After introducing the screenless Halo fitness band last year, Amazon is expanding its wearables portfolio. The company today announced the Halo View, a new version with a display that costs $80 less than the original. It also announced the addition of two new Halo subscription programs, Halo Fitness and Halo Nutrition, to the existing Halo subscription program.
With an AMOLED color screen and haptic feedback, the new Halo View looks very similar to Fitbit’s Charge series. It will show your activity history, live workout-tracking, sleep scores, blood oxygen levels, and “text and move notifications,” according to Amazon.
The swim-proof device includes an optical heart rate monitor, skin temperature sensor, and accelerometer. It should last up to seven days, according to Amazon, and a full charge will take “under 90 minutes.” While we don’t have a full spec sheet yet, the company’s press release does not mention an onboard microphone at this time. Not only will you be unable to use a voice assistant or dictate messages, but the company’s contentious Tone feature may also be unavailable.
The companion app will support Tone and other Halo features like body-composition scanning (via your phone’s camera), according to the company’s statement. According to a spokesperson for the company, “Halo View does not have a microphone, unlike Halo Band, which has one that allows users to record speech samples throughout the day. Customers with Halo View can still use Live Mode for Tone, which is an in-app membership feature that is not dependent on the band. Tone’s Live Mode allows you to analyze your tone in real-time.”
To refresh your memory, Tone debuted with the original Halo and, with your permission, used the band’s microphones to listen to you all day. It would then analyze your speech patterns to determine whether you sound stressed, angry, happy, excited, or anything else. The idea was that your voice tone could reveal more about your mental health and how much distress you were in.
However, not only did the idea of Amazon policing the way you speak sound dystopian, but it was also ineffective in practice. I tested Halo’s Tone feature, and it wasn’t always accurate, especially since I couldn’t remember every single instance it logged, and the system doesn’t record audio clips to remind you (for better or worse).
The Halo View, like the original, will cost you not only money for the hardware, but also an additional $4 per month to use many of its features. You won’t get body composition, activity intensity and scores, movement health guides, sleep scores and stages unless you pay the fee.
However, Amazon is expanding its Halo package with the addition of Fitness and Nutrition programs, which are available for free today. These are very similar to Fitbit’s Premium plan, which includes guides for bettering your workouts, eating, and sleeping. Amazon is undercutting Fitbit Premium, which is twice as expensive at $10 per month, as is its custom.
We’re still waiting for more information from Amazon about the Halo View’s dimensions, screen size, and other features, and the device isn’t yet available for purchase. The company says you can “sign up to be notified when Halo View is available.” However, fitness content will be available later this year on the Halo app, while nutrition will be available in January 2022. Regardless, the View comes in three colors: green, lavender, and black, with the option to swap out the bands for a different color.