There was a time (and that time was the early 2010s) when wearable tech was truly cutting edge and brands were on the cusp of something revolutionary. The earliest iPhones were still rolling out, so the mere idea of having everything from steps to heart rate monitored on a teeny-tiny (touch!) screen on your wrist? Talk about the future.
As a self-proclaimed nerd and lover of all things techy (I used to ask for Best Buy gift cards for my birthday and am not the least bit embarrassed to admit it), I was an early adopter of smartwatches; for years, I rocked the FitBit Charge 2 before switching to the Apple Watch Series 3. (I recently upgraded to the Series 7.) So, of course, I was excited when I heard about Amazon's Halo View, a just-launched wellness tracker that helps you monitor everything from fitness activity to sleep. During a recent media excursion to the Catskills, I got the chance to put the Halo View to the ultimate test — here's how it stacked up.
I've been around the block when it comes to fitness trackers, and I have to say that Amazon's Halo View is among the more aesthetically pleasing ones. (FYI: Amazon has an earlier, screen-less Halo band that I haven't tried but offers the same app functions as the View.) It's sleek and minimal, and honestly, so lightweight I barely notice I'm wearing it. Because the cute factor matters, I also appreciate the color options with the band. I opted for Lavender Dream, but you can get replacement bands in every color of the rainbow, plus specialty fabric ones in leather, denim, and more. Like virtually every smartwatch, Halo View also tells time (important!) and has basic functions like alarms, timers, and a stopwatch.
Unlike a lot of wearable tech I've tried, however, Amazon's Halo View isn't just the device on your wrist. To get the most out of it, there's a companion Halo app membership (which you get a year of for free with a new device; after that, it's $3.99 a month) that grants you access to a robust library of on-demand and live content across fitness, nutrition, sleep, and more. Over the course of our trip, we trekked (and tracked our trek) using the activity monitoring feature, did outdoor movement work with a Halo fitness expert, whipped up healthy appetizers with recipes from the Halo app, and went to snooze school with a board-certified neurologist and Amazon Halo's in-house sleep doctor. My trusty tracker was there for all of it — which is actually pretty cool.
If you love numbers and data, you will get a lot out of Halo View; one of the more compelling features, in my opinion, is the Sleep Score that Halo gives you. Obviously, you don't need Jeff Bezos telling you whether or not you got a good night's sleep, but so much more goes into whether or not you wake up feeling chipper. In addition to a numerical score between 0 and 100 (most nights, I'm in the low to mid-80s), you get your very own hypnogram, a visual representation of different sleep cycles, how long you were in each one for, and any disturbances in your rest — aka how often (and how long) you woke up during the night. If you struggle with getting consistent, good-quality sleep, then the personalized tips and insights based on your data will be insanely helpful. (Also, if you already own any Amazon Alexa devices, you can connect your Halo View to grant Alexa access to your Halo data — this is totally optional, but for additional security measures, Alexa will require a PIN before answering any questions related to your personal profile.)
While working out, I found that the Halo View was great for quickly glancing at step count and heart rate, and then if I wanted to dig deeper into the numbers, I could fiddle around the app to check out more deets. (The Halo View displays all the same info you can glean from the app, but I found it more user-friendly to use my phone since the screen size is limited on your wearable.) Another nifty feature is that it will display your current heart rate on the screen of the device you're watching a fitness class (whether that's your phone, computer, etc).
At $80, I'd say Halo View is among the more reasonably priced trackers on the market. For folks who are used to having a mini computer on their wrist, the screen capabilities of the Halo View will feel limited since the home watch face only displays the time, for example. (To toggle between the fitness tracking and data reports, you swipe up and down the screen.) However, part of its appeal is that it doesn't overwhelm the user with a ton of apps and customizable widgets; this won't be for everyone, and that's okay. Judging it purely as a wellness tool (and not one geared for productivity or entertainment), I have to say I was impressed. I also loved that it held a charge for weeks, which is practically unheard of nowadays. As an Apple Watch user, I'm used to my wrist buzzing multiple times a day with texts, news alerts, and more; that's not necessarily the worst thing (especially when you're a workhorse Virgo like me), but I grew to appreciate that Halo View was somehow the most unplugged smartwatch I'd tried in some time. It's almost as if it encouraged me to actually live my best life offline — moving more, sleeping more — and if that's not wellness, I don't know what is.
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