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February 25, 2020

HONOR Band 5: Aesthetic Functionality, down to a Science

Two years ago, HONOR launched the futuristic HONOR Band 3 model, which packed an ahead-of-its-time six-axis motion sensor, alongside a high-precision 24/7 heart rate monitor and sleep tracker that passed a rigorous battery of tests from Harvard Medical School. The HONOR Band 5, retains this treasure trove of functions, while adding another high-level tracker that measures an essential health indicator: blood oxygen level (SpO2). But remarkably, instead of a skyrocketing price to match its soaring functionality, the HONOR Band 5 sells for 189 RMB/26.87 USD1, which is even more affordable than its two predecessors (199 RMB/28.29 USD).

I'm a hardcore HONOR fan, who closely follows every new product release, having bought the HONOR Band 3 and HONOR Band 4, Watch Magic as well as several HONOR phones over the years, so I've got a pretty good background to compare products and observe how they have changed from model to model. My general feeling on the HONOR Band 5: design and feel are second to none; it's exceptionally functional, and even includes customizable band faces, which I'd long hoped for.

HONOR Band 5: Aesthetic Functionality, down to a Science

Scrolling is the basic method for navigating on the band, and there's a touch-control button that returns you to the Home screen. This design removes the need for any physical buttons or openings, forming a highly-cohesive body. The band therefore comes equipped with a water resistance rating of 5 ATM (suitable for swimming and showering), whereas most wearable devices only include 3 ATM water resistance, which does not means that it's waterproof to 3 meters or 30 meters as you'd expect (confusing, I know!), only that it's splash resistant and able to handle hand washing and other similar, occasional brief contact with water. If you're not particularly concerned about water resistance, just imagine having to cover up your band, or take it off, every time that there's heavy rain!

HONOR Band 5: Aesthetic Functionality, down to a Science

Some basic operations: scroll up or down to view the main menu, swipe to the left for the previous screen, and touch the Home button to return to the Home screen. The band can be used to help locate your phone, or as a timer or stopwatch. The display settings are similarly intuitive. Screen brightness is easy to adjust, and there's a handy Always on Display function that you can activate.

Getting started

Download the HUAWEI Health app on your phone, go to the Devices section and add the HONOR Band 5 as your device. It's super easy, and can be accomplished simply by following the onscreen instructions.

HONOR Band 5: Aesthetic Functionality, down to a Science

In the Health app, you can view your detailed health data, exercise records, connected devices, and personal information, to fully leverage all of the band's features.

HONOR Band 5: Aesthetic Functionality, down to a Science

The HONOR Band 5's HD color screen (282 ppi) works hand-in-hand with its impressive selection of band faces. Rather than the dull, unchanging design that you might be resigned to from other wearable devices, you can switch band faces at will, for a fresh new look to greet each new day.

HONOR Band 5: Aesthetic Functionality, down to a Science HONOR Band 5: Aesthetic Functionality, down to a Science

I also appreciate the range of intelligent functions on the band, which are tailored for convenience in everyday life. For instance, if the weather forecast states that it will rain tomorrow, the band notifies me and even reminds me to bring an umbrella.

HONOR Band 5: Aesthetic Functionality, down to a Science

Health and fitness monitor

HONOR wearables have long held the technological high ground with regard to health and fitness functions. The HONOR Band 5 continues this proud legacy by tracking 10 distinct workout modes, offering scientifically-grounded training plans for runners, and personalized, professional-level fitness routines, while tracking a plethora of data including heart rate, workout duration and distance, stride frequency, speed, and calories burned. Below are the ten workout modes that are available on the band:

HONOR Band 5: Aesthetic Functionality, down to a Science

The HONOR Band 5 carries the proprietary "TruSeen" heart rate monitor (the same technology seen in the HONOR Band 4), which is bolstered by an AI-powered heart rate algorithm, for a degree of precision comparable to that on an armband or chest strap monitor. When the system detects that you've fallen asleep at night, it automatically switches to invisible light to continue measuring your heart rate in the most unobtrusive manner possible. Best yet, all of this information is laid out visually in intuitive reports, which are easy to find in the Health app.

HONOR Band 5: Aesthetic Functionality, down to a Science

Blood oxygen level is another crucial, but often overlooked, body fitness indicator. SpO2 measurements are a key addition to the HONOR Band 5, which tells you how well your blood is carrying oxygen and thereby supplying your body's demands for energy. This feature is especially helpful for brain workers (who expend a lot of cognitive energy on a daily basis), elderly people, high-altitude dwellers who are more susceptible to oxygen deprivation, as well as frequent snorers.

HONOR Band 5: Aesthetic Functionality, down to a Science

Battery

While the HONOR Band 5 offers upgraded performance, it doesn't come at the expense of battery life. Thanks to the low-power AMOLED screen, the band can last up to 6 days with sleep and 24/7 heart rate tracking continually enabled, 9 days with just sleep tracking enabled, and 14 days with both functions disabled, but other features running.

HONOR Band 5: Aesthetic Functionality, down to a Science

Final verdict

The HONOR Band 5 inherits the high-level fitness and health monitoring that are characteristic in HONOR wearables, by incorporating a six-axis motion sensor that generates high-precision readings, and from extensive collaboration on sleep and heart rate tracking with renowned medical schools and hospitals. It looks low-key, and feels unassuming on your wrist, but somehow comes jam-packed with the most cutting-edge technology that 2019 science has to offer!

1The price may vary in each market