No, you’re not seeing double. The new Amazon Halo View looks almost exactly like a Fitbit Charge 5. Announced as part of Amazon’s devices and services event, the $US80 ($111) tracker adds a colour AMOLED display and two new fitness and nutrition modes for its Halo service.
Amazon made a big deal about how the original Halo band had no display. The idea behind the tracker was to be less distracting when we’re all addicted to screens. But the display-free band wasn’t all that useful, so Amazon went back to the drawing board and added a screen with super chunky bezels. Amazon says you’ll be able to view your metrics such as sleep scores, activity levels, blood oxygen, texts, and reminders to move notifications. The tracker also has an estimated battery life of 7 days and is water-resistant to 50 meters. As far as sensors go, it has all the ones you’d typically expect, but also includes SpO2 sensors and a skin temperature sensor. Sounds like a Fitbit.
The big notable omission this time around is the microphone. One of the original Halo’s marquee features allowed users to monitor their tone when speaking to others throughout the day. It was, needless to say, creepy as fuck. According to CNET, that feature is still available to View users — just not on the wrist. You’ll have to use your phone instead. The same is true for Halo’s incredibly dubious body fat analysis feature, which utilises your phone’s cameras to create a 3D model of what you would look like at varying body fat percentages.
Amazon ditched the microphone and has instead added two new services to its Halo subscription service. The first is Halo Fitness, which is a streaming workout service similar to Apple’s Fitness+ or Peloton’s digital subscription, with studio workouts for cardio, strength, yoga, the outdoors, and mobility. You can see your metrics from the tracker overlaid on the display you’re working out with, similar to Apple’s Fitness+ integration with Apple Watch. (This feature isn’t coming until next year, and it’s unclear which displays will support it.)
Amazon is also launching Halo Nutrition, which is essentially a meal-planning service that gives users the option to choose between roughly 500 recipes from WW, LifeSum, and Whole Foods. It also lets you select between seven different types of diets. These include popular options like keto and paleo, as well as vegan and vegetarian options. As for how this all integrates with Amazon’s services? You can add ingredients and groceries from the recipes to your Alexa Shopping list.
On paper, this is a pretty competitive package. The Halo View has, shall we say, extremely aggressive pricing, offering many of the same features you’d get with a Fitbit Charge 5, for roughly $US160 ($221) less in the first year. The Halo View comes bundled with a year of Amazon Halo for $US80 ($111), while the Fitbit Charge 5 plus six months of Fitbit Premium (the first six months are free) is $US240 ($332). The price and features are clearly meant to rattle Fitbit, which has basically dominated fitness tracker sales for the past decade. The original Halo tracker was also a bizarre experience that combined half-baked fitness-tracking with body shaming and tone policing. It’s hard to say whether a display and new services will make people want to buy a Halo. Amazon may be copying Fitbit’s homework, but we’ll have to see if whether it passes real-life testing.
The Halo View will be available later this year in select regions for $US80 ($111), which includes a year’s worth of Amazon’s Halo service.
You can choose between black, green, and purple bands, with the option of swapping them out for other straps. Sports bands start at $US15 ($21) each, while the fabric, leather, and metal bands are $US30 ($41). Halo Fitness e will roll out to existing Halo users later this year with the live fitness metrics feature rolling out next year. Halo Nutrition will be available starting January 2022.
Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for local Australian pricing and availability.