Do you really need a wearable or a fitness tracker? If you are reading this review then you should be asking this question again and again. During a recent interaction, Stephen Bobst, CTO of Teradata, a database and analytics company, said pointing at my Honor Band 4 that people who need these devices the least, are the ones wearing them.
This really struck me since most people wearing wearables in developed nations like the US and Europe are the ones who already take healthcare and medicare seriously. It is also important to note that these people are wearing Fitbits and Apple Watches, which are really expensive. So, the question is not just whether you should buy them but also about whether they will make you fit?
One of the easiest ways to make a wearable affordable is by using an inexpensive display solution like LCD and opting for less sensors than ones found on premium wearables. In that way, Honor Band 4 is both a leader in its class and at the same time, laggard against wearables from Apple and Fitbit.
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Speaking of the display, there are options to choose from three different faces and one of them is an analog watch face. I, however, used the default face for most of the time, since it displayed most of the valuable information. Honor Band 4 users also get to choose between three different brightness levels. The brightest setting of 3 is ideal under direct sunlight while the brightness setting of 2 works in normal daylight.
For most users, setting the brightness level to 1 will do the trick as well and it would also lead to higher battery life. One of the most important things for any wearable is the strap, and in the case of Honor Band 4, it ships with a silicone strap and our review unit came in blue but you can also choose from black or pink. This is probably the biggest letdown of this design. This also means that the charging module is placed underneath the core and you will need to remove the entire wearable to charge the device. The older designs of such wearable devices allowed you to remove just the core and then charge them by directly plugging it into the USB port.
This design, though practically easy to manufacture, also adds a bit of friction in use. Overall, the Honor Band 4 has a vibrant display and is also comfortable to wear for long duration of time. However, some of the design choices may not appeal to all users. This is the most important question before you decide whether to buy the Honor Band 4 or any other wearable.
The Honor Band 4 can track your steps, sleep, heart rate and other physical activities, including your swim stroke. It can be done via your smartphone as well. Most smartphones from Chinese brands do that by default whereas on other phones, you can do so by downloading the Google Fit app.
Software and features
But the wearable adds real value when you use it for tracking other vitals. My two favorite features are continuous heart rate monitoring and real-time sleep monitoring. Let me talk about the sleep monitoring feature first. It is a known fact that sleep deprivation is affecting health of humans more than any other disease. In , eight hours of sleep was the norm and according to Sleep Cycle, 6. It says the national average in India is 6 hours and 20 minutes. This represents drastically low sleep average as the recommended range of sleep for most adults is between 7 and 9 hours.
This is where the Honor Band 4 comes really handy. It tracks your sleep to an extent which can be described as accurate. It perfectly tells you the time at which you went to bed and the time at which you woke up.
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If you enable Huawei TruSleep, a proprietary software feature, then the wearable will classify sleep cycle into deep sleep, light sleep, REM sleep and the time tried falling asleep. It can also tell you the number of times you were awake during the sleep cycle and rate the breathing quality. There is nothing much to read into these data since they are measured using the on-board accelerometer and software algorithms. All of these data have been useful and I have been trying to get more sleep per night than ever before.
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One thing the Honor Band 4 does well, which Xiaomi Mi Band 3 cannot, is track sleep whether it is during the day or at night. It tracks through a hour period starting at hours, and lasts till hours. It misses out on REM sleep and does not offer more data about breathing. It also does not recognize your sleep during the day. The continuous heart rate monitoring is also a great feature on the Honor Band 4.
The thumb rule for such tracking is to wear the band tighter and behind the carpal bone, giving space of a finger. The optical heart rate sensor transmits signal through the LED and the sensor examines the light that bounces back. They rely on photo plethysmography, which says that blood absorbs light and the fluctuation in light can be read as heart rate. Science aside, the sensor is really convenient to measure your heart rate. With continuous monitoring, it breaks down the readings into latest, minimum and maximum.
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Doctors suggest that resting heart rate should be between 60 and beats per minute. A value around 40 beats per minute stands for a healthy heart. Most physicians suggest listening to your heart if you want to know how fit you are. But, the real point is that you have a device that is not only comfortable to use but recommends value with minor inaccuracy, if any.
It also has a mode to track indoor run on a treadmill. Any idea? Thanks in advance, M. XDA Developers was founded by developers, for developers. It is now a valuable resource for people who want to make the most of their mobile devices, from customizing the look and feel to adding new functionality. Are you a developer? Terms of Service.
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