FutureFive New Zealand - Consumer technology news & reviews from the future
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Hands-on review: Huawei Band 6 and FreeBuds 4i
Thu, 29th Apr 2021
FYI, this story is more than a year old

For the past few weeks, I've been going about my life with a grin on my face. Even now as I write I'm listening to my favourite music on Spotify and loving the experience.

My ears are quite finnicky when it comes to earbuds, and my lobes are telling me that the Freebuds 4i are winners. I love everything about them, from the clear and well-balanced tones through to the colour choices. The review ones are white and the nicely shaped box fits into my pocket when they aren't in use. The Huawei Band 6 has become a part of me too. It has fed me so much information; I'm wondering how I managed beforehand.

Huawei have packed in a plethora of features in both products. Whether panting on the exercycle or grooving along to Dolly Parton, or even doing both simultaneously, I can always tell you my Sp02 levels, steps, heart rate and stress levels immediately. I can also field incoming calls and messages. I can also keep an eye on the ambient temperature, currently 11ºC. It may well be time to change the heat pump settings to winter mode.

The first thing I did after unpacking the Band 6 was to download the Huawei Health app for my phone. Putting in my weight was the hardest part of completing my profile, but I can report a 2.0 kg loss, shown as a little downward line on my graph. Another 60 kgs and I'll be close to my goal.

Today I finally relented and decided to charge the battery, just so I could say I'd done so. I can only conclude that Huawei's claim of two weeks of battery life is accurate. I've been using it continually since unboxing it and only taking it off to wipe the sensors and band or for a shower. At the same time, I thought I'd charge the Freebuds 4i, after over a week of use.

The Huawei Health App has given me loads of information on my favourite subject, me! I have been using it to track my sleep, as it's been a problem recently. I need more deep sleep, and suggests I cut down on my caffeine. I guess it's warm milk before bed tonight.

The Huawei Band 6 produces an amazing range of data. Whether your goal is fitness, weight loss or a reduction in stress, the Band 6 gives you solid data to measure your progress.

I have been experimenting with some of the watch faces available and chose one that gives me data on heart rate, steps, stress levels and the time and date. It also tells me the local temperature and weather conditions; handy for me when I'm on laundry duty. I'm more likely to notice what the phone says than the raindrops lashing my window as I type away feverishly.

Speaking of stress, the Band 6 tells me that over the past week, I've been operating within the “normal” range of 30-59 most of the time, with an average of 57. Funnily, now that I'm writing, my levels have dropped to 52. I'm sure my editor can remedy that anomaly with a well-placed text or email... The Huawei Health app gives you a stress test with which you calibrate the Band 6. The secret, I've learned, is to keep the watch-face still and facing upwards.

The avid cyclers, runners, and walkers among you will be delighted that the Huawei Band 6 will map your route and measure your time, pace, distance covered and heart rate. You'll need your mobile phone with you, and those who like to run to music can plug in their Huawei FreeBuds 4i and know they can run for up to 10 hours before needing to recharge.

Sadly, I have no data to share with my run, due to pending deadlines and osteoarthritis in my right ankle. For those of us who frequent the gym, you will love the built-in workout records. It will record your data as you swim, walk, or run in or outdoors, use the cycle machine and cross-trainer, skip, row, and work on “other” activities.

Fitness apps have certainly advanced since my first experiences a few years ago. The Huawei Band 6 is comfortable and lightweight, and I have happily worn it 24 hours at a time. I'm usually known for taking off my wristwatch and using it as a paperweight for my note cube. The Band 6 doesn't annoy me when I'm working, and the wrist band allows for even my pudgy wrist to feel comfortable.

The test device is black, but there is a range of colours for you to choose from. With an RRP of $129, I can barely wait until April 30th when they will be released in New Zealand. The 1.47” display has proved very user friendly, even to myopic individuals like me. Charge time is ridiculously short. Battery life is ridiculously long. Starting at 76% when I unpacked my review device, I finally relented when it reached 24% earlier this morning. Charging back to 100% took around 30 minutes.

Pair up with the Huawei Freebuds, which will retail with an RRP of $159, and you'll be singing and dancing your way through your daily workouts. The plethora of data that you'll receive is bound to help you as you set your wellness goals. Those of us who like to monitor our SpO2 levels will love the data, and I'm guessing my GP will love it too. Having continuous monitoring without the need for a thing clipped to your index finger will give a continuous picture of your SATs levels.

Make sure you check out the FreeBuds as well. They come complete with their own container that will fit comfortably in your pocket. I've used them happily for phone calls and listening to my favourite music. I haven't mentioned the Band 6 notifications function, which I've found very handy. It buzzes on my wrist when I'm at church and the phone is in silent mode.

Suffice to say, the Band 6 delivers a lot of data on everything from breathing through to how you sleep. The Freebuds 4i offer brilliant quality whether on a phone call, catching up on your favourite Netflix episode, or grooving along to your tunes on Spotify. Competitively priced, both items offer features that other higher-priced products offer. On top of that, they make you look good while keeping you connected.