When it comes to budget smartwatches, the top that comes to mind is definitely the Honor Band series. With the latest being the Honor Band 5, there's definitely a lot of questions raised on the latest version other than what's new. But by the looks of it, the biggest question would be; what's different?
Same old looks?
In terms of looks alone, the Honor Band 5 is exactly the same as the Honor Band 4. The biggest difference on the surface is that the Honor Band 5 has an AMOLED display, while the HONOR Band 4 uses OLED. This pretty much means a brighter and more vibrant screen to look at, but everything else remains the same; it still has the bottom button, the same type of strap and even face watches. It's so much the same that you can look for Honor Band 4 straps and it would fit the Honor Band 5 just fine.
Personally, I find the Honor Band 5 stylish and you can tell based on the design that it's all about fitness. The fact that we get an AMOLED screen on a smartwatch with such a price is amazing, and it shows as the colours on the screen pops out and can be seen well enough, though be sure to choose the right face watch as some details may be a bit too small. I am not a big fan of the straps though, but this is a personal preference and I could always look for other options out there. But for a budget smartwatch, the Honor Band 5 still looks good, even if it's exactly the same as the Band 4.
On the bright side, if you haven't owned the Honor Band 4, it's definitely better to get the Honor Band 5 now, especially since it's one of the most affordable in the market. On the other hand if you do own the Honor Band 4, then the only reason you would want to upgrade is for the added features.
There are quite a few added features in the Honor Band 5; this includes new modes such as the Rowing Machine and Elliptical machine, the latter being something I do at home and am grateful to see more of. The new addition means Honor is looking into more gym related exercises rather than just the usual running, jogging or swimming, so now you can depend on the Honor Band 5 to track both indoor and outdoor activities. It's still relatively limited though, so don't expect options like HIIT or strength training to be part of the options.
Another major addition to look out for in the Honor Band 5 includes SpO2 (blood oxygen level) tracking, a feature Honor has added after getting feedback from their users. This latest tracking enables you to monitor your blood oxygen level, and may be irrelevant to casual users (though interesting to take note of) but it will come in useful for athletes who need to monitor their breathing during strenuous exercises, and can even be useful for the elderly as well.
Other than that, you can expect the usual heart rate and sleep tracking. I did not find the heart rate tracking during my workouts impressive, finding it slow and unhelpful. It tends to do a better job tracking when you're still and it defeats the point, and I wasn't too happy with the overall report I got in the end. But sleep wise, it has been the best out there so far. The app breaks down your sleep quality with Deep Sleep, Light Sleep, REM sleep, and Awake periods, and if it notices your sleep quality has dropped, it would give you tips or recommendations on what to do to maintain a better sleep quality.
In terms of steps, I noticed a major problem; the app tends to take your steps independently, even if you don't have the Honor Band 5 on you. This is quite a problem as that means you can cheat on the steps quite a bit or that the number of steps on the app is likely inaccurate. I have noticed the numbers going up during driving or just typing on a keyboard, so it's hard to recommend the Honor Band 5 in that aspect.
Long lasting for days
The Honor Band 5’s 100mAh battery is capable of lasting for about a week, though in my experience when used fully it will last about five days. If not in use as much, I imagine it could last for more than a week though that would defeat the point.
I am really not a fan of the way you have to charge the device though. While on the bright side you don’t have to remove the straps, trying to clasp the charger together with the smartwatch is surprisingly tricky for me. It’s hard to complain about this aspect due to the price, but at the same time you have to be careful when using this as if you put it on incorrectly, it won’t charge at all.
If you have the Honor Band 4, it’s a little hard to recommend the Honor Band 5 seeing as the differences are limited. But if you haven’t owned an Honor Band before, the Honor Band 5 is definitely a good option if you’re looking for an affordable smartwatch.
It may not have a lot of powerful features, it still has enough to make it a worthy consideration as a fitness tracking smartwatch as well as health monitoring.