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Review of the Honor Band 5 smart band

I get the impression that there is such a general public belief that if someone is to buy an intelligent band, it must necessarily be one of the Mi Bands from Xiaomi. The truth is, however, that there are at least some interesting proposals on the market for smartbands with the logo of other companies, among them Honor Band 5. It has a color screen – exactly the same as Xiaomi Mi Band 4but it costs a little more, 199 PLN. Is it worth getting interested in this model?

A quick glance at the parameters of the Honor Band 5:

  • 0.95 ”2.5D AMOLED screen 240 × 120 pixels, 282 ppi,
  • continuous monitoring of TruSeen 3.0 heartbeat,
  • TruSleep sleep monitoring
  • built-in pulse oximeter
  • water resistance up to 50 meters deep,
  • Bluetooth 4.2 BLE,
  • 100 mAh battery,
  • dimensions: 43 x 17.2 x 11.5 mm,
  • weight: 23 g,
  • Compatibility: smartphones with Android from 4.4 up and iOS from 9.0.

Price at the time of publication: 179 zlotys.

Honor Band 5 visually makes a great impression

Actually, the only complaint I can have towards Honora Band 5 is the fact that its screen is terribly tiny relative to the space on the front panel. Pay attention to how big the button under the display is and how big frames it is surrounded by.

In general, however, Honor Band 5 may be liked – it is simply a nice band, without unnecessary designer additions or protruding elements. The smooth surface of the "pill" (that's what I called the main part of the band, which conceals all the electronics), combined with a rubber band that makes a great impression, is a recipe for a successful wearable device.

The band is fastened like a standard watch, and we have one belt loop at our disposal. The great thing is that there are plenty of holes on the strap, thanks to which the Band 5 fits not only on slim wrists, but also on the more powerful ones. Most importantly, wearing the Honor smart band is very comfortable – you can hardly feel it, and you definitely can't say that she is pregnant on the wrist. It adapts very well to the shape of the wrist, thanks to its characteristic structure.

Comfort is a plus. The reaction to raising your hand to wake up the screen – very fast. Actually, I can't fault it. Unless to myself, because I swore I would never wear a band / watch on my right hand, meanwhile … after getting a tattoo on the left it became completely natural;).

I will add that Honor Band 5 is waterproof – you can swim with it in fresh water (which is also confirmed by the presence of training measuring our activity in the pool).

Plus display

Although it is very small, I must admit that all content displayed on it is legible. You can see that the interface has been adapted for a wearable device – all icons are large, and the text of the right size. Although you can have one caveat here, but probably only more demanding users will notice. Looking at the screen, it is easy to notice the low resolution of the same – but as I say, many people do not even pay attention to it, because the band is viewed from a considerable distance, and then it does not bother at all.

The brightness of the display can be adjusted only from the band settings – you have to click a little bit to get to them. The brightness scale is five levels. And although the manufacturer does not mention the presence of any light sensor in Band 5, I get the impression that it is here. This suggests that the screen dims automatically in the evening and brightens during the day – without my interference in the brightness setting (I still have one line there, i.e. the lowest brightness, and yet I notice a change in brightness depending on the ambient lighting). At night the screen does not shine after the eyes, during the day – it is sufficient, which is due to the use of AMOLED.

An important information for many of you will certainly be the fact that Honor Band 5 does not offer continuous time display – you can only force the clock to blank with a 5-minute delay.

Moving around the system is done by the interaction of the finger and touch screen – moving up or down moves us to the next tab on the screen, and the gesture from left to right on the main screen shows unread notifications. The button below the display is the Home button, which is responsible for returning the user to the main screen, while when we want to go back one screen (e.g. when we go deeper into the settings), just move your finger from the left edge of the band to the right.

The whole works efficiently and without undue delay, although I noticed that the little lag always has the gesture of ejecting pending notifications and switching to their list.

The interface is very simple

… and it takes a while to find it. All because the Band 5 has very few functions that you can navigate from within the band. We have: main screen, number of steps, heart rate meter, saturation measurement, sleep monitoring (actually the duration of the last sleep), exercises (about this later), messages (which can only be read – you can not reply or reply in any way emote), a short list of settings and music control. The music player controller works in the following applications: Shazam, VLC, Google Play Music, YouTube, Tube Go, Spotify, Audify, KKBOX, Blackplayer, Pulsar and Huawei Music.

Most importantly, from our point of view, Honor Band 5 is fully Polish, which means that all diacritical marks are displayed correctly – without any bushes, question marks, etc. Okay, can we personalize the band in any way?

Shields are of course used for this. Longer holding your finger on the main screen takes us to the shield installed on the band, which is … as many as eight. Seriously, not one more. Fortunately, among them I managed to find one that I liked (Energy) – there is a chance that you will also succeed. And if not, you can always go to the Health app and download a shield from it – and there are a total of 64.

I would add a few things here

It's all about the fact that the Honor Band 5 lacks a few things that smartwatches have probably got used to me. However, this does not change the fact that adding several functions to the interface of the wristband is not impossible, and you will certainly agree that what irritates me is not unfounded.

The first important function is the do not disturb mode – it cannot be set directly from the band (only in the application you can define the schedule according to which it should work). The second thing is the alarm clock – and here again – to set it, you need to reach for the phone. I do not understand this the more that in the band settings there is a stopwatch and countdown timer – adding an alarm would not hurt here.

I also don't understand why by silencing an incoming call on the phone (placing it face down or pressing the volume control button), the band continues to vibrate. Another thing is that you cannot mute the call from the band – you can only choose the answer or reject option. But maybe it's just my fad that sometimes I just don't answer calls and I don't like to reject callers?

Huawei Health app – don't move without it

Since I mentioned the application, you should also devote a short or long time to it. Probably longer, because without it there is no way to connect the band to the phone. Speaking of which, Honor Band 5 connects with smartphones based on Android version 4.4 and above and iOS from version iOS 9 and above. I don't know what the difference is in terms of functionality when working with both systems – I was able to test the band in conjunction with two Android Pie smartphones.

It is from the application level that we turn on the sleep monitoring function (Huawei TruSleep), activity reminder, continuous heart rate monitoring, and also set the alarm clock, do not disturb mode (manually or according to the schedule) or choose the applications from which we want to receive notifications. For this we can turn on the reminder option to disconnect Bluetooth, turn on the screen after raising the hand or rotating it.

In the application Health we have access to the history of physical activity, including the number of steps and exercises, graphs of heart rate and sleep separately – divided into individual phases. Everything is given in a friendly and intuitive form.

Activities and exercises

Honor Band 5 will be useful during the following physical activities: running outdoors, running indoors, walking outdoors, walking indoors, stationary cycling, orbitrek, ergonometer and swimming pool. It is this type of exercise that can be turned on directly on the screen of the band. Then we can also define the goal of the workout in the form of distance, duration and calories burned. Directly during the training we have access to such information as: duration, running speed, kcal, pulse, distance traveled, hour.

Unfortunately, the band does not have a built-in GPS module, which means that going to training without a phone ends up with no recorded route traveled – to do this, you need to have a smartphone with you and start training from it. Otherwise, after its completion, we only have access to the data as below:

I do not hide, however, that my activity recently is unfortunately zero, so the only indicator I looked at in recent weeks was the number of steps I took during the tests. And although it is difficult for me to assess to what extent Honor Band 5 counts steps, each time counting up to 100 by passing so many steps, more or less coincided with what I saw on the screen of the band.

From the band level, we can check the level of oxygen saturation. Honor himself, however, notes that this is not a medical device and it is not worth suggesting its indications – and certainly not to diagnose your health. Keep this in mind when using this feature.

Similarly, with heart rate monitoring, although these heart rate monitors in armbands are becoming more and more accurate.

Sleep monitoring is what tigers like the most. Or rather, not just monitoring, but a dream …;) Yes, I am definitely a person who likes to spend long hours in bed and regenerate strength after a long working day. I also know that I often sleep too long, but … why change it? 😉

Sleep monitoring is responsible for the TruSleep system, known from Huawei watches (incl Watch GT2) and previous Huawei and Honor wristbands, so it shouldn't be new to you. This system monitors sleep divided into individual phases: deep and shallow sleep, REM phase and awakening. And he does it very accurately, judging by analyzing individual charts from recent days in confrontation with reality.

Working time?

If you were interested in Honor Band 5 before, you have certainly reached the manufacturer's declaration regarding the working time of the small battery that fits under the band housing. Honor declares that from these 100 mAh you can take up to six days of work with continuous monitoring of pulse and sleep, or up to fourteen days when we disable these functions.

When testing the smart band from Honor I had all the modules turned on, and the pulse monitoring was intelligent (measurement every 10 minutes). I put it on my arm one day at 3pm and wore it continuously for four consecutive days – on the fifth in the morning it signaled that it was time to plug it in and it fell. So I can say that she worked for less than five days (a total of exactly 114 hours). The second cycle was comparable – six days, two without measuring the pulse.

Included with the band is a small charger with a short microUSB cable – the band plugs into the charger as in the pictures below:


Right after the premiere of Mi Banda 4, Xiaomi was hit by underdeveloped and bugged software. Honor did not make this mistake – there are no shortcomings here, especially since the band connects to smartphones using the already proven Health app. For this we have a clasp known from watches, which in my opinion (and not only me, I think), is much more convenient and can be trusted more than a bolt from the band of the said competition.

Added to this is a good-quality and bright AMOLED screen, heart rate monitor, a lot of dials at our disposal, sleep and activity monitoring. You should also remember that the Honor band does not offer a built-in GPS, and the battery life usually closes in about 5 days.

The most important question is whether Honor Band 5 is a good alternative to Xiaomi Mi Band 4? Considering that the latter model costs about PLN 130, which means that Honor is about PLN 50 more expensive than it, the answer seems obvious. However, if someone does not mind the difference in price and is aware of all the pros and cons of Band 5, he will be pleased.

And is it worth buying Huawei Band 4? Tomek will soon answer this question in his review.

What device to wear on the wrist? advise

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