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Honor Band 5 review: a smartband that's hard to beat

Honor Band 5 review: a smartband that's hard to beat

The Honor Band 5 comes on the market at a competitive price of £30 in the UK. With a design almost identical to the previous generation it does, however, introduce some innovations in terms of features. Discover why the Honor Band has all the cards on the table to grab the title of 'best value for money smartband' in our full review.

Rating

Good

  • Strap adaptable to any wrist
  • Complete package of sports, health and leisure features
  • Intuitive and well-structured app
  • Waterproof up to 50 meters

Bad

  • No integrated GPS
  • Charging via microUSB

Honor Band 5 release date and price

The Honor Band 5 is can be purchased at the recommended price of £29.99 in the UK. At the moment it is not available online in HiHonor's online shop but you can find it on Amazon. Its direct competitor, Xiaomi Mi Band 4, costs a few quid more at £32.99.

 

Winning design doesn't change

Honor does not introduce any design innovations on the new Band 5. It is a simple smartband, designed to immediately monitor physical activity, which already offered a simple but winning design in the previous generation.

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The Honor Band 5 fits any wrist / © AndroidPIT

The smartband is light on the wrist and offers the same strap as the Honor Band 4 in silica gel easily adaptable to any wrist, even the thinnest, and removable by pressing the two dedicated buttons. The strap is available in three different colors: Meteorite Black, Classic Navy Blue and Dahlia Pink.

The Honor Band 5 is lightweight and offers a silica gel strap that can be easily adapted to any wrist

The main feature of the Honor Band 5 is the 0.95-inch rectangular AMOLED color screen with a resolution of 120x240 pixels (282ppi) and 2.5D curved glass. The circular button at the bottom, just like the previous generation, allows you to navigate through the system. Eight modes are available by default but through the Huawei app, you can download new ones.

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Easy to read AMOLED color display even under the sun / © AndroidPIT

The screen is convincing in terms of color and contrast and is easily readable under sunlight. Also good is its brightness which can be managed from the settings menu via the touchscreen and which offers a high level of maximum brightness. From the menu, you can activate the Low Night Brightness for the night or use the On-screen feature to set it to turn off after five minutes instead of five seconds.

The Honor Band 5 is waterproof up to 5 ATM

Behind the screen there are charging pins and all the sensors that the smartband is equipped with: 6-axis accelerometer, infrared, gyroscope and optical sensor for heart rate. The Honor Band 5 is waterproof up to 5 ATM: you can then use it to swim, in the rain or in the shower without problems.

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Sensors and charging pins are on the back / © AndroidPIT

Don't look for a power button - just attach the smartband to the charger and it'll start. From the wearable menu, under Other > System, you can reset, restart or turn off the system.

An even more complete package of features

With the Honor Band 5 you can monitor your sleep using TruSleep technology, your heart rate using TruSeenTM 3.0 technology and your physical activity. Timers, stopwatches and the smartphone-finding feature remain available. There's no built-in GPS, just like on the Honor Band 4.

By clicking on Training from the menu, you can select an activity from: running outdoors, running indoors, walking outdoors, walking indoors, cycling outdoors, cycling indoors, cross-training, rowing, swimming indoors, free training, etc. To monitor the data you will have to rely on the Huawei Health app through which you will initially synchronize the bracelet to your smartphone.

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The Huawei Health app offers well-structured training programs / © AndroidPIT

The application is a pleasure to use and not only shows a clear overview of the data but, under Exercise, allows you to scroll through the various activities and select recommended workouts that I found well structured. But even this is not new for those who are already familiar with the app and the brand's wearables.

The real novelties are the remote music control and the monitoring of the oxygen saturation in the blood (SpO2)

So is sleep monitoring, which shows hours and minutes of sleep at night, dividing it into deep sleep, light sleep, REM and also providing information about the continuity of deep sleep, number of times you wake up (not always, however, are detected) and the quality of your breathing.

The app also provides some tips to follow to ensure better sleep quality: according to the Honor Band 5 I should go to sleep earlier and improve sleep continuity and, considering the way I wake up in the morning, it's probably right (all because of Netflix!).

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With the Honor Band 5 you can manage music playback from your wrist / © AndroidPIT

The real novelties of this Honor Band 5, however, are mainly two: the remote control of music and the monitoring of blood oxygen saturation (SpO2), both distributed through the OTA update distributed from September 29.

With the Honor Band 5 you can then view on your wrist the songs being played on Spotify, Google Play Music, YouTube, Shazam, and Huawei Music. Pressing on the screen allows you to pause the track being played, move on to the previous or next one and manage the volume. This feature has worked smoothly and is actually comfortable while doing sports or even for those who love to listen to music while in the shower. To take advantage of this feature make sure you have it enabled in the app settings. You'll need Android 5.0 or higher.

The Honor Band 5 offers a complete package of features

When monitoring blood oxygen saturation, Honor thinks about health: normally blood oxygen levels are between 90% and 100%, if values below 89% are recorded, it is advisable to seek medical assistance.

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SpO2 monitoring was introduced with an update / © AndroidPIT

Simply press the dedicated icon to start monitoring and see the values displayed on the screen. Honor would like to specify that SpO2 monitoring should not be considered as a medical tool to diagnose, treat or prevent disorders of any kind but rather as a personal reference.

There's also another gem on the Honor Band 5: by launching the camera on my Huawei P30 Pro, the smartband screen displays a camera icon and by clicking on it you can take a picture with your smartphone. In this case, the smartband turns into a sort of camera remote control. Otherwise, the Honor Band 5 shows notifications on the small screen but don't expect to be able to respond to WhatsApp messages or view images received in chats.

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How to use the Honor Band 5 to take a picture! / © AndroidPIT

Everything in the right place

The first few days I wore the Honor Band 5 on my wrist I was a little disappointed: the navigation in the system through the touchscreen was not as smooth as on the Band 4 and some menu items were not translated properly. Honor has released two software updates since, the last of which seems to have fixed both problems. I can therefore say that the experience on the Band 5 has already been optimized, including translations!

The functionality offered gets straight to the point but it is important to specify how the data of the physical activity are indicative, they are not always precise. The heart rate, on the other hand, seems more accurate. But overall the Honor Band 5 is really a great smartband for the price.

AndroidPIT honor band 5 notifications
You can read WhatsApp notifications but not reply to messages / © AndroidPIT

One week of battery life

The Honor Band 5 offers a 100 mAh battery like its predecessor , I was expected something more. Also in terms of autonomy, I have not found any major news: the Honor Band 5 managed to stay alive on my wrist for a week on average.

To charge it you will need to carry with you the small support base and the microUSB cable

Of course, it all depends as always on how you use the device, physical activity sessions and the number of notifications you receive and, in my case, there are so many. To fully charge it takes about an hour and a half and you'll have to take with you the small support base and the microUSB cable. Hopefully, Honor will introduce USB-C in the next generation to save us one too many cables.

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The Honor Band 5 offers good battery life, but it all depends on your usage / © AndroidPIT

Final verdict

Honor has taken a further step forward with its new smartband that retains the simple and winning design of the previous generation but introduces new practical features such as, among others, music control. With the Band 5, which comes on the market at a price of just thirty pounds, Honor manages to surprise for the excellent value for money that seems to exceed even that traditionally offered by the Xiaomi Mi Band.

So if you're looking for a simple, cheap smartband but one that is well made, accompanied by a well-designed application and equipped with a full package of features, you've just found it!

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