Top positive review
A band you wont ever regret | DETAILED REVIEW | GUIDE | TIPS | Honor Band 4 vs MI Band 3
27 December 2018
Got the device in hand & it feels awesome. Sturdy build, premium sleek looks, colour screen with glass front & what not. Overall a great band in hand. Got it after lots of shift in b/w Honor Band 4 & MI Band 3. Find comparison towards end of review.
I have tried to cover just everything honor band, to help you decide wisely on its purchase. Inbox, Pros, Cons, Issues, Setup, App, Band, Interface, Gestures, MI band 4 vs Honor Band 4, Battery backup, Notifications etc etc.
1. Smart band
2. Charging dock (black, with micro usb port for cable & pogo pins for band )
3. Micro USB cable (white)
4. Quick Start Guide & warranty booklet
1. Screen 10/10
2. Battery 9/10
3. Performance 9/10
4. Build 9/10
5. Sensors 9/10
6. BT Range 9/10
1. Budget device with solid features inside.
2. Colour high density AMOLED touch screen with 2.5D curved edges glass top. You may apply screenguard on top for extra protection. (gesture detail below)
3. Extra touch button below screen to work as back, home button or to perform specific actions (gesture detail below)
4. Device is responsive with fast touch & good performance overall.
5. Light weight (22.7g only), compact & comfortable to wear. At times you even forget wearing it.
6. Very good visibility in direct sunlight (images attached).
7. Decent battery life, up to 20 days (details below).
8. Water resistant up to 50mtr. Did initial water test by putting it in water tray n no issues were there. (images attached)
9. Easy initial setup & configuration. (details below & images attached)
10. Pretty decent feature set for activity tracker (details below).
11. 24 hours sleep tracking. 00:00 to 23:59. Some bands offer tracking only during night.
12. Fairly accurate heart rate sensor with continuous monitoring feature & alert at set rate.
13. Easy to understand user interface. Not cluttered. (images attached)
14. Auto sync of data to Health app, whenever connected to phone.
15. Compatible with both Android & iOS devices.
16. Idle alert to let you take a break & have a walk.
17. Strap with easy to remove clip lock is highly secure. Use nails via minor gap on one side of clip, to pull it out.
18. Replaceable straps is an add on. Choose your taste. But availability is an issue.
1. No power on button. Power off option is provided in settings, but to power on you need to connect it to charging dock. Not a big deal as its not meant to be switched off.
2. Camera remote shutter & outdoor cycling exclusive to Honor mobiles.
3. Proprietary charging dock with pogo pins. Micro USB would have been better as its handy. But may be water resistance ate it up.
4. Going through message or notification or conversations is an issue. Its interface is very slow & it renders it almost useless (details below)
5. Only 3 watch faces. Hope to get more via updates. UPDATE: New watch face added in fw 22.214.171.124. So 4 now. (image updated)
6. Very small usb cable. Only 7.5 inches long.
7. No dedicated website or store for getting genuine replacements or accessories. Others elsewhere are costly & have quality issues.
8. No inbuilt GPS supposrt
9. No Music control
10. Step counter at times skip steps & realtime update of steps in band is slow. Fixable via update. Rest for short walks of 10-15 steps, it may not count even which is an issue with every tracker (as informed by Honor).
FEATURES AS ACTIVITY TRACKER
1. Regular & detailed 24 hour sleep tracking including REM, deep sleep, light sleep etc.
-This screen has no sub screen & only displays current nights sleep duration
-Need to use app to view rest of sleep data
-Activating tru sleep also includes REM sleep data. Rest if off, only light & deep sleep is recorded.
2. Continuous heart rate monitor with high rate alert or heart rate on demand
-Checked reading with Omron BP monitor. Both had same reading.
-Took around 9.5 secs to display 1st reading while 50-60 secs to display final avg reading
-While in continuous tracking mode, it displays reading immediately
3. Multiple workout types: Walking, running (indoor & outdoor), cycling (indoor & outdoor), swimming (with swim stroke recognition via 6 axis sensor), free training.
-all with targets & reminders in form of time, calories, distance or none & relevant data like calories, distance, heartrate, time duration etc while activated.
-you can pause activity using touch button or end it
-water resistant up to 50mtr, so can easily be wore while swimming
4. Step counter with daily target covered (in %). Opening it, we have steps taken, calories burned, distance covered, time & no of times we got up from chair (daily target is 12).
-Its fairly accurate 2000 steps were counted as 2020.
-Sometimes it counts steps during night, which is wrong. Once i had 49 steps, next night 0.
-It hangs sometimes & watch interface is not updated instantly with step counts. Auto updated after few mins.
5. Idle alert (setting accessible via app). Displays cool animation with figure standing up & doing some body warmup.
6. Detailed analysis, graphs & data etc on mobile app
OTHER FEATURES (accessible via "More" in band or health app)
1. Incoming call notification with caller ID
2. Reject incoming calls
3. Notifications for sms, social apps, events, mails etc. Also you can read messages.
4. Find your phone, which rings synced phone on tap (BT conn needed)
5. Phone camera remote control (exclusive to Honor phones)
6. Informative watch faces along with live analogue clock watch face
7. Raise wrist or tap to light up display
8. Rotate wrist to switch screens
9. Stop watch & timer
10. Weather report (in form of temperature in C or F on watch face)
11. Screen brightness setting & night mode
12. Alarms & reminders on band via app
13. Do not disturb mode for band available via app
14. Low battery mode at 10% & 0% to save battery (Details below)
INITIAL SETUP (screenshot of steps attached)
1. Connect device to charging dock to switch it on
2. It will ask to pair device.
3. Download Huawei health app & click on + sign to display device list
4. Click on Smart band. It may need to connect to servers to download latest device list. Allow it.
5. Select band & click on pair in next screen.
6. Accept pairing request on Band. Tick Mark.
7. Enjoy you device. Its ready to use.
- Touch to go to home screen
- Touch to wake band
- Touch or touch & hold to perform on screen actions like reject call, silent or dismiss alarm, pause or end activity etc
- Swipe top to bottom to scroll downwards
- Swipe bottom to top to scroll upwards
- Swipe left to right on any sub screen to go back
- Swipe mid way left to right in notification screen to scroll through bunched msg/notification (more below)
- Touch & hold on home screen for watch face change
- Raise wrist to wake screen
- Rotate wrist to switch screen (clockwise/anti-clockwise)
NOTIFICATIONS & MESSAGE THREADS
a) Band is able to displays individual & bunched notifications.
b) But interface gets very slow when notification count increases. Delay of up to 2 sec while opening any notification/msg.
c) In short notif/msg viewing is messed up here. Can be fixed in future updates. Till then, its may be a goodbye to this feature.
There is a way to VIEW ALL MESSAGES IN A THREAD, say 4 whatsapp message by same person
-Swipe from midway screen to right to scroll through all msg in converstion one by one (can be done only once)
-Say you get 3 msg from xyz person. In message option in band. We have 4 entry. xyz(4 messages), xyz (3 messages), xyz (2 messages), xyz (1 message)
-Just open 1st one & scroll through all as explained above.
TIP: Be sure to clear off message screen after checking it, as device has limited capacity & gets slower when count increases.
Also in social apps like whatsapp, you need to mark all read, else, unlike sms, with every new msg, all unread msgs will be pushed every time new msg arrives.
HEALTH APP & SYNC TO GOOGLE FIT
▶Health app by Huawei by quite detailed & developers have put in a lot of hardwork in it.
a) In main screen it shows steps & calories with options to get into details of sleep, heart rate, weight record etc
b) Top right corner to access band specific settings & regular steps, calorie, distance data with options to enable/disable True sleep, Idle Reminder, Heart Rate Monitoring, Alarm, DND, Notifications, Weather reports, BT disconnection reminder, Function Customization, Raise wrist to wake screen, Rotate to Switch, Firmware specific settings
c) One usefull feature is to be able to customize sequence of whats displayed in band via Function Customisation.
d) Sleep data provides detailed timely insights into your sleep pattern over day & night, with further bifurcation into deep, REM, light sleep etc.
e) Continuous heart rate monitor records data every 2 sec & you can check it by moving pointer over timeline. Nice way to keep track of your heart over day & night.
▶Google Fit: I had no issues syncing with this app, as was reported by some users. Only 4 steps. Me tab -> Data sharing -> Google fit -> Connect
-It records everything from Huawei health app & displays it as per its interface without any issue.
There are various parameters affecting battery viz BT, Heart rate monitor, Tru sleep, Screen on time etc. Each having its own impact wrt on/off. So backup can vary by large means depending on usage pattern.
▶CHARGING TIME (0 to 100%)
(Battery Capacity: 100 mah, After 0% battery drained till auto off before charging)
5W or 10 W charger or Laptop USB port : 1 hour 45 min (same time, thats weird, checked 2 times)
▶COMPANY CLAIMS (Backup)
I) Scientific/Tru sleep off: 14 days
II) Scientific/Tru sleep on: 6 days
▶REAL WORLD USAGE (Backup)
- Used till auto off
- Bt only used once/twice to sync data
- Daily workout of 20-30 mins
i) Tru Sleep & Heart rate monitor off: 19 days 17 hours 50 min
- After 0 battery indicator, it worked with full functionality for ~30 hours till auto off
ii) Tru Sleep on & Heart rate monitor off: 10 days 10 hours 27 mins
- After 0 battery indicator, it worked with full functionality for ~13 hours till auto off
iii) Tru Sleep off & Heart rate monitor on: 4 days 3 hours 45 min
- After 0 battery indicator, it worked with full functionality for ~5 hours till auto off
iv) Tru sleep & Cont. heart rate monitor on: 3 days 1 hour 35 min
- After 0 battery indicator, it worked with full functionality for ~2 hours till auto off
GENERAL INSIGHTS & TIPS
a) With everything off, as in you are using it as a watch & step counter. Though this defies its sole purpose, but you get super max battery life.
b) Switch off "Raise wrist to wake screen" to save battery. As it will light up screen unnecessarily evey time, even when you don't desire to look at.
LOW BATTERY MODE (triggered at 0%)
1. Default watch face is only displayed every time you wake it or low battery indicator. Any access to band interface is disabled until till its charged.
2. Band keeps on recording things as per settings, be it heart rate, sleep etc.
3. Access via Health app is as usual. You can disable heart rate & tru sleep to extend battery life further.
a) BT Pairing is as easy as 1,2,3
b) Range is quite good. It worked properly for up to 40-50 ft with a wall in b/w.
c) Once out of range it disconnects & bands BT goes to standby
d) Auto connect wont occur unless you unlock your phone & app is having sufficient priveleges to run in background.
d) Health app needs to be running in order for BT connection to work. If cleared of recents, it will close connection.
e) I had no issues like frequent disconnections or any other related one, as reported by some users.
Since device is newly launched, team is working a lot to provide regular updates.
So far, firmware versions 126.96.36.199, 188.8.131.52, 184.108.40.206, 220.127.116.11, 18.104.22.168 were relased.
Update is generally in range of 3-5mb. First its downloaded in app, then sent to band. (screenshot attached)
It takes around 15 min to transfer file from health app to band via BT and another 3-4 minutes for device to upgrade fw.
HONOR BAND 4 VS MI BAND 3 DEBATE
See i don't have mi band 3 right now, but it was in my purchase list along with Honor band. So here you will find the reasons why i did go for Honor Band 4, despite of being MI fan. This will help you to decide on which one to go for.
▶ Departments where Honor Band 4 is better:
1. Sunlight or outdoor performance of Honor Band 4 is far far better than MI band 3 (MOST IMP)
2. Colour display of Honor Band, which looks cool & UI thus looks easy to use & understand, while MI band has greyscale display.
3. Higher resolution display at 240x120px. So reading out things is easy. MI Band has low resolution 128x80px.
4. Heart rate sensor of Honor is much faster than MI band.
5. Honor band is rich in features. MI band misses out a lot of things like several workout out modes in Honor while few in MI. Proper sleep tracking, day time sleep tracking, live watch face, brightness setting unavailable in MI Band.
6. Honor looks better with slim look profile.
7. Screen of MI band is curved on all sides & projected. So more prone to scratches & applying screen guard on it is another typical job.
8. Battery issue in MI band as reported by many users, that not getting proper backup & got replacements
9. Camera remote feature in Honor Band (though only for Honor mobiles)
10. Supporting health app of Honor Band is feature rich & detailed compared to MI fit app.
11. Strap design is better here. Secure lock pins hold both strap in place, unlike in MI Band, where its a single piece & main module is snap fit. So there are chances to lose it, as reported by some users who lost it without any hint while strap was on hand.
12. UI of Band is also feature rich with proper in band settings
13. Theres 24 hour sleep tracking with REM sleep & breathing data also available. These 3 are unavailable in MI Band.
▶ Departments where MI Band 3 is better:
1. Comparatively soft & comfortable band strap
2. Better spare strap availability due to MI's own store.
3. Better battery backup due to grayscale display, unlike colour in Honor Band.
4. No any features that are MI phone specific. Seriously Honor should take up this point & make all its features universal in future updates.
For now Honor band looks well, performs well & is best buck for the price bracket. Its a nice & beautiful device with color AMOLED screen. Company has put in lot of efforts to deliver good device & companion app. Some hiccups can be easily rectified by company via updates. You wont regret buying it.
To be honest the departments where Honor band 4 excels or is better compared to similar bands cant be ignored & are worth the extra money invested.
▶ If your budget is low & can ignore things discussed above, go for MI band 3. It best in class device in its price bracket. Remember you cant get everything in 2k range.
▶ But if you can extend your budget by few hundreds, then definitely go for Honor Band 4 without any second thought.
▶ If you are looking for serious activity tracking, then extend your budget further by 1000's. Remember these are budget devices & expect similar features & performance. Dont expect wonders & get disappointed to rate them low.