Honor Band 6


honor band 6 in use and on wrist

I find the Band 6 great fun to use, largely easy to live with, comfortable, and more-or-less the perfect size. Many will prefer wearing an Honor Band 6 to a larger, heavier watch such as the Huawei Watch GT 2 or an Apple Watch SE. But, it isn’t without issues.

Pros

  • Great value
  • Excellent screen and interface
  • Good on-screen health metrics
  • Fun to use

Cons

  • Lacks Full GPS
  • Connected GPS is part-broken

Availability

  • UKRRP: £44.99
  • USAunavailable
  • Europeunavailable
  • Canadaunavailable
  • Australiaunavailable

Key Features


  • Long battery lifeThe Honor Band 6 lasts 10-14 days between a charge, meaning it requires far less upkeep than a more expensive smartwatch.

  • Bright OLED screenAn unusually sharp and colouful OLED screen gives the Band 6 a glossy look that was not on offer in fitness trackers this affordable until recently.

  • SpO2 readingsThis band can monitor your blood oxygenation as well as your heart rate. It’s this season’s hot wearable feature.

Introduction

The Honor Band 6 is a cheap fitness tracker that represents a major generational leap over what you could buy at the price before.

The Honor Band 6 doesn’t feature GPS and its implementation of Connected GPS, usually a good replacement for the real deal, is a bit broken. The result is that, unlike most phones, you’ll have to start a fully tracked and mapped workout on your phone, not on the band itself.

Huawei’s Band 6 likely has the same issue, making the Huawei Watch Fit the best upgrade if the Honor Band 6’s issues are a concern. That’s a lovely watch for around £80 – although it may be more than you’re willing to spend.

Despite its shortcomings, however, I believe there’s plenty of room for the Honor Band 6, given how much more it offers over the budget Fitbit and Samsung alternatives.

Honor Band 6 being worn on the wrist

Design and screen

  • Petite fitness band charm with smartwatch gloss
  • Decent tempered-glass screen cover, but otherwise plastic

This review of the Honor Band 6 is likely to be one of the more positive you’ll read, if you’re the kind of person who researches your tech buys a lot. My job is to explain why.

It mostly comes down to the same reason I’ve recommended Huawei and Honor fitness bands and wearables for years. Many of these devices appear to offer a great deal. The Honor Band 6 does, too.

Just look at it. The Honor Band 6 features a lovely OLED screen with slim borders, punchy colours, a high resolution and a tempered-glass surface.
It’s a great example of how affordable fitness bands have developed, and are developing. The Honor Band 6 offers a middle-ground between basic fitness trackers that cost peanuts, and smartwatches. I think it’s a good place to be.

Chinese companies such as Honor, Huawei and Xiaomi are well ahead here. Samsung’s Fit 2 is good, but is more like the last-gen Huawei and Honor bands. The Fitbit Luxe is more than double the price.

Honor Band 6 showing cycle and swim options

You just get more gloss with this Honor, and its 1.4-inch screen keeps it looking more like a fitness band than the larger Honor Watch ES or Huawei Watch Fit. The strap is decent, too. It’s a standard watch-style strap, not the “fold over and under” kind that seems to be popular – I find the latter quite annoying as someone who tends to take their watch on and off quite regularly.

There are limits to Honor’s bargain mining, of course. The Band 6’s body is plastic rather than aluminium, and it misses out on several important features. I’ll cover most of these later, but automatic brightness is one to touch on now. You have to set the brightness here manually, and there’s no easy-access control for this – which seems silly, given there’s a dropdown shortcut menu for features such as Do Not Disturb and Alarms.

I find the watch holds up fine for outdoor runs at its default ‘3 out of 5’ brightness setting, but auto-brightness would really have enhanced this watch, ramping up brightness to the max outdoors, and bringing it back down once you were indoors.

The side of the Honor Band 6

Software

  • Excellent interface makes the Honor Band 6 fun to use
  • Good use of screen space at the price

So, the Honor Band 6 is a good deal because it has a big colour screen? There’s more to it than that.

Honor makes good use of the larger-than-average 1.4-inch screen space because its software is surprisingly similar to that of Honor’s larger, more expensive round watches.

There are two main parts to it. Flick left and right from the clock face and you get to widget screens for features covering your daily activity, heart rate, stress, the weather and music playback. That’s ordinary enough, but the Honor 6 offers neat little graphs of your results for that day.

On the heart rate page, for example, you’ll see a daily graph alongside your current heart rate, your maximum heart rate and your min/max figures for the day. Not a square centimetre is wasted. And I find this encourages me to look at such data more often.

The HRM on the Honor Band 6

Traditionally, you hardly ever look at actual health/fitness stats on a band such as this aside from your step count or during exercise. The Honor Band 6 lets you rely on the phone app less and do more on the actual watch. It feels great as you do so, thanks to smoothly animated transitions and a responsive feel that shows up the clunky Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite.

You can do the same with your workout history. Pretty much everything that’s logged on the watch can be viewed on this screen, from graphs of cadence, pace and heart rate to numerical stats. However, this only applies to workouts you start on the watch – and here we come to the Honor Band 6’s major problem.

Fitness tracking

  • Comes with Connected GPS, but it doesn’t work as expected
  • Upgrade to the Huawei Watch Fit to get Full GPS

The Honor Band 6 includes Connected GPS. If you go out for a run or walk with your phone, the band can take its location data over Bluetooth so you get fairly accurate stats for pace and distance.

However, this link-up simply won’t happen with most Android phones. The Honor Band 6 will tell you it doesn’t have a GPS signal and will revert to using its motion sensors to estimate distance and pace. A shame.

I tried resetting the Honor Band 6, manually installing Huawei Mobile Services from Google Play, altering the Huawei Health app’s location permissions, and installing the version of the Huawei Health companion app from Huawei’s own AppGallery app store. Nothing helped. The only way to get GPS tracking to work with most Android devices is to start the workout from the phone app, not the Band 6.

For the most part, this is fine. I tend to run while listening to Spotify, podcasts or an audiobook anyway, so I always fiddle about on my phone beforehand. But this also means that stats from these workouts end up in the phone app, not in the Workout Records section on the watch.

Fitness tracking on the Honor Band 6

All that good stuff I mentioned before about being able to view your run pace/heart rate/cadence graphs on the Band 6 ends up limited in reality. However, I’m not sure many people will buy this Honor expecting a high-end Garmin-style experience, and once you get going, the Honor Band 6 is mostly a great way to track runs and walks. Plus, if you have a, Honor or Huawei phone then you shouldn’t experience this issue.

At each kilom

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