The term ‘fitness tracker’ may be a bit of a misnomer. It gives the impression that if you aren’t into exercise, training, and all around fitness, that you have no use for any type of activity tracker. But if fitness and activity trackers were called wellness trackers, maybe more of us would embrace them, since they do a lot more than track your run. Case in point, Amazon has gotten into the wellness data game with its Halo View. But is it a worthy competitor to something like Fitbit or Garmin? I recently got a Halo View to test and review so I’ll tell you what it can do, how it works, what kind of data you get and if I think it’s a good option for you.
Update: May 2023: Amazon Halo is no more
Amazon has just announced it is no longer selling nor supporting the Amazon Halo line of devices:
At Amazon, we think big, experiment, and invest in new ideas like Amazon Halo to delight our customers. While we are proud of what we built, we recently made the difficult decision to stop supporting Amazon Halo effective July 31, 2023. We understand this news may be disappointing for you. Beginning on August 1, 2023, Amazon Halo View, Amazon Halo Band, and the Amazon Halo app, will no longer function. If you have a paid subscription, you will no longer be charged for the monthly subscription fee as of today, and any unused prepaid Halo subscriptions fees will be refunded to your original payment method in the coming weeks. You do not need to take any additional steps.
If you want to download or delete your Halo health data, you can do so from the Settings page in the app. If you want to save your scan images to your phone’s Camera Roll, open the individual scan image, click the button next to the camera icon, and select “Save images to phone.” Remaining Halo health data will be deleted after August 1, 2023.
We encourage you to recycle your Amazon Halo device and accessories through the Amazon Recycling Program – Amazon covers the costs associated with shipping and recycling your devices and accessories. Find more information about the Amazon Recycling Program and get your free shipping label by clicking the link: https://amazonrecycling-us.re-teck.com/recycling/home. If you have any questions, please reach out to customer service.
Amazon Halo View
This activity tracker will count all the basics, and it has some unique features too. For an affordable price, Halo View offers a lot, with only a few small downsides.
- Easy to set up
- Comfortable to wear
- Tracks everything I need
- App is easy to use & view
- Get alerts from compatible phones
- Tracks blood oxygen, heart rate
- Cool features like voice analysis and body composition
- Lots of features
- Now with color screen
- Only available in USA
- Choosing wrong size band may get inaccurate heart rate
- Halo app is a bit busy
- Monthly cost after free trial, for some services
What is the Halo View?
The Halo View is Amazon’s second-generation activity tracker. Unlike its predecessor, the Halo Band, the Halo View has a new OLED screen so you can get the biometric data you need at a glance without needing to go to the Alexa app on your phone. The original band was billed as a tracker that didn’t ‘distract’ you with its screen notifications, but it seems folks found that weird, so here we are.
Adding a screen, for better or worse, makes the Halo View look pretty much like most of the other budget dedicated fitness trackers on the market. There is no Amazon branding or fancy band designs so what you get (if you’ll forgive the obvious comparison) is essentially a Fitbit Inspire powered by Amazon technology. It is available in two sizes (which differ only in band length) with three colors to choose from – Active Black, Sage Green, and Lavender Dream. The packaging is pretty simple and other than the band itself, all you get is a charger, a quick start guide, and a couple of motivational stickers.
The silicone band feels fine for what you are paying but you may swap them for any of the sport or fabric bands available in Amazon (prices start at $15US). (Good news for the original Halo Band owners too as those bands will work with the Halo View.)
My hands-on video review
Setting Up the Halo View
Amazon relies on the Halo app for accessing stats and the app also doubles as the setup guide. The app does a decent job explaining how to get started and even showed detailed instructions and animated graphics on how to wear the Halo View on your left or right wrist. I had no issue getting it up and running and updating it to the latest version. I was ready to go in just a few minutes.
Halo View Health Features
Halo View will track and report on all the n ow-standard fitness, activity, movement and sleep data as other devices do, including:
- Heart rate
- on-demand blood oxygen levels
Halo View will also send call and text notifications to your band with a compatible phone (I used my Google Pixel phone for this test). You can also control music, start live workouts, and get move reminders too.
Step count seems accurate
I tested the halo views step counting reliability by strapping the device onto my wrist counting my steps, then sinking with the app. For the most part, I found the step count to be quite accurate, if a little delayed to update inside the app. I’d say the step count was only off by a step or two which I consider to be quite accurate.
Sleep tracking also accurate
Halo View will track your sleep metrics like how long you slept for, how long it takes you to fall asleep, time spent a week, and how long and at what time you were in each of the major stages of sleep: awake, REM, light, and deep. It will also give you a score out of 100 in terms of how your overall sleep quality was. It also tracks interesting metrics like the number of disturbances overnight and what time they came at, as well as your skin temperature and it can establish a baseline for your own personal normal.
I checked my morning sleep report and found that the device did seem to do a good and accurate job of tracking my sleep patterns. The timeline seemed to match up for when I was woken up and for how long it took me to fall asleep. I found I could also largely agree with my scores.
I’m not sure what to say about the Halo View’s heart monitoring ability; I have no medical grade devices to verify the accuracy of the View; I can only say howe I felt, and perhaps how it compared to some other wrist-worn devices.
Several times in my testing the Halo View registered my heart rate at extremely high levels, particularly when I was sitting or otherwise chill.
At one point while working on my laptop I checked in on my heart rate and it showed a problematic 135-140 bpm. I checked it against a Fitbit, and then an Apple Watch, just to make sure I wasn’t on the verge of a crisis. Both other devices detected my heart rate at about half what the Halo View showed it at. Even so, at other time the View was much closer to the Apple Watch.
What to do if Halo View heart rate is inaccurate?
If your Amazon Halo app isn’t correctly reflecting your resting heart rate, max heart rate, or live heart rate, there could be a few reasons for it.
Your Halo device observes heart rate with an optical sensor on the bottom of the capsule. You may see less accurate data if the device is loose on your wrist. Inaccurate data can also occur if you frequently clutch your fists, or your movement patterns are irregular. In my case I think the fit was the issue, as I tended to get inaccurate readings if the band was looser on my wrist, so for this reason, choose your band size wisely when you order.
When I insured a snug fit and good placement, I found the heart rate was significantly more accurate.
To fix common issues:
- Check your band fit. Make sure that you’re wearing the device on your wrist with the button facing you. The device should fit snugly and be placed one finger above your wrist bone.
- Keep your health profile updated. We use data from your health profile to determine moderate and intense heart rate ranges.
- Check that your device and phone are connected. You can check by pulling down to refresh on the Amazon Halo app home page to see if the sync successfully completes.
- Try to avoid clenching your fist during functional fitness and weightlifting workouts since that can lead to inaccurate heart rate values.
Body Composition assessment feature
Amazon’s unique spin on this fitness tracker is that it can also do a Body Composition analysis and use what’s called its Tone of Voice feature.
The Body Composition feature requires you to submit full-body pictures of yourself (in minimal clothing) to analyze your body fat. The app informs me that Halo body is powered by a computer vision algorithm that estimates the percentage of body fat tissue in someone’s body and that a 2021 study found the halo body assessment to be as accurate as clinically recommended body fat estimation tools and more accurate than the at home smart scales it was tested against.
Aside from accuracy, the other key concern with submitting full body photos of yourself is where those photos might end up. Amazon details the privacy protections as part of the tool, and says the images are deleted after the assessment unless you choose to save them.
The tool will ask for your ethnicity, weight, and then get you to prop the camera up somewhere and stand in from of it take photos of you. A few seconds later you’ve got your report.
The Halo View scan put my body fat percentage at 32.5% which is in the lower-normal range, so I’d say that’s accurate for me. By way of comparison, I have a Fitbit area scale and the scale puts my body fat percentage at 35.3%.
Tone of Voice analysis
The Tone of Voice feature puts a grade on your voice in various areas and tries to paint an emotion profile.
I used the Tone of Voice feature and found it interesting, if easy to dupe. Getting this feature set up requires you to read some text aloud in your natural voice. Then you use what’s called the Live Mode real time voice analysis to interpret how you sound.
When I spoke in my normal voice I got a positive reaction when I spoke in my normal voice I got a positive reaction generally speaking it showed that I was focused knowledgeable confident and generally in a good mood. But then I was easily able to push it into the negative by dropping my voice and sounding more clipped, constrained and constricted. You can delete the files when you’re done with them.
This could actually be a really good tool to use on a conference call or when conversing with difficult people, since you can analyze how you sound on the spot and correct your tone if you want to. Or perhaps if you don’t generally come across as authoritative, you could use this feature to help guide your conversations. It’s an interesting tool and the prospects are fascinating. I guess you could potentially just use this with the Halo app, since the Halo View band does not have any microphone in it, and is not really taking part in this analysis, but since Amazon says you need the band to take part in the halo membership maybe you can’t hack this feature.
Halo App: lots of info; maybe too much?
I will say it one of the first things I noticed about the Halo app is that there is a lot going on, particularly on the main screen or the Feed tab.
There’s so much in here including your daily stats, insights, different options for fitness evaluation’s, plus things like recipe ideas and exercise demonstrations. I think Amazon wants to be your one stop shop for all things fitness but I found the app can be a bit overwhelming.
Using the Data tab is a lot more chill; you can simply view your activity and sleep at a glance, so it’s easy to get an assessment of where you’re at.
Membership has its privileges… and its cost
There’s another small caveat behind these two features and it is Amazon’s Halo Membership. It is on the cheap side at $3.99 a month and you also get extra programs, recipes, and workouts from the app along with extra stats like “movement health”.
Amazon offers a free 1-year membership to this service after you set up the watch which is pretty cool. Once expired, you can still use the Halo View as a sleep and steps tracker, get your burned calories stats and heart rate through the built-in SpO2 sensor along with other stationary activity information.
The only hard negative I must give to this fitness tracker is the missing GPS functionality which makes it impossible to track distance, which something like a Garmin or Fitbit will do, albeit at a much higher price. The Halo app also lacks any ability to utilize your phone’s GPS.
The Halo View is another star in the expanding constellation of the Amazon Alexa ecosystem albeit a smaller one due to the lack of a microphone. This is not a fitness tracker you can talk to for the latest weather or play Spotify tracks. But if you have an Amazon Echos in the house or use Alexa as your default smartphone assistant, you can ask Alexa questions such as your sleep stats or resting heart rate and get answers straight from your Halo stats.
From a full charge, I was able to use the Amazon Halo View for about a week and that includes both exercising for a few hours and syncing data to the Halo app. No complaints here! Stated battery life is 7 days and recharging takes about 2 hours. Not surprisingly your use may vary since battery life varies based on device settings and usage.
If you aren’t wearing a fitness tracker in 2022, you are missing out on a lot. Getting all these statistics about your sleeping habits and exercises add more meaning to your activities and the entry cost isn’t very high these days. You don’t want to go for the cheapest tracker as they are quite limited in features but fitness trackers in the $70 to $99 price territory tend to offer good bang for the buck. The Amazon Halo View neatly slots into this category with its $79.99 price on Amazon US. For nearly a third of the price of an Apple Watch SE, I came away rather impressed with the features this fitness band offers even if some will be locked behind a monthly paywall after my free trial ends.
Overall review: Amazon Halo View
Overall the Halo View seems to be a mostly accurate and cost-effective alternative to other wellness and activity trackers. While this device is definitely not geared at runners and elite athletes since it’s missing GPS, it does appear to be aimed at folks looking to keep tabs on general wellness metrics like steps, sleep and activity. The addition of a small colour screen on this device lets you get data at a glance, or you can go more in-depth with the halo app.
There’s also exercise help, fitness guidance, and even recipes tucked inside this app meaning you can use as much of it as you want to.
There are also a few unique tools built into this device including the tone of voice assessment and body composition analysis using a photo scan. Both of those features in particular also seemed accurate.
The biggest downside I found with this device is that if the band isn’t correctly fitted it could result in inaccurate heart rate measurements.
Some folks may decry the monthly fee after the end of your free trial, but these monthly membership fees are common across fitness and activity tracking devices. I can also add that the $3.99USD per month halo is charging is significantly less than what Fitbit charges ($9.99) for extremely similar metrics and services.
That aside I think the Halo View is a decent option for budget-savvy shoppers looking to keep an eye on the basics of movement, sleep, weight and health basics.
The Amazon Halo View sells for about $79 USD, and for now it is only available in the USA.
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