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There’s no shortage of fitness bands to choose from, and virtually everyone is familiar with models from Fitbit, as well as the Apple Watch and other Android devices designed with health and fitness in mind. Amazon might not be the first company you think of when it comes to fitness tracking, but the Amazon Halo has proven to be a formidable—and innovative—fitness band that offers a slew of interesting capabilities.
The Halo View is a fitness and sleep tracker with a color display that you can preorder for $30 off.
The Halo’s defining feature is the lack of any sort of display, that makes it look more like a nondescript bracelet than electronics, which is a great look. But of course, some people miss having a screen. If that’s you, you’re in luck: Amazon has expanded the Halo line with the new Halo View, and its color display could make it the perfect fitness band for a lot of people.
I’m excited about the brand new Halo View, so here’s everything there is to know about it right now. But before we get to the View, let’s start with the Halo Band, since the two devices have so much in common.
The first thing you’re likely to notice about the Halo Band is that it doesn’t look much like a fitness tracker—without any kind of display, you could just as easily be wearing a fabric bracelet. All your interactions with the Halo happen on the mobile app, which is where you mostly assess your stats with any fitness band anyway. You can get it in three color combos—rose gold with a pink band, silver with a gray band or black on black—and comes in three sizes.
In operation, the band tries to put your fitness information into a broader context than a lot of other fitness bands. So instead of simply reporting your steps or heart rate, the band tracks your movement, activity and sedentary time, and computes that into an Activity score. Rather than just getting a number—you got a 130, congrats!—Amazon recommends earning at least 150 points per week based on data from the American Heart Association.
You also get a sleep score, which includes details like how long you slept and how long it took you to fall asleep, as well as a body scan that tells you your body fat percentage. Perhaps the Halo’s most intriguing feature, though, is its Tone tracker. Thanks to built-in microphones, the band can monitor your voice intermittently throughout the day and give you a straightforward score that tells you how you sound to others—it highlights “notable moments” and grades them as happy, worried, affectionate, irritated, bored and a variety of other labels. Your voice is never uploaded to the cloud or stored, but you can disable this feature if you want to. With the Tone monitor turned off, you get about a week of use on a single charge; with Tone enabled, you get between one and two days of battery life.
Perhaps the coolest aspect of the Halo Band, though, is the library of fitness, workout and health apps that you can use. All accessible from the app, you get a selection of workout tools, nutrition and recipe apps, meditation and mindfulness and more.
Amazon also treats the Halo Band like a Peloton on your wrist; the cost of the device is actually divided between the $100 sale price (actually, right now it’s 40% off—$60) and an ongoing subscription. You get six months free with purchase, but after that you’ll need to pay $4 per month. If you opt not to subscribe, you’ll still get access to the band’s basic step count and heart rate features, but the subscription opens up access to all the detailed activity and sleep tracking info.
If you were intrigued by the Halo Band but wanted a display, here’s what you’ve been waiting for: last week, Amazon released the Halo View.
In a lot of ways, you can think of the View as a Halo Band with a display. It has a big, bright AMOLED color display that shows off the time and your activity stats, but otherwise does many of the same things as the Halo Band. You’ll find the same activity and sleep tracking, for example, as well as the body scan for your body fat percentage.
One big difference: If you don’t expect that you’ll use the voice tone feature very much, you’ll appreciate that Amazon removed the microphones—so no Tone. You end up with about a week of battery life as well.
Amazon brings a lot to then table for $80. Not only do you get the same waterproofing as in the Halo Band (so you can swim or shower with it on), but it has the usual optical heart rate sensor, blood oxygen tracker and skin temperature sensor.
Unlike the Halo Band, which comes with a six-month subscription, the Halo View includes a full year of service, which gives you access to all the premium features, workout coaching apps and more. My take: The Halo View looks like it’s going to be an excellent value, offering most of the features found in other fitness trackers at a surprisingly modest price.