Lots of fitness trackers can measure your calories burned, heart rate, and steps. With the Halo, Amazon wants to give you greater visibility into your overall health, along with actionable insights to help improve it. Priced at $99.99 for the band plus $3.99 per month for a membership (after a six-month free trial), the Halo does an excellent job of monitoring your activity and sleep, and its companion app gives you access to a wide range of workouts and wellness programs. In addition, the Halo has the ability to analyze the tone of your voice to tell you how you sound to other people, and measure your body fat percentage based on images taken with with its app. These two features are a bit gimmicky, but the Halo band is otherwise useful if you’re looking to move more and improve your shut eye.
The Amazon Halo has four main features: the ability to track your activity, sleep, tone of voice, and body fat percentage. I’ll go over each of these features briefly now, and in more detail below.
smart scales, though we can’t verify these claims. This feature doesn’t use any sensors in the Halo, but right now, Amazon requires the Halo to use it.
Finally, a Discover section in the Halo app offers workouts and programs created by Amazon’s in-house experts and a number of third-party partners, including Headspace, Lifesum, Orangetheory Fitness, and Weight Watchers.
Julian Treasure, a one-week meditation challenge from Headspace, and a three-week course from Lifesum offering tips and alternatives to help you cut down on your salt intake, just to offer a few examples.
I like that the Halo not only helps you keep track of health metrics, but offers these workouts and programs to help you build healthier habits. The Discover feature alone justifies the monthly membership fee.
Whoop Strap 3.0, though all three are about the same thickness. As a word of caution, the light pink fabric band quickly gets dirty.
The sensor capsule weighs 0.63 ounces, and the small, medium, and large bands weigh 0.18, 0.19, and 0.22 ounces, respectively. The Halo is so light that I barely notice it on my wrist, even when I wear it to bed.
fabric accessory bands in a range of colors for $29.99 each, and silicone sport accessory bands with a buckle closure for $24.99. Changing out the band is quick and simple. You just pop off the sensor capsule, then insert it in a different band.
Along with my Halo review unit, Amazon sent a sport accessory band in Sunset (mauve and orange). It’s more comfortable and practical than the stock fabric strap, so I definitely recommend springing for one. Because it’s made of silicone, it’s easy to clean, and won’t absorb sweat while working out.
Arboleaf Smart Fitness Scale taken just a few minutes prior indicated I had 17.1% body fat, which, according to its companion app, put me in the “athlete” range. A scan on the FitTrack smart scale said I had 20.9% body fat, which its companion app said was in the “low” range. Amazon warns that its body fat percentage measurements will be different than the results you get from a smart scale, but I wasn’t expecting this level of disparity.
Since your results can vary widely from one device to the next, I recommend picking one and sticking with it. Using a smart scale is definitely quicker and easier than Amazon’s computer vision method, and offers more body composition metrics than just body fat percentage, fat mass, and lean mass. With a smart scale, you also get metrics like your weight, body mass index, muscle mass, bone mass, body water percentage, visceral fat percentage, and more, depending on the model you choose.
As a word of caution, if you have a history of disordered eating or feel obsessed with your weight and/or body image, I would stay away from the Body feature, as I feel it can potentially contribute to these issues. The same can be said for smart scales, but with its slider tool, the Body feature goes beyond just measuring your fat percentage by creating a 3D model showing what you might look like with more or less of it. The slider tool doesn’t let you get below a “healthy” amount of body fat for your age and sex (for me, it only estimates body changes down to 13% body fat), but I still worry it could be triggering for those with unhealthy attitudes toward their body, food, and/or exercise.
Activity and sleep tracking are probably the Halo’s least interesting—but most useful—features. Plenty of wearables can competently track your fitness and sleep, and the Halo is one of them.
With its Activity Score metric, the Halo aims to encourage you to get moving and sit less. It awards you points for every minute the band senses you’re active, based on your heart rate and movement. It also takes into account the intensity of your activities, so you’ll earn more points running than walking, for instance.
You get two points for every minute of intense activity (like running, shoveling snow, or playing soccer), one point for every minute of moderate activity (like walking briskly, cycling, or raking leaves), and one point for every 20 minutes of light activity (like grocery shopping, walking, or making the bed). Sitting down for too long will cause you to lose points. For every sedentary hour in excess of eight in a single day, you’ll lose one point.
smart home gym equipment for a living, I work out daily and have no problem reaching the weekly 150-point Activity Goal. The Halo even awards me activity points when walking my dog twice a day. As I write this, it’s a Friday afternoon and I’ve already accumulated 304 points this week. The Halo says my next goal is 600 points, which I doubt I’ll hit this week, but maybe next.
At night, the Halo automatically monitors your sleep duration, stages, and quality. It keeps track of your total time in bed, how long it took you to fall asleep, how much time you spent asleep and awake, your sleep efficiency (the percentage of time in bed you were actually asleep), and disturbances throughout the night.
In the morning, you can view all of your stats, along with your Sleep Score and a graph of your sleep stages (awake, light, deep, and REM). The Sleep Score is based on your total sleep time, time to fall asleep, time spent in each sleep stage, and how often you woke up during the night. A score of 0 to 49 is considered poor, 50 to 69 is fair, 70 to 84 is good, and 85 to 100 is great. Amazon says a score below 70 “might be a signal to change up your sleep routine.”
Fitbit Sense and the Oura Ring. To track this metric, you’ll need to wear the Halo to bed for three nights, during which the band will analyze your sleep temperature and establish your personal baseline. After that, it will tell you whether you’re running hotter or cooler compared with previous days and weeks, and by how much. Clicking into this metric brings up a graph showing deviations from your baseline temperature throughout the night. Your skin temperature should stay fairly consistent most of the time, and a sudden spike can indicate illness.
January 27, 2021