Huawei Band 6 REVIEW
Huawei Band 6 REVIEW
Blurring the lines between the smartwatch and a fitness tracker, the Band 6 is a canny accessory that almost does it all, writes PAT PILCHER.
Huawei has blurred the lines between the smartwatch and a fitness tracker with the newly launched Band 6. It’s an affordable yet surprisingly capable on-wrist smart doodah that pretty much does it all.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the Band 6 was a rebadged Watch Fit from last year, but there are some crucial differences. For a start, it’s smaller. The Watch Fit has a 1.67-inch screen, whereas the Band 6 has a 1.47-inch AMOLED touchscreen.
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It weighs in at just 18g, and it measures just 43 × 25.4 × 11. 45mm. The upshot of this is that it doesn’t get in the way, and you hardly notice you’re wearing it. It’s also ideal for people with smaller wrists who don’t want to look as if they’ve got a dinner plate stuck to their lower arm. The other key difference is price. The Watch Fit retailed for just shy of $230. The Band 6 is almost half that, coming in at a pocket pleasing $129.
It’s petite, light and runs on the smell of an oily rag, but what else do you get for your money? For a start, there’s a SpO2 sensor that tracks blood oxygen levels in real-time. You also get detailed sleep tracking using the same algorithms that are baked into other Huawei wearables. Its workout chops are also impressive, with a whopping 96 workout profiles, including 11 pro modes.
If you are a sports Billy (or Belinda), chances are that the Band 6 has you covered with the activities it can track, ranging from running all the way through to rope skipping. If swimming is your jam, you’re also good to go as the Band 6 is water-resistant to 50m with a 5ATM rating. Last but by no means least, it’ll also handle notifications from a paired smartphone. The only thing missing is an integrated GPS which means you’ll need to take your phone out on a jog.
The secret sauce to this is the fact that the Band 6 uses Huawei’s Lite OS. It’s the same operating system Huawei use across their entire smartwatch range. That and a large, super vivid AMOLED display blurs the line between fitness tracker and smartwatch. A key takeout here is that the Band 6 offers most of the same features you’ll find in their smartwatches but at a compelling price point.
While there is a tonne of stuff to like, some design compromises had to be made to keep everything as affordable as possible. The Band 6’s body is crafted out of plastic, yet surprisingly doesn’t feel cheap or flimsy. It uses proprietary silicone straps, so heading to the watch shop for a decent strap isn’t possible. While Lite OS gives you a tonne of functionality, there’s little in the way of 3rd party apps or software support.
None of these are show-stoppers. While everyone’s situation is different, most smartwatch owners I’ve chatted with tend to agree. Third-party apps are not something they use a lot. Battery life is king.
Speaking of which, the Band 6 must be related to the Energiser bunny. Wear OS and Apple watches need to be charged daily. The battery life of the Band 6 is typically measured in weeks, not days. However, while Huawei’s blurb says it has a two-week battery life, I found that with heavy use of its many functions, I got close to 10 days. Still, this is nine days more than you’ll get with the competition. Not having to fart about and fumble for a charging cradle at night is something I’d rather have than apps I’m going to hardly use.
Thanks to its rich feature set and gloriously vivid AMOLED touch display, the Band 6 manages to blur the line between a smartwatch and a fitness tracker. Packed with the same features as Huawei’s more costly smartwatch range, the Band 6 offers compelling value for money considering its very reasonable $129 sticker price. With a large display, lots of fitness tracking features, and a battery that just won’t quit, the Band 6 represents superb bang-for-buck value.