Huawei Band 4 is the latest incarnation of the sports band manufacturer from Shenzen. It does not bring a revolution relative to its predecessor or twin model Honor Band 5. However, it has one, but a very important advantage over them.
Preparation of the Huawei Band 4 review turned out to be much more difficult for me than I originally expected. I thought as a person who uses every day Xiaomi Mi Band 4 alternating with Huawei Watch GT of the first generation, I’ll just take one device off my wrist, put on another, and after a few days, I will enjoy the results of the comparison. Meanwhile … something like that didn’t happen at all.
In practice, the latest Huawei band has just become transparent to me, imperceptible. If at the moment I did not receive a notification or did not want to check the time or temperature, usually in the world I forgot that it rests on my wrist. Does that mean it’s boring? In a sense, yes, but this is not the most important thing. The important thing is that its operation is completely non-invasive, requiring virtually no additional attention from the user from the time of completing the initial configuration (of course, except for its regular top-up). And this is her biggest, but not the only advantage.
Huawei Band 4 Specs
Here’s how the tested model looks on paper:
|Full model name
|Huawei Band 4
|56 x 18.5 x 12.5 mm
|123 + 85 mm, width 17 mm
|approx. 24 g
|Available colour versions
|black, pink, red
|TFT, 0.96 inches, 80 x 160 pixels
|3-axis acceleration sensor, infrared sensor, optical heart rate sensor
|91 mAh, working time 7-9 days, charging time about 1.5 hours
|integrated USB port
|Android 4.4 or later, iOS 9.0 or later
|Price on the day of publication
We begin our adventure with the band, of course, by removing it from the box and charging it for the first time. At first glance, the contents of the box will seem incomplete – there is nothing here to charge the band. No cable, no cradle, what’s going on?
The answer will be obtained when we look at the technical specification. Manufacturer integrated the hook on one of the straps with a full USB plug in a standard size. The idea is simply brilliant !!! Just unplug one part of the strap, insert the band into any USB port and after 1.5 hours you can usefully charged equipment. I belong to die-hard enemies of any additional cables. First of all, because I often forget about them when packing and I also often lose them.
We connect the charged band with the phone using the Huawei Health app. This guides the user through a very simple configurator, allowing you to pair the band, update the software and basic configuration, including choosing the style of the shield and applications from which we want to receive notifications. At the time when I tested the band, it worked under software control version 126.96.36.199.
From this moment, the use of the band is virtually maintenance-free – wear and charge.
As I mentioned in the introduction, in everyday, typical use, Huawei Band 4 becomes completely transparent and invisible. It is largely due to the fact that its dimensions and weight were chosen very well, which is why they blend in perfectly with the shape of the wrist. Despite the delicate skin, susceptible to mechanical damage, I did not experience any discomfort such as imprint, burns or the feeling of cutting into my hand. Thanks to this, I didn’t have to take it off at all, apart from the moments when I was topping up my battery.
This, according to the manufacturer’s assurances, should be enough for about 7 to 9 days and it is so. Despite enabling sleep analysis, continuous heart rate monitoring and notification support, I didn’t have to charge the band more than once a week.
While I got used to the shape and weight of Huawei Band 4 almost immediately, its appearance irritated me for a long time. All because the almost one-inch screen fills a relatively small part of the top panel of the device. We are dealing here with very thick, for a sports band, frames and absurdly large space for the touch button located under the screen. I have the impression that the manufacturer could be tempted to use a much larger display.
As for the screen itself, my experience is a real mix of sweets and bitterness. Sweets, because despite the fact that it is made in TFT technology, the content presented on it was very clearly visible in the sun. Additionally, Huawei has designed shields to squeeze the maximum from such a small screen. Thanks to this, you can get information about:
- Bluetooth connection status
- information about pending notifications,
- battery level
- the number of steps
- calories burned
- distance traveled,
- current weather,
- outside temperature
And all this on the display with a diagonal of less than one inch, in addition, legible without the use of glasses or a magnifying glass. Poetry.
Bitterness arose when the notification was received and just before bedtime. In the first case, it is somewhat obvious, after all, it is difficult to display all the details of the notification on such a small screen. Over time, I learned to turn this disadvantage into an advantage – I limited the notifications to the necessary minimum, which freed myself a lot of free time, previously devoted to the smartphone. This may not suit everyone, so for the sake of objectivity, I will write it down on the defect side.
The second situation is also a matter of using the TFT screen. It appears in a very dark room, for example, a bedroom just before falling asleep. I am not sure if it is the diode that illuminates the watch face remains always active, or if the light generated by the optical heart rate sensor penetrates the screen. I am sure for that the band never goes out completely. Even when the screen is blank, a slight glow remains.
It is true that one moment when it becomes annoying is the fact of sleeping in a blindfold in complete darkness (in urban conditions in many cases simply this website unattainable, I noticed the problem only when staying in the countryside where the street lights are turned off at night), but it can distract and makes it difficult to fall asleep.
The casing of the band in question has a water resistance class of 5 ATM – ensuring resistance to spills, provided that the liquid pressure does not exceed 5 bar. It is enough to bathe in the band without worrying that when we leave the water, it will stop working. The front of the device is made of shiny plastic, which unfortunately likes to collect scratches and abrasions, so it’s worth keeping this in mind when you plan to use the band in difficult terrain, or, for example, on a construction site. The strap on which the band rests is soft and therefore pleasant to the touch. However, delicacy means that it can collect small chips or dents.
The great elasticity of the strap, combined with solid attachments, means that the band will not slip out of your hand in any situation. This has its pros and cons. Plus – if it is fastened well – there is no chance that it will unfasten. Minus – if an obstacle gets between the band and the wrist (e.g. handle, drawer handle, reinforcing bar, etc.), sooner lets go hand than band. Personally, I met the trouble of getting caught on the door handle during a fall. The design of the band came out unscathed, I with severe wrist pain and two cuts in the places where the strap literally cut into the skin. I understand that this construction should withstand a lot, however, or so much?
Huawei Band 4 as a simple smartwatch
The smart functions in Huawei Band 4 have been limited to the necessary minimum. In addition to the presentation of notifications and current weather, the band is equipped with a timer, stopwatch and the ability to search for a paired phone remotely. When paired with an Android smartphone other than Huawei or iPhone, that’s all the user can count on.
Band 4 can also control the camera’s built-in phone, but only if we pair it with a compatible Huawei or Honor device.
Huawei Band 4 as a training companion
As a training companion, the tested band presents itself … on average, and for some even poorly. With its help you can track the following physical activities with not very intuitive names, names:
- running outdoors (outside note),
- running indoors (on the treadmill),
- marches outside (editor’s note outside, with recording of data from the phone’s GPS enabled),
- a walk in the room (without registering data from the GPS of the phone),
- riding a stationary bike,
- cross trainer,
- other (probably gymnastics).
First of all, I should point out Huawei not intuitive names, including the use of extremely disliked regionalisms. Secondly, some activity is monitored correctly only when the paired smartphone is a compatible Huawei (Honor) model. This is due to the fact that the wristband software does not have access to GPS data on smartphones from other manufacturers. The result is that running outdoors, walking outdoors and a walk in the room, in the case of a smartphone from another manufacturer, do not really differ from each other.
Monitoring cycling is a separate issue. Due to the lack of access to GPS data, this option is hidden after pairing with a smartphone other than Huawei production.
The current situation seems to be an extremely annoying software bug. When we start tracking a given activity from the level of the application installed on the phone, this one will easily connect data from the band and the built-in sensors, including GPS. When we run the same activity from the band – GPS data is not recorded. This is difficult to explain in any other way than underdeveloped band firmware. I hope Huawei will manage this over time.
This and not a different state of affairs makes it difficult for me to assess Huawei Band 4 as anything else pedometer with the possibility of graphic presentation of collected data. These are based solely on pedometer readings, so it is difficult to talk about any validity. However, it should be mentioned that alone the pedometer works efficiently and is rarely wrong, so we can be calm about the correct counting of steps.
As the device has the ability to measure heart rate, it is also used when monitoring physical activity. However, I would not attach too much importance to it – as in the case of most optical sensors collecting data from the wrist, the measurement is not very accurate, especially during a quick walk or run. It happens that the device presents a much lower pulse value than indicated by our mood or fingers applied to the carotid artery. In this situation, it is best to stop, take a few deep breaths, remove the band, remove sweat droplets from the sensor and wrist, put the band on again making sure that the sensor adheres tightly to your hand and go back to training. Uncomfortable? I think so too, that’s why you better just give it away.
Huawei Band 4 as a lifestyle monitor
We just got to the place where the Huawei Band 4 star shines the brightest, i.e. to monitor daily activities. The ability to continuously monitor your heart rate along with notifications when it significantly increases or falls below a preset value can be helpful in signalling that something is wrong with your body.
Of course, the band is not a glass ball and will never replace a doctor’s appointment and examination on typically medical equipment. He will give only discreet suggestion that you should go to the clinic. Alerts with too high resting heart rate will appreciate above all people who are easily annoyed and manageable with strong emotions. In such situations, the band discreetly reminds you that for your own health, it is better to let go.
In addition, the device is compatible with the proprietary HUAWEI TruSleep technology, helping to monitor sleep and improve its quality. I cannot have any objections as to its operation. My well-being on a given day very often correlated with what the application presented, the time spent in bed also agreed. This is a very useful function, which is good to spend more time on. Sleep analysis allows you to pay attention to the problem of proper hygiene of rest. In this regard, often even a small change can contribute to a significant improvement in well-being.
The Huawei Health application installed on the smartphone is responsible, as I mentioned earlier, for the synchronization of data collected using a pedometer. The band encourages you to take at least 10,000 steps a day and notifies you when you spend too much time in a sitting position. Additionally, at the end of each week, we get a graphically attractive report with one sentence of commentary.
Huawei Band 4 vs Competitors?
Huawei Band 4 is a sports band that has to face a lot of competition on the market. In addition to competition from, for example, Samsung, it must compete with its twin – Honor Band 5, which is certainly more visually attractive than her. All this takes place in the shadow of the market leader – Xiaomi Mi Band 4.
Huawei’s competitor test only proved why Xiaomi is the most popular band. Better monitoring of physical activity, a multitude of replaceable bands literally costing pennies, screen AMOLED, twice the battery life make Huawei’s offer simply worse.
The biggest advantage of Banda 4 is the built-in, large USB plug, which allows you to go on a long journey without having to take an additional charger. The second – proprietary sleep analysis technology. The third is software, but only if the paired smartphone was produced by Huawei.
Due to better competition, I can recommend the band only to those who, like me, do not want to worry about another charger.
Huawei Band 4 prices
This model is currently available for sale in a few stores.
Huawei Band 4 is a good sports band, whose biggest advantage is the built-in USB plug and the ability to continuously measure heart rate and sleep analysis. However, this is too little to cope with the market (also internal) competition. In addition, full compatibility only with Huawei smartphones effectively limits the potential audience.
- Comfortable to wear on your wrist
- Maintenance-free from the moment of configuration
- Long battery life
- Built-in USB plug
- Refined band shields
- Author’s sleep analysis
- Full compatibility only with Huawei smartphones (Honor)
- The TFT screen backlight never goes out completely
- Strange development of the band surface
- Not intuitive menu