Honor Band 4

In the market for a new fitness tracker but don't want to spend lots of money on a tool to strap around your wrist? The Honor Band 4 may be made just for you.

It's not the biggest departure from the Honor Band 3 so it may not be suitable for anyone who bought the tracker when it came out in 2017, but there are a few improvements that may sway you.

We've had time to test out the Honor Band 4 at an event in London where it was announced alongside the Honor 8X, and you can expect us to have a full review of the tracker in the coming months.

Honor Band 4 release date and price

The Honor Band 4 has been official in China since September, but this is the first time we've heard of it being released in the UK. 

We now know it'll be coming soon for those in the UK, but we don't currently have an exact date. There's also no confirmation on whether it'll go on sale in the US or Australia.

It's an affordable tracker that costs less than the Huawei Band 2 Pro did at launch with a price of £59.99 (about $80, AU$110).

Design and display

The design of the Honor Band 4 isn't much different to the last tracker. It has a long narrow screen - more on that in a moment - with a home button below it. 

That's all inside a rubberized band which you can swap out, but there's currently only silicone options for extra straps. You've got the color choices of blue, black or violet, but we think that last one looks closer to pink in the flesh. It's the one pictured in this review, so you can judge for yourself.

The dimensions of the tracker are 43 x 17.2 x 11.5mm. It's comfortable to wear, and we barely noticed it on our wrist at 23g. The strap itself seemed secure enough, but it's not the most secure we've seen on a tracker before.

This isn't the worst looking fitness tracker we've seen on the market, nor is it the most attractive; it sits squarely in the middle when it comes to looks. If you're looking for a fashion piece, it's unlikely you'll want the Band 4.

The display on the Honor Band 4 is an improvement over the Band 3 with a 0.95-inch AMOLED, and for the first time on an Honor fitness tracker, it's a color display. That  makes a big difference when scrolling through your stats.

It's not a vibrant display like you'd find on the Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro, but it looks good at a quick glance to see your information when you're in the middle of a jog or cycle.

Features and fitness

Fitness is likely the reason you'll be buying this tracker, and you'll be glad to know it can monitor your step count, your heart rate and sleeping patterns, too. It can also track swimming as it's water-resistant up to 50 meters.

It can monitor a few swimming strokes, including freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly.

If you're after a top-end running companion, you won't get stats that are to your liking and you'll instead be wishing Honor was releasing the Band 4 Running Edition that we've previously seen in China.

That special-edition tracker features metrics including cadence, ground impact and step length, and tracks them using a 6-axis sensor. Honor has yet to confirm if it'll be coming to the UK, and so far it doesn't look hopeful that it will be.

There's no GPS on the Honor Band 4, so this won't be able to track your location. Many more affordable trackers implement Connected GPS that uses your phone to track your whereabouts during your workouts, but this doesn't have that either. It's a bit of a disappointment.

The band can track running and cycling indoors and outdoors, as well as free training and the aforementioned swimming.

There's also sleep tracking, but exactly how much detail that will be able to provide is currently unclear.

You can get phone notifications through to the tracker, but these seemed limited during our short testing. We'll be sure to look into these further in our full review.

An interesting element is the Honor Band 4 allows you to do mobile payments even though it's running the company's own software. We don't currently know how mobile payments will work on the Band 4, but it may be you have to sign up to a separate service.

If that's the case, we'd expect very few banks to support the Honor Band 4 at launch but we won't know for sure until later along the line.

Battery life

This won't give you the best battery life we've seen on any fitness tracker, but with an official estimate from Honor of around two weeks, we expect the Band 4 to last much longer than you'd probably need it to.

With two weeks of battery life, you should be able to wear the Band 4 to bed at night and not have to worry about recharging it while you catch some shut-eye. Hopefully that'll allow you to make the most of the sleep tracking features.

The battery itself is a 100mAh cell, and we're excited to test this out properly to see how long it'll last during our full review.

Early verdict

The Honor Band 4 isn't a major upgrade over the company's last fitness tracker. Mobile payments are a nice addition, but we don't currently know how that will work outside of China.

The truth is, there's little here to excite when it comes to fitness tracking. At first look it seems to be very similar to the Band 3, and we're disappointed there's no Connected GPS feature for those who want a little bit more from their wearable.

That said, the design is nice for a fitness tracker around this price point. If you're looking for a bare bones fitness band at a suitably low price, the Honor Band 4 may be right for you.

from TechRadar - Technology Reviews http://www.techradar.com/reviews/honor-band-4