The Honor Band 6 is an affordable fitness tracker from Honor that boasts a large screen and basic smartwatch features. With an SpO2 sensor and stress management tools, it offers more than the bare-bones experience for those looking to improve their health. That said, there are also a number of missteps, bugs, and omissions that prevent this from being a strong contender for fitness aficionados on a budget. Read our full Honor Band 6 review to learn more.
What you need to know about the Honor Band 6
- Honor Band 6: $49/£44/€49
Although Huawei sold Honor in November 2020, the Honor Band 6 positions itself as a “transitional” product, even going so far as to rely on the Huawei Health app as previous models have done.
Thus, not a huge amount has changed since 2019’s Honor Band 5. The biggest improvement over the last-gen tracker is by far the larger screen. This is a significant jump from the previous 0.95 inches to the all-new 1.47 inches. The screen is also curved, AMOLED, and very bright — a standout feature on a budget device such as this.
Otherwise, all the features you would expect are here. It has an optical heart rate sensor, auto activity detection, sleep and step tracking, 5ATM water resistance, and basic smartwatch functionality. However, there’s still no in-built GPS support.
The Honor Band 6 is available to buy now from Amazon in the US, UK, and Europe. It will also be sold via the official HiHonor store from April 2021.
How about that screen?
The Honor Band 6 comes in strong and makes a good first impression. Although the box itself is very basic — betraying the device’s affordable nature — the screen more than makes up for it. The display now takes up 85% of the model’s front, which gives it a very modern aesthetic.
Not only is the screen attractive, but it also has excellent touch responsiveness. This makes navigating the device a breeze and gives the impression of a much more expensive gadget. You can choose between a vast number of watch faces, and I actually really liked a large number of them. They really pop thanks to the vivid color, too, and most will provide steps and calories at a glance.
It’s a shame, then, that your watch may not stay looking so crisp. After just a few days, mine picked up a prominent scratch in the top corner. This was before I’d even done any training. There’s also no auto-brightness, which is a shame, and the glossy screen can cause a bit of glare. Thankfully, the brightness is such that it can generally be viewed in sunlight with no issue.
The watch is otherwise pleasing to the eye if a little unremarkable. There’s a rubber wristband that feels comfortable and a single button on the side that returns you to the home screen/opens up the menu. I keep trying to select options with that button, but that’s on me.
But can it fitness?
As a fitness tracker, the Honor Band 6 lets itself down in some key ways.
First, the activity detection isn’t great. Initially, I thought it wasn’t working at all, but on further inspection, I found that the information appeared in the “steps” section of the app and only as a percentage split between walking, running, and climbing. Don’t expect to go for a walk and see this logged as an activity.
Starting a run from the wrist wasn’t much more successful. For one, the watch continuously reports that it doesn’t have GPS. The only way to get the Honor Band 6 to record your run with GPS is to initiate the run via the app. I can forgive the lack of in-built GPS as this is standard for the price. But this is a huge limitation that undermines one of the key benefits of having a smartwatch. It’s worse, too, seeing as there are only three training profiles to choose from within the app.
I did get in touch with Honor to see if this was something they were aware of. I followed its instructions, but this, unfortunately, didn’t solve the issue when paired with an iOS device. Moreover, they mentioned that GPS tracking wasn’t supported at all on non-Huawei/Honor Android devices. That’s a big drawback, indeed.
The Honor Band 6 has 10 different workout profiles to choose from. These include outdoor and indoor running, outdoor and indoor walking, outdoor and indoor cycling, pool swimming, elliptical, power (which has a picture of a rowing machine), and other.
This is relatively slim pickings. There’s no specific profile for weight training, yoga, aerobics, or anything else someone might conceivably want to measure. For those, you have “other.”
The data offered is fairly standard for a budget fitness tracker. You do get cadence and a breakdown of your heart rate zones, and over time you’ll even get an estimate of VO2 max.
The accuracy is hard to verify as Honor doesn’t provide a means to download the raw HRV data. That means I can’t directly compare results with a more accurate chest-worn monitor. When eyeballing the results compared with a Wahoo Tickr X, they look fairly normal for a budget tracker.
The lack of ability to export HRV data is a mark against the watch in itself. Sure, this feature is also missing on Xiaomi devices and is hardly a concern for most casual users. But with that said, it’s also true that it could be handy for certain users and would cost nothing for Honor to implement. It leaves you questioning why you are being kept from your own data.
I’m not a big fan of the Huawei Health app, at least on iOS. It’s fairly simple, but I wish there were tabs for frequently visited pages like “sleep.” Your mileage may vary, though. It’s certainly clean and simple to navigate!
The Honor Band 6 tracks sleep well and relies on the TrueSleep algorithm found on other Huawei and Honor devices. The Band auto-detects sleep effectively, and the results it produces don’t look too dissimilar to the Oura Ring 2 (which is very good but not perfect, either).
Some data is missing, however, such as resting heart rate. Honor says it offers customized “sleep improving suggestions,” but I’ve not seen anything other than a suggested sleep target.
SpO2 is a nice extra feature to have and can potentially be useful/interesting for tracking overall health. That said, it’s unlikely anyone training at high altitudes wouldn’t spend a little more on a running watch. You have to begin an SpO2 reading manually, and I don’t believe this is factored into sleep tracking (where it could be useful). I’m tempted, therefore, to say that this is unlikely to be truly useful for most users. The Huawei Band 6, on the other hand, offers continuous blood oxygen monitoring. This is likely to be much more useful.
See also: What is SpO2, and why should you care?
Stress tracking also isn’t terribly astute. For example, it says my stress level is “normal” right now. In fact, I’m sitting upstairs working with my headphones off so that I can hear the carpet being fitted in my living room. This is after a month of living with the in-laws due to things going wrong following a burst pipe. Needless to say, I’m stressed, and the Honor Band 6 senses no traces of it.
Finally, the Honor Band 6 also supports cycle tracking for female users.
Smart features and battery life
The smartwatch features are basic but very usable. Essentially, they amount to viewing notifications. But thanks to that large screen, this is a good experience. Notifications came through reliably (more so than some other devices), and the large screen real-estate meant I could view a large amount of text.
Other than that, you do get a find my phone feature, a stopwatch, weather, and a torch.
You’ll be able to enjoy all these features for a long time, too. That’s thanks to an impressive 14-day battery that really does deliver on that promise even with multiple training sessions and 24-hour heart rate monitoring.
Honor Band 6 specs
|Honor Band 6|
Honor Band 6:1.47-inch touchscreen AMOLED
194 x 368 resolution
Honor Band 6:Blood oxygen
Honor Band 6:180mAh
14 days normal use
10 days heavy use
Honor Band 6:Meteorite Black, Sandstone Grey, Coral Pink
Honor Band 6:5ATM
Honor Band 6:18g
Honor Band 6:Bluetooth 5
Honor Band 6:Yes
Value and competition
This might seem like a very negative review, but this must all be taken in the context of price. The Honor Band 6 costs just $49, which is a fraction of the price of many high-end fitness trackers. With that in mind, the Honor Band 6 is a good value fitness tracker.
The closest competition is the Xiaomi Mi Band 6, which is similarly priced and has a 1.56-inch AMOLED display. The feature set between these two devices is near-identical, too.
Otherwise, you might opt to spend a little more and get the Huawei Band 6. This more expensive device looks extremely similar thanks to the same 1.47-inch display but comes with continuous SpO2 monitoring, TruRelax 2.0 pressure monitoring, and 96 different sports modes. There’s also a camera shutter and music playback controls, but still no GPS.
Or, if you want to spend a little less, choose the Honor Band 5 and get most of the same features, albeit on a smaller screen.
Honor Band 6 review: The verdict
The Honor Band 6 gets a lot right and does enough to give Xiaomi cause for concern. That said, it also drops the ball in a few key areas thanks to some bugs and lack of polish. If you’re looking for something that can count your steps, record your route and heart rate during walks, and monitor your sleep, this is an attractive option. If you’re serious about fitness, however, I’d keep looking.