There’s a lot of curiosity around the Amazon Halo Band, the first activity tracker from the online retail giant, and that interest is only set to grow now that the band is $30 off at Amazon for Prime Day. Throw a quick glance its way and the Halo Band looks like a lot of other trackers; it’s covered in fabric (you can also buy a sport band for $24.99), and comes in a range of sizes and colors.
However, the Amazon Halo Band doesn’t have a display. Now, even basic trackers have some kind of screen, so this is an interesting approach and, while minimalists will appreciate it, not everyone is going to like this design. Still, $69.99 is pretty cheap for a wearable – even the best Amazon Prime Day Fitbit deals will have a tough time trying to rival this price.
But that does that mean you should rush out to buy one? Yes and no, depending on a) whether you’re new to exercise or not, b) what type of fitness metrics you want to track, and c) how you prefer to move your body. Let’s take a closer look at the Amazon Halo Band now…
Amazon Halo Band |
Was $99.99 | Now $69.99 at Amazon
Designed to track your daily activity, workouts, sleep and heart rate, the screenless Halo Band also comes with a six-month Amazon Halo wellness membership for access to workouts and health tools.
What is the Amazon Halo Band?
The Halo Band is a screen-free, swim-proof activity tracker designed to monitor your daily activity, sleep, and a range other metrics - some useful, one odd, and one that has drawn a lot of scrutiny (keep reading). Thanks to the latest early Amazon Prime Day USA deals, it's now on sale for $69.99 (was $99.99).
On a basic level, the Amazon Halo Band measures your physical activity, including how much time you spend being active versus being sedentary. Plus, it aims to measure how long it takes you to fall asleep, how often you wake up, and how much sleep you get each night. The band is also equipped with a tone of voice analysis feature, body composition analysis, and other functions that we'll look at below.
The band can be used in conjunction with Amazon Halo, the retailer’s online fitness program and wellness suite, giving you access to a variety of workouts and health tools. The workouts, created by brands like Orangetheory and Aaptiv, vary in intensity. Halo Membership normally costs $3.99 a month, but if you buy the band you’ll get the first six months for free.
However, once that free subscription has ended you'll have less features to play with unless you continue your subscription. For example, you'll have access to a small suite of Labs (wellness courses), but you won't get the Body Composition or Tone features unless you subscribe. So you'll be left with steps, calories and heart rate tracking, plus some basic sleep tracking.
What does the Amazon Halo Band do?
- Heart rate tracking
- Sleep tracking (with body temperature)
- Calorie tracking
- Steps tracking
- Sedentary time monitoring
- Body composition analysis
- Tone of voice analysis
- Movement / mobility health (not available yet)
Most of the features in the above list are standard, but there are a few worth picking out. Sedentary time monitoring is a benefit, especially to anyone now home working and who isn’t moving so much each day as a result. You score points for being active, and you're docked points for being too sedentary. Sitting down too much comes with health risks, so it's important to move often throughout your day.
The other feature we like is body temperature tracking during sleep. This could be helpful to anyone who thinks overheating in bed could be ruining their sleep, as they can then make some positive changes. That said, we're skeptical of sleep tracking in most devices, and advise users to take the results with a pinch of salt. If you have concerns about your sleep, always speak to a professional.
Now, here's where the Halo Band has divided opinion: the body composition scanning feature. This utilizes your phone’s camera and requires you to take several photos of your body from different angles, which the Halo app then analyzes for body fat percentage.
A 3D model of your physique is created and you can move a slider in-app to see how your body would look with more or less body fat. As already pointed out by several websites, this feature is a potential trigger for people experiencing, or who have experienced, body image issues or disordered eating.
Also, Amazon has stated that the body composition feature “has reduced accuracy for customers over 500lbs or 50% body fat, pregnant women, those who use wheelchairs, and people with certain physical differences like missing or prosthetic limbs.”
Review sites are divided on this feature, with some concerned about the potential risks, but others seeing it as an innovative step towards more robust health tracking.
The Tone analysis feature has also been discussed, and repeatedly called an "odd" choice. Basically, the Tone feature analyses how you sound to others. Amazon reckons it can help you deliver better tones of voice and speaking styles, whether that's in your day to day life, a speech, job interview or other situation. We’re happy living without it.
This is also one of the feature’s people have been flagging as a potential privacy concern, though Amazon assures users that voice samples are deleted after analysis. It has even produced a guide to what is and isn't stored.
Is the Amazon Halo Band worth it?
If you’re serious about workout tracking, the Halo Band as it stands right now probably doesn't have enough muscle to satisfy you. The lack of a screen and haptics means you can’t check your workouts unless you grab your phone and fire-up the app. Also, the Halo Band won't give you real time feedback in the middle of a workout.
That’s because it doesn't track minute-to-minute workouts. Instead it uses a Fitness Score counted each week. Earn 150 points after seven days and you've smashed your goal. Not everyone will find this useful or motivating enough for their fitness goals though, so if you want real-time advanced tracking and workout feedback, consider Apple, Fitbit or Garmin instead.
On the other hand, if you’re new to exercise and want a cheap and basic tracker, or a stylish tracker that bridges the gap between basic and in-depth, the Amazon Halo Band is worth a look. It's also better suited to people who want a minimalist tracker that won't bug them with notifications all-day long.