Honor Band Z1 review

Honor enters the world of the cheap fitness tracker

Honor Band Z1
Honor Band Z1

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Interface-wise the Honor Band Z1 is easy to navigate – which it should be really, given that there's not all that much going on.

It's a simple case of tapping the display and flicking up and down to scroll through the various menus. These are represented by animated icons, and include watch faces, steps, calories burned, running, sleep, stopwatch and settings.

The watch face options are kept simple. There's a digital clock surrounded by information (my personal favourite), a simple digital clock and two analogue designs.

After selecting the first option I did forget there were others, but if you like to mix things up it's simple to switch with a flick of your finger.

Honor Band Z1

The steps, calories burned, running and sleep screens all show limited amounts of data. It's just the basic numbers, and you need to open the app on your phone to see further details, which makes sense with such a small display.

I found the stopwatch quite difficult to use. On many smartwatches it just requires a simple tap to start the stopwatch, but here you have to hold down on the bottom of the screen for three seconds, which isn't exactly convenient for timing a quick workout.

The settings options are limited to switching watch faces or resetting your device. All in all, while the interface is simple to use it's rather lacklustre if you're looking for more in the way of functions and customisation.

The Honor Band Z1 comes with a Cortex M4 STM32G411 processor inside, and talks to your phone via Bluetooth 4.1. While using the device I didn't encounter any big issues in terms of performance.

Some fitness trackers can get a little hot under heavy use, which is a problem given that you're quite likely to be making heavy use of such a device.

I didn't experience any heating with the Honor Band Z1 – but that's likely because it isn't actually doing all that much. There's no heart rate monitor, and no GPS – it's just going to tell you how far you've walked, and what that means in terms of calories burned.

Honor Band Z1

The Band Z1 uses an accelerometer and a cap sensor to track your movements and sleep, but that's all you're really getting here; it may look like a smartwatch, but a lot of smartwatch functionality is absent.

The Band Z1 uses a G-sensor powered by a series of algorithms to record information, and I was getting similar data from my phone to that I got from the watch.

And that's the problem here – the technology is all inside your phone, and fitness trackers themselves are becoming less and less relevant.

If you're looking for a dedicated step tracker though, this will do the job as well as any similar device, but you won't be able to do anything extra like GPS tracking or playing music.

James Peckham

James is the Editor-in-Chief at Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.