From my perspective, a Fitness band is a toned-down, focused version of a smartwatch. It gives you most of the core features that you get from the latter, in a lighter, more compact package, and usually for less.
The realme Band is a prime example of such a device. Priced at only PhP1,390, it aims to be the handy companion that helps and guides you toward your fitness goals, and more, without burning a big hole in your wallet.
The question is, is it affordable with a catch? or is it worth more than its price?
Realme band uses the typical formula of a fitness band – replaceable straps that match the user’s personality, a small screen to show basic information, and an app to handle its other features, and of course, there’s nothing wrong with that.
“Don’t fix what’s not broken.”
In this case, the pursuit of weight-saving really does affect the overall experience. It feels very comfortable when worn, especially when walking or jogging. It’s almost as if it’s not there, so good job to them on that part.
The screen, while bright enough to use in a room or at night, isn’t very good when used in broad daylight, and that’s even when it’s at its max brightness. You can also change the orientation using the companion app, realme Link.
There’s no auto-rotate feature here, so you’ll have to go to the app every time you need to change the orientation, though I can hardly think of any scenario that will force you to use it in landscape except when you’re not wearing it. Maybe that’s why they didn’t bother.
To navigate the UI, you’ll need to use the dedicated touch button. One press cycles through the menus, while a long press is sort of its “Ok” or “Confirm.” The button is responsive but is also prone to accidental taps.
The screen part has already hit some edges (my table, wall, etc.) a couple of times and so far, no visible scratches.
Removing the upper part of the strap reveals the USB connector, which directly connects to any USB port to charge the device. The charging progress will be shown on the screen.
The realme Band is also IP68 certified which means it’s dustproof and can be submerged in FRESH water with a depth of 1.5m for up to 30 minutes. This means you can take it for a swim or a jog or run in the rain, and it should be fine.
The realme Band monitors heart rate and gives you a breakdown of your resting, minimum, maximum, and average heart rates and more. You can easily pick a date and it’ll show you the corresponding data. Your current heart rate is also shown on the band’s screen.
You’ll be able to set a target number of steps per day (up to 30,000) and the app will show your progress in numbers (total steps, calories burned, etc.), and a progress circle. You’ll also be able to track your steps on the home screen.
The realme Band supports 9 types of workouts:
Now, the list does include the basics – Running, Walking, and Biking, but Cricket? I mean sure, it’s a legitimate sport that some people here in the Philippines do, but wouldn’t it be nice if they included swimming as well? I mean, the device is IP68 certified.
You can only choose three types of workouts at a time. Your choices will appear as menu items on the band’s screen.
To start a workout, you simply select the workout from the band, then press and hold the Ok button, and there you go. You can also do it from the app, which offers more options such as being able to set a time limit. To stop your workout, simply press and hold the Ok button again.
The band requires a certain amount of time for it to be able to record your workout. Once done, an entry will be created in the Sports Mode section of the app.
The band can also receive and show notifications for messages, calls, or other apps. All of which can be set using the companion app.
Realme Link, realme Band’s companion app, lets you access all essential information. It keeps a record of your heart rate, steps, and workouts, ready to be viewed in summary. To use it, you’ll need to initially pair your band, which is a pretty straightforward process.
The app also lets you access other features:
- Selecting a watch face. At the time of writing, there are five to choose from, and realme promises to add more via software updates.
- Enabling/disabling call alerts
- Enabling/disabling message alerts, and other alerts from apps. You’ll be able to select which apps can send notifications.
- Set the device to alert you every so often when it detects that you’re sitting for too long. Unfortunately, there’s no way to set the start and end time for this, which is odd. Does realme think everyone is in front of the computer, working at 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM?
- Set an alarm
- Set a reminder to drink water (15 minutes to 2.5 hours interval). You can also set the days of the week in which you should be reminded.
- Set DND mode, or the time when the band will not notify you of anything, except for alarms.
- Enable Find Your Phone – In case you forget where you placed your phone, you can trigger this action from the band to make your phone ring and vibrate.
- Select three types of workouts that will appear on the band.
- Enable Raise to Wake
- Set your step goals
- Adjust brightness
- Set the language
- Enable weather information
- Set the maximum heart rate
- Set the display orientation
- Set units (cm, km/feet, mile, kg/pound)
- Sync to other service providers (Ex: Google Fit)
- Update the device firmware
Do note that I encountered an instance where the band would not reconnect automatically after I turned Bluetooth OFF and then ON again. I had to restart the phone to resolve the issue.
There were also instances where it took too long to sync data that I had to restart the app to make it work.
Lastly, the app only ties information on your workouts, steps, sleep, and heart rate to your account, it does not, however, tie it up with your setting. That only means you’ll have to redo your changes to the settings again when you uninstall/reinstall the app. This can be annoying especially if you’re the type to change phones every so often.
At the time of writing this review, I’ve been using the realme Band for 2 days, and in those two days, the battery has gone down from 99% to 59%, which means I may have around 2 to 3 days more of usage. I’ll post an update when it reaches zero.
The realme Band delivers on much of its tasks without over-promising. It’s comfortable to use, tracks workouts, steps, heart rate, and sleep, and presents data in a straightforward manner, and the extra features are very welcome.
Now it would’ve been an almost perfect device, if not for the random connectivity issues and some bits of “odd” decision making on the app. Of course, there’s a big chance that these can be solved with a simple software update.
Some features seem incomplete such as not being able to set the time for Idle Alerts and the fact that your settings aren’t tied to your account, as well as the list of workouts that can be improved, all these little things take a small chunk away from the user experience.
Regardless, it still does what most of what it’s supposed to do, and for the price, I think that that’s what really matters. The rest are just bonuses.