Honor Band 6 Full In-Depth Review
Of the many smartphone companies that also make wearables, Honor is arguably one of the best – its smartwatches are feature-flush and affordable, and its fitness trackers are great low-cost health and workout devices.
The affordable fitness tracker market is a busy one, with the Honor Band range rivalling the Huawei Band and Xiaomi Mi Smart Band ranges, the Oppo Band, the OnePlus Band, the Samsung Galaxy Fit and more.
Today we are going to go into depth about the Honor Band 6.
Design and build
The biggest change from 2019’s Honor Band 5 is the jump to a much larger 1.47in AMOLED display, which runs almost to the edges of the device. It’s big, bright - and colourful - without making the tracker itself feel too bulky. Plus, the extra screen space makes the whole experience of moving around menus much more enjoyable.
The bigger screen means a move to a case that's 43mm tall. It’s a touch chunky at 11mm thick but weighs a mere 18g.
The body of the tracker is black, with an Honor logo inscribed on one side, and a solitary button on the other. The silicon strap is unfortunately non-removable, with a choice of black, grey, or pink.
The band has a sporty and functional design but is not exactly stylish. There are definitely better-looking trackers out there, but for the most part, you’ll have to pay more to get them – or give up on a few features instead.
With 5 ATM water resistance, you’re also able to wear this in the pool (with swim-tracking supported) or keep it on when you shower (however, this is not recommended as hot water can damage the watch).
At this point it’s worth flagging one thing: this is essentially an identical design to the Huawei Band 6, though that comes in slightly different colours. Honor is a former Huawei subsidiary but was sold by the beleaguered Chinese tech company in 2020. The Honor Band 6 was in the works before the sale though, so bears remarkable similarities to the Huawei device, and it’s worth considering both.
Overall, the Honor Band 6 is light and comfortable enough that it’s no bother to wear this pretty much 24/7, taking advantage of the waterproofing and sleep-tracking so that you only have to take it off to charge it up.
Tracking and heart-rate monitoring
Despite the diminutive price, the Honor Band 6 packs in a pretty comprehensive suite of tracking features.
Besides the standard step count, it will recognise ten types of exercise: running, walking, and cycling (all indoor & outdoor), elliptical, rower, and free training. That’s admittedly fewer than some rivals, especially when you consider that the outdoor cycle tracking only works with iPhones or Honor phones – and not other Android devices.
There’s also the familiar option to enable automatic workout detection. This is often a bit ropey, and the Honor Band 6 is no exception. It’s a good backup option to have, but we would recommend starting workouts manually if you don’t want to miss the first few minutes of tracking half the time.
While you can track outdoor runs, walks, and bike ride routes using an accompanying phone, there's no built-in GPS here. There's also no NFC, so it is not possible to use this for contactless payments.
Elsewhere the tracking is more impressive though. Continuous heart rate monitoring is available, driven by Huawei’s TruSeen 4.0 sensor, and for the most part is fairly accurate, giving results in line with other trackers.
This heart rate information is also used to drive the Band 6’s stress and sleep tracking. The former gives you a score out of 100 at regular intervals throughout the day. Like most stress trackers it can be hit-and-miss – sometimes it seems to capture the highs and lows of our life, while other times, stressful times, the band claims we are calm as can be.
Sleep tracking is also automatic, charting your deep, light, and REM sleep windows throughout the night, and giving you an overall score out of 100 every morning.
In addition to heart rate, you can measure your blood oxygen level (SpO2). This is manually activated, rather than continuous, and reading takes 30 seconds or so.
Finally, menstruation and fertility cycle tracking, are also both available, it supports the period-tracking calendar that allows you to see your upcoming estimated fertile window and compare all your stats in one place, giving you a better overview of your health - sadly this is not available on iOS devices.
The biggest issue with the Honor Band 6 is that it doesn't have a GPS location function, therefore it just isn’t great for tracking your runs. For the uninitiated, ‘connected’ GPS is where a fitness tracker or watch gains its location data from a smartphone it’s paired to via Bluetooth. Low-cost bands tend to use this, instead of having their own GPS. The Honor Band 6 only supports this function with Huawei and Apple iPhones. So, unless you’ve got a phone from Huawei or Apple, we wouldn’t recommend picking up this fitness tracker.
The Honor Band 6 features 10 exercise modes: Outdoor run, Indoor run, Outdoor walk, Indoor walk, Indoor cycle, Pool swim, Elliptical, Rower and ‘Other’. There’s also an Outdoor cycle mode, but as with GPS tracking, this is exclusive to Huawei or Apple users.
If you’re not using this connected GPS, distance tracking on runs can be sometimes inaccurate as it’s based on some other factors, like steps. Tracking that doesn’t use GPS isn’t so bad though. There are steps, cadence, stride, heart rate and pace, which should be useful for many users.
There are a few more modes on the watch too. There’s Sp02 monitoring, which takes about 10 seconds to give you a reading, and female cycle tracking, which charts your menstrual timings and informs you of your fertile window.
Daily Tracking and Steps
For daily activity tracking, you can view progress from watch faces that can display stats and from the daily activity tracking widget. Head to the Activity records menu as well to expand on those stats to see your activity trends over the week. You get a lot of data on the device itself which should help you spend less time in the companion app.
The Honor Band 6 throws out inactivity alerts to keep you moving during the day, and the bigger screen makes it harder to ignore them. Those prompts tell you to move, and quite uniquely, will also remind you to get up and walk after a meal.
When it's time for bed, there is a sleep menu on the Band to see the most recent sleep and nap time tracked with more data found inside of that Huawei Health app. In the app, you can see a breakdown of sleep stages along with a sleep score, which offers some insight into your sleep quality. The insights used alongside sleep scores that tell you about the quality of sleep and why you might have had a good or bad sleep felt useful to have here as well.
In addition to those fitness tracking features, Honor does also offer guided breathing exercises, which have become a bit of a staple for trackers over the last few years. These can be followed on the band and you can adjust the pace of the breathing exercises that last no longer than 3 minutes.
Battery life has always been one of the areas budget trackers excel, and the Honor Band 6 is actually at the upper end of the cohort.
Honor claims a total battery life of up to 14 days, with a 10-day promise for heavier use. After over a month of testing, we would say those estimates are pretty much bang-on: this thing runs and runs, lasting long enough that when you do get a low-battery alert it comes with a faint sense of surprise. “Oh yeah, this thing does need to charge every now and then...”
Charging is arguably even more impressive. The custom charger will plug into any USB-A port and attaches magnetically to the tracker. A full charge takes a little over an hour, but the included fast charge tech means that just ten minutes on charge should net you another three days or so of use – perfect if you only discover at the last minute that it’s running low.
Software and App
The Honor Band 6 runs on Honor’s own custom software, which really means it runs on Huawei’s software. Still, thanks to the larger display this OS is at its best here, with plenty of space on the screen to make every screen comfortable to read and navigate.
The single button is used to access a few quick shortcuts and start workouts, and otherwise, you swipe up to access settings, or across to move between the default watch face and screens including your heart rate and stress scores, the music player, and activity goals.
And while there is a Do Not Disturb option that shuts down alerts and the raise-to-wake, you can manually turn this on every night and off in the morning if you intend to wear the Band in bed for sleep tracking.
There’s not a whole lot of customisability, but there is a selection of watch faces to choose from in varying styles, though only one of the default faces allows any further customisation. If that’s not enough there are hundreds more available through the accompanying app.
The app in question is in fact the Huawei Health app – the biggest giveaway that this was originally designed along with Huawei. Honor hasn’t yet released its own health app, and even if it does it’s not clear if the Band 6 would support it, or continue to use Huawei’s.
In any case, this is a perfectly functional app, if not the most attractive around. The tiled home screen gives you access to all of your health and fitness data, while the Exercise tab gives you a few handy guided run options.
The app can be linked to Google Fit, Apple Health, and MyFitnessPal for data sharing, but that’s it – no other exercise or health apps are supported.
The Honor Band 6 isn’t perfect, but there’s enough here to make it a decent option for anyone looking for an affordable fitness tracker.
You get a range of tracking options, a big screen, and excellent battery life, along with extras like a 5 ATM waterproof rating.
The Honor Band 6 delivers an awful lot for the price and makes it hard to justify spending more.
Buy it if...
You don’t like small screens - Many fitness trackers have tiny screens, and the display on the Honor Band 6 is relatively large in comparison, so it’s a bit easier to see.
You like using your own photos as your watch face - It’s great fun using your own pictures as a watch face, and unlike on many wearables it’s an option here.
You have a Huawei phone or iPhone - You’ll only be able to make the most of the Honor Band 6 if you have a phone from Huawei or Apple, and if you do, you can overlook much of the negativity of this review – but not all of it.
Don't buy it if...
You don’t have a Huawei phone or an iPhone - Do you own a phone from Samsung, Xiaomi, OnePlus, Oppo, Motorola, Realme or even Honor? Without GPS the Honor Band 6 isn’t very good at fitness, so maybe opt for a different model from here.
|Model name||Honor Band 6|
|Screen||1.47" AMOLED Display, resolution 194 x 368|
|Touch||2.5D tempered glass|
|Working time||10-14 days|
|Sensors||Acceleration Sensor, Gyroscope Sensor, Optical Heart Rate Sensor|
|Compatibility||Android 5.0 or iOS 10.0 and above|
|Bluetooth||Stable Bluetooth 5.0|
10 workout modes:
outdoor running, indoor running, outdoor cycling (not available for Android), indoor cycling, outdoor walking, indoor walking, elliptical trainer, pool swimming, rowing machine, freestyle workout
sleep monitoring, heart rate monitoring, all-day heart rate checking, blood oxygen monitoring, women's health/cycle monitoring (not available for iOS), stress monitoring
Customized watch faces, workout auto-detection, call notifications, message notifications, calendar notifications, app notifications, weather forecast, do not disturb mode, music controls (not available on iOS), battery level display, find device and more.
APPEARANCE AND DETAILS
Material: TPU Silica
1 x Honor Band 6
1 x Magnetic charging cable
1 x User manual