Not so long ago I became the owner of the Honor Band 4 bracelet and shared with you my first impressions of it (Honor Band 4. First glance). A month has passed, and the time has come to tell more about this product, based on operating experience.
New Year's holidays are on the way, which means that you will have to choose gifts for family and friends. Due to their low cost and high utility, fitness bracelets have taken a strong position in the list of possible gifts. Today I will try to answer the question whether it is worth buying or giving this particular bracelet or is it better to prefer something else to it.
Let's start with the appearance
With this, the bracelet is in complete order – a strict capsule in a minimalist design looks equally good with both a business suit and a tracksuit.
Thanks to its ergonomic shape, the bracelet does not cling to corners and other surfaces. On this point, plus. In terms of design and safety of the capsule, this model outperforms its main competitor Xiaomi Mi Band 3. Due to its very convex shape and massiveness, the bracelet from Xiaomi is much easier to scratch.
And on the side Honor of Band 4 there is such an important plus as the material of the protective glass of the screen – unlike competitors, here it is glass, not plastic. Thanks to this, not a single scratch appeared on the screen of my bracelet for a month of not the most careful use. This plus is at the same time a minus – if dropped or hit hard, unlike plastic, glass can break. But then the choice is yours – either strength or appearance.
By the way, from operating experience, I can say that the glass of Honor Band 4 (hereinafter referred to as HB4) is tempered and it is not so easy to break it – I used the capsule a couple of times well on both concrete and metal corners, and the bracelet is safe and sound.
Another point that I mentioned in the first glance was attaching the strap to the capsule – it was made much more convenient than it was in the previous generation – now there are no screws, instead, a simple bracket that can be pulled out quite easily.
However, this turned out to be a dubious plus, which is why – an unusual or different from the standard replacement strap is very difficult to find on sale.
Either the Chinese do not believe in the massiveness and relevance of the product, or the design of the bracelet itself does not set one up for experiments with frequent replacement of straps, but the fact remains that unusual replaceable straps on HB4 are very difficult to find on sale, even on AliExpress.
Banal, copying the original straps.
Go ahead. A few words about the strap itself. Only after receiving the bracelet, I was very happy with the classic design of the strap 'like a watch', uncharacteristic for fitness bracelets, as the straps on both Xiaomi Mi Band 3 and Honor Band 3 sometimes they unbuttoned, caught on clothes. With Honor Band 4 this has never happened. And that's a plus. But there is also a minus – it turned out that the classic design of the strap is inconvenient for a fitness bracelet.
And all because of the protruding end of the strap.
He clings to everything that is possible and not allowed and over time it starts to enrage and annoy … The trench coat with a special tooth (the very ring on the bracelet that should hold the long end of the strap) does not save the situation.
When worn, the trench gradually slides either forward or backward, and the end of the strap begins to dangle and cling to everything.
Such a trick improves the situation a little – you need to turn the trainer over with the tooth inward.
The coat is turned upside down with the tooth.
Then he will press his hand against the strap, and the tooth will not let him slide along the strap. But this only works if you like to wear the bracelet tightly. If your choice is a more relaxed wearing, be prepared for a constantly dangling extra end of the strap.
The bottom line is that I would prefer the classic clip-on clasp for sports bracelets.
Now let's move on to the most controversial part of the gadget – notifications.
As with the previous generation, HB4 can enable event notifications from almost any application installed on your smartphone. To do this, just go to the settings of the 'Health' program and select the applications from which you want to receive notifications.
Do not forget to check on your smartphone the accessibility of the Health application and the permission to send you notifications.
From now on, you will receive notifications and can even read part of the text of this notification. Yes, alas, as in the previous generation, only part of the text, not the entire message. The maximum length of the displayed message is 81 characters. On the one hand, this is a lot, on the other hand, sometimes the last characters contain the most important information, and then you have to take out the phone to read the message in full.
This gives the impression that the number of characters can float, since sometimes messages with a length of clearly less than 81 characters are not displayed completely. This may depend on the content of the message and on the presence of special characters and a combination of numbers and letters. Anyway, a strange limitation.
Another unpleasant moment related to notifications is the memory capacity of unread messages – there are only 10. And this is all quite strange – if a lot of SMS arrives, the bracelet will show you only the first 10 messages, and the rest will not be displayed.
But if you receive a lot of messages from instant messengers, then the last messages will displace the previous ones, and as a result, you will see only the last 10 messages and will not see those that were in front of them.
And messages from instant messengers have the feature of being duplicated. Because of this, when a message arrives from the messenger to the bracelet, you receive two notifications at once: one is the message itself, and the second is a notification in which it will be written that you have a message from the messenger. Instead of ten messages, you get only five. Convenient, right? (sarcasm).
Messages from third-party programs and messengers are always duplicated. This problem occurs sporadically with SMS messages.
In addition, if an SMS message is read on the phone, it is marked as read in the bracelet and disappears from its memory, which cannot be said about messages from applications and instant messengers – they have to be cleaned manually.
Another problem with notifications is the wristband's wistfulness when there are a lot of notifications. If the message memory is full, the bracelet starts to slow down. And he does this not only in the message menu, but everywhere.
This is expressed in the following – imagine that you have a conversation with someone on WhatsApp, and then, putting your phone in your pocket, after a while you receive several messages and want to read them on the bracelet. Press the button on the bracelet, and … nothing happens for a long two or three seconds.
Yes, this is exactly how much the bracelet thinks about before lighting the screen and displaying information. Navigating the menu itself also becomes unhurried and thoughtful. Go to the message list? Patience, my friend – your bracelet has learned Zen and is in no hurry.
And now it’s easier for you to get your phone and look at the message there than to wait for our leisurely friend to wake up and react. This is pretty annoying.
As a result, the main function for which the bracelet was purchased (notifications) does not work very well.
The manufacturer promises 17 days of battery life, subject to disabling constant heart rate monitoring and TrueSleep sleep tracking function.
I did not use any of these functions to constantly monitor anything, and my bracelet lasted an average of 10-12 days. On the one hand, after the same Honor Band 3 with its one month of autonomy in a similar scenario, ten days is not much, on the other hand, a large number of notifications on a bright Amoled screen requires much more energy. In general, the autonomy is not bad here. Almost two weeks is good. It's not two days like some.
In the case of turning on all the functions and constantly monitoring everything that is possible, the bracelet lasted 4 days with me. But this is not enough. On the other hand, few bracelets are able to conduct a very accurate constant monitoring of the heart rate 24/7 and warn about exceeding the threshold preset in the application.
This continuous heart rate monitoring allows you to more accurately track your sleep phases, which means it has a positive effect on the accuracy of your smart alarm clock.
Yes, there is a smart alarm here and it works great. For the entire time of use, he never let me down – he usually woke me up 10-15 minutes before the set time.
A couple of words about the display – it's cool. After the displays of other bracelets, the HB4 display is pleasant to look at. Still, Amoled is cool. The most important advantage is that the display is visible anytime, anywhere, and even the bright sun does not interfere with it.
The maximum brightness is very high and even excessive in everyday use. All this month I used the bracelet at minimum brightness and did not experience any difficulties in reading information from the display. In the settings there is a dimming mode at night. It works – from 21:00 the brightness is dimmed by about 30%.
Eh, if only Xiaomi had something like that … I put HB4 for the display a huge plus without any discounts.
For comparison, the HB4 display at maximum brightness next to the display of the unburned and perfectly preserved Mi Band2. I think words are superfluous here.
And also, there is a weather display. Works very accurately. On the forums, some complained about the weather displaying with a delay, I did not have such difficulties. Everything is on time and everything is accurate.
As for the sports component, I'm not a great fan of measuring my athletic performance, but I should note that the bracelet can automatically detect the type of activity and start the appropriate training mode. For example, in the pool, it automatically starts the swimming mode and, in addition, even determines the style with which you are currently swimming. In total, the bracelet can record six types of workouts, among which there is even an exercise bike and running on a treadmill.
There is also free training, which includes all kinds of yoga, gymnastics, and more. In general, the sports component is well implemented. These little things stimulate you to do more sports.
A few words about the control – it is not very intuitive here, which is why many have difficulties in mastering the bracelet.
The center button is responsible for activating the bracelet and returning to the main screen. And also, going into the settings, unlike bracelets Xiaomi, HB4 can be turned off, and then to turn it on, you will need to hold the button for a few seconds (7-10).
Swipe right across the display as the Back button. Well, swipe up and down to navigate the menu. That's all control. I decided to write about this separately, since, according to reviews, many had difficulties finding the 'Back' gesture, instead of which people tried to use the 'Home' button.
In addition to the screen and the button, you can navigate the menu by turning your hand. To do this, in the settings, you must enable the corresponding item in the main menu of the 'Health' application. This way of control works well with the turn-on gesture of your wrist and allows you to read notifications without touching the bracelet, simply by turning your wrist.
And everything would be fine, if not for one 'but' – the curve of work with notifications, which I wrote about above.
There is one more nuance, which should be mentioned – the 'Health' application.
Due to the bracelet being branded Honor, it cannot be connected to the Huawei Wear app. We have to use the cumbersome Health app. But this is half the trouble, the main thing is how the bracelet is connected to the phone. This is possible only in the menu of the aforementioned application, and nothing else. Because of this, the bracelet is not visible by the standard interface Bluetooth of your smartphone, and this, in turn, means that you cannot use the beloved SmartLock function to automatically lock / unlock your smartphone. Whether this will be resolved in the next updates is unknown.
Judging by the reviews, SmartLock works for some smartphone users Honor, but this is not certain.
The bracelet turned out to be very, very contradictory, with a lot of advantages and with the same number of disadvantages. It should be noted a wonderful, bright and high-contrast display that is visible anytime and anywhere, excellent implementation of sports functions, an accurate heart rate sensor – all in a stylish, laconic case. But, besides the pluses, there is also a huge fly in the ointment in the form of a strange implementation of working with notifications and not the most responsive interface, which becomes such when there are those same notifications in the bracelet's memory.
At the time of this writing, messages began to arrive about the availability of software updates for some users, which … did not fix any of the existing problems. At the same time, the update is available to a very limited number of users. I was not among them. And also, those who decided to update later and postponed the update, after some time did not find the update in the settings – it disappeared. Either another gdyuk, or the manufacturer has withdrawn the update to make corrections and changes.
Thus, answering the question asked at the beginning of the article about whether I can recommend this bracelet for purchase, I will say: rather no than yes. Too many 'buts' that can spoil the experience of using this generation of bracelets Honor. Better Honor Band 3, which although it does not have such a cool Amoled display, but also has no problems with notifications or SmartLock.
The most annoying thing is that the manufacturer is in no hurry to fix the existing software problems. Yes, they will probably be fixed in the next software updates for the bracelet, however, until this happens, how many potential buyers will it lose Honor? And won't the brand lose the loyalty of the existing audience? Unknown.