Smart bands or fitness trackers, call them what you want, are increasingly popular among fitness enthusiasts, both young and old. Their strong point is a simpler and more discreet design compared to smartwatches, but also a much lower price. I tried the Band 4 from Honor and, I have to admit that finding something better than this on the market is not easy.
- ✓Sports features
- ✓Battery life
- ✕MicroUSB charging
- ✕Poor WhatsApp functionality
Honor Band 4: everything looks better in color
I'm not an athlete, and maybe I can't even consider myself a full-fledged sportswoman. I like sports, especially team ones, and I try to go to the gym twice a week. A smart band is therefore not an accessory that I actually need, but rather an additional device that I find useful to monitor physical activity and sleep.
Last year I was pleasantly impressed by the Honor Band 3 and that's why I decided to wear its successor on my wrist this year. I immediately noticed a major improvement: the color display .
It uses a 0.95-inch OLED panel with a 240x120 pixel resolution. It's very bright and the colors pop. Speaking of brightness, I recommend that you adjust it in the settings if you wear it at night (there is a dedicated mode)!
With a color display it has an advantage over the Xiaomi Mi Band 3
Clearly readable in any situation, even under direct sunlight, the screen of Band 4 is, in my opinion, the advantage that allows it to differentiate itself from the still excellent and cheaper Xiaomi Mi Band 3.
In terms of design, the Band 4 comes with a lightweight plastic bracelet (23 grams), adaptable to any wrist size thanks to the adjustable strap. It's water-resistant to 50 meters deep and can therefore also used for swimming. Then there is the Bluetooth 4.2 LE chip and the dedicated heart rate sensor, both located at the bottom.
Notifications at your fingertips
The navigation offered by the Band 4 is simple and intuitive, even for those who have never used a smart band before. The circular key is the access key and the rest of the touch screen allows you to switch between screens with a simple swipe. Once you've connected the smartwatch to your phone via the dedicated app, Huawei Health, you can get to grips with all the functions that this wearable offers: a step counter, a heart rate monitor, sleep analysis and fitness features.
The Honor Band 4 automatically tracks steps, your heart rate and the hours you sleep each night. From the menu, you can manage notifications about calls and messages, which were always on time, even if I found the interaction not always fluid. And here I'm referring mainly to the notifications for WhatsApp messages shown one after the other and which unfortunately cannot be answered. The positive side is that from the app it is up to you to decide which notifications to have at your fingertips.
The app is accurate and easy to use while WhatsApp notification management should be improved
In addition to managing the brightness of the screen, you can customize the dial and access the functions dedicated to sport from the smart band settings menu. In my opinion, it's the app that makes the difference with the monitoring of physical activity: this one offers accurate and well-structured training plans studied in detail. While running, the screen shows the distance covered, calories burned and heart rate. As is common in this price range, the Band 4 does not integrate GPS and, unfortunately, does not take advantage of the one in your smartphone.
All data collected during physical activity is automatically saved and displayed in the Health app. The sleep monitoring is also shown in a graph with specified phases and possible disturbances. I always find it interesting to have a look even if, as with any other smart band, the data is approximate and sometimes there are no reports of times I have woken up in the middle of the night.
The do not disturb mode and the smart alarm clock are two functions that I found useful. The first, customizable in several ways, allows you not to show calls and messages on the wearable at specific times. The second will make the Honor Band 4 vibrate before the set alarm if you are in the light sleep phase. These are not new features but they are practical. Another cute function helps you find your phone by making it ring, but you will have to be in Bluetooth range.
Good battery life
With active notifications and monitoring of my physical activity twice a week, the Band 4 was able to guarantee me about a week of charge with its 100mAh battery. Too bad for the dedicated charger that forces you to carry a micro USB cable with you but, at least, it attaches securely to the bracelet as opposed to some smartwatches.
Honor did a good job with the Band 4 in my opinion by improving the previous generation and offering users a good OLED color display at a fair price. Of course, the smart band could be better, with the addition of GPS, for example, especially for those who love running or want to manage WhatsApp chars from their wrist.
Overall, however, it does a good job and offers something more than the cheaper Xiaomi Mi Band 3, a nice display. At $36 in the US (via Geekbuying) and £35 in the UK, this comes to market with a lower price tag than all of the Fitbit bracelets and will meet the expectations of casual or moderate sports fanatics.