Honor Band Zero

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The Honor Band Zero is a hy­brid fit­ness tracker and smart­watch un­der £50. At this price it’s un­der­stand­ably less fully fea­tured than some ri­val devices, but it may well be all you need. Our re­view unit was sup­plied by Gearbest, which of­fers the watch in black, white or Khaki (more like cream) for £45. Ship­ping is free if you’re pre­pared to wait (faster paid op­tions are avail­able), but keep in mind that any tech you have shipped from China to the UK may in­cur im­port duty.

UK setup

Out of the box our Honor Band Zero was con­fig­ured to use Chi­nese lan­guage, and the time and date were in­cor­rect. Given that the in­struc­tions were in Chi­nese, the menu op­tions on the watch were in Chi­nese, and the QR code in the quick setup guide took you to the Chi­nese ver­sion of Huawei Wear, we were ini­tially a lit­tle stumped as to how to use the Honor Band Zero.

It’s easy, though. You just launch Google Play on your phone and search for Huawei Wear. Once in­stalled, let it pair with the Zero and it will au­to­mat­i­cally up­date the lan­guage, time and date ac­cord­ingly.

De­sign

The Honor Zero is a cir­cu­lar smart­watch that can dis­play a dig­i­tal or ana­logue clock face on its PMOLED touch­screen. The plas­tic de­sign is nei­ther as bulky nor as cheap-look­ing as some, with a stain­less steel brushed-met­al­ef­fect sur­round and a di­a­mond-pat­terned TPU hy­poal­ler­genic band. Our sam­ple is black, al­though the Zero also comes in white or khaki.

The watch face has a di­am­e­ter of just 1.06in, with a 128x128-pixel res­o­lu­tion that’s ideally suited to its mono­chrome dis­play. We found the touch­screen rea­son­ably re­spon­sive with a twist of the wrist or a dou­ble-tap on the screen. Weigh­ing just 25g, this is a light­weight band you’ll barely no­tice on your arm, which is more than we can say for many fully fea­tured smart­watches.

One of the best things about the Honor Band Zero’s de­sign is its IP68-rated dust- and wa­ter­proof

pro­tec­tion. You don’t need to take off the Zero when you jump in the shower or go for a swim; in fact its built-in sleep track­ing means you’re in­tended to take off this watch only when it needs a recharge – which falls short of the claimed four days at be­tween two- and 2.5 days in our ex­pe­ri­ence, and the Zero will go from, erm, zero to 100 per­cent in a touch over an hour.

Our least favourite as­pect of the de­sign is its need to charge over a Pogo pin plug. You’re un­likely to have more than the one ca­ble that is sup­plied in the box and, given that the bat­tery lasts only a cou­ple of days, you’ll need to ei­ther care­fully plan when you will recharge it or carry around the ca­ble.

Next to the Pogo pin con­nec­tion on the de­vice’s rear is a small re­set but­ton; you can also restart (or re­set) the Zero from the on­screen Set­tings menu, but there are no phys­i­cal but­tons on the de­vice.

Smart­watch

We should make it clear that de­spite its tie-in with the Huawei Wear An­droid app on your smart­phone (the Zero also works with iPhones run­ning iOS 7.0 or later), this is no An­droid Wear watch. You can­not down­load new apps or watch faces to it, for ex­am­ple, and it won’t bring up any in­for­ma­tion from your phone other than no­ti­fi­ca­tions.

It has to be said, though, we were im­pressed by the num­ber of apps in­stalled on our phone that the Honor Band Zero could tie into to bring up no­ti­fi­ca­tions. As well as no­ti­fy­ing you with a gen­tle vi­bra­tion when you get a new text, email or phone call (at which point it will dis­play the caller’s name and num­ber on­screen), you can also set it up to re­ceive no­ti­fi­ca­tions from What­sApp, Face­book Mes­sen­ger, games and more. But they are just no­ti­fi­ca­tions, and once you’ve read them they dis­ap­pear from the watch. A Do not dis­turb mode is sup­ported should th­ese no­ti­fi­ca­tions wake you at night.

Plus, there’s the whole time­keep­ing func­tion­al­ity, which many ba­sic ac­tiv­ity track­ers do not pro­vide, and through the Huawei Wear app you can set an alarm, too.

Ac­tiv­ity tracker

The Honor Band Zero is also a ba­sic ac­tiv­ity tracker, able to count how many steps you’ve taken and es­ti­mate how many calo­ries you have burned in do­ing so, plus track your light- and deep sleep cy­cles. You’ll also get a gen­tle nudge if it’s been a while since you last got up and did some gen­tle ex­er­cise which, work­ing in a of­fice en­vi­ron­ment,

can be a tad an­noy­ing. With no heart-rate scan­ner or modes other than run­ning or walk­ing that’s pretty much it in terms of fit­ness track­ing.

We were ini­tially du­bi­ous of the sleep track­ing, since the Honor Band Zero can judge whether you’re awake or asleep and in a light- or deep sleep cy­cle only by how much you move. On the one oc­ca­sion we took off the watch at night in an at­tempt to fool it the Zero was clever enough to know we weren’t in a coma, but at other times when we were merely glued to the TV screen late in the evening it thought we were asleep. So while it’s not en­tirely ac­cu­rate, on most oc­ca­sions you’ll know the rough times at which you fell asleep and woke up, and it’s the track­ing be­tween th­ese stages that can be use­ful.

You don’t need the Huawei Wear app to tell you how many steps you’ve taken or calo­ries you’ve burned in a day, nor how long you slept the night be­fore, since this is avail­able from the watch it­self. How­ever, the app is use­ful for com­par­ing data over the month, and for track­ing those afore­men­tioned

light- and deep sleep cy­cles. The Huawei Wear app also lets you in­put your ba­sic de­tails – your gen­der, height, weight and birth date – and set a fit­ness goal. And it will tie into UP by Jaw­bone, which is more func­tional with a per­sonal coach and the abil­ity to keep a food di­ary and com­pete with friends.

Ver­dict

For un­der £50 you can’t re­ally go wrong with the Honor Band Zero if all you need is a ba­sic watch with some smart­watch and ac­tiv­ity-track­ing func­tion­al­ity. Marie Brewis

Spec­i­fi­ca­tions

Sup­ports An­droid 4.4 or later 1.06in (128x128-pixel) PMOLED screen 128KB RAM 512KB stor­age Blue­tooth 4.0 IP68 wa­ter­proof 70mAh bat­tery, charges over POGO Pin 244.4x38x9.5mm (large) 25g

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