Amazon Halo: Review the Smart Watch Fitness Activity Tracker

Amazon Halo is a new smart watch fitness tracker activity band that measures everything from body composition and body fat percentage, to tone of voice analysis and sleep in this trendy wristband.

Full Disclosure

Amazon Halo is a health and wellness tracker created by Amazon.

The band tracks your health and wellness data, then helps improve how you sleep, move, and feel. It also tracks body composition and analyzes your voice – two things we don’t see with standard fitness trackers.

How does Amazon Halo work? Is Amazon Halo worth it? Find out everything you need to know about Amazon Halo today in our review.


What is Amazon Halo?

Amazon Halo is a health and wellness band launched by Amazon in fall 2020. The health and wellness band tracks things like body composition, sleep, and activity. An Amazon Halo subscription is free for the first six months, then it automatically renews at $3.99 per month.

While other fitness trackers emphasize activity and heartrate tracking, Amazon’s Halo works differently. The health and wellness band tracks body composition and tone of voice, for example – two things most trackers don’t measure.

The health and wellness band also looks different than traditional fitness trackers: there’s no display on the band itself. You interact with the band exclusively through the mobile app. Amazon describes Halo as “screen-free for fewer distractions.”

Amazon announced Halo in August 2020. The company initially launched Halo as an invite-only service. Now, Halo is available for anyone through the official Amazon store for $99.99 (without a subscription) or $64.99 (with a subscription).

How Does Amazon Halo Work?

Amazon Halo works differently from other fitness trackers and smartwatches. The first thing you notice is that the health and wellness band has no screen: it’s just a fabric band that wraps around your wrist.

Instead of interacting with Halo via a screen or touch display, you interact with Halo via the mobile app. The mobile app includes a set of fitness tracking features, including activity and sleep tracking.

Of course, there are hundreds of fitness trackers that track your health, wellness, fitness, and sleep. So what makes Halo different?

Halo differentiates itself from the competition using two unique features: voice tracking and body composition tracking.

For body composition tracking, you take photos of your body with your camera, then allow the Halo app to create 3D scans. Based on the scans, the app will determine your body fat percentage.

For voice tracking, Halo listens to your voice to determine your emotion. Based on your voice analysis, Halo will determine if you’re stressed, tired, excited, or apologetic, for example.

Amazon Halo is priced at $99.99, although Amazon is offering the device at an early access price of $64.99. Halo is a separate service and is not part of Amazon Prime. Your purchase comes with a free 6 month subscription, after which you pay $3.99 per month.

How Does Halo Band Track Data? Halo Band Hardware

Fitness trackers analyze data in different ways. So how does Amazon Halo work?

The Halo Band consists of a sensor module and a band that clicks into the top. You place the sensor module into the band, then wrap the band around your wrist like an ordinary watch.

Because there’s no display on Halo, you need to check the app if you want to measure steps tracked and other data.

Like other fitness trackers in this price range, Halo does not come with a built-in GPS, Wi-Fi, or cellular signal. Instead, it relies on your phone’s sensors for this data.

Amazon Halo does, however, have all of the following sensors on board:

  • Accelerometer
  • 2 microphones
  • LED indicator light
  • Button to turn microphones on or off

You cannot interact with Alexa using the microphones. Instead, the microphones are for voice analysis. In fact, Amazon has explicitly stated that Alexa is not integrated in Halo in any way.

To communicate with your phone, Halo uses Bluetooth. Halo works with both iPhones and Androids.

You can buy Halo in three band colors, including Onyx (black), Mineral (turquoise), and Rose Gold (pink). Based on promotional images shared online, Amazon wants to offer more band colors in the future. Each band is priced at $16 to $20, with sport bands and stylish bands available. Amazon recommends mixing and matches bands throughout the week based on your outfit and style. Since you can swap the sensor into any band, it’s easy for your band to look different based on your outfit.

In terms of battery life, the Halo should last 7 days on a single charge. However, if you enable Tone tracking, then the battery lasts just 2 days on a single charge. You’re supposed to leave the device running 24 hours a day.

Like other fitness trackers, Halo is water resistant up to 5 ATM. Amazon labels the device as “swim proof”, and it should survive against water ingress for most normal swimming situations (i.e. as long as you’re not diving more than 150 feet underwater for hours at a time).

Amazon Halo Features & Benefits

Amazon’s Halo offers all of the following features and benefits:

Screen-Free: Halo does not have a screen. Amazon advertises this as a feature because it keeps the device “distraction free”.

Lab Support: Connect your Amazon Halo to Amazon Labs third party services like Lifesum, SWEAT, and Headspace for more insight into your data.

Tone Voice Analysis: Amazon Halo listens to your voice throughout the day to analyze anxiety, pitch, tone, and other aspects of your voice to determine your mood.

Body Composition Analysis: Take 360-degree photos of your body with the Amazon Halo app, and the app creates a 3D model of your body to track body fat percentage, which Amazon claims is more accurate for health than weight or BMI.

Sleep Tracking: Amazon Halo tracks sleep activity, quality, duration, and wake-up temperature.

Activity Tracking: Amazon automatically tracks walking and running, and you can manually input other activities or sports into the app to track that activity.

Sedentary Time Tracking: Amazon Halo tracks sedentary time and sends you an alert if you are sedentary for more than 8 hours.

Multiple Band Colors: Place the Halo sensor into different bands based on your outfit or activity. You can buy new colors, switch to a sports band, and use multiple band sizes.

Amazon Halo Activity Tracking

Amazon Halo tracks activity and sleep – just like most fitness trackers. However, Halo tracks this information in a slightly different way.

Amazon’s Halo app tracks your cardio fitness on a weekly basis instead of daily, allowing for rest days. You can view your week-by-week activity instead of getting frustrated for missing one day of exercise.

Halo tracks steps, although it gives you an abstracted score. Amazon developed the abstracted score in partnership with the American Heart Association. Instead of explicitly saying “10,000 steps is good for you”, the tracker measures steps in a more nuanced way, giving you more accurate feedback on step activity.

To distinguish between levels of exercise, Halo uses its heart rate tracker. Based on your heart rate, Halo distinguishes between intense, moderate, and light activity. By getting a combination of all three activities per week, you can reach your weekly target.

And, like other fitness trackers, Halo tracks how long you were sedentary. If you spend more than 8 hours without moving much, then Halo will deduct this inactivity from your weekly activity score, giving you motivation to move around.

Some fitness trackers automatically detect your activities based on your movement – say, if you’re playing soccer or cycling. Amazon Halo automatically tracks running and walking, although all other types of exercises require manual entry.

As The Verge described Halo in their writeup, “the whole system feels less designed for workout min-maxers and more for people who just want to start being more active in the first place”.

Amazon Halo Sleep Tracking

Amazon Halo’s sleep tracking works similar to other trackers: it rates your sleep based on an abstracted score, giving you details about REM sleep, sleep duration, and sleep quality, among other metrics.

Like the new FitBit, the Halo Band also monitors temperature as you sleep, using a three-day temperature average as a baseline. You can compare your wake-up temperature to your baseline average.

Amazon Halo Body Composition Feature

Amazon Halo’s fitness and sleep tracking work similar to other trackers. Where Amazon differentiates Halo from the competition, however, is with its Body and Tone features.

With Amazon Halo’s Body, you use your smartphone camera to capture a 3D scan of your body. Then, Amazon analyzes these images to calculate your body fat percentage.

The Body scan works with any ordinary smartphone camera. The app requests that you wear tight-fitting clothing (ideally, your underwear) and stand back six feet from your camera. The app automatically takes four photos, including one from your front, back, then left and right sides. You spin around, let the app take the photos, and then sit back and analyze your data.

Amazon runs the four photos through its algorithm to create a 3D scan. Then, Amazon deletes the data from its servers.

Once the 3D scan is on the app, Amazon uses machine learning to calculate your body fat percentage. Body fat percentage, according to Amazon (and various health experts), is a more reliable indicator of health than weight or body mass index (BMI).

You can find smart scales that deliver similar data, although Amazon argues these smart scales aren’t accurate: they measure body fat percentage using bioelectrical impedance instead of body composition images. Amazon even claims to have completed an internal study verifying these claims, and they may submit this data to a peer-reviewed medical journal in the future.

Once the Amazon app has 3D scans of your body, the app lets you drag your finger to reveal how you would look with more or less body fat.

Obviously, people have concerns with Amazon Halo. Some dislike the idea of Amazon having images of people wearing tight-fitting clothing or underwear. Others take issue with the idea of sliding your body fat composition to show a skinnier or fatter version of yourself, concerned with the effect it might have on people with eating disorders, anorexia, or body image issues.

Anyone over 13 years of age can use Amazon Halo, although the Body feature is only available to people 18 or older.

Amazon Halo Tone Feature

Amazon Halo’s Tone feature, meanwhile, analyzes the tone of your voice to determine your emotional state throughout the day. To track this data, Halo has a microphone that captures your voice as you speak.

As far as we know, the Amazon Halo is the only tracker that analyzes tone of voice, then uses this information to deliver actionable recommendations.

To use the Tone feature, the Amazon Halo app asks you to read some text back to it. It uses this text to develop a model of your voice. The Halo Band then focuses on your tone – not the tone of people around you.

Throughout the day, the Amazon Halo Band will intermittently listen to your voice as you speak to assess your positivity and energy. You cannot actively ask the Halo Band to read the tone of your voice: it’s an ambient and passive feature.

Amazon claims it will never upload your voice to any servers, nor will any humans ever hear your voice. It’s exclusively analyzed by the Halo software, with voice data sent to your phone via Bluetooth. After analyzing the voice samples and determining your emotional state, Amazon immediately deletes the voice data from your phone.

You can also mute the mic at any time by pressing the button, and a red blinking LED appears to prove the device is muted.

To analyze your emotional state, Halo checks your voice for the following information:

  • Pitch
  • Intensity
  • Rhythm
  • Tempo

Amazon uses this data to track “notable moments” throughout the day. Amazon categorizes these moments based on whether you were hopeful, excited, hesitant, bored, apologetic, happy, worried, confused, or affectionate.

Why would you want to track this data? Amazon claims you can hear how you sound to your colleagues, kids, parents, partner, boss, interviewer, waiter, and others you interact with on a daily basis.

Amazon claims their Tone feature works best for an American accent, and that those with other accents will get less accurate results. However, Amazon hopes to improve language and accent support over time.

Amazon Halo and Data Privacy

Understandably, some are concerned with data privacy and the Amazon Halo. Amazon is doing its best to relieve those concerns. Amazon insists data is analyzed by AI algorithms and not stored on Amazon servers or tracked by humans. Amazon will also post a document detailing every type of data, where that data is stored, and how to delete that data.

Amazon also lets you opt-in to every feature on Halo, making it easy to pick and choose which data you want to track. If you don’t want Amazon Halo to track your body composition, for example, then you don’t need to create a body scan. Even if you do create a body scan, human reviewers never see those images.

Amazon also stores all sensitive data – like voice data and body composition images – locally on your device. The Halo app uploads data to Amazon servers so it can build the 3D model, although it claims to delete images immediately after analysis.

Other key points of Amazon Halo and data privacy include:

  • Your Halo profile is separate from your Amazon account
  • You need to individually activate your Halo profile using a second factor (like a text message), which means anyone sharing your Amazon Prime cannot also access your health data
  • You can download and delete any data stored in the cloud at any time, or you can reset your account to zero and delete all data
  • You can individually delete body scan and tone data, among other sensitive data, while keeping all other Amazon Halo data
  • Body scans are briefly uploaded to Amazon’s servers for analysis, then deleted “Within 12 hours”; these images are not shared to other apps like the photo gallery unless you explicitly export an image to that third party app
  • Amazon Halo analyzes voice recordings locally on your phone without ever sending them to the cloud
  • Amazon can share certain data with third parties, including partners like WW (formerly known as Weight Watches)
  • Amazon also shares data generated by its Labs feature, although it only shares this data as anonymous aggregate info

Overall, Amazon emphasizes the fact that it stores limited data on its servers, allows you to quickly delete any data, and anonymizes data (or runs data through artificial intelligence algorithms instead of humans) to reassure Halo users on privacy concerns.

Amazon Halo Pricing

Amazon Halo is priced at two different rates. The device is normally priced at $100, although you can lower the price to $65 with a subscription:

  • Halo Band (Early Access Price): $64.99 (includes free six month subscription)
  • Halo Band (Normal Price): $99.99 (includes free six month subscription)
  • Monthly Subscription: $3.99 per month

You can choose three sizes (small, medium, and large) and three colors (Black + Onyx, Blush + Rose Gold, and Winter + Silver) on checkout.

Amazon Halo Tech Specs

Amazon Halo comes with the following technical specifications:

Battery Life: Up to 7 days (with Tone disabled) or up to 2 days (with Tone enabled)

Water Resistance: Swimproof, water resistant up to 50 meters (5 ATM)

Size: Small (135 to 155mm circumference), Medium (145 to 180mm), Large (170 to 220mm; Sport Small/Medium (130 to 180mm), Sport Medium/Large (160 to 230mm)

Band Material: Woven blend of polyester, nylon, and spandex; sport: high-performance silicone

Weight (Capsule): 18g, Band: 5.2g (s), 5.4g (M), or 6.0g (L)

Audio: 2 built-in microphones for tone analysis

Warranty: 1-year limited warranty

Included in Box: Sensor, band, USB charging clip, ,and Quick Start guide

Requirements: Active account, iOS 12.0+ or later or Android 7.0+ or later, and the Halo app

Final Word

Amazon’s Halo is a new health and wellness tracker announced in August 2020. The goal of the Amazon Halo is to provide actionable insight into your activities, sleep, body composition, tone of voice, and more.

Priced at $100 with a $4 per month subscription, Amazon Halo aims to provide unique health and wellness insights compared to competing fitness trackers, including integration with third party wellness services via Amazon Labs.

As part of an introductory early access offer, Amazon is selling Halo for $64.99 with a free six-month subscription.

Live Healthier
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