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UA Band review: HTC's first ever wearable is a fitness tracking device

Florence Ion | Jan. 26, 2016
But there's no need to discount it. The UA Band actually an impressive fitness gadget, made better by the accompanying app.

It counts your steps, and then some

Like every other one of the dozens of fitness gadgets, the UA Band tracks it all: heart rate, calories burned, steps walked, and hours slept. It displays simple notifications on its 1.3-inch POLED touch display, like calendar events and text messages, and it buzzes you awake if you set an alarm. It also shows the time.

uaband modes
The UA Band features four primary modes, including the ability to track your activity (steps), sleep, heart rate, and fitness. 

The UA Band utilizes a basic tap-and-swipe mechanism for its oversimplified interface. There is hardly a learning curve here. All you really have to do is keep swiping until you get to the option you’re looking for. In some cases, you’ll see a down arrow appear in the left-hand side, which notes that there’s more information below. When you’re done tapping and swiping around, you turn off the screen with a simple press of the button.

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The UA Band features a workout mode that actively tracks how long you’re moving, your heart rate, and how many calories you’ve burned. Credit: Florence Ion

One of my favorite features of the band is its ability to actively track a workout. What’s more: you can set one of the workout modes to whatever sport or activity it is you practice, and the UA Band will store that information and sync it up to your phone later. The only bummer is that there’s only one slot for your own custom workout. The other three options are running, cycling, and gym time. If you’re not interested in those things, you’re out of luck.

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You can choose to actively track four different types of workouts, including one you pick yourself. Credit: Florence Ion

Now, the smartest feature of the Band is that it automatically kicks in to sleep mode once you’ve dozed off—and even if you’re struggling to, as exhibited in my own personal sleep metrics. The band tracks how many hours you’ve slept, how deep it was, how often you were moving around, and your sleeping heart rate. You still have to remember to stop the sleep tracking in the morning, though I’ve forgotten so many times and it’s still managed to figure out when I’m up and about and not actually asleep.

You don’t have to charge it all that often

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You can set it and forget it—at least for 5 consecutive days. Credit: Florence Ion

Under Armour and HTC have promised five days of battery life with the UA Band’s 112 mAh battery. The band isn’t using a ton of resources when it’s simply resting on your wrist, and it turns off Bluetooth when you’re asleep, so it’s no surprise that I managed a little more than six days without charging it.

 

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