Published on December 20th, 2021 | by Mahbub Hasan0
Honor Band 6 review – From a MI users perspective
Honor Band 6, a smartband suffering from an identity crisis. While it is a smartband for sure, it looks more like a traditional rectangular watch although in a small form factor. The watch is around 4.2cm * 2.4cm in size and the screen size is 1.47 inch claimed by Honor. Now, I wanted to buy a smartband but some of the smart bands that are in smartwatch format feels big to me, so I thought I would buy a small amazfit watch, but both Amazfit Bip U and Bip U pro looks darn ugly on my wrist. Those huge chins won’t cut it for me. So I got an Honor Band 6 (it was a gift), and suddenly I discovered a confusing device that doesn’t look like a smartband.
Update: Honor has pushed a firmware update that enabled Continuous spO2 monitoring and 85 workout modes. It is being delivered in batches and there are also small bug-fixes and design fixes here and there.
It is not an understatement that it is a beautiful device, very different from what you would get normally for a smartband. It is still a smartband though, but with a screen that is wider than most other smart bands such as Mi bands or even Honors previous bands. Honor Band 5 and 6 has huge differences specially on the exterior. Honor Band 5, Mi band 5, Mi band 6 all have this tall display and body with thin straps. The Band 6 on the other hand still has thin straps, but the watch body is noticeably wider and the thickness of the watch is low. It is very lightweight and the case seems to be made of metal with a soft coat of micro texture paint.
The strap that comes with Honor Band 6 feels more like Polyurethane than Silicon and it hurts if you tight it on your wrist. Some people can get rashes from the strap as I have seen in several discussion groups. But, if you are not allergic to it, it is fairly comfortable and fits in for any size of wrist. While there are few first party and lots of third party color options and material options for the strap, the body comes in just one color and that is black. Although the contrast between the strap and body is good. The single button of Honor Band 6 is located on one side and has a red accent and the Honor branding resides on the other side of the band.
While most of the features are great, some of the stuff written in the official posters are a bunch of balognis. Let me explain.
The 14 days long battery life is an absurd claim and no matter how hard you try, you cannot use this band for more than 10 days with normal usage unless you disconnect your phone and use the smartband exclusively. This is a smartband, so it is not that “smart” without a phone attached to it and the real battery life for this device would be around 5 – 10 days depending on how many features you use and how often. The battery capacity is 180mah.
Charging speed is good. It takes around an hour to fully recharge and the charging animation does let you use the watch normally when charging unlike some other watches and bands. The charger is connected magnetically and the bond is quite strong. The watch advises you to clean the contact pins before charging, but in my case, my band is always clean, even after wearing it for weeks. The cable is long enough, but not that strong.
Now for the features that give the Honor Band 6 its value. The display is big and wide compared to most of the other bands, so more information fits on the display of Honor Band 6, and the notifications contain more texts. The display is sharp and moderate in color reproduction which translates to excellent viewing experience for a smartband.
Now, it does not support emojis and you have to install a separate application on your phone to fix emoji rendering issues on Honor Band 6. But, with more texts in a single view and a wide display to view more texts side to side is always a plus.
The heart rate monitor stays always on 24 hours and gives you a chart of your heart rate for the day. It is fairly accurate and can alert you of abnormal heart rate. If you walk or run, it will automatically keep track of your heart rate throughout and register warm up or fat burning heart rate data. It also measures your heart rate throughout your workout. Talking of workout, there are 10 different workout modes and you can create custom workouts with time, distance and calorie targets dialed in.
The SPO2 monitor is fairly accurate compared to a dedicated oximeter, quite good for a smart band. It is a bit more accurate than Mi band 6. But, as always these devices are not medically approved and you should only use the readings from Honor Band 6 as references only. A dedicated oximeter with a more accurate SPO2 sensor will give you more accurate readings, but what Honor Band 6 provides is very close. Very impressive nonetheless.
The stress level monitor frequently monitors your stress and shows you a chart containing 24 hours of readings. It works most of the time if you calibrate it properly and you can only trigger manual stress tests from the Health app. Overall it is a very useful feature, at least in my case. It reminds me to relax and have some time for myself if I am working too much or in a stressful situation. It also shows you the amount of time you have experienced different levels of stress, which gives you an idea of your daily stress levels.
The sleep tracker in Honor Band 6 utilizes Huawei Trusleep technology to track sleep more accurately using data from both the smartband and the connected device. In my case, it detected my wake up, deep sleep, light sleep and REM period fairly accurately and it also provided me with suggestions to improve my sleep. The heart rate monitor and stress level monitor stays throughout the sleep cycle and measures important data to analyze the sleep pattern better. It has all the necessary sensors to collect and decorate sleep data accurately without bulky attachments. It is one of the best features of Honor Band 6 and it gets full marks for how nicely it works.
It is also to be noted that Trusleep works better than Mi Band sleep tracking and also amazfit. I do not know much about the accuracy of the Apple Watch, but all I know is that none of the smart bands are 100% accurate when it comes to sleep tracking. You need bulky attachments to measure sleep accurately and these are merely smart bands with small sensors. But, with all these acknowledgements, Honor Band 6 still fairs well in the comparison.
I will say this, I did not like the way of installing watch faces in Honor Band 6. Creating a custom watch face is only limited to one option for regular users. You can use your gallery images and create image slideshows using Huawei health app Watch face option and that is it. The default Gallery watch face lets you add custom images, but won’t let you add any widget except the time. If you want a more custom face, you have to use their Theme Studio which is way complex for a regular user to use (it is hard even for the creators). The store has many free watch faces, but you have to pay if you want the fancier ones. The list is big, so I’ll give it some marks. If you compare the experience to Mi Band 6, you will see that you have few more options + the widget changing option is better in Mi Band 6.
Now, if the vendor denies, users find a way anyhow. You can download a modded version of Huawei health app and upload custom watch faces to your Honor Band 6. I am not sure if the modded application is safe, but it is certainly an older version of the Huawei Health app modified to make it possible to upload custom HWT files. If you want to try it yourself, then check this Telegram link, and please be warned that modified software has unknown properties.
There are several reasons I still want to keep Honor Band 6, but as soon as I find an alternative for the pros of this device, I’m gonna switch on a whim. Because the cons of this worst absolutely kills my mood. A Little stuff I have already told you about in the features section, but those stuff are easily fixable. There are serious issues with Honor Band 6 that cannot be fixed unless Honor really really wants to (but they won’t, cause a new model is always profitable than adding more features to older bands).
First worst aspect of this band is that it does not have support for most non-latin characters along with emojis. You can fix the emoji issue with a third party app but you cannot add more fonts to fix foreign characters not rendering in this smartband. If your notifications contain any characters other than latin, it won’t be shown and your device will lag when you scroll through non-latin notifications. This is terrible and sometimes the device restarts if the notification message is long enough. English notifications are rendered fast and properly however. Non-english notifications aren’t even a thing in Honor Band 6, with no expected change with firmware updates in the future.
Another absolute worst thing about this smarband is that many of the features will not work if you use a non-huawei or Honor device. Remote shutter, period tracking, reminders and event alert and even caller ID and silencing simply won’t work if you use a MI, Samsung or iPhone. These features are locked in and only available for Honor and Huawei phone users. Although you can turn on caller ID with the emoji fix app mentioned early in this article, at least it works for MI phones. And on top, you cannot buy any watch faces if you don’t have the crappy HMS core spyware installed on your phone.
In short, it is a great device if you consider the pricing. I bought it for around 40 USD from a local ecommerce store and it provides so much value for the price. And if you consider the form factor, there aren’t that many smart bands that are this beautiful looking. This looks more like a smartwatch than a smart band. It has an activity monitor, 24 hour heart rate monitor, SPO2 monitor, 24 hour stress level monitor, great sleep tracker and more. Note that, if you’re a MI phone or any phone other than Huawei or Honor user, you won’t get all the listed features for your Honor Band 6. But unless something similar comes out from MI or other brands, I would still recommend Honor Band 6 for this price range.
Thanks a lot for reading my review of Honor Band 6, if you have any opinion regarding this article, please use the comment box. If you want to suggest a fix or add something more to this article, please leave a note in the comment and I will add it to this article with credits. Have a very nice day dear reader.