Huawei Band 6 review: Big bold fitness tracking

A great looking Xiaomi Mi Band alternative that's a solid performer too.
Huawei Band 6
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It's big and it's bold: the Huawei Watch Fit is a fitness tracker and smartwatch hybrid, designed to blur the lines between those two experiences.

It looks similar to the Huawei Watch Fit, which offers a blocky, rectangular look and is pretty much identical to the Honor Band 6, from the former sub-brand of Huawei until it was sold off in 2020.

With the Band 6, you get a sizeable AMOLED display and the kind of features to help you track steps, sleep, workouts and offer smartwatch features like viewing phone notifications and control music playing on your phone. There's also the ability to measure blood oxygen levels and you can expect to steer clear from the charger for weeks as opposed to days.

The Band 6 is priced at $89.99, though given the current situation between Huawei and the US, it's a littler trickier to get Stateside. That price puts it squarely against trackers like the Oppo Band, Samsung Galaxy Fit 2 and the Amazfit Band 5. It's the same price as the Honor Band 6, while the Xiaomi Mi Band 6 is still a cheaper budget tracker to pick up instead.

With a look that we liked on the Watch Fit and the Honor Band 6 in place, the Huawei Band 6 has all the hallmarks of being a great budget fitness tracker. Is there more to it than its good look and vibrant display? We've been living with it to find out. Here's our full verdict on the Huawei Band 6.

Huawei Band 6: Design and screen

Huawei Band 6: Design and screen

As we mentioned up top, the Huawei Band 6 looks a lot like the Huawei Watch Fit and the Honor Band 6, so what is actually different here?

The Huawei tracker features a 43mm polymer case that measures in at 10.9mm thick and comes in your choice of black, pink, amber and green band looks. There's also dark and gold case colors here too. With the Watch Fit, you're getting a larger 46mm case, which means you also get a larger screen too. Compared to the Honor Band 6, it's the same 43mm-sized case with a slightly thicker 11mm case though that case lacks the more stylish matte finish you get on the Huawei Band 6.

It's a design formula that clearly works, particularly when you compare it what you get from Fitbit's budget Inspire 2 tracker, which costs more. You also get a larger display than what you'll find on Samsung and Xiaomi's trackers. That screen is a 1.47-inch AMOLED with a 194 x 368 resolution, matching what you get on the Honor Band 6. It's bright, vibrant, colorful and nice and responsive to touch. Though it doesn't offer an always-on mode and the raise to wake isn't always as responsive as we'd like it to be.

You can adjust screen brightness and control how long the screen stays on if you want it to stay awake for longer. You'll have no problem viewing indoors though like Honor's tracker, it can struggle slightly in bright outdoor light. It's a common problem with a lot of AMOLED screens.

Huawei Band 6 AMOLED screens.

There's just one physical button to wake up the display and can be double tapped to get you straight into the main menu screens. Using the touchscreen is your main way of getting around the pretty simple gesture-based band software. Swipe right and left to find widgets for heart rate, stress monitoring or weather forecasts. Swipe down from the main watch screen to view the quick settings and swipe up from the same place to view notifications. There's not a great deal to get to grips with here.

Completing that Band look is a pretty standard silicone strap that uses a traditional watch-style buckle, which offers a nice secure fit and one that's been comfortable to wear for exercise and for sleep tracking.

As a package, the Band 6 carries a 5ATM water resistance rating, making it safe to be submerged in water up to 50 metres depth. That does mean it's fit for pool swimming and tracking that time in the water as well.

When it comes to charging, there's a magnetic charging thimble that clips onto the back of the tracker. It's not the most secure connection and is one that's easy to knock out of place if you're not careful about where you place it when it's charging.

Huawei Band 6: Fitness tracking and health features

Fitness tracking and health features

The Huawei Band 6 offers those tracking staples like counting steps and monitoring sleep, but it's capable of doing much more than that.

There's accelerometer and gyroscope motion sensors to track movement and Huawei's TruSeen 4.0 optical heart rate monitor to let you continuously monitor track heart rate and unlock stress tracking. That sensor also enables SpO2 monitoring, which can be measured continuously too.

For those staples, there's a dedicated activity tracking screen to glance at daily steps, active minutes and active hours. You'll also get buzzed with inactivity alerts if you've been stationary for too long. Accuracy-wise, we found step counts were generally 500-800 out from Garmin's fitness tracking.

Huawei Band 6 step data

Step tracking compared: Huawei Band 6 (left) and Garmin Enduro fitness tracking (right)

When it's time to go to bed, you can view your most recent night's sleep on the Band and then you'll have to head to the Huawei Health app to delve further into those bedtime stats. That's where you'll see sleep stags, sleep scores and additional data on sleep continuity and breathing quality. You can stick to the top of the screen for the usual stats and scroll down for the more advanced ones.

Huawei Band 6 sleep data

Sleep tracking compared: Huawei Band 6 (left and centre) and Fitbit Luxe (right)

We tested it against Fitbit's solid sleep tracking on its Luxe tracker and found it performed pretty well. It recorded similar sleep duration and sleep stages as well, though generally recorded a shorter amount of deep sleep. One odd quirk we discovered was that sleep tracking seemed to work when the Band was on worn on our left wrist, but not on our right wrist.

Huawei Band 6 stress data

Stress tracking compared: Huawei Band 6 (left) and Garmin Enduro (right)

Outside of steps and sleep, you can also track stress through heart rate variability measurements, showing you on the Band when stress has been high, low and current stress level. There's also breathing exercises to turn to during those stressful moments where you can adjust the pace of the breathing exercises and duration of exercises, which can last a maximum of 3 minutes. While it's useful to be able to keep tabs on stress it's clearly lacking some actionable insights to make it a really useful feature to have at your disposal.

If you want to measure blood oxygen levels, you can do that that here too, though doing it 24/7 has a clear impact on battery life. In the Huawei Health app you can see trends over the day, week, month and over the year giving you latest readings and lowest and highest readings for the day. Like stress tracking, it could do with some more actionable insights to put this data to good use.

Huawei Band 6: Sports tracking and heart rate accuracy

Huawei Band 6 workout records

The Band 6 does do sports tracking and there's a generous 96 exercise modes, with core modes that will inevitably offer more metrics and data during and post-workout.

On the Band, head to the Workout app and you'll see modes covered for outdoor and treadmill running, pool swimming and indoor rowing. You can add additional modes from the Huawei Health app, though these modes offer the most metrics.

What you're missing out on from the pricier Huawei Watch Fit are the animated workouts, and features like fitness courses and running courses. There's also no built-in GPS, so you'll need to use the connected GPS method to generate more accurate outdoor exercise tracking. You do have Huawei's TruSeen 4.0 optical heart rate monitor, which is present on the Huawei Watch Fit, to measure effort levels during workouts.

Huawei Band 6 outdoor run data

Connected GPS tracking compared: Huawei Band 6 (left) and Garmin Enduro (right)

For outdoor runs using the accelerometer-based tracking, it was well off on the accuracy front. In fact, it was a 4km off from the GPS tracking on a Garmin Forerunner watch. When you make use of your phone's GPS you need to start the tracking off in the app first before metrics are displayed on the Band. Things do get better on that front, but it's still better suited to short 20-30 minute runs and still slightly underreported distance for us.

We also put it to the indoor rowing and found total stroke counts came up a bit short compared to the row tracking on a Garmin and on the rowing machine. Average and best stroke rates though felt a little more reliable.

Huawei Band 6 rower heart rate data

Indoor rowing compared: Huawei Band 6 (left and centre) and Garmin HRM-Pro (right)

The performance of the heart rate monitor was pretty much in line with what we've experienced with other Huawei wearables packing that TruSeen 4.0 optical sensor. Resting heart rate data was in generally within 3-4 bpm of Garmin's optical heart rate monitor and when we slapped on a Garmin HRM-Pro chest strap.

Huawei Band 6 review

Indoor cycling HR compared: Huawei Band 6 (left and centre) and Garmin HRM-Pro (right)

On an indoor bike session, average heart rate was lower than a chest strap and there was 5bpm difference for maximum heart rate readings.

Huawei Band 6 review

Continuous heart rate compared: Huawei Band 6 (left) and Garmin Enduro (right)

For continuous heart rate monitoring, we found resting heart rate was generally 10BPM higher than what was recorded on a Garmin Enduro and HRM-Pro chest strap. Heart rate ranges generally recorded higher maximum heart rate readings and suggested more regular spikes in heart rate during the day, which just didn't feel reliable.

Huawei Band 6: Smartwatch features

Huawei Band 6 notification

In terms of smartwatch features, you're getting a tracker that does work with Android phone and iPhones for starters. Our testing time was spent with it paired to an Android phone and we can't say we experienced any real issues setting up, pairing and syncing the Band 6 with the Huawei Health companion app.

You have a decent array of features at your disposal here. Huawei offers a nice mix of watch faces that make the most of the bright, vibrant AMOLED display and you can sync them quickly over to the Band 6. You'll get notifications that are nicely optimised to the screen, but you can't interact or respond to notifications.

Huawei Band 6 music

You can view weather forecasts, use it as a remote shutter for taking smartphone photos and there's music controls, though those only work when paired to an Android phone.

You don't get payments, a music player or any sort of app store front. Though that's hardly surprising given the price. What is here though works well and it's largely down to the presence of that nice sized screen. Notification support and music controls work well and if you like your watch faces, Huawei offers plenty in that department too.

Huawei Band 6: Battery life

Huawei lists the Band 6 as being capable of running for up to 14 days in typical use, but doesn't really specify what it deems as typical use. We found in our time with it that 14 days is possible, but we found it closer to 10 days.

There was around a 10% daily drop off, with the screen at mid brightness, notifications enabled and features like continuous heart rate monitoring and stress tracking enabled. A 45-minute indoor bike workout knocked battery by 3%, while using the connected GPS for an hour's running to track outdoor workouts saw a drop-off closer to 6-7%.

So it is possible to get 14 days, if you restrict the use of features like continuous monitoring, all-day blood oxygen monitoring and you're not using GPS tracking every day or regularly throughout a week. Keeping the screen at a lower brightness setting would also help battery performance. Ultimately though, we didn't feel daily battery drop-off was concerning given what Huawei claims it can deliver.

Compare to what else you can get from a fitness tracker at this price, the Xiaomi Mi Band 6 promises 14 days, the Oppo Band can muster up 12 days and the very similar-looking Honor Band 6 offers anywhere from 10-14 days. So it's in the mix with the competition on the battery front.


Huawei Band 6
By Huawei
The Huawei Band 6 looks great, feels great to wear and the price is also great too. It's hard to pick huge faults with a fitness tracker this cheap that delivers so much. It's a shame there isn't GPS here where Huawei has put this feature on its budget trackers previously. Heart rate performance is a mix bag too if that's a feature you care a lot about. Overall though, it's been largely an enjoyable band to live with that's a good fit for tracking fitness and also offers some well executed smartwatch features wrapped up with a high quality display. It's a little pricier than a Mi Band 6, but don't discount paying a little more for an upgraded look.

Hit
  • Great design and display for the price
  • Solid fitness tracking features
  • Good battery life
Miss
  • Heart rate accuracy
  • Basic smartwatch features
  • No GPS