When most people think of wearables, the same names usually come up: Apple, Fitbit, Garmin, and so on. So imagine my surprise when Chinese tech manufacturer Huawei announced a feature-rich fitness tracker at a fraction of the price of most of those companies' offerings.
The Huawei Band 2 Pro (yes, the name is a bit of a mouthful) is a $70 fitness tracker with a number of significant highlights. It not only has the typical heart rate tracking and step tracking, but also includes advanced features like GPS, waterproofing, and the option for continous heart rate tracking to measure VO2 max. In particular, continuous tracking is almost unheard of for a tracker under $100. As a result, I was excited to give the Band 2 Pro a try to see if it lived up to its promises.
First, let's get this out of the way: Visually, the Band 2 Pro looks nearly identical to Fitbit's Alta HR, albeit a little thicker. As a result, the band looks fairly nondescript and could easily be mistaken for a Fitbit device. It does happen to be slightly less stylish than the Alta HR, as the separation between the screen and the bezel is a bit more noticable on the Band 2 Pro. Regardless, the OLED screen is vibrant and easy to read, and anyone who has worn a fitness band before should have no issue with the Band 2 Pro's appearance. The band itself is comfortable enough, but I would prefer a clasp over the push-button style Huawei opted to use.
The Band 2 Pro's main method of navigation is a touchscreen bar near the botton of the band. When I first previewed the Band 2 Pro, I was excited to see the touch bar, as it looked like an intuitive form of naviagtion. It's far more basic than I had hoped, however—the bar only registers taps, not swipes, so if you tap through the menus and accidentally skip over the exercise you wanted to start, you need to tap through the rest of the menus to get back to that option. In other words, there's no way to go backwards. It's a minor quibble in the grand scheme of things, but swipe gestures would have made a huge difference.
Strangely, I had difficulty syncing the Band 2 Pro the first time I turned it on in the office, as the Huawei Wear app on my phone couldn't find the device via Bluetooth. I tried it again when I was home, though, and the syncing worked fine. I haven't had any sync issues since.
As for the actual fitness features of the Band 2 Pro, I'm happy to say that the device lives up to Huawei's claims: The step and heart tracking line up with other fitness trackers, and I was particualrly surprised and impressed by Huawei's sleep tracking.
Like to Fitbit's Sleep Stages, Huawei's Health app has a feature called "TruSleep," which tracks how long you stayed in different phases of sleep each night. However, Huawei's daily reports were more detailed and offered more sleep quality suggestions than Fitbit's. If you're looking for a quality sleep tracker for a low price, the Band 2 Pro is an easy choice.
However, one aspect where Fitbit has Huawei beat is their individual apps. While the Huawei Health app isn't bad, it's just not as user-friendly as Fitbit's app. Huawei Health gets the job done, but there's a little bit of a learning curve to figuring out where everything is.
Ultimately, the Huawei Band 2 Pro has some minor quirks, but is unquestionably the best and most feature-filled fitness tracker I've seen for its price point. Yes, you could get more features and a simpler user experience from other wearables, but those devices cost far more than $70 (especially for quality sleep tracking). If you're curious about fitness tracking but you don't want to break the bank, the Band 2 Pro is the one to get.