Xiaomi’s Mi Band series is the top dog when you’re talking about budget fitness trackers. But don’t count out Huawei sub-brand Honor, whose Honor Band 5 is set to do battle with their bang-for-the-buck rival. Does the Honor Band 5 pack enough value in its small body to unseat Xiaomi’s stranglehold on the budget fitness tracker market?
The first thing you’ll notice on the Honor Band 5’s is the rather large 0.95-inch AMOLED touchscreen display. Right off the bat, colors are vibrant on the Honor Band 5, and the display itself is legible even when viewing it under direct sunlight. You can change the watch face of the Honor Band 5 directly through the UI of the tracker, or through Huawei’s Health App.
Aside from the touchscreen display, navigation is done through a capacitive button right below it.
The Honor Band 5’s standout feature is its built-in blood oxygen sensor—a feature that’s usually seen on more expensive wearables, and not on a sub-Php 2k fitness tracker. Monitoring blood oxygen levels is important especially for those who engage in intense physical activities like hiking and long-distance running.
I compared the Honor Band 5’s blood oxygen readings with a pulse oximeter to check the former’s accuracy. While the Honor Band 5 takes several seconds to get my blood oxygen levels, the results are close to what I got with the pulse oximeter—not bad for a budget fitness tracker that has multiple functions.
Aside from the usual fitness tracker features (workout monitoring, heart rate monitoring, and sleep monitoring, among other things), the Honor Band 5 also gives you weather updates, control over your phone’s music player, and functions as a remote camera shutter (the latter being an exclusive feature for EMUI phones). The music player control is particularly useful especially if you use true wireless earbuds—oftentimes, these types of Bluetooth earphones do not offer controls to change tracks or control playback volume.
Aside from those novel features, the Honor Band 5’s sleep tracking features Huawei’s TruSleep, which gives a full breakdown of your sleep, along with tips on how you can get better rest when turning in at night.
While Honor advertises the Honor Band 5 with 14-day battery life, their battery endurance claim don’t factor in the user keeping all of the features on. Based on my time with the Honor Band 5, I activated all of its features (that includes Huawei’s TruSleep sleep monitoring, continuous heart rate monitoring, music playback control, continuous weather reports, continuous notification reminders, and raise to wake) which gave me less than the advertised two-week battery life. I only got six days of continuous use before I had to charge it—which isn’t bad considering that the Honor Band 5’s AMOLED display consumes more power than typical OLED displays used in most fitness trackers.
With its official SRP of Php 1,699, the Honor Band 5 offers better value for money than Xiaomi’s budget offering with its more streamlined Huawei Health app, slow-but-accurate blood oxygen sensor, and a bright and vibrant display. Making the Honor Band 5 an even better purchase is that Honor continues to improve the fitness tracker’s overall functionality through seeding out updates (I have received at least three as of this writing).
With what it has to offer, it is safe to say that the Honor Band 5 is the new top dog for budget fitness trackers.