Realme band review: cheap fitness tracker with glaring weaknesses | NextPit


As usual for Realme, the first fitness tracker from the Chinese manufacturer is also headed for the German market at a real knock-down price in order to attract buyers. But is the Realme Band really an alternative to Xiaomi Mi Band 4 and Honor Band 5?

Realme Band: Who is the Fitness Tracker for?

Depending where you’re shopping, the Realme Band costs around 30 US-Dollars. For that kind of money, you end up with a 24/7 pulse sensor, automatic workout recording, sleep tracking capability, and various reminders to stay hydrated or move about.

The Realme Band is considered as a

low-end
entry into the world of fitness trackers. The low price makes it particularly interesting for those who are curious to make the dive into the world of fitness trackers just for the sake of it. 

AndroidPIT Realme Band wrist
Functional: This is the best way to summarise the design of the Realme Band / © NextPit

And the competition?

The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 and the Honor band 5 offer a similar set of features. The two Realme competitors are available from various online shops at similar prices – and both were able to capture our attention in their respective reviews. 

I like the Realme Band because…

… of the battery life

As expected, the battery life of the Realme Band is excellent. Depending on the regularity of your exercise sessions and settings, this lightweight fitness tracker can easily last for a full week without any issue. I can get by with about 30 to 60 minutes of sporting activity per day for a week before requiring a recharge. As the charging plug is cleverly integrated into the wristband, you won’t need to have a separate cable for charging, where the strap can also be charged via any USB-A connector.

However, there is also reason for criticism here: as soon as the battery falls below 20 percent, it is no longer possible to get started on a workout. Even synchronising with the app becomes impossible as the built-in software kicks in to conserve battery life. Of course, you could say that this would still allow the Realme Band to function as a regular timepiece for a few more days in an emergency.

… of the reasonable price…

…which, in view of the competition, is relative. After all: A bad investment of around 30 bucks is less painful than many other bad purchases.

I don’t like the Realme Band because …

… the pulse measurement is inaccurate

Of course, nobody expects medical precision level from a 30 Dollar fitness tracker. But you do expect a few very basic requirements. An example would be figuring out the resting pulse during the day. On one day, the Realme Band records a minimum pulse of 41 beats per minute during sleep without any major deviations – but then spits out a resting pulse of 63 beats per minute for that very day. This means that there is something inconsistent about it. 

Read more: What does your resting heart rate, SpO2, REM Sleep, etc., really mean?

The result is similarly mixed when it comes to sports: On my past leg day, the Realme Band spat out a maximum heart rate of 121 beats per minute and an average pulse of 93 beats per minute. A Garmin system with a chest strap measured a maximum heart rate of 154 beats per minute and an average pulse of 129 beats per minute.

AndroidPIT training hr garmin venu vs realme band
Even during a leg workout, where the arms only hold weights, the Realme Band (right) is miles away from the measurements of a chest strap (left) / © NextPit

There is also a noticeable difference when running, even though it is less drastic: with a Sigma chest strap system I measured an average heart rate of 155 beats per minute and a maximum heart rate of 170. The Realme Band ends up with a slightly higher reading with an average heart rate of 162 beats per minute and a maximum heart rate of 174 beats per minute.

Read more: 12 terms that you should know about wearables

The sleep recording works reasonably well, although the band does not distinguish between me still sleeping and lying in bed while reading the news. Do the deep and light sleep phases really make any sense at all? I am unable to say so because of the lack of results from an actual sleep laboratory. However, they do not correlate at all with the data of a Garmin Venu that was worn simultaneously for several nights.

AndroidPIT Realme Band back sensor
Flashes busily but captures poor measurements: the pulse sensor in the Realme Band / © NextPit

… the user interface is annoying

The Realme Band has a touch button located under the display – there are no swipe gestures or anything similar to that because of the lack of a touch screen. To navigate the menu, you have to tap the screen x number of times. A long press will then start the selected training.

As there is no capacitive sensor but a simple pressure sensor installed here, I unfortunately started some workouts regularly during the day by accident when the sleeve of my jacket pressed on the band, or I somehow leaned on my arm in an unfavourable manner.

AndroidPIT Realme Band
I have been doing yoga regularly in the past weeks – at least that’s what the Realme Band claims / © NextPit

… the Realme Band is impractical for sports

Unfortunately, apparently nobody from Realme’s development department actually went running with the Realme Band and tried to obtain his/her heart rate from the display. In order to read your heart rate during an active workout, you have to switch to the corresponding display option by tapping four times: once each after the display turns itself off after a few seconds. The heart rate is then displayed in dark red on a black background and at best, can be guessed while you are running during daylight.

Unfortunately, the app fails to be any better. If you launch a running activity in the app on your smartphone, GPS tracking will be activated in the app, and it records while you run. The heartrate is not recorded through, even if you’re wearing the Band and just synchronized minutes before. If you begin the running activity comfortably on your wrist and have your smartphone in your pocket, the heart rate is tracked but the GPS data is not recorded. This simply has to work better – and it has to do so as there are competitors within the same price range that deliver better performance.

AndroidPIT realme band workout
455 minutes of “Warmup” and 10 minutes of “Threshold” activity recorded despite showing 15 minutes of “Threshold” activity during the morning run. How about a daily maximum heart rate of 168 bpm despite hitting a maximum training heart rate of 174? Totally inaccurate / © NextPit

Also otherwise the app is very spartan. Detailed analysis options? When pigs fly. Realme uses the same user interface for workouts to display the heart rate throughout the day. So for today, I had already spent 455 minutes on “warm-up” alone. Apart from that, as you can see in the screenshot above, there are problems even with simple arithmetics.

Conclusion: Is the Realme Band a good choice?

To make a long story short: No, this is not a fitness tracker worth dropping your hard-earned money on. It’s hard to believe, but the competition offers much more for the same amount of money. This is true for the Huawei Band 5 as well as the Xiaomi Mi Band 4. Heck, you might as well wait for its successor, the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 to be released.

I really like the excellent Huawei Health app in particular with its sophisticated training plans for runners. Furthermore, their app also works with other third-party accessories – such as chest straps from Polar and Suunto, where everything is clearly laid out. Also, it works on non-Huawei smartphones. What if you still cannot decide? Then read on here:

Unfortunately, the partly interesting price-performance ratio of the Realme Band has failed to convince us that this is one fitness tracker that is worth checking out.

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