The Honor Band 5i arrived in India alongside the Honor 9X and Honor MagicWatch 2. It is a watered-down version of the original Honor Band 5 and is relatively more affordable at Rs. 1,999. It bags a swathe of activity trackers and proprietary features to spice up the value proposition.

I’ve been wearing it for a week now and have been trying to ascertain Honor’s success in passing on Honor 5’s strengths at minimal compromises. So, if you’re out for an entry-level fitness band and are not able to make up mind, let me help you.

This is my Honor Band 5i review. To start with, have a look at the difference between Honor Band 5i and the higher-in-order Band 5.

Honor Band 5i vs Honor Band 5 Specs

ModelHonor Band 5iHonor Band 5
Display0.96 inch TFT color touch screen, 160×80, Rectangle dial0.95 inch AMOLED color touch screen, 240×120 pixels, Rectangle dial
BandSiliconeSilicone
Waterproof50 meters waterproof50 meters waterproof
Sensor3-axis inertial sensor
optical heart rate sensor
infrared light wearing detection sensor
6-axis inertial sensor
optical heart rate sensor
infrared light wearing detection sensor
Sports mode
910

Bluetooth
v4.2 v4.2
Battery91 mAh100mAh

Weight

0.0240 kg

0.0230 kg
Price Rs. 1,999 Rs. 2,299

Honor Band 5i Review: Design & Display

Honor Band 5i Review

Right off the bat, this one looks a lot like the antecedent. A rectangle dial attached to a silicone strap. It’s light and takes up a rational space on the wrist. The 5i doesn’t look cheap, the material is decent and I won’t mind wearing it out in most public settings.

The strap’s detachable. So, you can swap between alternative colors viz. Black, Pink, and Green. That’s not it. When you eject the strap half running from the bottom, there you have 5i’s USB charging connector. Yes, this means, you don’t have to bother about a separate cable.

Let’s cast light on that display now. It is a TFT panel measuring 2.4-cm (0.96-in) and with 160×80 HD resolution. It’s satisfyingly bright and the colorful watch faces make it all the more pleasing for eyes. You get to dabble between the 60+ faces available out on the Huawei Health app. Having said that, this certainly falls short of Band 5’s OLED screen.

You can turn on the display either by tapping on it or raising your wrist. There is a touch-sensitive capacitive button on the screen that acts as a Home button. There’s no haptic feedback though, at least, I didn’t sense one. The display gets very easily smudged too, which spoils the visual.

ALSO READ: Sony WI-1000XM2 Review

Speaking of visuals, let’s now talk about the appearance and interaction with on-screen content –

Honor Band 5i Review: Software Experience

Honor Band 5i’s on-screen navigation is easy as beans. Just

  • swipe up/down to cycle through different functions
  • swipe right to step back to the previous menu
  • touch the circular ring on 5i’s face to return home
  • swipe right on the home screen to view the phone messages and notifications
  • swipe down on the home screen to open the music control screen
  • long press on the home screen to change the watch face

During the course of my review, the band got an update which brought in music control, SpO2 detection and bunch of bug fixes. Good software support always bring a smile on my face. 🙂

Among other things, Honor has tucked in ‘Find phone’, timer, and stopwatch in the band settings. They all get the job done.

You can connect it to your Android phone and access all the tracking done through the Huawei Health app. You get in-built integration with Google Fit and MyFitnessPal. Once tethered, the app will present you with a persistent step counting notification.

While it accords timely sync of phone notifications, the texts appear cramped and there’s no reply option. So, moving across multiple messages and reading them can be a bit head jarring. Similarly, you get to cut and silent the calls but not pick ’em.

But, if I’d be honest, these are pet peeves, nothing major.

According to the app’s privacy policy, the data is stored and processed within the device itself. That’s reassuring.

Also Read: How to fix Huawei Mobile Services not responding on Samsung phones

Honor Band 5i Review: Performance & Battery

The band is capable of monitoring 9 sports activities viz. outdoor run, indoor run, outdoor walk, indoor walk, indoor cycle, cross-trainer, rowing, indoor swimming, and free training. That should suffice any run-of-the-mill fitness routine, I suppose.

On casual stroll across a park and a nearby bazaar, I noticed the band pegged my steps just fine. That said, if you’d zero-in to the minutia, then yeah you would notice some missteps. And yes it also confuses vehicle rides for walking. But, as I said, it works well enough to give you a narrow ballpark.

I share a similar sentiment for the TruSeen 24×7 heart rate tracking, sleep analysis, and SpO2 blood oxygen monitor. All good to have and par for the course.

5i’s waterproof also unto 5ATM. Now although it’s better not to wear it whilst performing underwater yoga, it should spare well some splash and spill.

Honor Band 5i manages to muster 5-day worth juice while being actively paired and all sensors firing. It will be quickly back on track too – in about an hour. Again, the in-board charger is really smart and handy, as a smart wearable should be.

Honor Band 5i Review: Verdict

Honor Band 5i is a minor downgrade from the original. And thus it shares a lot of good things – be it a polished design, satisfying battery life, convenient charger, and essential trackers for your everyday fitness.

Hi Honor, if you’re listening, tighten up the counting, especially the misunderstood motions. At Rs. 1,999 I can live with it and probably most buyers too. But, it’s something a hardcore enthusiast might and should not give a pass.

And that’s the thing – after reading thus far, if it doesn’t scream buy me to you, you’ve other options out there, albeit some of ’em at a heftier price tag.

If you could shell an extra Rs. 300, there you have the Honor Band 5 with an AMOLED screen, better sensor backing, and longer battery life. There is no onboard charger though. And, if you are looking for a bigger third-party app and theme support, then Mi Band 4 should be right up your alley. It’s tracking doesn’t stack up to Honor/Huawei standard though.

You win some you lose some and the final choice boils down to what you value most. But, if you ask me, my money would go for Band 5i.

ALSO READ: Realme Band Review

Pros 

  • Essential fitness tracking
  • Workable accuracy
  • Comfortable and modest in looks
  • Built-in USB Charger

Cons 

  • Misunderstood motions
  • Need 3rd party-app support and theme sideloading

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