Just before the Christmas holidays, Amazon launched its own fitness tracker. The bracelet should help to track and optimize health more precisely. It has a few tricks up its sleeve – but there is also a catch.
Already announced in September and now completely sold out shortly after the market launch. Amazon’s Halo bracelet promises a new approach to fitness tracking – but that comes at a price.
No display, but an extensive app
Unlike the overwhelming majority of fitness trackers on the market, Amazon is going its own way with the Halo, and in a way futuristic. The simple bracelet works completely without a display. Instead, there is only one tape under which a rather bulky-looking sensor is pushed.
The sensor unit contains two microphones, a button and an optical sensor for measuring the heart rate. The unit itself weighs a light 18 grams. Depending on the bracelet size, there are another 5.2 to 6 grams. Amazon offers the fitness tracker in three sizes and two versions. The model with a textile strap is available in small (133-155 millimeters in circumference), medium (145-180 millimeters) and large (170-220 millimeters). It is made from a mixture of polyester, nylon and spandex. The sports armband, on the other hand, is only available in two sizes, which can be flexibly adapted to the wrist. It is made of silicone.
The tape comes with a charging clip, but without a USB power supply. It is available in black, silver and pink. According to Amazon, it is “swim-proof” and waterproof to a depth of 50 meters (5 ATM).
The sensor supports Bluetooth 5.0 and requires a smartphone with at least iOS 12 or Android 7. The Halo app from Amazon must be installed on the smartphone (not available in Germany). There is currently no way to integrate the health data into Apple’s health app or the Google Fit app.
The app is basically the heart of the Halo bracelet, because it controls the important functions such as the 3D body fat module, voice analysis and health optimization.
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Amazon relies on new functions with Halo
Sure, the Halo also works as a classic sleep and fitness tracker. It measures the intensity and duration of an activity, as well as the time spent sitting. It also analyzes sleep patterns and waking times at night. Sleep is broken down into four phases in the Halo app. The accelerometer and heart rate monitor can determine when the person is awake or in the light or deep sleep phase, as well as detect the phase of rapid eye movement (REM) associated with a lot of physical activity.
It’s all relatively unspectacular, but the Amazon Halo can do even more. The two microphones integrated in the sensor are used for voice analysis with Amazon’s “Tone” function. The feature analyzes the characteristics of one’s own voice, such as energy and positivity, to strengthen communication. Tone is designed to help you find out how you affect other people. The Halo app arranges the patterns in two axes – positive / negative and high / low energy. In the summary, users can see how often they were friendly, happy or in a bad mood. The app also shows the times when the mood was most positive and negative.
3D body fat model
The halo should not just be any fitness tracker, but should also be able to assess the health of the wearer particularly precisely. By taking measurements of the body, Halo creates a personalized 3D body fat model. Based on this data, users can see what they would look like with different body fat percentages. Amazon describes this feature as “clinically tested” and “scientifically based”. The company claims that because of the greater accuracy of the body fat scan, health data is more precise than other fitness trackers.
In times of self-optimization, a fitness tracker should of course not lack the focus on improving one’s own health. With Amazon’s Labs, Halo has access to home workouts, guided meditation, sleep sounds, and other ways to improve health. According to Amazon, Labs is developed with health experts such as the American Heart Association, Lifesum, SWEAT, and Headspace.
Halo is only useful with an Amazon subscription
Even if 3D models and voice analysis sound exciting, the whole thing has a not insignificant catch. Because these “smart” functions, which make use of the capabilities of the Halo bracelet and the associated app, are only available in conjunction with a subscription to Amazon .
The Halo wristband (sensor + textile strap) alone costs $ 99.99. A six-month Halo subscription is included with purchase. After the expiry, owners pay USD 3.99 (approx. EUR 3.30) per month to use the full functions of the fitness bracelet. Without membership, there are no 3D body fat models, no labs and no clay. Only sleep time, heart rate and steps are still tracked. However, there is one advantage in not using the functions. Without Tone’s voice analysis, the Halo will last a week without charging. It’s only two days with clay.
Those who hope for the Amazon Halo to achieve their resolutions for the new year after the holidays will unfortunately have to be disappointed. So far it is unclear whether the halo will also come to other countries. Amazon already has some of its own products that never made it to Germany. The best example are the popular Echo Buds with active noise reduction from Bose. The cheap wireless earbuds are regularly sold out in the USA, but not available in Germany. The Halo also seems to have only been produced in limited numbers by Amazon. We still hope, of course, that it will come here one day.