Honor Band 5 Hands-On: The Cheap Fitness Tracker to Watch

(Image credit: Future)

Honor fans will likely already know about its Band 5 fitness tracker, which was announced in China early in July. It is due to emerge from China into the global market in due course, so we were able to get a brief look at the Band 5 at an Honor briefing as a little preview.

The Band 5 is very light and narrow, especially compared to Honor’s other upcoming wearable, the Watch Magic, which uses the traditional big bezeled form factor. The Band 5’s face, like that of the Band 4 that preceded it, is a narrow portrait-oriented rectangle with a 0.95-inch full color AMOLED display, with multiple options for digital watch faces. While the screen is a tiny 240x120 pixels in resolution, you can still easily read the information it gives you, and the touch display is responsive even with small movements of your finger.

(Image credit: Honor)

Putting on and wearing the Band 5 are both easy and comfortable. The band is made of a soft and flexible silicone, and the long watch face itself is slightly convex so the back fits around your wrist without floating above it. 

This is particularly important since Honor is prepared for you to wear the Band 5 as often as you want, even while you’re sleeping. It’s borrowed TruSleep from parent company Huawei to track your snoozing habits and give you advice on how to improve your time spent resting. In order to not interfere with your sleep, TruSleep wisely makes the watch’s screen dark and dims the infrared monitoring light so you won’t be disturbed.

The other main monitoring function is your heart rate, which again uses a Huawei-developed feature, named TruSeen 3.0. Honor proudly showed off a graph during its presentation which showed that over a 24-hour period, its Band 5 was able to take near-identical readings to a professional-grade heart rate monitor, which used a chest strap instead of a wrist mounted reader. I doubt you’ll find the Band 5 replacing equipment in medical facilities and training centers in the near future, but it’s good for the average user to know that their cardio information is being accurately represented by their fitness band.

Also helping accuracy is the increased number of exercise modes that the Band 5 has over the Band 4. There are multiple kinds of running and cycling you can select from based on if you’re outdoors or indoors on a number of different machines, general training, rowing and more, so hopefully it will monitor your workout honestly and with a lower chance of making mistakes. 

(Image credit: Future)

The Honor Band 5's biggest rival will likely be the Fitbit Inspire, an entry level tracker that more than covers the bases for less than $100. There's also the Huawei Band 3 Pro, which features many of the same technologies. However, the Band 3 starting to look dated a year after release, and we found it didn’t fit that well, something which the Honor Band 5 does excellently as far as I could tell.

We don’t have a release date or release locations outside of China just yet. But the Honor Band 5 is coming soon, and will no doubt provide a high quality fitness tracking experience, and hopefully a good price too knowing Honor. We’ll keep you posted when we learn more.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.