Honor has been in the wearables market for several years and has already launched five generations of smart bands. The latest Honor Band 5 is the logical evolution of Band 4 – on paper, it keeps all the key features, while improving the battery life and adding tracking for more activities. We’ve spent a fair amount of time with the gadget and now we are ready to share our observations.
Just like all cheap smart bands, you get a small wearable with its rubbery band and a proprietary charging adapter. The Honor Band 5 cannot be separated from the strap, unlike the Mi Smart Band 4. When you want to charge the Honor Band, you have to align it precisely, otherwise, it won’t start topping the battery.
At least the box is small and neat, no extra space, no redundant paper or room – just the reading material, the actual Band 5 and the charging accessories – you don’t really need more. The cable is USB-A to microUSB with no fancy charging whatsoever, so you can also use your own cable, if the one in the box is too short for you.
Honor introduced a colored screen back with the Band 4, and now the Band 5 keeps it – it has a 0.95” AMOLED panel with 2.5D curved glass. It is a touchscreen, but you can also use the button below to go to the watchface or to turn it on. Raise-to-wake is also supported if you’d prefer to go that way.
On the bottom there is the basic heart rate tracker that now works all the time, provided you turn on the feature – previous iterations of the Honor Band had no support for constant heart tracking. There are no physical keys on this wearable, but it is bulkier than your usual fitness tracker. However, you probably won’t mind, because it is impressively light – 22.7 grams, which you hardly feel on your wrist.
Features and usability /h3>
One thing Honor has going for it is being under the wing of the parent company. The Band is connected to your Huawei account through the Health app and that’s where you have pretty visualizations of all the data tracked – heart rate, various exercises and steps.
The Band 5 comes with tracking for ten different types of activities, but it’s meant for the average user that likes to have that extra knowledge about his/her body and how it performs. Don’t expect heavy non-stop tracking, there are more professional smartwatches on the market, which come at a substantially higher cost.
Aside from that, the Band 5 works just as every other affordable smart band – shows the notifications, buzzes when you set up an alarm and shows the time when you raise the wrist. The OLED is actually quite bright and the motion detector is working harder than it should, so often you might find yourself with a turned-on screen in a dark room, blinding the person next to you.
There is no setting for the brightness, so prepare for the occasional too bright screen in the middle of the night if you just want to see the time and whether you can sleep for five more minutes.
Honor says the Band 5 should last up to 14 days, but we couldn’t quite replicate it. When you turn off the notifications and allow the gadget only to show you the time or measure your heart rate, then you’ll get about five days.
In order to reach one charge per two weeks, everything needs to be switched off – all the monitors and all the sensors and all the connections. All you are left with is a gadget that needs to be interacted with in order to work, and that’s not what these trackers are about.
In the end, Honor Band 5 has several key features that are worth noting when you are considering the purchase. It is delivering basic fitness tracking; it is stylish and unobtrusive; it is affordable. That’s all you need to know about a device that costs €30 in the 22 markets it’s available (six in Asia Pacific, ten in Europe, six more in the Middle East & Africa).