Wearables haven’t become that thriving market that electronic manufacturers may have hoped for, but that isn’t stopping new devices from dropping. This is especially true for those devices that specialize in activity tracking features, as the successful Fitbit company has shown. There are a few manufacturers that have been hot on the heels of Fitbit with compelling alternatives, like Garmin and Samsung. But you may not know that Huawei is also in the arena. They lent us the second iteration of their fitness wristband to take for a spin. This Synopsis sums up what to expect from the Band 2 Pro.
The Band 2 Pro is as an activity tracker wristband should be: non-evasive, simple, ergonomic, and secure. The design won’t turn any heads or win any awards, but these devices are meant more for practicality. The shape and immaculate fit make the Band 2 Pro practically disappear on the wrist. The primarily rubber makeup is perfect for the use-case, and the electronics are shielded behind a plastic, waterproof shell with a nice metallic trim on both sides.
- Well executed design and solid build for
$70($50 on Amazon) wearable
- Excellent fit and comfort
- Efficient P-OLED panel
- Waterproof with strong 5 ATM rating
- Long battery life
- Numerous activity tracking features
- Robust software support and valuable information
- Tiny, non-touch display
- Not most exciting design
- Display not easiest to see outdoors
- Only control is single, one-touch button
- Doesn’t cover a wide spectrum of exercises
What it’s like to use
- The Band 2 Pro’s design is similar to some others of its kind. That said, it’s a great execution. Particularly, we liked that the electronics compartment is slim, ergonomically curved, and lightweight. Despite being plastic, it feels solidly put together. And it’s attachment to the rubber band looks/feels seamless.
- The band clasps with a common prong-through-slot mechanism (which is sometimes not very secure). Huawei thoughtfully made it two-prong for redundancy and more security against the band coming loose. It certainly feels secure and we didn’t have any instances of the band coming off during workouts.
- We’re not a fan of the screen for the most part. It’s smaller than the frame of the surface suggests, recessed significantly (so that view of the edges are cut when you look at it at an angle), and narrow. It also doesn’t have color, but that’s not so critical for wearable that just displays fitness stats. That’s actually a benefit in light of the P-OLED screen, as only pixels for text get lit (the background is black) and that saves battery.
- Another downside of the screen is poor visibility in daylight. For a device meant to be used outside, this is an oversight. And we don’t see a way to increase the brightness.
- Charging is simple. There’s no fancy wireless charging, just plastic bit a micro-USB port that clamps on to wristband via a 2-pin connection to transfer power.
- Not having a touchscreen isn’t as critical as if we were dealing with smartwatch-like capabilities, but it still would’ve been welcomed here. Navigation with the single, one-touch (capacitive) button isn’t efficient. Essentially, you give it a tap to scroll through the fitness tracking options and long-press to enter into them. Scrolling with touch input makes more sense (i.e. Only being able to scrolling in one direction with each touch can be frustrating).
- The Home screen of the device is simple. You’ll see the time, date, battery life, and steps for the day. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to customize the layout.
- If you’re unfamiliar with how this kind of simplistic activity tracker works, the band merely records an activity, then sends the data to the accompanying app for your analysis on the mobile device. It makes sense, because the screen on the wristband is too small to handle that task.
- The following tracking abilities are available in the wristband: Outdoor Run, Outdoor Cycle, Swim, or Indoor Run. Aside from this, the options are: check quick walking stats for the day, measure your BPM, or a module that runs you through a breathing exercise.
- Unfortunately, you can only collect data for these specific exercises listed above. There’s no option to track anything else (i.e. punching bag workout, weight lifting, elliptical, etc.). However, the “Indoor Running” option could possibly be used to cover another activity (if you look at the stats like heart rate and steps instead of pace and speed). You’ll have to think about if this device is worth it for the type of workouts you do.
- Aside from exercising, the Band 2 Pro can additionally be set to record steps throughout the day, heart rate, and sleep details (how long you’re in light sleep, deep sleep, REM sleep each night).
- On the “Pro” model (there is also a vanilla version of the Band 2), there’s GPS tracking. This enables you to be able to visually see distance covered outdoors, but also more accurately captured speed, movement, and distance stats. It’s important to know that it’s not using the GPS on the smartphone, it has it’s own. You can actually leave your smartphone at home and still get the stats. And it works good.
- Kudos to Huawei for going above and beyond when it comes to information in their supporting Health app. You don’t just get different kind of stats and charts but usually very detailed information that explains what you’re looking at, what it means, how it compares, if you need to do better, etc.
- We like how the band reminds you to stretch periodically when you’re inactive – very important in today’s common cubical, sitting-all-day lifestyle.
- When the Band 2 Pro has a connection with the paired mobile device, it also buzzes when a notification comes through (i.e. text messages, incoming calls, emails) and shows a preview. However, an oversight is that you won’t see it if you don’t look right away. The notification preview goes away quickly.
Despite not being from a company that’s really known for fitness devices, the Band 2 Pro is a thought-out activity tracker. It offers a lot for the money and knocks against more established competitors. Namely, the things you won’t necessarily get at this price-point are the stand-alone GPS and heart rate sensor. But it’s clear that Huawei was careful to back that with a solid design, great battery life, robust software support.
But not everything is sunshine and rainbows with the Band 2 Pro. Its tiny display and clunky one-button navigation leaves to be desired. But we honestly can’t complain too much at the
$70 price-point ($50 on Amazon). Huawei had to cut corners somewhere and we’re glad it wasn’t in the function/competence of the device.