If you need some motivation to get active, but don’t want to spend big bucks on a fitness tracker you’re not sure you’ll stick with, Amazon’s $79.99 Halo View might be just what you’re looking for. The Halo View can measure your activity, blood oxygen saturation (SpO2), heart rate, sleep, and skin temperature, while its companion app offers tons of features to help you improve your results. And it’s better than its predecessor, the Halo Band, in almost every way: It has a display, costs less, and comes with a free year of premium Halo Membership (up from six months). That said, the Halo View isn’t as accurate as the $99 Fitbit Inspire 2, and its companion workout-streaming service falls short of Apple Fitness+. Still, if you’re on a tight budget or just starting on a path toward better health, the Halo View is a terrific value.
Halo View vs. Halo Band (and Fitbit Inspire 2)
Following the Halo Band’s release last summer, Amazon heard the same piece of feedback from many users, myself included: they wanted a screen. The Halo View features a small color AMOLED touch display on which you can view metrics like your heart rate, sleep score, SpO2 level, and workout stats without turning to the companion app on your phone. Of course, you can also use the screen for checking the time, like a watch.
Meanwhile, the original Halo Band remains on sale for $99.99 and still comes with a six-month trial Halo Membership as opposed to the twelve months you get with the View. You might be wondering why the screenless version costs more. The difference is the case material: The Band uses stainless steel, while the View uses plastic. Amazon says the two wearables offer different experiences, depending on your preferences. The original is meant to be unobtrusive, so it won’t distract you during the day or at night. But its screenless design means you have to open its companion app whenever you want to view your metrics.
(Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)
At $79.99, the Halo View looks a lot like the Fibit Inspire 2, but costs $20 less. Just keep in mind that, unlike the Inspire 2, the Halo View requires a Halo Membership to use most of its features, including the body composition analysis, live tone of voice analysis (which I detail in my Halo Band review), and movement health metrics.
The Inspire 2 costs more upfront and sports a black-and-white display, but offers more functionality without a membership, including detailed activity, exercise, and sleep metrics. It also comes with a one-year Fitbit Premium subscription, which gives you access to audio and video workouts from brands such as barre3, Gaiam’s Yoga Studio, and obé, as well as meditations from third parties such as Aura, Breethe, and Ten Percent Happier.
Left to right: Halo Band, Halo View, Fitbit Inspire 2
(Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)
Smaller and Lighter
Measuring 1.84 by 0.75 by 0.47 inches (LWH), the Halo View’s case is slightly narrower and taller than the original model’s (1.64 by 0.84 by 0.41 inches). The switch to a plastic case means that it’s also lighter, at 0.40 versus 0.63 ounces. That said, I barely notice either model on my wrist. Regardless of band color, the Halo View’s plastic case only comes in black. The Halo Band’s stainless steel case, by comparison, comes in black, rose gold, or silver.
(Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)
The Halo View comes with a rubbery TPU Sport Band in your choice of black, green, or lavender. You can choose between small/medium (for wrists 5.1 to 7.7 inches in circumference) or medium/large (for wrists 6.3 to 8.9 inches). Aesthetically, I prefer the fabric band you get in the box with the original Halo, though the View’s rubbery band is easily washable and better for showers or sweaty workouts. Like the Band, the Halo View is water resistant to 164 feet, meaning it’s safe to swim and shower in.
To change up the look of your Halo View, Amazon offers fabric, leather, and metal accessory bands for $29.99 apiece. The company also offers the Sport Band in 15 colors for $14.99 each.
Twice while testing the View, the band accidentally separated from the tracker. Luckily this happened inside my house and I noticed it right away. If this happened when I was out and about, I might not have noticed and lost both the band and the tracker.
(Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)
Amazon says the Halo View will last up to a week on a charge, like the Band. Your results will vary based on your use. In testing, the View lasted nearly six full days before its battery dipped below 10%. The Inspire 2 lasts even longer, up to 10 days on a charge.
One major difference between the View and the Band is that the Band features two onboard microphones for collecting voice data throughout the day for the Tone analysis feature. Amazon removed the microphones from the View to save battery life for the display (the Halo Band’s battery life drops to about two days with Tone analysis enabled). Halo View users can still take advantage of the live tone analysis feature in its companion app, which might prove useful if you’re rehearsing for a presentation or speech, but it won’t give you a summary report of your tone at the end of each day. If you’re interested in using the Tone feature on a regular basis, the Halo Band is a better bet.
Setting up and Navigating the Halo View
The Halo View requires an active Amazon account, a compatible mobile device running at least Android 8 or iOS 13, and the Halo mobile app. To set it up, just plug the included USB-A charging cord into your computer or another power source, and clip the other end to the Halo View, making sure to align the metal charging points. You don’t get a power adapter in the box.
Next, enable Bluetooth on your smartphone, download the Amazon Halo app (available Android and iOS), sign in to your Amazon account, and follow the on-screen instructions to finish the setup process. When you open the app, it asks for your name, birthday, height, weight, and gender.
Amazon says it only offers female and male gender options right now because the Halo’s body measurement models are currently based on sex assigned at birth. If you choose a sex different than the one assigned to you at birth, some of your measurements or results might be inaccurate, the company says, adding, “As more reliable data becomes available, we’ll add more options.”
The app then texts you a six-digit code that you need to enter to verify your identity. Next, it asks which device you’re setting up; tap Halo View, press Next, and it will search for your band. After several unsuccessful attempts, I rebooted my phone and did a factory reset on the band before I was finally able to get past this step. After successfully pairing your band, the app asks if you want to allow notifications on the Halo View’s screen and which wrist you wear it on.
The Halo’s interface is simple, with white text on a black background and colorful icons. You navigate the device with taps and swipes on the screen, while a Home/Back button sits beneath the display. To wake the screen, just lift your wrist to your face or tap the Home/Back button. Swiping left and right from the clock face lets you cycle through the following health stats: activity points, calories burned, heart rate, sleep score, and steps. Swiping up and down from the clock face lets you access menus for Data, Exercise, Tools, and Settings.
(Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)
Data offers more detail about your activity, blood oxygen saturation, heart rate, and sleep metrics. Exercise offers the following workout-tracking options: cycle, fitness training, HIIT, rowing, run, swim, walk, weights, yoga, and other.
In Tools, you can set alarms, timers, and a stopwatch. In Settings, you can adjust the screen brightness; change your watch face; check your band’s battery level (you can also check in the app); enable Night Mode (which turns off the screen so it won’t disturb you); enable move reminders; enable or disable raise to wake; manually sync your data with the Halo app (opening the app also does so automatically); set the vibration strength; set a pin code to unlock your band’s screen; and restart your band.
At present, Amazon offers 11 watch faces to choose from, but they aren’t customizable. Most of them are digital watch faces, but one is an analog clock. One features a graphic of a dog, and another, a cat. I selected a basic digital watch face with light pink and white numerals.
As mentioned, the View comes with a 12-month Halo Membership. After that, it automatically renews at a rate of $3.99 per month. If you choose to cancel the membership after 12 months, the Halo View will work only as a basic activity, heart rate, sleep, and step tracker.
The Halo View come with a free year of Halo Membership, after which it costs $3.99 per month
Since the launch of the Halo Band, Amazon has beefed up its Halo Membership service with several major features. I previously tested the Movement Health service—which uses the app and your phone’s camera to evaluate your posture, stability, and mobility—and am a big fan. Based on your results, the app offers a program of corrective exercise videos to help you work on the areas you would like to improve. In testing, I found the corrective exercises effective and enjoyable.
Needless to say, I was pretty excited to try the new Halo Fitness feature. In the Halo app, members now have access to a library of original exercise videos, including cardio, mobility, outdoor, strength, and yoga. Amazon claims it currently has hundreds of workouts in the library and plans to regularly add new content. The workouts range in duration from five minutes to one hour.
Like Apple, Amazon now has a dedicated studio where it films original workout content. In addition to Amazon’s original content, Halo Fitness features workouts from third parties, including Aaptiv, Exhale, Openfit, Orangetheory Fitness, P.volve, Respin by Halle Berry, Russell Wilson, Street Parking, and Sweat.
You can filter the workouts by type, duration, difficulty (all levels, beginner, intermediate, or advanced), and partner (Halo or one of the third parties listed above). Amazon also offers workout programs that last anywhere from one week to a month, including Intro to HIIT, Intro to Strength, Path to a Better Squat, Path to Push Up, and Yoga for Beginners. To find Halo Fitness classes and programs, navigate to Discover > Fitness.
Many of the classes require just an exercise mat, but some integrate dumbbells, resistance bands, and other equipment—I would like a way to filter by the equipment needed. When you click on a class that looks promising, the preview screen offers a written description and a list of the equipment you need. When you find a suitable class, you can view it on your mobile device, cast it from your phone to your TV using Apple AirPlay or Google Cast, or stream it on an Amazon Echo smart display.
I tried several of the yoga and strength classes on Halo Fitness during testing. The strength classes were fast-paced, efficient, and made me sweat. They generally require several sets of dumbbells (light, medium, and heavy, ideally) for exercises like deadlifts, renegade rows, squats, tricep extensions, and more. I took intermediate and all-levels strength classes; I preferred the latter because the instructor offered more technique cues and words of encouragement.
I also took a 30-minute weighted yoga session from Exhale, which incorporated strength moves requiring dumbbells, and loved it. The class was planned well, the music was upbeat, and the instructor clearly explained each move while offering motivation.
Apple’s Fitness+ workout streaming service costs more ($9.99 per month) and requires both an Apple Watch and an iPhone. That said, it can also guide you at home or the gym with a wider selection of cycling, rowing, strength, and treadmill workouts, in addition to core, dance, HIIT, mindful cooldown, and yoga. Fitness+ also offers much better integration with its wearable. When you start streaming a class on Fitness+, it will connect with and pull up the corresponding workout type on your Apple Watch for automatic tracking. During Fitness+ classes, you see real-time metrics from your Apple Watch on the screen, including your heart rate, calories burned, and activity rings.
When you start a Halo Fitness class, it automatically tracks your stats for that session (including the number of activity points you earn, the number of calories you burn, your heart rate data, and your step count) in the app, but not on the Halo View’s screen. If you manually track that workout on the Halo View so you can see your heart rate on its screen, Amazon will record two entries in the app and award you double the activity points for that session. You can always go into the app after the workout and delete one of the entries, but doing so isn’t ideal.
The Halo View’s integration with Halo Fitness will likely improve in the future. Amazon says it plans to roll out an update in 2022 that will allow members to view real-time fitness metrics from the band, like your heart rate and heart rate intensity zones, on your phone or TV screen as you stream Halo Fitness workouts.
Music is an integral part of Fitness+, but on Halo Fitness, it appears to be an afterthought. This is a shame, because music can make or break your workout experience. All of Amazon’s original Halo workout videos I’ve taken or previewed are set to wordless instrumentals. You can’t filter the library by music genre, and the class preview screen doesn’t tell you what type of tunes it features. Another problem is that the app doesn’t let you turn down the background track independent of the trainer’s volume. So for one class, I was stuck listening to an instrumental rock playlist that I found a bit annoying.
If dieting is your downfall, the Halo can help you get your nutrition in order. In the Discover tab of the Halo app, Amazon has a library of more than 600 healthy recipes, which you can filter by eating style (classic, clean eating, ketogenic-friendly, Mediterranean, Nordic, Paleo-friendly, vegan, or vegetarian).
As a plant-based eater for the past nine years, I love that you can filter the library to show vegan options. I haven’t tried any yet, but the gingery garlicky tempeh, maple breakfast pudding, and vegan no-bake chocolate pie look promising. Each recipe has a photo, and you can bookmark your favorites for easy reference.
You can also filter the library by meal type (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, dessert, soups, salads, main course, side dish, sauces and dips, and beverages), main ingredient (beans and legumes, beef, chicken, cheese, eggs, fish, fruit, game and lamb, leafy greens, milk and dairy, nuts and seeds, shellfish, squash, tofu, tomato, and turkey), total time (10 minutes to more than 1 hour), cuisine type (African, American, Cajun/Creole, Caribbean, Chinese, French, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mediterranean, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Nordic, South American, Spanish, and Thai), and partner (Lifesum, Whole Foods Market, or WW).
In early 2022, Amazon plans to bolster its Halo Nutrition service with tools to help you plan a week of healthy eating. You’ll be able to build a custom weekly meal plan in the app or choose from seven curated menus, then easily add the ingredients you need for your meal plan to your Alexa Shopping List.
Halo View Activity and Fitness Tracking
Even without an active membership, the Halo View automatically tracks walks and other activities that elevate your heart rate. It records the date, time, and duration of your walk; keeps track of your step count; and estimates the number of calories you burned. In the Halo app, you can view a graph of your heart rate throughout the activity; the app also keeps track of your maximum and average beats per minute for the session. It accurately tracked the walks I took with my dog during testing.
The device doesn’t feature an internal or connected GPS, so it doesn’t keep track of your pace and distance during outdoor activities. The Fitbit Inspire 2 also lacks a built-in GPS, but connects to the one in your phone. After tracking an outdoor workout with your phone’s GPS connected to the Inspire 2, you can view a workout intensity map in the Fitbit app that shows your heart rate zone at each point in the route, a feature you don’t get on the Halo.
The Halo View also automatically tracked a yoga session, labeling it as a general activity. Because my heart rate didn’t increase during the entire one-hour class, it only gave me credit for 24 minutes. When this happens, you can manually edit the workout type and duration in the Halo app, and your calorie burn estimate will adjust accordingly.
If you pay for a membership, the Halo View tracks the duration of your light, moderate, and intense activity, and gives you an Activity Score. 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 earn more points running than walking, for instance. Sitting down for too long will cause you to lose points. For every sedentary hour over eight in a single day, you lose one point. Informed by recommendations from the World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the app encourages you to reach an Activity Score of at least 150 points each week.
I appreciate that the Halo View automatically tracks and awards you activity points for everyday activities that get your heart pumping, such as cleaning the house and doing laundry. One morning, I earned 13 activity points while playing with my dog. The Halo View said I took 477 steps and estimated that I burned 56 calories during the 18-minute play session. This just goes to show that you don’t necessarily need to do an intense Peloton class or a hard-core Tonal strength workout to meet physical activity recommendations and improve your health.
(Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)
When you swipe to the Exercise app on the Halo View and select a workout, it gives you a three-second countdown timer, then starts recording. Regardless of the type of workout you track, it shows the same information on the screen: your heart rate and duration. In these workout modes, you can also swipe to see your accumulated activity points, calorie burn estimate, and step count for the session. Press the Home/Back button to stop or pause your workout. When you end the workout, the View shows a summary of your stats on the screen.
When tracking workouts, the Halo View’s heart rate readings aren’t particularly accurate. For a one-hour workout, starting with a warm-up on the Stryde smart stationary bike followed by a strength class on the NordicTrack Vault smart workout mirror, both of which I’m testing for upcoming reviews, the Halo View said I had a maximum heart rate of 137bpm, an average heart rate of 94bpm, and estimated that I burned 179 calories. For that same session, the MZ-Switch heart rate monitor, another product I’m currently testing, said I had a peak heart rate of 172bpm, an average heart rate of 116bpm, and burned 375 calories, which seems more accurate.
I also tested it against an Apple Watch Series 7, the accuracy of which we have verified, during a 45-minute workout starting with a warm-up on the Stryde followed by a Halo strength class. During that session, the Halo View said I had an average heart rate of 117bpm, a maximum heart rate of 148bpm, and estimated I burned 266 calories. The Series 7 said I had an average heart rate of 149bpm, a maximum heart rate of 189bpm, and estimated I burned 363 calories.
(Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)
The Halo View’s resting heart rate readings are more accurate. When I’m at rest, the Halo View’s heart rate readings are always within a few beats per minute of the results I get from the Series 7. To see your heart rate at any time, navigate to Data > Heart Rate.
If you’re in search of a more accurate fitness tracker, I highly recommend the $179.95 Fitbit Charge 5, our Editors’ Choice, which delivers similar heart rate and calorie burn readings to the Apple Watch. It costs $100 more than the Halo View, but it also has a GPS, an attractive metal case, and mobile payment support.
Halo View SpO2 and Sleep Metrics
In addition to heart rate, the View also offers on-demand blood oxygen saturation readings. To take one, just navigate to Data > Blood Oxygen, and it will instruct you to tighten the band and slide it toward your elbow for a tight fit. When you’re ready, press Start and stay still. After about 30 seconds, it will show your SpO2 reading. The readings seemed slightly high in testing, but in the same ballpark as measurements from the Apple Watch Series 7. I took three readings on each device, alternating between them each time, then averaged the scores and got 99.7% on the Halo View and 98.3% on the Series 7.
(Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)
When you wear the Halo View to bed at night, regardless of whether or not you’re a member, it will track the duration of your sleep, as well as the time you fell asleep and woke up, how long it took you to fall asleep, how much time you spent awake, and your sleep efficiency (the percentage of time in bed you’re actually asleep).
The Halo View takes at least three nights to learn your normal sleep temperature. After establishing your baseline, it will tell you whether you’re running hot or cool compared with previous days and weeks, and by how much.
(Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)
With a membership, it also tracks your light, deep, and REM sleep, and gives you a Sleep Score (0-100) based on the duration and quality of your rest.
I found the Halo View’s sleep metrics slightly more accurate than the Nest Hub smart display and the Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed. After one night of tossing and turning, all three indicated I got a subpar night of sleep. The Halo View most closely pegged the time I actually fell asleep, woke up, and my sleep duration, but lowballed the time it took me to fall asleep. Interestingly, while the Nest Hub and Halo View offered very different results for my sleep duration (around 6.0 hours vs. 4.8 hours, respectively), they both said I got about the same amount of REM sleep that night (about 1.4 hours).
Small Price, Big Gains
Amazon’s Halo View is a basic activity and sleep tracker that presents a holistic view of your wellness. It’s hard to beat in terms of pricing at $79.99, and its excellent companion app offers useful guidance and tools to help improve your health and fitness. The Halo Fitness workout-streaming service has a way to go before it catches up to Apple Fitness+, but it costs less and its classes will still help you work up a sweat. The Fitbit Charge 5, our Editors’ Choice in this category, remains a better bet for serious athletes or gym rats in search of more accurate, granular metrics. But the Halo View is an excellent, more affordable alternative, particularly for beginners.
The Bottom Line
For well under $100, Amazon’s Halo View health tracker is an excellent tool to help-kick start your fitness journey.
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