Huawei made a competitor Xiaomi Mi Band 2 and named it Honor Band 3. We are trying to figure out whether they succeeded or not.
For a long time, I used Xiaomi Mi Band 2 as the main companion device paired with a smartphone and, in general, was pleased. But when you get used to good things, you start to want something else. After owning a Samsung Gear Fit 2 for a short time, I realized that I wanted to read notifications right on the bracelet. So it was decided to look for a replacement for the well-worn Mi Band 2, which is why the text will often contain a comparison with a bracelet from Xiaomi.
The basic requirements are simple:
- Long battery life (at least two weeks)
- Small size and sleek design in the form of a bracelet, not a watch
- Waterproof and submersible
- The ability to read notifications without taking out a smartphone
Based on these requirements, neither Samsung Gear Fit 2 – too short battery life, nor Amazefit from Xiaomi – watch form factor and, again, low autonomy came up.
As a result of searching and reading descriptions and reviews, the choice fell on a bracelet from Huawei, namely, Band 3 from a sub-brand Honor.
- Display: 0.91 ”, PM OLED 128 × 32 resolution
- Pairing: Bluetooth 4.2
- Compatibility: Android 4.4 and up / iOS 8.0 and up
- Material: plastic, silicone
- Waterproof: 50m (IP68)
A few words about buying
At the moment, in the official store Huawei this bracelet costs 2,990 rubles, which is significantly more expensive than Mi Band 2 and makes the purchase less profitable.
However, this is only at first glance. There is an option to save a lot – to buy a bracelet according to ads. The fact is that now in many retail chains this bracelet is offered as a gift for certain smartphones. And also, if the bracelet does not go as a gift, often unscrupulous sellers in pursuit of a plan for selling accessories shamelessly lie to customers, saying that in order to increase the chances of getting approval for a loan application, it is necessary to add accessories to the order, among which there are often Honor Band 3. Thus, the buyer of a smartphone unexpectedly becomes the owner of a gadget that he does not need. Then bracelets 'paired' in this way appear on ad sites. The price is often very tasty. This is how this bracelet was purchased. The previous owner did not need it, and did not have time to use it, so the bracelet came to me completely new. Its price was 1,700 rubles, which is almost equal to the current price of MiBand 2.
But there are also pitfalls here. At the moment there are two main versions of the bracelet – for the Russian market and for the Chinese one. They differ in that the Chinese bracelet has an NFC chip that is absolutely useless in our area, which works only in China and only to pay for public transport. And if this feature does not make the bracelet worse, then the second one can seriously ruin your life – the fact is that in the Chinese version there is no way to choose the hand on which you are going to wear the bracelet. Only the left one. The problem is that when you wear such a bracelet on your right hand, the text of notifications coming to it will be displayed upside down. Therefore, if you, like me, wear a bracelet on your right hand, before buying, specify which version they are going to sell you.
There are no Russian letters on the box of the Chinese version. But on the box of the version officially sold in the Russian online store Huawei, there is a description in Russian.
Packaging, equipment and appearance
The bracelet came in a plastic box that looks like a box from some headphones. Unlike the small cardboard box of the MiBand, the Honor Band 3 has a larger and plastic box. The bracelet itself, located on the pedestal, is visible through the transparent plastic. There is a cardboard compartment inside the box, which contains instructions, a warranty card, a cable and a charging cradle.
Strange, but in all color versions of the bracelet, of which there are only three – black, dark blue and orange, the cable was put white. A strange decision. Probably, Huawei has its own understanding of harmony and ideas about beauty. Anyway.
Mechanical cradle with clamps. No magnets. The bracelet is fastened in it securely. It is convenient to use.
There is also an eyelet on the cradle, for which you can attach it, for example, to keys or somewhere else so as not to lose it. However, given the operating time of the bracelet (about a month), there is no point in carrying the cradle with you. But the very fact of such an opportunity is good news. By the way, just in case, the polarity of the cradle: plus on the side of the microUSB connector. Suddenly come in handy.
The bracelet itself is made in my favorite minimalistic design. The strap is an extension of the bracelet case, creating a graceful silhouette. Strictly and nothing more. Honor The Band 3 is slightly thinner and narrower than the MiBand 2. No protrusions, extensions or bulges. It looks very good when turned off.
On the front surface of the case there is a vertical display, which is almost invisible when turned off. When activated, the display shows information about the connection Bluetooth, current time, battery charge, today's day and day of the week, and the number of steps. Unfortunately, there are no skins for the main display, and you will have to be content with what the manufacturer has come up with. Given the geometry of the display, the time is displayed vertically.
On the street, in this wonderful spring weather with the bright sun and blinding snow-white snowdrifts up to the knee, the display lacks brightness a little – it fades. If the sun is not so bright, then everything is perfectly visible. The photo does not convey the real state of affairs. On the street, the display in the camera lens flickers, and it is extremely difficult to get a photo that reflects reality.
The display is covered with dense, hard plastic. Alas, this is not glass, so it can scratch. You can buy a protective film. Under the display there is a tactilely highlighted touch button in the form of a circle, which serves to control the bracelet. With its help, you can switch the bracelet operation modes, select the type of activity, scroll through notifications and reject calls (alas, you cannot answer calls).
On the back there is a traditional heart rate sensor, contact pads for charging and screws with which you can remove the strap. Yes, the straps are replaceable here, but it's not as easy to do as in MiBand 2. Not so convenient, but much more reliable.
The strap itself has an embossed pattern of longitudinal lines, as well as a double-lock clip. Noteworthy is the finer adjustment of the strap volume due to the more frequent holes. This is a definite plus.
The manufacturer declared the presence of protection against water and dust according to the IP68 standard. This means that the bracelet must withstand immersion and stay under water. Huawei on the box indicates the possibility of diving to 50 meters. We will believe it, since there is no scuba gear at hand and it will not work to test it in practice. Comparing with the same Xiaomi Mi Band, we get the advantage of Honor Band 3.
To pair with a smartphone, you need to install the Wear program Huawei. The program interface is made in dark colors.
After starting the program, you will be asked to fill in your details such as nickname, gender, weight, height and date of birth. After that, the bracelet will be searched for and its subsequent pairing with the phone.
In the program itself, you can customize the bracelet for yourself, indicating what data will be displayed when scrolling through the menu with the button, enable automatic heart rate monitoring (which will significantly reduce the operating time of the device), turn on the sleep analyzer (which will also negatively affect the operating time). In fact, in both of these modes, the bracelet will periodically measure your heart rate and analyze the data.
But there is a feature that was deprived of MiBand 2 users – a smart alarm clock! I don’t know how much you need it, but judging by the howling in the networks after the refusal Xiaomi from this function, the thing is necessary for many. So, she is here.
I also often met a mention on the network that there is a limit on the number of applications from which you can receive notifications on the bracelet. Complete nonsense. At the same time, you can activate at least all applications installed on your smartphone.
There are already familiar functions of turning on the display when raising your hand, scrolling through menu items by turning your wrist.
And most importantly, as I wrote above, in the Russian version there is a choice of hand.
To manage workouts, there is a separate program Huawei Health, in which, in theory, you can store workout data and synchronize it with the main application. But I can't add Honor Band 3 there – it's not in the list of supported ones. Therefore, this application turned out to be useless for me. And when using the application, an icon constantly hangs in the status bar, which annoys me – I do not like unnecessary icons in the status bar. As a result, the Huawei Health app paired with Honor Band 3 turned out to be useless, so it was removed.
One of the main criteria for choosing this particular model was the ability to read the text of notifications. It looks like this – when a notification arrives, the bracelet emits a short vibration, and the message icon and the sender's name are displayed on the screen. The disadvantage is that the same icon is displayed for different applications. But this is not a problem, as you can immediately view the text of the notification. To do this, tap on the button on the bracelet. If the text is long, then by pressing the button, you can scroll through the notification until you read it in full.
A small flaw is that if you read the notification on the phone, but did not do it on the bracelet, it will remain unread on the bracelet. They say that this bug was fixed in some firmware, but I have it. At my leisure, I'll do the firmware to fix this.
When you receive an incoming call, you can skip the call by pressing the button once. Then the bracelet stops vibrating, and the sound and vibration are muted on the phone, but the call continues to go. It turns out a complete analogue of pressing the volume key with an incoming call. And it is also possible to reject a call by holding the button on the bracelet.
Sorry, there is no answer to the call. However, apparently, the developers were guided by the fact that if you are wearing a headset, then you can answer a call from it, and if without a headset, then what's the point of answering if the phone is not in your hands.
If the bracelet needs to be reset or rebooted, it can be done without having a phone and pairing with it. To do this, you need to activate the display so that the clock is on the screen. Then briefly tap the display twice. Yes, it is the display, not the button. Then wait 1-2 seconds and again briefly tap the display twice. The bracelet will go to the settings menu, where you can view regulations, the current firmware and software version, as well as reboot or reset the bracelet.
Another non-obvious point is related to the activation of the Smart Lock function. In order to activate automatic unlocking of the phone when the bracelet is connected, it will be necessary to unload the Wear program Huawei, turn it off / on Bluetooth, and then search for the device.
After that, you can go to the security settings and activate Smart Lock. The fact is that, unlike MiFit from Xiaomi, the program menu Huawei Wear does not have an item to activate this parameter, while, being paired with the program, the bracelet is no longer visible to the phone directly. It is for this reason that these 'tambourine dances' are needed. After the bracelet is found and Smart Lock is activated, the active pairing with the bluetoot device will be displayed in the status bar. Do not forget to open the settings Bluetooth, and disconnect the bracelet (not remove, but disconnect). This will not affect the performance of Smart lock, and will save the battery of the smartphone. After that run Huawei Wear – everything will work.
A few minutes after you start using the bracelet, you stop feeling it. Diminutiveness and low weight are the definite advantages of the device. However, there are those who are accustomed to the device being weighty and felt on the hand. He's not going to like him. By the way, I have such an attitude to ordinary watches – only on the bracelet in order to feel on the hand. But a fitness bracelet – on the contrary, the lighter the better.
Compared with MiBand, the choice will be unambiguous in favor of the product from Huawei. On its side is a smart alarm clock, and the ability to read the text of notifications from different applications, and at the same time a comparable operating time. A more strict, laconic and complete design can also be written down as subjective advantages. However, the payment for this is a higher price. If you are not afraid of the option of buying a device from your hands, then you can significantly save money by buying a bracelet from ads. Once again, be sure to specify which version the seller has.
Very soon the announcement of the next generation of bracelets from Xiaomi – MiBand 3, which promises to have a larger display, which means advanced notification settings, and, perhaps, I was in a hurry with the purchase, should take place. But I want to use the device now, and not wait first for the announcement, and then for the start of sales, which is unknown when it will be.
At the moment Honor Band 3 fully meets my needs and is suitable in all respects, so I am completely satisfied with the purchase, and if you have similar requirements for the bracelet, I can safely recommend it for purchase.