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Lifewire / Yoona Wagener
Detailed sleep data
Helpful point-based system to increase activity
Free trial access to various wellness programs
Lack of a visual interface
Fabric band is less wicking when wet
Voice tone feature drains battery quickly
The Amazon Halo Band is a winning accessory for users who want minimal distractions and access to wellness insights that aren’t the standard in competing models.
We purchased the Amazon Halo so our reviewer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
If you’re seeking a fitness tracking wearable that doesn’t keep you glued to a screen or checking in constantly for notifications and updates, the Amazon Halo band could be the minimalist device for you. This screen-less band is slim and visually unobtrusive, but behind the scenes, it quietly evaluates your tone of voice, moments of activity, and sedentary stints, and also offers up sophisticated sleep data meant to empower you to a better night’s sleep. And unlike the biggest names in the wearable fitness game such as Fitbit and Apple, the Halo band also offers 3D body fat imaging for another insight into wellness tracking.
As a dedicated fitness tracker user, I was thrown off by the lack of any sort of interface on the Halo, but my full seven-day experience did serve to help me become more aware of my quality of sleep and general activity levels.
The Halo band doesn’t overwhelm the senses. I tested a small-sized band in silver and appreciated the streamlined bracelet style form factor. The fabric strap, which is a mix of sweat-wicking synthetics, has an athleisure look and feel: sporty but not to the degree that it screams sport watch. Rounding out the minimalist look is one sole button on the side of the sensor unit, which is flanked by an LED indicator and one of two internal microphones. The other mic is located on the back, along with the optical sensor; it's largely undetectable if you manage a close fit.
Slightly less sophisticated, however, is the charging clip. It’s a boxy bar with a hinge that opens to place the device inside. Because it’s so lightweight—venturing on flimsy—I experienced the clip part slipping and snapping closed before I could place the wearable in the charging cradle. This slightly inelegant charging accessory seems a bit at odds with the more polished tracker design.
While the easy-adjusting Velcro strap is a welcome departure from the typical notch-and-clasp closure on most fitness trackers, adjusting the fit or removing the device wasn’t as smooth as I’d expected it to be. The end of the strap is finished with hardware that prevents the strap from coming completely undone from the loop. The band also includes a series of five strong Velcro strips/notches that serve as sizing adjusters. This construction helps prevent accidental drops when taking the band on/off, which is never a bad thing. On the other hand, though, the Velcro strips are so sturdy that they restricted quick adjustments and made removing the band less swift overall.
Even with the sizing flexibility Velcro offers, the Halo isn’t immune to the fit troubles any silicone band presents. While the fabric is soft and comfortable against the skin, I still found it difficult to find the best fit for my small wrist. If I started the day with a tighter adjustment (which was very easy to do with this band), by the end of the day, I had to loosen it to account for temperature and swelling fluctuations.
While the easy-adjusting Velcro strap is a welcome departure from the typical notch-and-clasp closure on most fitness trackers, adjusting the fit or removing the device wasn’t as smooth as I’d expected it to be.
As for water resistance, I didn’t test the 50-meter swimproof rating of the Halo in a pool, but I did shower with the device for three days. Despite the band’s moisture-wicking band material, it remained damp far longer than was comfortable and compared to a fast-drying silicone band. If you’re an avid swimmer or prefer not to remove your wearable while showering, the sport band option will most likely be the more desirable option.
While this streamlined device doesn’t log detailed workout metrics, the Halo has the upper hand when it comes to continuously monitoring movement—and sedentary stints throughout the day. Whether you’re sitting at a desk or venture out for an errand, the Halo will capture that and pretty accurately categorize it. It consistently registered walking and running activities, though the readout wasn’t very accurate for the latter. Truthfully, I don’t get the impression that that’s the point of the Halo.
Instead, the Halo presents all activity data through a convenient point-tracking system. The weekly goal is 150, which converts to 150 minutes of cardiovascular activity, as recommended by the American Heart Association. Periods of movement and exercise count toward this point goal, while periods of non-movement subtract from points earned. It’s a digestible system that offers a new twist on the steps or movement alert functions you’ll find in fitness trackers and smartwatches from Samsung, Garmin, Fitbit, and others. This system was an encouraging reset from those reminders that sometimes feel more annoying than motivating.
The Halo also offers around-the-clock heart rate monitoring and quite detailed sleep tracking analysis and explanations of data tracked. The sleep metrics surpass the high-level data I’ve experienced from devices such as the Fitbit Sense or Samsung Fit2 and helped me feel more attuned to how I was sleeping each night based on my sleep score, disturbances logged, and how long it took me to fall asleep.
But the most buzzed-about wearable technology the Halo offers is voice tone and body fat analysis. While I don’t have constant meetings throughout the day that would have helped with this data, it was interesting to review the Halo band’s observations about tone changes during personal and professional conversations. These “notable moments” are expressed with an emoji that signifies one of four tones ranging from displeased to amused. You can’t drill down further to see which moment the Halo captured, but this tool seems to promote more self-awareness of how you might sound to others more than anything else.
All voice data and images used for the body scan are deletable from the app, though you can also choose to back up body data in the cloud, which Amazon assures is private and well secured.
The body fat scan is based on pictures uploaded to the app—and based on prompts from the app. While it felt invasive and isn’t a feature I’d seek out in a fitness tracker, it worked without issue. Amazon reports that this technology is twice as accurate as smart scales. For the right user who feels comfortable with this kind of data compilation, this feature also offers visualizations of how different body fat percentages would look on your frame and stores your scans for a look at trends over time. All voice data and images used for the body scan are deletable from the app, though you can also choose to back up body data in the cloud, which Amazon assures is private and well secured.
Without a visual display to interact with, the accompanying Halo mobile app is absolutely essential to the user experience. It delivers helpful explanations and guidance that most users want. Compatible with iOS and Android phones, the Halo app makes everything from the initial setup to body scanning and voice tracking straightforward. Sleep data is backed up by explanations as is the activity point tracking system. Automatically tracked workout data is also easily accessible and so is the option to manually upload workout activities (there are 38 to choose from, including an all-encompassing Other category).
Without a visual display to interact with, the accompanying Halo mobile app is absolutely essential to the user experience.
Like Fitbit, the Halo also comes with a free 6-month trial to a Halo membership, which includes various guided wellness programs from the Discover tab of the app. I followed along with various circuit, HIIT, and equipment-free workouts all of which offered some sort of video to follow along with as well as audio instructions. The Halo band would certainly lack the same sort of appeal without access to these programs that are great if you want to sneak in a quick workout, or you’re an avid at-home exerciser who likes to mix things up.
The app makes everything from the initial setup to body scanning and voice tracking straightforward.
Amazon says that with tone tracking enabled, the band should last up to seven days on a single charge. There are two options for tracking tone: one for more accuracy and one to optimize battery life. I chose the latter and found that the band lasted for six days, which comes close to the manufacturer’s claims. I also noticed that by manually muting the mic, the battery drained far less quickly than when I left it on to listen at all times.
While this isn’t the longest-lasting battery, it was rapid to charge at just about 1 hour and 15 minutes. It was also easy to keep track of battery life and avoid inadvertently over-charging the device, thanks to system notifications that popped up on my smartphone when my band battery was low as well as when it was fully charged and ready to go again.
Retailing for just about $100, the Amazon Halo band certainly won’t break the bank for budget-minded shoppers. While the lack of display could be a deterrent, the solid mobile app provides convenient access to the detailed sleep, automatic activity tracking, and specialized tone of voice and body fat analysis the Halo provides.
The WHOOP Strap 3 is another screen-less fitness tracker with a minimalist bent but a bigger buy-in and emphasis on performance. Unlike the Halo, the WHOOP Strap requires a WHOOP membership, which, at the lowest end, costs $30 monthly for a 6-month membership or $180 total (band included). The Halo band comes with a free six-month subscription to Halo app services, then a $3.99 monthly charge, so it’s considerably cheaper—especially since WHOOP recommends replacing their fabric strap every six months as well.
The WHOOP Strap does come with many more strap color and accessory options than the Halo, including custom engraving. Battery life is slightly behind at about five days, but you can access data on a desktop, and there’s a social aspect to the WHOOP platform that the Halo lacks. While both options forego a busy screen for streamlined wrist-based trackers and feature-rich companion apps, the best choice for you will likely come down to whether the athletic performance tracking of the WHOOP appeals over the wellness-tuned Halo.
A futuristic wearable for wellness enthusiasts.
The Amazon Halo isn’t for everyone with its lack of display and additional layers of data tracking to capture tone of voice and body fat percentage. But for the user that wants a little less hardware but more forward-thinking fitness/health tracking, this unique wearable offers a different approach to increasing activity and wellness awareness on a daily basis.
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