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Halo View Review: An Affordable Fitbit Alternative
Halo View Review: An affordable Fitbit alternative
“The Halo View rivals Fitbit offering a robust feature set and a price that won’t break the bank.”
- Low cost
- Affordable membership
- Focus on wellness
- No GPS
- Not as durable as others
Amazon unveiled its Halo fitness band in 2020 to mixed reviews. Though many liked the simple design and abundance of wellness features, the voice tracking and fat scanning features caused a stir. The company listened to this feedback and is back with its second iteration of the fitness tracker. The new Halo View takes the best features of the original Halo, strips the controversial ones, and adds one major feature missing in the Halo band. Does this new band deliver on its promise to “build a healthier lifestyle right from your wrist?” We tested it to find out.
Fitbit-like and feature-filled
When I first saw Amazon’s new Halo View, my first thought was “this looks just like a Fitbit.” The Halo View has Fitbit’s traditional rectangular body, soft elastomer band, and bright, colorful AMOLED display. It’s a bit boxier than the current generation Fitbit Charge 5, but the resemblance is undeniable.
Halo View’s feature set is very competitive. It boasts a seven-day battery life and has held up to that claim in my testing. It also is equipped with an optical heart-rate sensor, a pulse oximeter capable of both background and on-demand measurements, and a temperature monitor for your skin. You can wear the Halo View in the shower and while swimming thanks to its 50-meter water resistance.
The Halo View looks like a Fitbit but doesn’t have the same feel as a Fitbit. When compared to most other fitness bands which push 30 grams in weight, the 20.6 gram Halo View is incredibly lightweight. The View is so lightweight that I often forgot I was wearing it. It’s also extremely comfortable on the wrist with an easy-to-close band that doesn’t pinch or, at least for me, irritate my skin.
If you want a fitness band that doesn’t weigh you down, then the Halo View should be your first pick.
The Halo View also doesn’t have the same solid feel as a Fitbit. Though it may feel low-cost, it doesn’t perform like an inexpensive device. The Halo View performed above expectations during testing. Battery life lasted up to a week, and sensor readings were accurate. Though the band attaches awkwardly to the top of the sensor unit, it held securely on my wrist, and the screen remained scratch-free during the testing.
Amazon is still new to the fitness tracking space, but you wouldn’t know it. The Halo app is surprisingly polished with an interface that makes it simple to find the information that you need. And that information is abundant. Amazon’s Halo View compiles all the common health metrics you need to track your fitness like step count, heart rate, calories, and more. The View uses a weekly points system to gauge your activity level which is perfect for busy people. Instead of cramming thousands of steps into each day, you can take a day off, exercise when you have more time, and still meet your fitness goals. GPS is the one glaring omission. The View does not have an integrated GPS and doesn’t use the GPS on your phone. As a result, it doesn’t show distance or pace during an outside activity. Most people likely won’t care, but runners and bikers will be disappointed.
Halo View tracks your sleep automatically each night and does an excellent job detecting when you fall asleep and wake up. It also calculates a sleep score, which gives you a quick and easy way to assess your sleep quality without a deep dive into a myriad of metrics. If you want to explore the details, you can do that, too. The Halo app breaks sleep down into deep, light, REM sleep, as well as the number of disturbances, time awake, and more.
Amazon Halo View not only tracks your nighttime heart rate and movement, but also measures your skin temperature at night. This adds yet another metric that you can use to help diagnose sleep problems or monitor your health. Wake up feeling tired but slept a solid eight hours? You can check the temperature stats to see if temperature played a role in your sleeplessness. Perhaps you need to shed a layer or add a blanket to keep yourself comfortable at night. Temperature also can be used to detect illness, track your menstrual cycle, and monitor other changes in your body or environment.
The Halo View integrates with Amazon’s Halo Fitness which provides access to a growing library of on-demand workouts led by professional fitness trainers. You can choose between cardio, outdoor, strength, yoga, and mobility classes. And there are workouts for all fitness levels. Like Apple Fitness and iFit, the workouts are primarily bodyweight exercises, but that doesn’t mean they were easy. The classes I completed were vigorous enough to get me sweating and left me sore the next day. Most of the exercises are under 25-minutes, which makes it easy to complete them even on a busy day. Though I used the Halo View to track my workout, the tracker stats do not integrate with Halo Fitness in the Halo app. I had to glance at my watch to check my heart rate instead of seeing them on my phone’s screen.
Amazon raised some eyebrows with its Tone voice analysis and photo-based body fat assessment that it added to its original Halo fitness band. Though it removed Tone from the Halo View, Amazon kept the body fat measurements that require you to take a photo of yourself in your skivvies. Measuring body fat using photos may be more accurate, but not everyone is going to buy into this feature.
The same applies to Halo View’s new Movement Health which uses the camera to assess your ability to perform five simple movements. Data collected from the camera then is analyzed and used to improve your mobility, stability, and posture. Thankfully, these features are optional and turned off by default. I enabled them for testing but didn’t use them much after the initial setup. Step count, activity score, and the weekly goal were my primary motivators to keep moving.
Step count, heart rate, and sleep tracking are only half of the story. The Halo View is packed with a ton of health and wellness features that complement the fitness metrics gathered from the band’s onboard sensors. Nutrition is one of the latest additions and it shows promise. Found in the Halo app, the nutrition section includes individual recipes for a single meal as well as long-term eating programs that will help you build healthy eating habits over time. I signed up for the “Drink a glass of water before each meal” and appreciated the daily reminders that encouraged me to improve my hydration one day at a time. In the future, Amazon plans to offer meal planning guides and shopping lists that will sync to Alexa.
Amazon nailed the membership options on the Halo View. Some companies cripple their devices for non-subscribers, but Amazon provides you with the basic metrics like steps, heart rate, and sleep times for free. You don’t need to purchase this extra subscription to use the minimal fitness-tracking features of the device.
Those who want advanced metrics, like daily activity scores or personalized insights, can sign up for a Halo membership. Amazon priced its membership at an affordable $3.99 per month. The View does ship with 12 months free subscription to Halo membership, so you don’t have to incur this fee right away.
The Halo View is a terrific value for those who want an affordable alternative to the pricier trackers from Fitbit and Garmin. It delivers more than enough metrics and wellness features to appease most users. The Halo View may not have enough bells and whistles to lure people away from Fitbit or Garmin, but it is a great starting point for those new to fitness tracking.
Is there a better alternative?
The Halo is an outstanding entry-level fitness attacker, but there are better alternatives. With sleek, rounded lines and a beautiful AMOLED display, the Charge 5 is a worthy competitor to the Halo View. With an MSRP of $129, the Charge 5 is more expensive, but it does offer the distance and pace metrics not present on the Halo View. Another option is the Vivosmart 4 from Garmin, which has a polished design and plenty of smart features to keep you both connected and healthy.
How long will it last?
Amazon Halo View is a budget fitness tracker, so don’t expect it to last five years. Most people will enjoy a few years of usage with the Halo View under normal usage. Adventure athletes or those who work with their hands, like mechanics or carpenters, may find the View too delicate for their rough lifestyle.
Should you buy it?
Absolutely. With fitness tracking, sleep tracking, nutrition, and access to trainer-led workouts, the Halo View is ideal for someone who wants a fitness tracker but doesn’t want to spend a lot of money.
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