Amazon is making its Halo fitness tracker more useful for exercise by adding a feature that will now let you see real-time heart rate data overlaid on compatible connected gym equipment and third party fitness apps.
The key feature being enabled here is a Bluetooth Low Energy heart rate setting or heart rate sharing, which is pretty commonplace on most sports watches and smartwatches. This means you can now make use of the Halo's onboard PPG-style optical heart rate sensor and fire that data over Bluetooth to those apps and equipment to make it easier to view effort levels.
Wareable verdict: Amazon Halo in-depth review
Amazon's wearable doesn't feature a screen, so it does now mean you have a way to make better use of that heart rate data outside of looking at trends in the companion app.
If you want to turn on heart rate sharing on the Amazon Halo, you need to do the following:
- Open the Amazon Halo companion app and go to Settings.
- Select Heart rate sharing and while wearing the band turn the heart rate sharing setting on.
- Now follow the prompts to share the live heart rate data with an app or device.
Once your workout is completed, you can head back to the same place in the companion app to turn off the heart rate sharing.
Amazon has announced that along with working with third party fitness apps, the Halo is compatible with equipment made by NordicTrack, OpenFit and CLMBR.
Bolstering the Halo's feature set seems to show a commitment by Amazon that it's fully behind making its fitness tracker work, which was certainly one of the most eye-raising wearable launches in 2020. The screen-less device that costs $99.99, arrived with a design that looked a lot like the popular Whoop Strap. While it offered a lot of the typical fitness tracker features, it also promised to analyse the tone in your voice to help wearers understand how they're perceived in real-time.
In our Halo review, we felt that the wearable wasn't quite the complete product yet and found features like the tone analysis and body scanning tool too intrusive. Though we did see potential in Labs, which is designed to let developers build new features and experiences built around health, fitness and wellness to make the Halo more appealing.
Heart rate tracking accuracy performed well enough against a chest strap monitor in our testing too, which makes the arrival of heart rate sharing a useful feature to have added to the Halo setup.
Is making the Halo a better fit for exercise what Amazon needs to do to get more people interested in owning and using it? Only time will tell.
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