It was that time again recently: the Chinese manufacturer Huawei launched the Band 8, the latest version of its well-known fitness tracker. The successor to the Huawei Band 7 (test report) wants to make everything “bigger, lighter, better” – but can the fitness tracker really keep this promise?
We put the Huawei Band 8 through its paces in our test, compared it with the direct competition on the market and checked what has changed compared to the previous model.
design and usability
In terms of design, the Huawei Band 8 hasn’t changed much compared to its predecessor. The always-on AMOLED display has remained the same size at 1.47 inches, only the case thickness and thus the weight have shrunk slightly. In practice, however, this is not the case.
But there is one change, and that affects the bracelet. Although Huawei is again using the well-known silicone bracelet with a plastic clasp, the changing mechanism is different now. Instead of a spring lever like the Band 7, there is now a button on the case back that can be used to detach and replace the strap. This makes changing the bracelet a little easier than before.
However, Huawei has also made a small step backwards in terms of design: Because the Huawei Band 8 is only available in the colors black, green and pink, but no longer in red (like the Band 7 originally).
Otherwise, we could not determine any noticeable differences between the Huawei Band 8 and the Huawei Band 7 on the display. The Band 8’s screen responds reliably to touch inputs and remains easy to read even in direct sunlight, even if we have to set the brightness to the maximum value for this. Anyone who has already worn a comparable wearable will quickly find their way around the intuitive operation of the tracker.
facility and app
When it comes to setting up the Huawei Band 8, not much has changed compared to its predecessor. Because of the US ban on the Chinese company, the app is not available in Google’s Play Store.
As a result, most Android phones require a sideload of Huawei’s App Gallery to install the Health app. A QR code is available for this when we start the tracker for the first time, which we can scan with our smartphone and which then forwards us to the app. Owners of a Samsung smartphone can continue to download the Health app from the Galaxy Store, iPhone users can also get it from the App Store as usual.
The linking of the device with the app then works as usual via Bluetooth. We set up a user account on Huawei Health, select the desired device for pairing in the app and follow the on-screen instructions. The whole process only takes a few minutes.
We have already discussed the app itself in previous tests, so we will limit ourselves to a brief conclusion at this point: All functions are clearly prepared and users are informed of the most important data of their tracker at a glance. Notifications can be controlled as well as various health features. The translation of the app is also well done.
Huawei Band 8 – App
Huawei Band 8 – App
Anyone who has read our review of the Huawei Band 7 knows that the manufacturer does a lot right when it comes to activity tracking. This is also the case with the Huawei Band 8, because there are no significant changes compared to the predecessor.
The recording of the steps taken still works great and without any problems. The Huawei Band 8 forwards calories, activity minutes, training units and sleep data as usual to the Huawei Health app, where the measurements are then displayed as clear diagrams and entered in the so-called Health cloverleaf. Users can see their own health development and progress towards daily goals at a glance.
Incidentally, the latter can also be set again in the app: As with the previous model, there are so-called health plans in which we specify specific goals for steps, breathing, sleep, fluid intake and activities. If we meet these goals, we get points that are credited to us for the cloverleaf display – this motivates and helps to establish new routines. If you want, you can also activate a reminder for the respective target (time), there is also a movement alarm after a certain period of inactivity.
First of all: Huawei does not have its own GPS with the Band 8 either. So you have to have your smartphone with you if you want to record a specific route during running training, for example. Although you can also record the speed and route length via the integrated motion sensor, it lacks a bit of accuracy.
However, Huawei has made a few improvements to the training functions compared to the Band 7. In contrast to the previous model, the Huawei Band 8 not only has an integrated compass, but also a multisport mode that allows you to easily switch between several sports. This is particularly useful for units in which you want to combine different training profiles. Speaking of profiles: the Huawei Band 8 has a few more than the Huawei Band 7, namely a total of 100 instead of 96.
But the rest remains the same for both devices: The tracker provides information on calories, distance, VO2Max, running ability index (performance compared to the average value of other runners), recovery time and the training effect. The data can be read both in the app and in separate menus on the display of the Huawei Band 8. So you have all the relevant data at a glance at all times according to your needs.
Where Huawei unfortunately also misses the opportunity for improvements are the calorie requirement measurement and the optical heart rate sensor. The latter suffers from the same problems as the previous model: Although it reliably measures the heart rate with constant stress, it does not get along well with HIIT workouts or strength training and correspondingly rapidly changing heart rate values. Accordingly, the specification of the calorie requirement per day is rather meaningless.
Huawei Band 8 – photo gallery
Huawei Band 8 – photo gallery
sleep and health functions
Unlike the Huawei Band 7, the Huawei Band 8 relies on the new Trusleep 3.0 system, which offers a number of additional features in addition to the pure recording of sleep data (phases, time of falling asleep and waking up). A special DND mode reduces distractions before bedtime, while raising the watch upon waking is enough to see last night’s data right on the display. Detailed information about sleep can also be found directly in the app.
In addition to sleep tracking, the Huawei Band 8 also offers some additional health functions. The measurement of blood oxygen saturation is also on board again, as is tracking your own stress level, including options for relaxation and breathing exercises. Finally, there is a function for women to track their own cycle – but there is no way to enter additional characteristics such as body temperature.
Notifications and additional features
There are no differences between the Huawei Band 7 and Huawei Band 8 when it comes to additional features such as notifications, music control, etc. We can display notifications on the tracker’s display as usual and specify in the app which apps we want to receive notifications from.
We also have the option of searching for our smartphone via Bluetooth, activating the smartphone camera using a remote trigger, or responding to incoming messages with a quick reply. All of these features worked flawlessly in the test. However, there is no telephony function or support for voice assistance.
Huawei states the battery life of the Band 8 to be up to 14 days, depending on the usage scenario. With the always-on display switched on, 60 minutes of training per week and active sleep and SpO2 monitoring, the battery lasts for up to three days. This corresponds to the capacity of the battery that Huawei installed in the previous model. Nothing has changed in terms of fast charging either: 5 minutes charging time is enough for the battery to have enough juice for two days.
Incidentally, in our test we were able to largely confirm the information provided by the manufacturer: The battery of the Huawei Band 8 lasted almost 13 days with activated heart rate measurement and sleep monitoring as well as three one-and-a-half-hour training sessions in one week. That’s a good value for a wearable in this price range.
Huawei sells the Band 8 on the official website with an RRP of 59 euros each. Street price for the latest model is included 49 Eurowhile the predecessor Huawei Band 7 is already available for just under 42 euros.
The Huawei Band 8 should actually be called Huawei Band 7.1, because the current tracker model doesn’t really have many innovations worth mentioning. Accordingly, the purchase is only worthwhile to a limited extent: Anyone who has not yet owned a fitness tracker or is still on the go with an old Huawei band from the previous generation can buy it without hesitation. The Huawei Band 8 is definitely one of the best and cheapest fitness trackers currently available on the market.
Huawei users who already own the Huawei Band 7 (test report) can safely do without buying the latest model. Compared to its predecessor, the Huawei Band 8 simply offers too few innovations, let alone improvements, for a new purchase to be worthwhile.