also expand. In the event that you catch a notification at the moment when it arrives, the content is visible immediately. After sweeping to the right after viewing, it will be deleted, and you can clear the entire list by going to the very bottom and pressing the corresponding button.
Notifications correctly display text. Emoji, of course, are not supported. When calling, the caller’s number/name is visible and the call can be dropped.
The More menu contains many options: a timer, a stopwatch, the watchfaces, the phone search function with a loud melody, brightness settings, “do not turn off the screen for 5 minutes”, battery charge and system items (reset, reboot, shutdown, information about device).
The last is music control. At the top there is a volume scale with adjustment buttons on the sides, in the center – the name of the track and the play/pause button, at the very bottom – the next and previous track. Is it convenient? Well, if there is no other option, then yes, you can use it and touches are recognized correctly.
Points themselves can be swapped for faster access. In general, the interface is quite responsive, although a bit thoughtful at times. But I did not see lags.
Setting up and managing the main functions of the Honor Band 5 occurs through the proprietary Huawei Health application. Not so long ago, it was updated – it became “easier”, more visual, and for me – even prettier. A dark theme is supported if it is selected as the main system theme (at least in Android 10). In short – very good. However, if your smartphone is not Huawei/Honor with EMUI, you will have to install another application – Huawei Mobile Services.
There are four main tabs: Health, Exercise, Devices, and Me. The main one contains the main information about all activities. These are steps, pulse, sleep, weight and stress (it does not work everywhere). Clicking on one of the items displays more detailed statistics for a day, week, month or year. Cards can be dragged and hidden.
In the second, you can start training with GPS, but you will need to take a smartphone with you to draw a route, because there is no built-in module in Band 5.
In the third tab, all your devices are collected, right there you can add them and actually manage them. There is an item with recommended settings – in my case, they offer to quickly change the watchface. By clicking on the bracelet, we again see activity data, a menu with downloading and installing downloaded watchfaces (about 50 at the moment).
There are also quick help items where answers to common questions related to Honor Band 5 or the application are collected. There’s even a connection troubleshooting guide that shows how to properly set up smartphones from different manufacturers. It includes Huawei TruSleep, reminders of prolonged inactivity, music playback control. Also, a notification of the disconnection of Bluetooth, activation of the screen by raising the wrist and even rotating the wrist to switch between the items on the bracelet interface.
The heart rate monitoring setting is also located here: it can either be smart (frequency is based on activity) or constant 24/7 (increases battery consumption). Alarms are added, there is a smart one as well, where you can choose the framework for the operation yourself. And the Do Not Disturb function helps to turn off notifications for the whole day, according to the schedule, and even if the device is not on your wrist.
Of course, there is a choice of applications from which notifications can come, but there is no way to make sure that the bracelet does not report a notification when the smartphone screen is on. That’s bad. Next is the weather, sorting tracker menu items and updating the software.
Speaking of updates – there is a clear list of changes and corrections, as well as installation requirements (minimum charge, approximate update time).
In the last tab – everything about your account. Achievements, medals, statistics, synchronisation settings, systems of measures and everything else.
Honor Band 5 is a decent fitness bracelet and a great alternative to Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4 if you use a Huawei or a Honor smartphone. The bracelet offers a comfortable strap and a form factor, a good screen, decent battery life and lots of sports modes. It’s definitely worth taking a closer look.
Where to by Honor Band 5
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