Fitness tracking: punching above its price
Being too nasty to the Band 2 Pro seems unfair, though, because what it can do for its price is amazing.
First, it has GPS. Real GPS, it doesn’t just take location data from your phone. It’s not bad either. It locked onto our location in just a few seconds, and while its recorded routes are a little messier than those of a Garmin Forerunner, accuracy really isn’t too bad at all. Most GPS watches cost over S$200. Getting the feature for £60 (S$115) is, well, unusual.
The Huawei Band 2 Pro also has a heart-rate sensor on its back. It takes a few seconds to settle down to an accurate reading of your resting heart rate, but performs perfectly fine. It even did fairly well when monitoring a 5K run with a couple of slower pace intervals.
We’ve seen complaints that the Huawei Band 2 Pro gets its measurement wrong by up to 25bpm under pressure, but with the band tight we were impressed by its accuracy for such a cheap band.
This improvement could also be down to a software update. All of your data ends up in Huawei’s Health app, but as this can share data with Google Fit, UP by Jawbone and MyFitnessPal, you’re not tied forever to Huawei.
Battery life and features: stretching itself thin
This band has ridiculous battery life too. Huawei says it’ll last up to 21 days of general use, and judging by our experience you should be able to get a full week even with some notifications and GPS use.
There are a few other disappointments to the Huawei Band 2 Pro, though. If it lasts this long, why doesn’t it have a proper 24/7 heart rate tracker mode like the Garmin Vivosport? There’s an “automatic” heart rate mode that claims 24-hour monitoring, but still only takes readings every now and then.
Distance tracking when running indoors is also 10-15% off, and the Huawei Band 2 Pro doesn’t (yet) offer a way to alter your stride length to fix this. It makes a profile based on your height and, well, that’s it.
That said, if you’re running in a gym you can always use the distance read of a treadmill to work out how far you’ve really slogged through.
Given the missing parts of the HR and general accelerometer fine-tuning, it’s a little surprising Huawei has put extra effort into sleep tracking. Huawei TruSleep is a team-up with a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, using your REM, deep and light sleep stats to work out a quality score for each night in bed.
Mining the “quality of life” side, there’s a breathing trainer too. It’s not much more than an animation telling you when to breathe in and out, and it makes you breathe quicker than any mindfulness meditation course we’ve tried.
You can use the Huawei Band 2 Pro to wake up as well. It has a fairly powerful vibrate motor for a band and support for multiple alarms in the app. You’ll struggle to find a band from a big brand that does anywhere near as much as this one. We just wish it was more fun to use.
Huawei band 2 Pro verdict
For £60 (S$115), the Huawei Band 2 Pro is almost unbeatable in terms of what it can do. GPS, heart rate tracking, swim-readiness and notifications: you’ll normally pay S$200 more for this.
Huawei needs to work on its wearable interface, though. While it functions and offers the stats any good tracker needs, it’s also clunky and fiddly. This makes the Huawei Band 2 Pro less fun to use and kills the appeal of its smart notifications.
If you want GPS tracking at a rock-bottom price, go ahead. Just don’t expect it to match the Garmin Vivosport, which is a lot easier to use.