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Isabel Fernández and Crystal Cox/Insider
- Amazon’s Halo View is the company’s second-generation fitness tracker.
- It now features a color touchscreen but still feels like a basic wearable.
- What makes it shine is an app that offers unique health insights not offered by other trackers.
When Amazon introduced its debut fitness tracker, the Halo Band, it didn’t look much different from what was already available. Featuring a screenless design reminiscent of the Whoop band, Amazon’s first wearable felt familiar.
Now there’s the Halo View, an updated version that comes standard with a small touchscreen. This gives it yet another well-known design but this time it evokes the early generations of the Fitbit Charge.
But what sets these trackers apart from their competition is the companion Amazon Halo app, a platform that analyzes and studies a wearer’s movement, body composition, sleep patterns, and diet to provide actionable insight about improving their health.
That alone intrigued me to try it out. I’ve tested tons of fitness trackers and after spending a month with the View, I was amazed at how it straddled the line between entry-level and high-end. It costs (as of this writing) just $45 yet offers tons of usable feedback that goes beyond a simple “Time to get up” notification.
Below are highlights of my time with the View, plus a few drawbacks, as well as how it felt to use something so new and different.
The app is the star of the show
To call the Halo View experience unique isn’t enough to fully capture how interesting it is to engage with both the watch and companion app. This dual experience is presented to you right out of the box, too; you’re prompted to set up the watch while also urged to input information that’ll give the app a jumping-off point.
I recommend going through these setup processes right away. This includes setting up your nutrition preferences, recording your voice for tone analysis, doing a short movement assessment, and taking a body composition scan. That last part is admittedly a bit awkward as it asks you to strip down to your underwear before using the camera on your phone to take a scan.
Despite how uncomfortable that might be, it’s one of the main factors that inform what the app recommends each day, be it a fitness routine, what to eat, or how much water to drink. It also provides insight into your body fat percentage and how it may impact your overall health.
The app’s recommendations are what ultimately keep its main feed populated with content. This includes personalized health insights about your heart rate or voice tone, feedback on how you slept the night before, new meal ideas, and workout suggestions.
It’s an endless well of inspiration that very few other fitness tracker ecosystems offer. And almost anyone can benefit from it, too, from beginners looking to make a lifestyle change to those just looking to freshen up their routine or find something new to make for lunch.
It’s worth noting that while a year subscription to the app is included upon purchase of the Halo View, it does cost $4 per month once the trial is up. You’ll still have limited access to some of its features without a membership but the bulk of what makes the app so great (and the main reason why the Halo View is as good as it is) is behind the monthly paywall.
An ordinary wearable
The watch itself isn’t anything revolutionary but it does feature a familiar style, outfit with a small color touchscreen that’s attached to a polyurethane band.
Though it feels a little cheap, I did find it to be quite comfortable, even when I was sweating while running, cycling, or lifting weights. And it’s just light enough that I hardly noticed I had it on during nights I wore it to bed.
The Halo View does all the standard fitness tracker things like count steps, track heart rate, and show calories burned, but the best part of the on-wrist experience is how intuitive it is to navigate.
The home screen displays the current date and time while swiping left and right brings up a quick view of your tracked stats. Swiping up or down shows the exercise tracking menu, a more in-depth view of your activity, and a menu of various tools like a stopwatch, alarm clock, and timer. This is also where you can adjust settings like night mode or what notifications you receive.
I know none of this sounds terribly exciting feature-wise but ease of use is important, especially for beginners as they juggle the complexities of the app.
Isabel Fernández and Crystal Cox/Insider
A cheap-feeling wearable
The most glaring drawback of the Halo View is just how incredibly basic and cheap the actual tracker feels. And I bring this up not because it’s something that made me not want to use it but because for anyone looking for a more modern fitness tracker experience (on-wrist, at least), this isn’t it.
There’s something about it that just doesn’t make it feel like a premium tracker. I equated it to the early generations of Fitbit’s Charge and even that comparison sells the Charge short — there’s a clear lack of ruggedness to the Halo View that makes it almost seem like some sort of knockoff or cheap replica.
Not for dedicated training
It’s also worth pointing out that when you log an exercise like an outdoor run, the watch and app don’t give you an accurate distance reading, instead showing only how many steps you took (as well as your related activity output and burned calories).
This is the Halo Views’ biggest drawback as it excludes a large group of folks who could benefit from the insight of the app but would also want to know how fast they run a mile or how much distance they cover on a long cycling ride.
The bottom line
All told, I walked away mostly impressed with the Halo View. What Amazon’s done is create a system that doesn’t just rely on the day-to-day compiling of fitness metrics but one that also teaches wearers how to properly understand and apply what it collects.
Other watches may award a badge for 10,000 daily steps but the Halo View (and the Amazon Halo app) provides insight into how your steps, sleep, and diet impact and affect your overall wellness — and an actionable plan for making real improvements. Amazon’s not the first company to do this but I did find its interface and presentation to be the easiest to digest, which is an important factor for people trying it out for the first time.