Honor Band 6 Review: Big and Bold

Honor Band 6 Review Budget Fitness Tracker Band
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If you ask me, the fitness band market is currently undergoing a renaissance. From bigger displays to cramming in as many smartwatch-grade features as possible, fitness bands these days have a lot to offer, on quite frankly a bargain. Here, the Honor Band 6 fits the description quite well and looks like a solid wearable on a budget and I’ll be discussing all about it in this review.

Honor Band 6 Specifications:

  • Body: 43 x 25.4 x 11.45 mm, 18gm (without strap)
  • Strap: Removable silicone straps
  • Display: 1.47″ AMOLED panel, 2.5D curved glass
  • Resolution: 194 x 368 pixels resolution, 283 PPI
  • Control: Touch, swipe, side button
  • Connection: Bluetooth 5.0 (BLE)
  • Compatible with: Android 5.0 and above
  • IP Rating: 5 ATM water-resistance
  • Functions: Alarm, Calories Burned, DND, Heart Rate Monitor, Notifications, Sleep Tracking, Step Counter, Sports Mode (10), Blood Oxygen, Women’s Health
  • Sensors: Acceleration, Gyroscope, Optical heart rate, SpO2
  • Companion App: Huawei Health (Android | iOS)
  • Battery: 180mAh, Up to 14 days endurance
  • Charger: Proprietary Magnetic charger, fast charging support
  • Charging Time: 65 minutes
  • Colors: Meteorite Black, Sandstone Grey, Coral Pink
  • Price in Nepal: N/A (not launched yet)

Honor Band 6 Review:

But before moving forward with the review, I have to mention how similar the Honor Band 6 is to the Huawei Band 6. Both fitness trackers are almost the same although Huawei’s alternative packs more feature while being a little expensive as well.

Design

  • Squarish design with a lightweight body
  • Removable silicone strap, 5 ATM certified

Honor Band 6 - Button

Anyway, let’s start with the design. Compared to the Honor Band 5 from back in 2019, its successor comes in a bigger form factor because of its larger display. Still, the silicone strap isn’t as wide to comply with the dimensions of the watch. Unlike other fitness bands, it still employs a traditional loop-buckle design. The strap also holds sufficient adjustment holes so that it fits every wrist.

And that applies to my hand as well. Honor Band 6 is incredibly lightweight too, weighing just 18 grams discounting the strap. As a result, I’ve had no issue putting it on—and don’t mind having it on when going to sleep either. More importantly, the silicone strap is very comfortable and hasn’t resulted in any skin irritation issues throughout my usage.

With a couple of colorful strap choices to choose from, this fitness tracker can blend as a fashion accessory too—although the Meteorite Black variant that I have with doesn’t necessarily reflect that. Looks classy enough, but that’s about it. Additionally, Honor Band 6 uses the company’s proprietary strap and finding a replacement has been an unfruitful adventure.

Honor Band 6 - Strap

Adding a bit of flair is the home button on the right frame with a nifty red accent. Similarly, there’s an “Honor” branding etched on the opposite side. In terms of ingress protection, this fitness tracker gets 5 ATM certification that promises water resistance in up to 50 meters depth for a maximum of 10 minutes. Complemented by this, the Honor Band 6 can track your swimming sessions as well.

Display

  • 1.47-inches AMOLED panel, 283 PPI
  • 100+ watch faces, 192 x 368 pixels

Like I mentioned earlier, the biggest upgrade from its predecessor can be seen on the display front. Coming from the 0.95-inches screen on the Honor Band 5, this one now boasts a larger 1.47-inches AMOLED panel. And right off the bat, this is one of the best things about this fitness tracker.

Honor Band 6 - Display 1

The spacious screen real-estate means the content gets more room to breath—although Honor’s software implementation leaves me wanting for more. For instance, the band lets you set up to 5 widgets on the home screen and you can choose from options like heart rate, stress monitoring, weather, sleep, activity records, etc. These are accessible with a simple left/right swipe.

Even though you can perfectly view their detail at length by selecting their respective option from the menu, the widgets are unscrollable and only let you see the basic info. Granted these are widgets and they’re doing what they’re supposed to, having to go through a bunch of menus for something that’s possible on the home screen feels like an unnecessary setback.

Moving on. This display packs a 194 by 368 resolution and a 283-pixel density. As a result, the content looks plenty sharp here and I was surprised to see it support Nepali Unicode font as well. Anyhoo, let’s take a look at the screen layout. All the notifications are neatly arranged and can be accessed by swiping up from the bottom. And yeah, these are non-actionable considering it’s a fitness band.

Gets bright enough

Likewise, swiping down gets you to the control center where you can launch settings, turn on DND (Do Not Disturb) mode, and so on. I would’ve preferred these menus to be customizable too but sadly that’s not the case. Outdoor visibility is no problem for the Honor Band 6 either. Plus, the “raise to wake” feature works like a charm.

Honor Band 6 - Display 4

With 5 levels of illumination to choose from, I had no problem operating it under direct sunlight. Having said that, I do wish it supported auto-brightness adjustment. The thing is, I usually set the brightness level to 4 which is perfectly fine for daytime usage. But when I’d hit the bed, its illumination is almost blindingly bright, forcing me to re-adjust the brightness level. Maybe the next iteration sees this upgrade.

Thanks to the slight curves on all four edges, navigating through Honor Band 6 has been pretty easy and I have no complaint regarding the touch response either. Yet, I will say things could’ve looked much better if the company had trimmed the bezels by a bit. Getting to watch faces, Honor says there are over 100 of them to choose from, although I didn’t bother verifying that claim.

Though that’s a big number, I hardly found one that I really liked. For me, most of the available watch dials look too childish or amateurish. A couple of them also allow you to customize what detail is actually displayed on the homescreen.

Companion App

  • Huawei Health (Android/iOS)

Before jumping into the health tracking side of things, I’d like to briefly discuss its companion app. As you may know, Not so long ago, Honor used to be a part of Huawei. However, with the growing restrictions and losses incurred because the company enlisted in the “Entity List”, Huawei had to sell Honor. This was right around the Chinese launch of the Honor Band 6.

Therefore, even though Honor is a separate entity now, this fitness band still relies on Huawei’s technologies for almost everything—including its companion app. To sync it with your smartphone, you’ll have to download the Huawei Health app and log in using or sign up with a Huawei account.

The notification relay is almost instantaneous and switching between watch faces doesn’t take ages either. You can customize different parameters for the Honor Band 6 via the Huawei Health app like de/activating notifications from select apps, customizing dial faces, and turning different attributes on/off.

Health, Fitness Tracking

  • 10 professional workout modes
  • SpO2, heart-level monitoring

Let’s get into the health tracking side of things now. And this is where the superiority of the newer Huawei Band 6 shines. Even though both of them have blood oxygen (SpO2) monitor, a heart rate sensor, an accelerometer, and a gyroscope, the Honor Band 6 lags behind in a couple of instances. First and foremost, it doesn’t support all-day SpO2 monitoring like the Huawei Band 6.

While we know that the accumulated health data from neither of them holds up against a dedicated medical device, I strongly feel like continuous SpO2 monitoring is a valuable feature in this COVID-stricken scenario. Besides this, the Huawei Band 6 also trumps the competition when it comes to total workout modes (96 > 10). Finally, it also embeds the improved TruSleep 2.0 sleep tracking algorithm.

Still and all, I’ve found the Honor Band 6 to be spot on when it comes to monitoring my sleep cycles. Powered by Huawei’s TruSleep algorithm, it can track 4 stages of sleep including deep, light, REM, and awake time. Interestingly, it can even recognize short naps and record them accurately. Nice.

When cross-examining my sleep performance with the recorded data, I’m yet to find any flaws. It also rates your sleep quality between 0 and 100 to give a rough idea about how well you’re sleeping. On top of this, there are 10 workout modes to choose from here. This includes indoor/outdoor walk, run, cycle, pool swim, elliptical, rower, and hula hoop.

Automatic workout detection

More essentially, it can automatically detect 6 workouts—running, walking, rowing, and elliptical machine. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work quite as well as advertised. Throughout my 2 weeks of usage, the Honor Band 6 triggered automatic workout detection only 2 times. And in both instances, I was walking at a brisk pace with the band classifying my heart rate in the aerobic zone.

Additionally, even though I was walking outdoors, it filed one of those detections as an indoor run. In the very same workout, I also encountered a bug when trying to end the workout greeted me with a Polish text out of the blue. So far, I haven’t received a firmware update addressing any of these issues.

Honor Band 6 - Heart Rate Sensor

Moving on, the Honor Band 6 doesn’t have a built-in GPS either so you’ll have to use your phone’s location data to trail your workouts. You can also monitor your steps taken, calories burnt, stress levels, or take breathing exercises here. Plus, it can even notify you of high or low heart rate levels or when you’ve been sitting idly for a considerable amount of time.

In each of the aforementioned workout modes, you can set specific goals and reminders based on factors like heart rate, duration, calories burnt, etc too. Other assorted features of the Honor Band 6 include music playback control, weather reports, Find My Phone, and even payments in the NFC edition. It can also double as a shutter button for your camera but this is restricted to Honor phones running on Magic UI 2.0 or later only.

Battery Life

  • 180mAh, Up to 14 days of battery life
  • Magnetic charger, Fast charging support

At last, it’s time to talk about battery life. Packing a 180mAh cell, the company claims up to 14 days of endurance under typical usage. And up to 10 days under heavy usage. Since the Honor Band 6 was able to maintain a strong connection with my phone thanks to Bluetooth 5.0, I didn’t bother disconnecting it at any time.

Honor Band 6 - Display 2

Therefore, the band was subject to notifications every now and then, and I’d turned on continuous heart rate and stress monitoring as well. With all this, I managed to net out about 9 and a half days’ worth of battery life. I’d say my usage pattern falls under the “heavy” category and I’m pretty impressed with its endurance.

While the Honor Band 5 had a bulky proprietary clip-on charger, its successor gets a minimal magnetic one with two POGO pins. What’s even more impressive is that it charges super fast. I had to charge it up twice during the review period and in both instances, Honor Band 6 went from 0 – 100% in under 50 minutes.

Conclusion

Summing it all up, the Honor Band 6 ups the ante with its bigger display and impressive battery life. Even though the company has some work cut out for it (especially in terms of optimizing the auto workout detection) I believe it’s worth the money. And considering its prime competition, the Mi Band 6, the Honor Band 6 leaves little room for complaint. So if you’re looking for a no-nonsense fitness tracker, this is a worthy option to consider.

  • Watch our video review of the Honor Band 6.

Honor Band 6 Review:

Pros:

  • Lightweight, comfortable design
  • Vibrant, bright AMOLED screen
  • Well-optimized custom UI/UX
  • Accurate sleep monitoring
  • Respectable battery endurance
  • Battery juices up pretty fast

Cons:

  • No continuous SpO2 monitoring
  • Unoptimized auto workout detection
  • Built-in watch faces aren’t that good
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design & Build
Display
Control
Battery
Health, Fitness Tracking
Sleep Monitoring
Companion App
Value for Money