Setting up the Huawei Honor Band 5
The Huawei Honor Band 5 is a recent (at time of writing), budget fitness band. It garners generally positive reviews as being a strong budget option. I just received mine today, so this won't be a review of the device itself, just some tips for the setup process. I'm also not going to go into privacy and permissions concerns: in the same way that I assume Google gets all my data via its services on my Android phone, I assume Huawei now also has access to everything. This isn't a happy state of affairs, but apparently counting my steps is more important to me.
Note: this post assumes you don't have a Huawei phone. I have a Pixel 4A, and the issues and steps should be similar for other recent Android devices.
The quickstart guide that comes with the band suggests you can put it on charge, download the Huawei Health app, and go ahead and pair. Unfortunately, I didn't find it that simple, and a quick search showed others having similar problems.
The Huawei Health app is available on the Google Play Store, but it requires HMS Core (Huawei Mobile Services) in order to run. This is also on the Play Store, but installing from there didn't seem to help.
The solution seems to be to install Huawei's own app store, Huawei App Gallery, then install the other apps from there. To reiterate, the steps (in order) are:
- Put the band on charge.
- Download and install Huawei App Gallery. You may see a message telling you that for security reasons your phone will not install apps from this source (meaning the browser). Change the settings to allow it to download and install.
- Open Huawei App Gallery, find HMS Core (Huawei Mobile Services), and install it. You may need to return to your settings to allow your phone to install apps from the Huawei App Gallery.
- Open HMS Core, and go through the steps to log in or sign up for a Huawei account.
- Once HMS Core is installed, return to Huawei App Gallery, find Huawei Health, and install it.
Pairing should now be simple:
- Ensure your band is turned on.
- Ensure your phone's bluetooth is enabled.
- Open Huawei Health.
- Navigate to Devices.
- Select Add.
- Select the type of device you want to pair. In this case, select Honor Band 4/5.
- Select Pair.
- The app should automatically detect your band.
One of the advertised features of the band is an oximeter, or spO2 monitor, to sense blood oxygen levels. If this is available, you should be able to find it on the band by tapping the band to light it up, then swiping through the features (it's just after the heart rate monitor). However, on some versions, it isn't available immediately. To solve this, you need to update the band's firmaware:
- Open the Huawei Health app.
- Select Devices.
- Ensure the band is connected to the app.
- Select the connected band. This will show you a screen with various customisation options.
- Scroll down and select Firmware update.
- The app will tell you if there is a firmware update available, and walk you through the steps.