The Amazon Halo View fitness tracker is now available to buy, and can be on your wrist tomorrow – provided you live in the US. You can order the activity band from Amazon.com for delivery in one or two days, or take a trip to your nearest Amazon 4-star or Amazon Books store.
While the Halo Band was a passive device that collected data as you went about your day, then fed it into the Halo smartphone app for processing, the Halo View is much more like a conventional fitness tracker, and allows you to see details such as your current heart rate and step count on your wrist.
The Halo View also does away with the Halo Band’s built-in microphone. Several other fitness trackers have microphones (the Fitbit Sense and Versa 3, for example, use theirs for voice controls and snore detection), but the first-gen Halo’s ability to analyze your speech throughout the day and report on your tone of voice was widely regarded as somewhat creepy.
Why so cheap?
Although it looks like pretty much any other fitness tracker, the Halo View has one big difference: the price. It’s one of the cheapest fitness trackers around right now, costing just $79.99 (about £60 / AU$110). For comparison, the most affordable Fitbit in the company’s current lineup, the Fitbit Inspire 2, has a retail price of $99.95 / £89.99 / AU$149.95.
However, before you click the ‘Buy it now’ button, it’s worth knowing that in order to get the most out of the Halo View, you’ll also need an Amazon Halo Fitness subscription.
Non-members will be able to access basic health info, including heart rate, step count, simple sleep stats, and calories burned, but details such as health insights, activity intensity, and sleep score will only be available to subscribers. Most of these statistics are included free of charge with most fitness trackers, so this is an interesting move for Amazon that helps explain why the initial cost of the Halo View is so low.
It might, however, be a sign of things to come. There does seem to be a trend towards fitness trackers offering a basic feature set if you simply buy the device, with more data unlocked if you pay an additional monthly fee.
Fitbit Premium, for example, isn’t essential for owners of the company’s activity trackers and smartwatches – all your key health and fitness data is available without it – but the service has developed a lot over the last three years, and several of Fitbit’s newest features (including Readiness Score, snore tracking, and Sleep Animals) are for members only.
Similarly, earlier this year Oura introduced a subscription plan for its fitness-tracking smart ring that gives more detailed analysis of your activity, sleep, and other biometrics. We’re currently testing the third-generation Oura ring with the subscription plan, and will bring you a full review very soon.
At $3.99 (about £3 / AU$5) per month, Amazon’s fitness service is one of the cheapest fitness subscription services around, and you’ll get a 12-month trial free with your Halo View so you’ll have plenty of time to decide whether to keep up the payments.