Huawei Band 4 Pro Fitness Tracker Review– Small, but Capable!
|Huawei Band 4 Pro||25 g||0.95"||240x120|
|Huawei Band 2 Pro||21 g||0.91"||x|
|Xiaomi Mi Band 2||18 g||0.46"||x|
|Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 Aluminium 40 mm|
Samsung Exynos 9110
0.8 GB Memory, 4 GB eMMC
|26 g||4 GB Flash||1.20"||360x360|
|Apple Watch 5 40 mm Aluminium|
1 GB Memory, 32 GB SSD
|30.8 g||32 GB SSD||1.53"||394x324|
Case, Features and Handling – Waterproof?
The Huawei Band 4 Pro comes from a long line of Huawei fitness trackers; we tested the Band 2 Pro in 2017. We are curious to see Huawei's Changes and Improvements.
The Band 4 Pro, which features an integrated GPS module for recording tracks without a smartphone, a heart rate sensor and an infrared sensor that monitors the body temperature during workouts and uses the results to calculate the user's calorie consumption, can be purchased for just under 70 Euros (~$77). In some countries, the Band 4 Pro also offers NFC, which, combined with Apple Pay or Google Pay, can be used for payments. However, this feature is not enabled in Central Europe.
Cheaper versions of the Band 4 Pro in the form of the Band 4 and the Band 4e are available as well. While the Band 4e has been specifically designed for basketball players, the Band 4 is a simpler variant without active GPS or NFC. Additionally, its display resolution is lower and due to the outdated TFT technology, the viewing angles are worse.
The metal frame, which looks very nice thanks to its brushed finish, houses the screen of the Band 4 Pro. Depending on the color variant, the frame is either black or rose gold and the band black, red or pink. The body of the tracker consists of "metallic plastic", which is how Huawei characterizes the material. Although compared to the Band 2 Pro, the latest version of Huawei's fitness tracker is slightly heavier, it is still very comfortable to wear.
According to Huawei, the case has a 5 ATM water resistance rating, meaning that users can usually keep the fitness band on while washing their hands. Curiously, Huawei also claims that users can go swimming with the fitness tracker, even though internet sources suggest that a water resistance rating of 5 ATM is not usually sufficient for this. However, since Huawei also advertises this on its official web page and the warranty does not explicitly exclude water damages, buyers should not run into any issues.
The included wristband consists of silicone rubber and is about 16.5 mm (~0.65 in) wide. With a total length of just above 21 cm (~8.27 in), the two straps are also suitable for more muscular wrists and there are numerous holes for adjusting the length.
The wearable can be navigated via the touchscreen and a recessed, touch-sensitive button, which takes users back to the home screen. Although here, a special gesture may have sufficed and allowed for more screen estate, this solution works as well. In our opinion, the button is not quite sensitive enough, since we often had to touch it multiple times in order to return to the home screen. While the touchscreen also works fairly well, some other touchscreens are even more precise.
Software – Feature-Rich Android App
Huawei has developed its own operating system for the fitness tracker, which can be connected to an iOS or Android smartphone with the Huawei Health app. Questionable: Huawei's mobile services, which have to be installed on Android, run in the background and require quite a lot of system permissions. Using the fitness tracker without it and a Huawei ID is not possible. While this is somewhat annoying for smartphones from other manufacturers, the services are preinstalled on Huawei devices anyway. The upside is that apart from very old smartphones, the fitness tracker is compatible with almost every smartphone.
While new title screens can be downloaded from the Watch Face Store on a smartphone, there is no queue and as a result, every face has to be selected and installed individually. In some cases, the days are unfortunately only displayed in chinese characters.
The app allows for changing the settings, displaying and evaluating the recorded data and updating the Band 4 Pro's firmware.
Communication and GPS – Fairly Precise GPS
Bluetooth 4.2 LE is one of the most important connectivity features of the Band 4 Pro: It is used to connect to the smartphone and aside from NFC in some countries, there are no other wireless interfaces. While we did occasionally encounter some problems with the connection to the smartphone, we did not run into any issues after restarting the app once.
We took the Huawei Band 4 Pro and the Garmin Edge 520 with us on a small run. Here, the Garmin navi achieved surprisingly inaccurate results, whereas the Huawei Band 4 Pro came much closer to recording the actual route. Although a direct comparison is not possible, since the Huawei app supports neither satellite view nor exporting data, the route recorded by the fitness tracker appears to be relatively steady and accurate.
Accessories and Warranty – 24 Months of Safety
The scope of delivery includes a very small charging dock, which charges the device when in contact with the two magnetic PINs on the back of the tracker. While there is still no dedicated AC adapter, any ordinary USB charger, USB port on a PC or powerbank can be used to charge the wearable.
Huawei offers a 24-months warranty.
Display – Not Very Bright
With 282 PPI, the Band 4 Pro offers a good resolution and thanks to the AMOLED screen, the colors also look vivid. While the glossy layer is an annoyance in the outdoors on bright days, since it makes the fitness tracker's display hard to read, the screen contents become much easier to read in the shade or when shading the display with the hand.
The display's diameter is 0.95 inches and thus sufficiently large to be reasonably distinguishable.
PWM is common for regulating the brightness of AMOLED screens and with PWM flickering on almost every brightness setting, our test device is no exception in this regard. Although users are unlikely to look at their fitness tracker as often as they would look at a smartphone and experiencing any issues is unlikely, sensitive users should still be aware of the flickering before a purchase.
Features – Band 4 Pro Can Monitor Sleep
Huawei, of course, offers various evaluation modes for different sports, the fitness tracker reminds users to exercise after prolonged sitting and sleep can be monitored as well.
The 6-axis motion sensor not only allows for counting steps, but also swimming or rowing movements. The results recorded during our test period appeared to be reasonable and realistic.
The optical heart rate sensor can either monitor the pulse continuously or at intervals, which depend on trained patterns of daily activity, to conserve energy. In either mode, the device can output a warning if the heart rate becomes too high or too low.
The sleep tracker recognizes wake phases and different sleep phases fairly reliably. Additionally, it offers hints for making sleep phases even more relaxing. The included alarm clock can be used to initiate the process of waking up with gentle vibrations before the alarm time. However, this only happens outside of slow-wave sleep.
Lastly, the smartphone of course also supports displaying messages sent to the smartphone. That said, there is no speaker or microphone for listening to voice mails or making calls, respectively.
Battery Life – Lasts a Marathon
As with the Band 2 Pro, the Band 4 Pro includes a 100-mAh battery. Huawei lists various different scenarios for the battery life; when the sleep tracker is inactive and the heart rate sensor set to continuous, the device supposedly lasts 7 days, for example. When the sleep is being monitored every night and the fitness tracker is being used relatively intensively, it is still supposed to last 5 days.
Taking into account our practical tests, all of this - including the 7 hours of GPS-supported workout time promised by the manufacturer - seem plausible. Depending on the environmental temperature, battery life can of course also be shorter, which becomes particularly apparent in the winter.
Charging the device takes up about 1:30 hours.
Verdict – Band 4 Pro Stands Alone
The Huawei Band 4 Pro is a modern fitness tracker that is overall well-suited to daily sports activities: Its fairly high-resolution AMOLED screen with vivid colors, good companion app, integrated GPS, which makes it independent from a smartphone and the sensors for monitoring the user's body make it rather universal.
There are a few details that users should be aware of in advance of a purchase: The Huawei app requires users to install Huawei mobile services if a smartphone from another manufacturer is used. The screen is not very bright and needs to be shaded on bright days, in order for it to remain readable. Furthermore, the navigation assisted by the separate home key could have been slightly more precise.
Overall, users still get a lot for their money and recording sleep cycles, heart rates and routes work reliably.
The Huawei Band 4 Pro features its own GPS module and in some countries even NFC functionality, both of which make it stand out from cheaper fitness bands.
We recommend the fitness band to anyone looking for something more than just a second screen with sensors on their wrist.