Last year Huawei skipped the release of the 5th version of its fitness tracker, but this year the company decided to return to it. Not that the Huawei Band 6 has become a unique device – technically, this is the same Honor Band 6, which Dmitry Koval spoke about in detail in the review, except for the missing Honor logo. Basically, it’s the Huawei Watch Fit, just simpler. But comparisons are good and all, but let’s take a closer look.
Full specifications of the Huawei Band 6
- Display: 1.47”, AMOLED, touch, 194×368 pixels, 282 ppi
- Sensors: accelerometer, optical heart rate monitor, gyroscope
- Wireless interfaces: Bluetooth 5.0
- Compatibility: Android 6.0, iOS 9.1 and above
- Battery: 180mAh
- Moisture Resistance Level: Water Resistant (5 ATM)
- Body material: polymer
- Band: silicone, plastic (buckle)
- Weight: 18 g (without the band)
- Dimensions: 43.0 x 25.4 x 11.0mm
The Huawei Band 6 costs about the same as the Honor Band 6, about $55-$60. At the time of writing this review many retailers offer it at a discount, and it costs little more than $50. You will be able to save a little if you order on AliExpress where the tracker in the basic configuration will cost you about $49.
What’s in the box
The Huawei Band 6 is packed in a small cardboard box. Inside is a tracker, a USB-A cable on one end and a watch charging cradle on the other, and a user manual.
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Design, materials and ergonomics
The Huawei Band 6, in addition to being a copy of the Honor Band 6, largely repeats the design of last year’s Huawei Watch Fit. But the screen is slightly smaller: 1.47″ versus 1.64″. Due to the narrower and elongated case, the Band 6 from Huawei looks like a hybrid of a watch and a fitness tracker. Although the manufacturer is positioning the Band 6 closer to a smartwatch. But if you look at the market for wearable electronics, you’ll see that today the line between “unpretentious” fitness trackers and “fancy” smartwatches is less and less pronounced. The basic functionality is quite standard. The differences is in the details.
The tracker is available in three colors – black, orange and pink. The latter is what we’re reviewing today. In the Graphite Black version, the case is dark gray, and in the Sakura Pink and Amber Sunrise colors it has a “rose gold” shade.
The body itself is made of plastic, but the matte finish creates the illusion of real metal.
The case has some rounded corners and edges, as well as a function button, which is located on the right side of the device. This gives it some similarities with the Apple Watch as well.
There is a heart rate sensor on the inside of the case, and you can also notice a pair of metal contacts for charging.
The tracker here is made of dense and high-quality silicone, and the buckle is made of plastic. The total length of the strap is just over 20 cm (this does not include the length of the tracker itself). Frequent perforations, which are dotted along almost the entire length of the strap, allow it to be adapted to any wrist diameter. The strap, by the way, is removable, but to remove it, you will have to make some effort. But you don’t have to worry about it falling off during an intense workout.
The tracker offers protection from water according to the 5 ATM standard (which means that you can not only wash your hands with the tracker, but also swim in the pool). The silicone band is very convenient.
If we compare the design of the tracker with the last version, then progress, as they say, is obvious. The Huawei Band 6 looks more solid and modern, with no touch button under the screen, as well as an ambiguous charging connector hidden under the strap. On the one hand, it was an interesting option as it eliminated the need for a charging cable. By removing the band on the Band 4, it was possible to connect the tracker to any USB port. On the other hand, not everyone found this method to be convenient. In any case, removing the tracker from your hand and attaching the charging connector to it without disassembling the strap seems to be a simpler and more convenient solution. And I also liked that, unlike the Honor Band 6, the brand name is not embossed on one of the edges of the case. This, in my opinion, made the design very cheap.
The Huawei Band 6 display
If we talk about the screen, then in two years it has become much better. First, the screen dimensions have changed – in the Band 4 it was 0.96″, and now it is 1.47″. The display became one and a half times larger. And, secondly, in the fight between AMOLED versus the outdated TFT there’s a clear winner. The display resolution of the Huawei Band 6 is 194×368 pixels, and the density is 282 ppi.
Naturally, the bezels around the screen have not gone anywhere and are still not particularly elegant. But, comparing with the previous model… night and day
Despite the fact that the Huawei Band 6 uses an AMOLED display, the Always-On function is not available. Probably, it was deliberately decided not to implement it, so that the difference with the more expensive Huawei Watch Fit was more noticeable. Since in sleep mode normal touching is not perceived by the display, the screen wakes up in two ways – when you raise your hand or when you press a mechanical button. With the button, in principle, everything is clear, but the sensitivity of the gyroscope is quite high, which sometimes leads to the awakening of the screen by a random movement of the hand. In my opinion, it is better this way than the other way around, when you want to activate the display, and gestures just don’t work. And there are such models on the market.
The brightness of the screen can be adjusted directly on the tracker itself. There are 5 modes to choose from. In addition to brightness, you can set the time for activating the sleep mode (from 10 to 20 seconds), as well as set the screen time (from 5 to 20 minutes).
As an intermediate result, I will say that the screen of the Huawei Band 6 is very pleasant. It is convenient to work with it, the picture is clear and contrasting, all information is perceived perfectly. You can read messages just fine, it’s a pity that you can’t answer, either with prepared answer options, or even just with emojis. Speaking of emojis and stickers, they can’t be displayed on the Band 6 screen.
The Huawei Band 6 features
The main functionality of Huawei Band 6 is represented by a classic set: pedometer, heart rate monitor (TruSeen), display of notifications, sleep monitoring (TruSleep) and different training modes. You can view the last 10 messages, but you cannot interact with them, except clearing the list on the tracker. The function of measuring the level of oxygen in the blood is also provided. But you should not count on the high accuracy of the data obtained – the manufacturer claims that the figures obtained are not diagnostic and should not be used for medical purposes.
Among other things, there is a weather widget, a timer, a stopwatch, a phone search function, an alarm clock and the ability to set a PIN code on the tracker. Also, the Band 6 measures the level of stress, helps you to perform simple breathing exercises, can conditionally work as a flashlight or a backlight (the screen is filled with white) and allows you to control music playback on your smartphone. And if you have a smartphone based on EMUI version 8.1 or higher, then you will also have access to camera shutter control.
There are 10 types of workouts available on the tracker itself, including cycling and swimming in the pool. GPS is missing in the model, so if your training takes place mainly on the street and you need more information, you should take your smartphone with you.
The UI and controls
In the Honor Band 6 review, Dmitry Koval described in great detail the UI and interaction with the device using gestures, so I will not go into all the nuances and repeat myself. I will only add that the overall impression of working with Huawei Band 6 is positive, the interface is clear and logical, it is pleasant to work with it.
I was pleased with the fact that a lot of watch faces are available (you can install additional ones through the app). Some of the watch faces have several colors, which sometimes comes in handy.
I liked that the tracker provides settings that allow you to adapt the UI for yourself. Some things, of course, will have to be configured through Huawei Health, but you can remove, add or swap widgets right on the tracker, without having to go into the app.
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Huawei Health app
Both Huawei and Honor devices work with the Huawei Health app. It connects smart watches, fitness trackers, smart scales and heart rate monitors – such gadgets can be found in the list of supported devices. And a lot has already been said about Huawei Health, so let’s go over it briefly.
Huawei Health can be installed on both iOS and Android, and if you have a Huawei or Honor smartphone, then most likely it is already installed by default.
The application has 4 tabs:
- Health is for basic statistics: heart rate, stress level, blood oxygen saturation level, sleep quality, as well as training records, weight and women’s cycle data.
- Exercise is for outdoor workouts, there are also various recommendations and workouts available for beginner athletes.
- Devices is where you can manage connected devices, and in this tab you can also find and install additional watch faces.
- Me contains the basic settings for working with both the tracker and your account; here you can view your data in a single table, generate a monthly or weekly report on physical activity and the state of the body as a whole, set the heart rate limits, choose from which apps the notifications will arrive, etc.
Thanks to the feature-rich app, the Band 6 can become not only a tool to accept incoming calls and notifications or control music, but also an assistant or, if you prefer, a motivator for training and improving your physical condition. In any case, it has many uses.
With a 180 mAh battery, with moderate use, the Huawei Band 6 should theoretically last up to 14 days on a single charge. During testing, I had about the same result. With the constant monitoring of heart rate and stress level turned off, with an average level of screen brightness and periodic access to the tracker throughout the day, I consumed about 8% of the charge per day, which, when recalculated, results in 12-13 days of battery life. Naturally, the higher the load on the tracker (especially a constantly working heart rate monitor), the faster the charge will be consumed.
The tracker is charged using a connector, which, with a slight movement of the hand, is fixed with magnets to the charging contacts located on the inside of the device. The charging process is quite fast – in 5 minutes the charge level increased by 14%, and it takes about 40 minutes to charge the tracker from half to 100%.
If we compare the Huawei Band 6 with the 4th generation of the tracker, then this is a clear victory. Especially considering its price. The fitness tracker looks classier and has significantly expanded its functionality. If we draw a parallel with the more advanced Watch Fit, then the Band 6, of course, has no GPS, flash memory for free use (Watch Fit provides 4 GB) and Always-On, but it will cost half the price. There is no reason to compare it with a similar tracker from Honor – they are identical.
And if we move away from comparisons, then the Huawei Band 6 is an excellent model of either a fitness tracker or a smart watch with an up-to-date set of functions and stylish design that goes with any outfit. You get a really good and informative display, good battery, a convenient app and a wide range of settings on the tracker itself, a myriad of watch faces, the ability to control music and, of course, the blood oxygen measurement function that is useful today. For its money, this is quite a nice device, inexpensive, beautiful and practical.
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