Review of Amazon’s Halo

Amazon’s Halo View health tracker is a great way to get started on your fitness quest for around $100.

Review of Amazon's Halo

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Touch screen with color
  • One year of Halo membership is included.
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Measures for automatic workout tracking SpO2

CONS

  • Heart rate values that aren’t consistent during testing
  • There is no GPS functionality.
  • It’s possible that the band will become separated from the tracker by accident.

AMAZON HALO VIEW SPECS

Show SortAMOLED
CompatibilityAndroid, iOS
Coronary heart Price MonitorSure
Sleep TrackerSure
Battery LifeSix days

If you’re searching for a way to stay active but don’t want to spend a lot of money on a fitness tracker you’re not sure you’ll use, Amazon’s $79.99 Halo View might be the answer. The Halo View can track your activity, blood oxygen saturation (SpO2), heart rate, sleep, and skin temperature, with a companion app that includes a wealth of tools to help you improve your results. In nearly every regard, it outperforms its predecessor, the Halo Band: it includes a display, is less expensive, and comes with a free year of premium Halo Membership (up from six months). The Halo View isn’t as accurate as the $99 Fitbit Inspire 2, and its workout-streaming service isn’t as good as Apple Fitness+. Still, if you’re on a tight budget or are just getting started on the road to improved health, the Halo View is an excellent choice.

Halo Band vs. Halo View (and Fitbit Inspire 2)

Review of Amazon's Halo

Following the release of the Halo Band last summer, Amazon received the same criticism from many consumers, including myself: they wanted a screen. The Halo View has a small color AMOLED touch display on which you can see metrics such as your heart rate, sleep score, SpO2 level, and workout information without having to go to your phone’s companion app. You may, of course, use the screen as a watch to check the time.

Meanwhile, the original Halo Band is still available for $99.99 and includes a six-month trial Halo Membership rather than the twelve months that the View offers. You might ask why the screenless variant is more expensive. The case material makes a difference: The View is made of plastic, while the Band is made of stainless steel. According to Amazon, based on your settings, the two wearables provide distinct experiences. The original is designed to be subtle, so it won’t keep you awake at night or during the day. However, because of its screenless design, you must launch the companion app to view your metrics.

The Halo View costs $79.99, which is $20 less than the Fibit Inspire 2. Keep in mind that, unlike the Inspire 2, the Halo View requires a Halo Membership to enjoy most of its functions, such as body composition analysis, live tone of voice analysis (which I discuss in length in my Halo Band review), and movement health indicators.

The Inspire 2 is more expensive up front and has a black-and-white display, but it has more features without requiring a membership, such as detailed activity, exercise, and sleep data. It also includes a one-year Fitbit Premium subscription, which includes audio and video exercises from brands like barre3, Gaiam’s Yoga Studio, and obé, as well as meditations from Aura, Breethe, and Ten Percent Happier.

Smaller and more lightweight

The Halo View’s case is somewhat narrower and higher than the original model’s, measuring 1.84 by 0.75 by 0.47 inches (LWH) (1.64 by 0.84 by 0.41 inches). It’s also lighter, at 0.40 ounces against 0.63 ounces, thanks to the transition to a plastic case. I don’t notice either model on my wrist, though. The Halo View’s plastic case is exclusively available in black, regardless of band color. The stainless steel case of the Halo Band, on the other hand, is available in black, rose gold, or silver.

A rubbery TPU Sport Band in your choice of black, green, or lavender is included with the Halo View. You can pick between small/medium (for wrists 5.1 to 7.7 inches in diameter) and medium/large (for wrists 5.1 to 7.7 inches in circumference) (for wrists 6.3 to 8.9 inches). Though the View’s rubbery band is easily washable and preferable for showers or sweaty workouts, I prefer the fabric band that comes in the package with the original Halo. The Halo View, like the Band, is water resistant to 164 feet, making it suitable for swimming and showering.

Halo app screenshots

Amazon sells fabric, leather, and metal accessory bands for $29.99 each to customize the style of your Halo View. The Sport Band is also available in 15 colors for $14.99 each.

The band accidentally separated from the tracker twice while testing the View. Fortunately, this occurred inside my home, and I was alerted immediately. I might not have noticed if this happened while I was out and about, and I would have lost both the band and the tracker.

The Halo View, like the Band, will last up to a week on a charge, according to Amazon. Depending on how you utilize it, you’ll get different results. The View survived over six days in testing before the battery level dropped below 10%. The Inspire 2 has a longer battery life, lasting up to 10 days on a single charge.

The Band has two onboard microphones for gathering voice data throughout the day for the Tone analysis feature, which is a big distinction between the View and the Band. To save battery life for the display, Amazon deleted the microphones from the View (the Halo Band’s battery life lowers to around two days with Tone analysis activated). Users of Halo View can still utilize the companion app’s live tone analysis tool, which may be handy if you’re practicing for a presentation or speech, but it won’t provide you a summary report of your tone at the end of the day. The Halo Band is a great option if you want to use the Tone feature on a regular basis.

How to Set Up and Use the Halo View

An active Amazon account, a suitable mobile device running Android 8 or iOS 13, and the Halo mobile software are all required for the Halo View. Simply connect the provided USB-A charging cable to your computer or another power source, then attach the other end to the Halo View, aligning the metal charging points. A power adaptor is not included in the box.

After that, turn on Bluetooth on your phone, download the Amazon Halo app (available for Android and iOS), login in to your Amazon account, and finish the setup process by following the on-screen instructions. The software asks for your name, birthday, height, weight, and gender when you first open it.

Because the Halo’s body measurement models are currently based on sex assigned at birth, Amazon claims it only gives female and male gender options right now. Some of your measurements or findings may be wrong if you choose a sex other than the one assigned to you at birth, the business warns, adding, “As more reliable data becomes available, we’ll provide more possibilities.”

After that, the app will SMS you a six-digit code that you must enter to confirm your identity. It then asks which device you’re configuring; select Halo View, then press Next, and it will look for your band. After multiple failed tries, I rebooted my phone and performed a factory reset on the band before completing this step. The app will ask you if you want to allow notifications on the Halo View’s screen and which wrist you wear it on after you’ve properly paired your band.

Halo’s user interface is straightforward, featuring white text on a black background and brightly colored icons. Taps and swipes on the screen are used to navigate the device, and a Home/Back button is located beneath the display. Simply move your wrist to your face or press the Home/Back button to wake the screen. You can cycle through the following health indicators by swiping left and right from the clock face: activity points, calories burnt, heart rate, sleep score, and steps. You can access menus for Data, Exercise, Tools, and Settings by swiping up and down from the clock face.

Halo membership

More information on your activity, blood oxygen saturation, heart rate, and sleep metrics can be found under data. Cycle, fitness training, HIIT, rowing, run, swim, walk, weights, yoga, and more workout-tracking choices are available.

You can set alarms, timers, and a stopwatch in Tools. You can adjust the screen brightness, change your watch face, check your band’s battery level (which you can also check in the app), enable Night Mode (which turns off the screen so it doesn’t bother you), enable or disable raise to wake, manually sync your data with the Halo app (which happens automatically when you open the app), set the vibration strength, set a pin code to unlock your band’s screen, and restart your band from Settings.

Amazon now has 11 watch faces to select from, but none of them are customisable. The majority of the watch faces are digital, but one is an analog clock. One has a dog graphic, while the other has a cat graphic. I went with a simple digital watch face with light pink digits.

Halo Fitness is a company that specializes in fitness.

The View comes with a 12-month Halo Membership, as previously stated. After that, it will automatically renew at a monthly fee of $3.99. The Halo View will only function as a basic activity, heart rate, sleep, and step tracker if you cancel your membership after 12 months.

Amazon has added several key features to its Halo Membership program since the release of the Halo Band. I’m a big admirer of the Movement Health service, which evaluates your posture, stability, and mobility using the app and your phone’s camera. The app generates a program of corrective workout videos based on your findings to help you work on the areas you want to improve. I found the remedial exercises to be both helpful and fun during my testing.

Needless to say, the new Halo Fitness function piqued my interest. Members can now access a library of exclusive exercise videos in the Halo app, including cardio, mobility, outdoor, strength, and yoga. Amazon claims to have hundreds of workouts in its library and plans to introduce new content on a regular basis. The workouts last anything from five minutes and an hour.

Amazon, like Apple, now has a dedicated studio where it shoots its own fitness content. Aaptiv, Exhale, Openfit, Orangetheory Fitness, P.volve, Respin by Halle Berry, Russell Wilson, Street Parking, and Sweat are among the third-party workouts available on Halo Fitness, in addition to Amazon’s exclusive content.

The workouts can be filtered by type, length, difficulty (all levels, beginner, intermediate, or advanced), and companion (Halo or one of the third parties listed above). Amazon also has training programs like Intro to HIIT, Intro to Strength, Path to a Better Squat, Path to Push Up, and Yoga for Beginners that span anywhere from one week to a month. Navigate to Discover > Fitness to locate Halo Fitness classes and programs.

Many of the programs only require an exercise mat, while others include dumbbells, resistance bands, and other equipment—I’d want to be able to filter the classes based on the equipment required. When you select a class that looks interesting, the preview screen displays a textual explanation as well as a list of required equipment. When you’ve found a class that interests you, you can watch it on your phone, cast it to your TV using Apple AirPlay or Google Cast, or stream it on an Amazon Echo smart display.

During my testing, I attempted a few of Halo Fitness’ yoga and strength classes. The strength training sessions were quick, efficient, and made me sweat. For exercises like deadlifts, renegade rows, squats, tricep extensions, and more, they usually need several sets of dumbbells (light, medium, and heavy, preferably). I took intermediate and all-levels strength courses, with the latter being my favorite because the instructor provided more technique cues and words of encouragement.

Amazon Halo app

I also enjoyed a 30-minute Exhale weighted yoga practice that included strength techniques that required dumbbells. The session was well-organized, the music was energetic, and the instructor fully described each move while also providing encouragement.

Apple’s Fitness+ workout streaming service is more expensive ($9.99 per month), and it requires an Apple Watch as well as an iPhone. In addition to core, dance, HIIT, mindful cooldown, and yoga, it can also assist you at home or in the gym with a wider selection of cycling, rowing, strength, and treadmill workouts. Fitness+ also has a much better fit with its wearable device. When you start streaming a class on Fitness+, it will automatically connect with your Apple Watch and bring up the correct workout type for tracking. You can see real-time stats from your Apple Watch on the screen during Fitness+ classes, such as your heart rate, calories burnt, and activity rings.

When you begin a Halo Fitness class, the app records your session’s information (including the amount of activity points you earn, the number of calories you burn, your heart rate data, and your step count), but not on the Halo View’s screen. If you manually monitor that workout on the Halo View so that you can see your heart rate on its screen, Amazon will record two entries in the app and quadruple your activity points for that session. After the workout, you can always go into the app and delete one of the entries, but this isn’t ideal.

The integration of Halo View with Halo Fitness is anticipated to improve in the future. Members will be able to watch real-time fitness metrics from the band, such as heart rate and heart rate intensity zones, on their phone or TV screen when streaming Halo Fitness sessions, according to Amazon.

Music is an important aspect of Fitness+, while it looks to be an afterthought on Halo Fitness. This is unfortunate, because music has the power to make or destroy your workout. I’ve taken or previewed all of Amazon’s original Halo fitness videos, and they’re all set to wordless instrumentals. The library can’t be filtered by music genre, and the class preview screen doesn’t tell you what kind of music is available. Another issue is that the app does not allow you to adjust the background track’s volume independently of the trainer’s. As a result, I was forced to listen to an unpleasant instrumental rock playlist during one of my classes.

Nutritional Supplements from Halo

If dieting is your weakness, the Halo can assist you in regaining control of your nutrition. Amazon provides a library of over 600 healthy recipes in the Halo app’s Discover page, which you can filter by eating type (classic, clean eating, ketogenic-friendly, Mediterranean, Nordic, Paleo-friendly, vegan, or vegetarian).

I love that you can filter the library to reveal vegan selections as I’ve been a plant-based eating for the past nine years. I haven’t tried any of them yet, but the gingery garlicky tempeh, maple breakfast pudding, and vegan no-bake chocolate pie all seem delicious. Each recipe includes a photo, and you can save your favorites for future use.

You can also search the library by meal type (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, dessert, soups, salads, main course, side dish, sauces and dips, and beverages), main ingredient (beans and legumes, beef, chicken, cheese, eggs, fruit, game and lamb, leafy greens, milk and dairy, nuts and seeds, shellfish, squash, tofu, tomato, and turkey), total time (10 minutes to more than 1 hour), and cuisine type (African, American, Cajun (Lifesum, Whole Foods Market, or WW).

Amazon wants to add features to its Halo Nutrition service in early 2022 to help you plan a week of healthy eating. In the app, you’ll be able to create a custom weekly meal plan or choose from seven curated menus, then effortlessly add the products you’ll need to your Alexa Shopping List.

Activity & Fitness Tracking in Halo View

Review of Amazon's Halo

The Halo View automatically tracks walks and other activities that raise your heart rate, even if you don’t have an active subscription. It maintains track of your step count and predicts the number of calories you expended by recording the date, time, and length of your walk. You can see a graph of your heart rate throughout the activity on the Halo app, and the program also records your maximum and average beats per minute for the session. During testing, it precisely monitored the walks I went with my dog.

Because the gadget lacks an internal or connected GPS, it is unable to keep track of your pace and distance while participating in outdoor activities. The Fitbit Inspire 2 doesn’t have a built-in GPS, but it links to your phone’s. After monitoring an outdoor activity with the Inspire 2 and your phone’s GPS, you can view a workout intensity map in the Fitbit app that indicates your heart rate zone at each point along the path, which the Halo lacks.

A yoga practice was also automatically tracked by the Halo View and labeled as a general activity. It only awarded me credit for 24 minutes because my heart rate did not increase throughout the entire one-hour program. When this happens, you may manually change the workout style and duration in the Halo app, and your estimated calorie burn will change as well.

The Halo View analyzes the length of your light, moderate, and extreme activity and assigns you an Activity Score if you pay for a subscription. It gives you points for every minute you’re active, as determined by your heart rate and movement. It also considers the intensity of your activity, so running earns more points than walking, for example. You will lose points if you sit for an extended period of time. You lose one point for every sedentary hour above eight in a single day. The app pushes you to obtain an Activity Score of at least 150 points each week, based on World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.

Halo app

I like how the Halo View records and rewards you with activity points for ordinary chores that get your heart racing, like cleaning the house and doing laundry. While playing with my dog one morning, I earned 13 activity points. During the 18-minute play session, the Halo View estimated that I took 477 steps and burned 56 calories. This only goes to show that in order to satisfy physical activity recommendations and enhance your health, you don’t have to perform an extreme Peloton class or a hard-core Tonal strength training.

When you select a workout from the Exercise app on the Halo View, it starts recording after a three-second countdown period. It displays the same information on the screen regardless of the type of workout you are tracking: your heart rate and duration. You may also swipe to show your total activity points, estimated calorie burn, and step count during the session in various training modes. To stop or pause your workout, press the Home/Back button. When the workout is finished, the View displays a summary of your stats on the screen.

The Halo View’s heart rate measurements aren’t especially precise for tracking exercises. The Halo View said I had a maximum heart rate of 137bpm, an average heart rate of 94bpm, and burned 179 calories during a one-hour workout that included a warm-up on the Stryde smart stationary bike and a strength class on the NordicTrack Vault smart workout mirror, both of which I’m testing for upcoming reviews. Another gadget I’m evaluating, the MZ-Switch heart rate monitor, indicated I had a peak heart rate of 172bpm, an average heart rate of 116bpm, and burned 375 calories during that same session, which seems more accurate.

I also put it to the test against an Apple Watch Series 7, whose accuracy we’ve confirmed, during a 45-minute workout that began with a Stryde warm-up and ended with a Halo strength class. The Halo View claimed I had an average heart rate of 117 beats per minute, a maximum heart rate of 148 beats per minute, and burned 266 calories during that session. The Series 7 estimated that I expended 363 calories with an average heart rate of 149 beats per minute and a maximum heart rate of 189 beats per minute.

The resting heart rate readings on the Halo View are more accurate. The Halo View’s heart rate readings are always within a few beats per minute of the Series 7‘s values while I’m at rest. Navigate to Data > Heart Rate at any time to see your heart rate.

If you’re looking for a more precise fitness tracker, the $179.95 Fitbit Charge 5, our Editors’ Choice, provides similar heart rate and calorie burn readings to the Apple Watch. It costs $100 more than the Halo View, but it comes with a GPS, a stylish metal shell, and support for mobile payments.

SpO2 and Sleep Metrics in Halo

Review of Amazon's Halo

The View additionally provides on-demand blood oxygen saturation readings in addition to heart rate. To take one, go to Data > Blood Oxygen and follow the prompts to tighten the band and slide it toward your elbow for a snug fit. When you’re ready, push the Start button and remain completely motionless. It will display your SpO2 reading after around 30 seconds. In testing, the values appeared to be slightly high, but in the same ballpark as Apple Watch Series 7 measures. I took three readings on each device, alternating between them each time, and then averaged the results, which came out to 99.7% on the Halo View and 98.3% on the Series 7.

Whether or not you’re a member, wearing the Halo View to bed at night will track the duration of your sleep, as well as the time you fell asleep and woke up, how long it took you to fall asleep, how much time you spent awake, and your sleep efficiency (the percentage of time you’re truly asleep).

It takes at least three nights for the Halo View to learn your regular sleep temperature. It will tell you whether you’re running hot or cold relative to previous days and weeks, and by how much, after you’ve established your baseline.

It also tracks your light, deep, and REM sleep and assigns you a Sleep Score (0-100) depending on the length and quality of your sleep with a membership.

I found the Halo View’s sleep metrics to be slightly more accurate than the Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed and the Nest Hub smart display. All three suggested that I had a bad night’s sleep after one night of tossing and turning. The Halo View got the most accurate times for when I went asleep, woke up, and how long I slept, but it underestimated the time it took me to fall asleep. While the Nest Hub and Halo View gave me quite different sleep length estimates (about 6.0 hours vs. 4.8 hours, respectively), they both stated I had around the same amount of REM sleep that night (about 1.4 hours).

Halo app

Big Gains at a Low Cost

Amazon’s Halo View is a simple activity and sleep tracker that gives you a comprehensive picture of your health. At $79.99, it’s hard to beat in terms of value, and its great companion app provides helpful tips and tools to help you improve your health and fitness. Although Halo Fitness has a long way to go before catching up to Apple Fitness+, it is less expensive and its classes will still get you sweating. For dedicated athletes or gym rats looking for more accurate, granular information, the Fitbit Charge 5, our Editors’ Choice in this category, remains a superior pick. The Halo View, on the other hand, is a fantastic, more economical solution, especially for novices.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.


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