Amazon’s current incursion into wearables continues with its Halo health tracker – which has made it out of beta and is accessible within the US.
In additional than a decade of reviewing devices, I’ve by no means been as reluctant to check a product than the Amazon Halo. It is at present solely accessible within the US for $99.99.
Wearables, by their very nature, are extra private than any kind of tech in historical past. However the upshot are actionable insights that’s led to raised way of life and health decisions.
Can it stand out in a crowded discipline because of tone of voice evaluation and physique scanning? And at what price to privateness and intimacy?
Amazon Halo assessment: Design and specs
The Amazon Halo seems to be and seems like a low price range Whoop Strap 3.0. And the similarities weren’t misplaced on Whoop. It claims Halo “imitates” the design and CEO Will Ahmed additionally famous Whoop met with Amazon concerning potential funding from the Alexa fund.
All that apart, the Halo is a light-weight (18g) and slim health tracker with the Velcro cloth strap masking the plastic sensor. It has no show, which might be high-quality for these in search of fewer distractions.
There’s only a single button for interplay with the Halo app, a pair of microphones for choosing up your utterances and an LED indicator gentle. It’s comfy to put on even when sweaty.
To that finish, there are a great deal of choices for substitute bands providing totally different colors and supplies.
Regardless of the on-board microphones, however there’s no signal of Alexa integration.
The sensor is rated at 5ATM, which suggests swim monitoring and waterproofing to 50 metres, which is a particular bonus. Smartphone connection is enabled by Bluetooth 5.0.
Amazon Halo assessment: Tone of voice
Arguably essentially the most controversial function is Tone evaluation, which makes use of the microphones to observe your speech.
Utterances are measured in opposition to a baseline of regular speech (established by studying Dickens et al throughout set-up) and informs the way you sounded in the course of the day primarily based on excessive/low positivity and power.
The thought is to offer individuals perception into how they’re being perceived. Are you a high-energy, optimistic particular person? Or are you placing negativity on the market? How is that this affecting your relationships at work and at residence?
Does your low-energy speech denote tiredness or want for self-care? Are there modifications you may make by figuring out these developments and being extra conscious in future?
All through the day, you’ll see in-app playing cards that inform you when the band has detected variances in tone primarily based on positivity and power. In the event you sounded pleasant, unhappy, restrained, pissed off, hesitant, and so forth, you’ll see the time and different feelings detected.
This may be useful, for those who can join the dots. One Sunday evening I had a heated dialog the place I sounded “Cussed” for two.3 seconds. “You had one phrase that sounded cussed, aggressive or condescending,” the app instructed us.
I used to be watching soccer the opposite day and Halo mentioned I sounded “disgusted”. I used to be watching Manchester United lose, so it was bang-on.
It additionally has me marked as Jekyll & Hyde. At one level, I used to be apparently delighted and irritated inside the identical minute.
Nevertheless, this left me desirous to dive deeper. What precisely had I mentioned right here? However Halo isn’t monitoring what you say, simply the way you say it. The place’s Alexa to document the whole lot if you want it?
Halo typically recognized about 5-6 very temporary phrases every day. There are occasions I’d anticipated to see a number of exercise, however didn’t. If you need this function to be extra lively, you possibly can swap to Extra Tone within the settings, however that scythes battery life in half.
There’s a helpful Dwell tab providing real-time evaluation. You need to use this to apply or document a dialog for an evaluation of the way you got here throughout.
It’s extremely attention-grabbing to observe. With every phrase, you’ll see your voice transfer across the positivity and power graph, full with evaluation of the way you’re sounding.
I instructed the canine what a superb boy he was, and the indicator jumped to the highest of ‘Positivity and Excessive Vitality’ axis and I used to be deemed to be joyful, delighted and appreciative.
This function might be attention-grabbing for those who’re practising public talking, or rehearsing for a job interview, for instance.
Amazon Halo assessment: Physique Fats
The Halo app affords a physique scanning device, which creates a 3D mannequin primarily based on head-to-ankle images from 4 angles. The wristband itself is uninvolved.
For somebody carrying lockdown timber and nonetheless avoiding gyms and yoga studios, this was humbling.
Amazon says its readings are 4 occasions extra correct than the highest good scales. I exploit a Eufy mannequin with physique composition knowledge. I’m not revealing my physique fats share (or the scans) however the Halo had my physique fats share 5% greater than Eufy. That’s a reasonably large divergence.
The app tracks progress over time, enabling you to browse earlier scans for indicators of visible change. In the event you’re an individual who takes mirror images for the earlier than/after social media publish, you’ll most likely take pleasure in this.
When Halo was introduced, this function that spawned half-serious “Amazon needs your nudes” headlines. Certainly, you do should strip right down to your smalls to seize the imagery.
Amazon says the photographs required to create the scans are processed within the cloud after which deleted. Photographs and scans stay in your cellphone solely. I upgraded my cellphone half-way by way of the assessment. The info remained, however the pictures had been gone, so all good.
Do you fully belief Amazon although? In the end that determines whether or not you’ll Halo a shot. And in the end, given so many people have already got Alexa good audio system, the place do you draw the road? For a lot of, close to bare images is my line.
Amazon Halo assessment: Exercise Monitoring
Again to extra run-of-the-mill wearable options, Amazon Halo is an exercise tracker device.
Halo constantly tracks coronary heart charge by way of an optical sensor and motion by way of an accelerator and gyroscope. These two components are mixed to indicate how lively you’ve been. Fairly customary.
Amazon takes a barely totally different method with collating exercise. You get two factors per minute of intense exercise (70%+ of max coronary heart charge), 1ppm for average (50% to 70% max HR), and 1 level per 20 minutes of sunshine exercise (grocery procuring, for instance). You lose some extent for each hour you’re sedentary past eight.
Amazon says not less than 150 factors per week matches WHO bodily exercise tips. In the event you high 300 factors, you’re classed as very lively.
In a single week, I ran a 5k, cycled at full pelt for an hour, took a 30-minute TRX exercise, performed a ton of darts and walked the canine each evening. That received me 349 factors.
It’s a superb system – however just for these struggling to get lively. The distinction in pressure and calorie burn if you’re at 90% of your max HR and 70% is large, for instance, but it carries the identical factors reward on this system.
The Halo additionally counts steps and energy will routinely auto monitor train like strolling and operating, which will also be manually added.
There’s additionally no built-in GPS and Halo doesn’t try to piggyback on the smartphone connection. It additionally doesn’t provide an estimated distance primarily based on the step depend.
Amazon Halo: Coronary heart charge monitoring
Knowledge from the wrist-based optical sensor was nearer than I’d imagined to my chest-worn Polar H10 – a gold customary for a client product.
Throughout a 30:01-minute 5K run, Halo registered my coronary heart charge peak at 179bpm, averaging 164bpm. Polar registered a 181bpm max, averaging 168bpm. The Halo estimated a calorie burn of 507 in comparison with 581 from the Polar. So the info is nicely inside a superb vary of accuracy.
On an hour-long cycle, the Polar recorded a max HR of 180bpm, in comparison with the Halo’s 173bpm. This disparity isn’t unusual even when evaluating high-end wrist-based sensors with the chest-worn choices, so the Halo really carried out slightly higher than anticipated right here.
You possibly can test in to see the Dwell tab to view real-time HR and infrequently you’ll get insights about your resting coronary heart charge being greater or decrease throughout a specific week and what that will signify.
Amazon Halo assessment: Sleep monitoring
Sleep monitoring calculates time asleep, time awake and time to go to sleep. It’ll additionally break down time spent within the numerous sleep levels (REM, Gentle, Deep). These metrics, plus the variety of disturbances, contribute to an total sleep rating.
Once more, Amazon has a factors system, with a rating of 85-100 counted as an excellent evening’s sleep and 0-49 thought of poor.
Resting coronary heart charge doesn’t seem like a consideration and coronary heart charge variability isn’t measured in any respect. The scores generally is a helpful information, but it surely doesn’t provide the holistic image some extra superior gadgets do – such because the Fitbit Inspire 2 or Charge 4.
There’s a sleep temperature measurement too, which is attention-grabbing. I discovered my physique temp rose by 0.7% on an evening I’d had a number of alcoholic drinks and dropped barely beneath the baseline once I hadn’t. Attention-grabbing data to creating sense of way of life modifications.
The Halo app does provide loads of sleep ideas. When you have low sleep effectivity (time in mattress vs time sleep), for instance, with concepts on find out how to enhance. It could additionally counsel additionally deploy a ‘Lab’ from Headspace from inside the Halo app, for actions to attempt as a part of your bedtime routine. Extra on that shortly.
In contrast with the lookalike Whoop Strap 3.0, which is well-renowned for its sleep monitoring capabilities, Halo in contrast fairly nicely total.
Amazon Halo assessment: Labs
A significant Halo perk is the content material from respected firms within the wellness house, included within the membership worth.
Famous health companions like Orangetheory, Sweat, 8fit and Aaptiv present video-led exercises and coaching plans. Lifesum, Headspace and Weight Watchers et al provide basic wellness ideas for thoughts and physique.
Customers are inspired to interact in these science-backed Labs as a single exercise or days/weeks-long packages. Optimistic modifications might be picked up by the wristband and additional defined inside the app.
For instance, by partaking within the “sleep sounds” program from Headspace, I famous my sleep effectivity rating went up as a result of I used to be falling asleep quicker. Amazon notes that different potential advantages embrace extra time in deep sleep and a diminished variety of disturbances.
Some labs are auto-tracked, like Lunchtime Powerwalks from the American Coronary heart Affiliation, whereas others, just like the 150-Minute Repair from Orangetheory will information you thru 4 exercises 30-minute-plus exercises in per week.
The symbiotic relationships between these Labs and the potential areas of enchancment detected by Halo is a particular hit and Amazon may actually be onto one thing with this component of the proposition.
Amazon Halo assessment: Battery life and charging
The Amazon Halo has a battery lifetime of round 7 days for those who’re solely utilizing it as a health tracker with continued coronary heart charge monitoring. Nevertheless, with Tone evaluation enabled, you’ll must cost each different day. We’ve been getting round 46 hours of utilization between fees.
The Halo has a proprietary charging answer. Yay! One other so as to add to your assortment. It’s a cumbersome and unnecessarily giant clip and it’s finicky too. It takes slightly finagling to create a reference to the charging pins and a small shift can interrupt the connection. The band recharged totally in simply over an hour.
Amazon Halo assessment: cellular app and membership
Together with your Halo band, you get a six-month membership, but it surely’s $3.99 a month thereafter. With out the subscription, you lose entry to most essential options. Tone of voice is gone, together with physique scans, most labs, exercise scores, exercises and sleep levels.
In the event you’re contemplating a purchase order, issue within the further $48 a 12 months after the primary six months.
The app is nicely organised and well-thought, prioritising 4 main pillars Exercise, Sleep, Tone and Physique.
Beneath are any insights gleaned from the info, featured Labs from Beneath which might be some advisable exercises designed to get you transferring and sweating. The Dwell tab affords quick entry to your present coronary heart charge and the stay Tone device talked about above.