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The latest addition to Huawei’s Band line is very similar to the Honor Band 6, but it has one major advantage.
Boasting a considerably cheaper new RRP (£59.99), the Huawei Band 6 is a budget fitness tracker that's well worth consideration. We appreciate such a large display in a wearable of this price - that and the sheer quantity of workout modes were enough to counterbalance a less-than-perfect UI.
As a general rule, most fitness trackers cheaper than £100 look pretty similar. But if you want to play a seriously difficult game of spot-the-difference, take a look at the Honor Band 6 and the Huawei Band 6. To all intents and purposes, they’re identical.
This will come as no surprise to those keeping an eye on the wider industry: it was back in November 2020 that Huawei sold its youth-focused sub-brand Honor to a consortium of Chinese buyers. That was good news for Honor, since it no longer had to deal with the trade restrictions that have been troubling Huawei’s position in the Western markets. Then, in April 2021, came its first independently released wearable, the Honor Band 6.
And now we have this near-doppelganger, the Huawei Band 6. We say 'near' because although the Band 6s are almost indistinguishable, there’s just one feature that gives Huawei the advantage over Honor - which explains the £10 price difference.
Read on to find out what we made of the Huawei Band 6, and how it compares to the Honor Band 6. For a run-down of our favourite wearables, check out our best smartwatch list and best budget smartwatch list.
At the newly-reduced RRP of £59.99, the Huawei Band 6 makes for a very appealing fitness tracker indeed. Its larger-than-average AMOLED display and impressive range of workout modes were enough for us to see past the not-entirely-intuitive UI and the same dubious stress tracking that beset the Honor Band 6. The extensive 96 workout modes (in comparison to the Honor Band 6’s ten) makes the extra spend here totally justifiable.
The Band 6 is the latest generation of fitness tracker from Huawei, and the first one released since Honor moved away from the tech giant. In looks, it does away with the slim design of the Honor Band 5 (which is its true predecessor) by incorporating a display that’s 148% bigger.
It’s a rung down the ladder from the Huawei Watch Fit, which features a larger-still display (1.69 inches), plus an animated on-screen instructor to guide you through your workouts. Read our Huawei Watch Fit review to see how this wearable performs.
You can expect the following features from the Band 6:
Initially, Huawei priced the Band 6 at £89.98 on its website. Being honest, that price tag would have tilted this review in a different direction. But the new asking price of £59.99 feels far more grounded, especially when set against the £49.99 cost of the Honor Band 6.
Yes. The new price is a reasonable one, and when you take into account that the Huawei Band 6 has nearly ten times as many workout modes as its equivalent at Honor, the extra £10 you’ll need to spend doesn’t feel at all disproportionate.
The Band 6's evolutionary leap in design is very welcome: it looks far more expensive and upmarket than it actually is. Most fitness trackers in this price zone are slim affairs, with screens no wider than the straps they’re moulded into. So we’re very happy to see the 1.47-inch AMOLED display here. It’s also bright, clear and brought to life with a selection of genuinely cool display styles.
The build of the Band 6 itself is pleasant without being particularly remarkable. We liked the matte-black finish and the comfortable fit offered by the traditional lug-style strap.
The Huawei Band 6’s actual UI, though, is something of a mixed affair. We appreciated the inclusion of an indent button on the right-hand side (something manufacturers seem increasingly keen to dispense with entirely), but found the navigation system far from intuitive.
To activate the display, you tap the button. Then to bring up the complete menu of functions you have to tap it again. If you don’t do that, you’re sent to a list of quick commands (which might have you wondering where all your money went). Of course, such things become second-nature in time, but other brands offer far smoother journeys.
One feature we want to shout about is the option to keep the Band 6’s display on for five minutes, versus the five seconds you normally get. Most fitness trackers at this spec level only show the screen for very short periods of time, and it’s only expensive flagship wearables that boast ‘always-on’ displays. So to have this option is a real blessing.
The Band 6’s metrics are, by and large, all solidly reliable and delivered via clear line-graph graphics on that larger-than-usual display (but, as ever, are best scrutinised in the Huawei Health app on your phone). We remain as sceptical of the stress-tracking feature as we did with the Honor Band 6: being prompted to offer multiple-choice answers to existential questions like whether you see any meaning in life does not feel like it’s got much solid clinical basis. Whether you decide to pay any heed to the results of the stress test is up to you.
Far better is the staggering range of workout modes that the Huawei Band 6 offers - it's the central selling point over the cheaper Honor Band 6. Full disclosure: we did not put every last one of them to the test, so can’t vouch for the reliability of modes as diverse as karate and belly dancing. But, on our lunchtime run, we found the running mode responsive and accurate (though these workout modes don’t start automatically, unlike in other fitness trackers - you’ll need to start, pause and stop them yourself).
These various functions can be logged and assessed in the Health app. But if you do want to go out on a run, or any such peripatetic exercise, then you’ll need to take your phone, since there’s no built-in GPS with the Huawei Band 6. It’s a wearable that definitely punches above its weight in terms of features against price - and for the most part, it does so successfully.
The Band 6 delivers good battery life. They advertise 14 days maximum battery life, but of course that will be compromised by heavy usage. The good news is, after a morning of extensive testing, the battery level had only dropped by a few percentiles for us.
Just as impressive is the speed at which it charges: we had it up from 80% to 100% within 15 minutes. In terms of charging, it’s markedly better than the Huawei Watch Fit, which has a lifespan of just 10 days max by comparison.
The Huawei Band 6 comes in a compact white case. Inside, you’ll find the watch itself, plus the magnetic charging cable and a paper booklet of instructions. As is standard with most devices these days, you’ll need to get hold of a plug adaptor elsewhere if you want to charge it at the wall.
Since we already had Huawei’s Health app downloaded on our smartphone (and had gone through the account sign-up process, entering our personal information), our set-up time was fairly short. The watch needed to be attached to the charger to activate it, but it quickly displayed a power level of 80%.
We found pairing the Band 6 with our iPhone a hiccup-free process, though an optional firmware update did add a few extra minutes to our set-up time. You can expect the box-to-wrist process to take somewhere between ten and 15 minutes.
If you’re limited on cash, and not looking for particularly advanced features, we’d point you in the direction of the Xiaomi Mi Band 6 or Samsung Galaxy Fit 2, since both have better UIs and offer a smoother overall experience. But we know that the larger watch face and the variety of workout modes on the Band 6 will be very appealing to lots of people out there.
At £59.99, it’s a competitive device. And just in case you haven’t figured out whether to go with this or the Honor Band 6? Sorry, Honor, but the extra £10 here is very much worth it.
Overall rating: 4/5
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