Update April 2023: Amazon has stated that they will no longer support Amazon Halo. This adds it to the list of products they have tried and then abandoned over the years (like the Fire Phone, Cloud Cam, Dash Buttons, and more) . Starting in August 2023 the app will no longer function, rendering the Halo Band and Halo View as useless, expensive, visually unappealing bracelets. As a multi-year user this is disappointing. We are leaving these reviews here to share the things that did work about Halo, despite the annoying subscription business model and lack of features compared to competitors.
The Amazon Halo band is one of the leading wearables and step trackers. While FitBit and Apple Watch make up the other major players, Halo takes Amazon’s classic approach of trying to do more through a subscription. This means that the Halo service offers more than just tracking for the bracelet wearable.
Their library of content focuses on both sides of the Calories In-Calories Out scale. This equates to content for working out as well as nutritional information and recipes (no doubt as a way to drive grocery sales on their main site). For labeled foods and tightly controlled recipes, a good food scale and some patience is all that’s needed to find calories in.
But what about calories burned? For that we need to look at how accurate the Halo band is calculating calories burned. This article reviews how Halo estimates this, and compares their estimates to other popular calorie tracking wearables and apps.
How Does Halo Band Calculate Calories
The Halo Band determines calories burned based on a combination of weight, and movement. This does not take into account any shifts in body type. A calculation of Basal z metabolic Rate (BMR) really only looks at height and weight, as well as some adjustment for age.
By default body mass made up of muscle will burn more calories. This means that the accuracy of the calorie count for Halo, and other fitness trackers, is at best a mid-range estimate for an average person.
Averages vary widely from actuals though. Health conditions can drastically change how many calories are burned at rest. Thyroid and autoimmune conditions will effect BMR, as will dozens of other genetic markers.
Even the type of rest you get will change the calorie count. Some media outlets report that chess players can burn nearly 300% average calories while playing, while scientific investigations suggest it is closer to 10% increase. Either way, it is safe to assume that not everyone, nor every activity, will burn the same amount and this will alter the accuracy of the Halo App estimates.
How Accurate is Amazon Halo for Calories
For any wearable the measures calories or workouts, the accuracy of the device is important to consider. While we do not have a single ground truth to compare it to, we did look at how Amazon Halo compared to Apple Watch for the same activity.
In the image below you can see the exact same workout measured on two separate devices. The main difference in measurement was that each device was work on a different hand. This should be less impactful since the activity was a run, and not a measurement of specific daily activity.
In the results you can see that that Amazon Halo’s accuracy was within +/-5% of the Apple Watch. We found similar results on other activities including walks and runs that were over 15 minutes. The only time in our 10 different workouts that the accuracy of Amazon Halo differed by more than 5% was when the activity was only a 10 minute walk, and the total difference in calories was less than 5 calories.
The major surprise for us was that the two wearable were so close together in their total count. This was in large part because the step averages over the course of the day seems to differ much more for each device. That being said, the impact of simple steps on total calories is often more important to daily calories burned, especially for individuals who are not regularly logging fitness activity.
Amazon Halo Step and Body Fat Scan Accuracy
Calories of course are not the only thing that the Halo band will monitor. The device is designed as a full fledged activity wearable. This includes monitoring of daily steps as well as an app version for tracking workouts.
What’s more, in the app there is a premium option that allows for body scan analysis. These body scans are based on images that you take with a smart phone. Generally speaking the accuracy of the body scans is pretty good compared to lab tests. We reviewed some of the other data on Amazon Halo accuracy in these additional articles.