Before 2020 ended, Amazon slipped a fitness wearable onto the market, called the Amazon Halo.
The Amazon Halo is a cost-accessible fitness tracker for those who don’t like frills but do like to get all the basic information about their overall health and wellbeing.
Unfortunately, it’s only currently available in the USA. It has no screen, so it’s reminiscent of the original Fitbit models and is designed to be a fitness tracker. However, when you download the partner app, it has many extra features that the wearable itself doesn’t offer.
You won’t find some things that you may have expected. For example, it doesn’t have Alexa built-in or any connection to your Amazon account, and it doesn’t have voice control.
The Amazon Halow has no screen; more of a pod with a single physical button. It has a microphone, LED light and fabric wristband. As there’s no display, the solo button is used for muting the microphone when you want some privacy whilst using the Tone feature (this is the one that listens to nuances in your voice to detect your mood).
On the whole, this device is comfortable to wear. It’s easy to arrange in the right position on the wrist, and once you’ve done that, you barely notice it’s there. Which is handy, seeing as you’ll need your phone to see the data you’re likely to want to look at. This is actually Amazon’s intention.
You can choose from three colour combinations; black, silver and rose gold. This gets paired with a fabric band and a matching sensor pod.
What the Amazon Halo does offer are some unique features that include stress monitoring using your voice. That’s right; it’ll pick up on any strain as you speak throughout the day. Using the app, you can take photos of your body, and it will work out your body fat percentage. Both these features are opt-in, and none of your data is stored on the device itself.
If you’re looking for a basic fitness tracker, the Amazon Halo does just that. It offers fitness and sleep tracking, and you use the app to see all of your information. However, if you want it to do more, it does. As Fitbit offers Fitbit Premium, Halo offers a subscription service that comes with workouts, wellness and nutrition courses that encourage improvement to your overall wellbeing.
Without the subscription, you’re pretty limited in terms of features. For example, you don’t get any wellness or nutrition features, nor do you get the body scanning or tone features, advanced sleep scores or fitness data.
Don’t let that put you off, though. Without the subscription, you really get the basics. Meaning, steps, calories, heart rate and the time spent asleep and awake. Similarly to Fitbit, you get 6 months free trial of the service with an Amazon Halo firsthand purchase.
As with other fitness trackers, the Amazon Halo also doesn’t offer vibration, therefore don’t expect notifications, reminders or alarms.
The best part about the Amazon Halo is that it costs under $100. Currently only available in the US, naturally via Amazon, but this will open up soon.
A passive device
The Amazon Halo requires little to no interaction with the user. Similar to the Jawbone. In fact, this is the opposite of what you’d expect from a modern fitness tracker or smartwatch. You barely have to make any adjustments or customisations. So if you’re someone who doesn’t like too many buttons and much fiddling, but you want to keep an eye on your data, this is for you.
This passivity extends to the way it tracks fitness, too. Again, different to modern fitness trackers, the Amazon Halo will set a weekly goal instead of daily. It does this by way of setting a total score. For example, 150 points = 150 active minutes.
This means it’s a great watch for anyone who likes to carry on without being chained to their devices. The Amazon Halo app will not remind you to get up if you’ve been sedentary for too long and there’s no vibrating reminder to stand or breathe. You simply get your weekly score as a means of keeping on track. However, you will have a point removed from your score per sedentary hour.
Similarly, with sleep-tracking, you’ll be given a score out of 100. If you achieve 85 or more, this is considered a high-quality sleep. In the app, you’ll be given a graph showing your sleep stages. Again, much like Fitbit, it’ll offer you sleep recommendations after a poor night’s sleep.
Essentially, what you can do is just let the Amazon Halo live on your wrist and check in once in a while to charge it. You should get up to 7 days between charges. If you turn on the Tone feature so the microphone is always listening, this drops the battery life down to just two days.
The Body feature encourages you to take up to four photos of yourself in tight clothing. Upload it to the app, and it will calculate your body fat percentage. Amazon states body fat percentage is a better indicator of your health than your BMI. In fairness, BMI has long been tossed out the window by self-respecting medical professionals. Amazon will process this data in the cloud, and your results are updated to the device then immediately deleted from the cloud. So your privacy is always protected.
Once your percentage has been calculated, you get a 3D image of your body presented within the app. This has a slider which you use to move up and down to see the body shape change. This might be a bit of a wake-up call for some users, but it’s an accurate representation of how your body can change.
Amazon says it’s best to update your photos twice a month to see real progress. Your body weight can/will fluctuate over the week, but body fat can take weeks to reduce.
Tone is a really unique feature unseen elsewhere. How your voice sounds can indicate how stressed you are. Amazon says this will help with your communication within your relationships by tracking your tone during the day for positive and negative patterns.
The Labs – Programs and Workouts
The Labs is a habit-changing feature. If you tap the labs icon situated at the bottom of the app, it’ll bring up two options. You can scroll through Programs or Workouts. The former is fairly granular; you can choose a specific habit you’d like to work on, like nutrition, sleep or mindfulness. It’ll offer prompts for you to try things during your day, activities or before bed. It’ll monitor alternations in your sleep and activity as a result.
Labs is far from being a groundbreaking feature, but it’s nice to have on an otherwise basic fitness tracker. There are still some cool things to play with, though. The only drawback is the necessity to pay for the supporting app. However, as this is a first for Amazon, it may well change with later versions of the device. Don’t forget this is uncharted territory for Amazon.
The Amazon Halo is a sweet little fitness tracker with minimal but powerful capabilities. All without a screen, too! All your data goes right to the dedicated app, which offers extended and advanced information. It has a small monthly fee, but it’s worthwhile. With it, you can get more information. Luckily, you get 6 months free with your purchase to see if you need it or not.
- 7-day battery life
- Body scan is more realistic than BMI
- First wearable to tell you about your mood from your voice
- No screen
- Subscription is somewhat forced on users
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