Guest Article by Budget Home Automation.
Well, it depends. There are pros and cons to the Wyze Band, which we will cover. There are also features and functionality that just aren’t quite there yet. Hopefully, Wyze will get some of the issues resolved before the public launch. The Wyze Scale has moved out of early access and made its official debut. It’s good that the Wyze Band launch was delayed to work on some of these issues. Let’s hope the Wyze Band public release won’t be too far behind!
Wyze Band Specs
(from the Wyze website)
- Dimensions: 4.38” x 3.25” x 1.25”
- Weight: 2.6 oz
- Strap: 9.5”/240mm total length, fits wrist circumference 6.1”-8.6”/155-220mm
- Water Resistance: 5ATM – 164ft underwater for 10 minutes
- Processor: Cypress PSOC6 Dual Core MCU, 100+150 MHz
- Display: AMOLED Color Screen, 0.95”, 120 x 240 pixel, 282ppi
- Audio: Two digital mics
- RAM: 288KB (internal) + 8MB (external)
- Storage: 16M Flash
- Connection: BLE 5.0
- Compatibility: Android and iOS
- Battery: Lithium, 120mAh (~10 day battery life)
- Power: Standard USB, 5V DC
Wyze Band First Impressions
As usual for Wyze products, the packaging is tight and minimal. Wyze isn’t just looking out for our wallets, they are looking out for the environment too. Inside the box, you’ll find the Wyze Band, a short USB charging cable (no power brick), and a Quick Start Guide. You start by charging the band.
We purchased the Wyze Band for our eleven-year-old son, Will, as a gift. He was the only one in the family lacking a wearable device. Since he is still learning to keep track of his things, we decided this would be a good choice for him at $24.99. We definitely should have charged it ahead of time as he was very anxious to start using it!
Once charged, the setup is like every other Wyze device. Select add a product through the Wyze app, which will walk you through the process. Once you pair the band with your phone, you are prompted to enter your height, weight, birth year, and desired wrist. Then, there’s a quick four-screen swipe-through overview of the watch.
Wyze Band Basics
From the watch face, swipe to navigate through the different functions: Activity, Shortcuts (Wyze device control), Run, Alarms, Weather, Heart Rate, Find Phone, Alexa Alerts, Settings, and Notifications. Press on the desired function to drill down to more options. The Home button is a touch-activated, white horizontal line on the bottom of the watch face with haptic feedback. A tap of the Home button takes you up a menu level, and long press activates Alexa.
There are a lot of options for setting up the watch face. Will really liked setting the background and layout for the watch face. Wow, that screen is bright! You can definitely lower the brightness via Settings which will also give you more juice out of the battery. You may want to set night mode to lower the brightness at night, especially if you are sleeping. It’s comfortable enough to wear on your wrist for tracking your sleep. I can’t even tolerate most jewelry, and I had no issue wearing it. It’s very light and fits well on the wrist.
Wyze Band Features
As you can tell from the list of options above, the Wyze Band has a broad range of functionality. It has similar features to other entry-level fitness trackers. It’s really more of a health/activity tracker than a fitness tracker. The band logs your steps, running, calories burned, heart rate, and sleep. You can set alarms, check the weather, and receive notifications. The watch also has a Find feature to locate your phone from the band or band from the phone.
The ability to control smart home devices is what really sets it apart. You can either launch Wyze Shortcuts or use Alexa to control devices set up in the Alexa app. You can use Alexa to manage your lists or make general inquiries. You can also set timers and alarms but with vibration only which is actually nice. There are two mics but no speaker on the watch. This limits the feedback from Alexa.
Wyze Band: Pros
Well, there’s the obvious: the price. At $24.99 it packs a lot of potential functionality. The Alexa features are really convenient. Will uses Alexa a lot. It feels pretty James Bond to talk into your watch! If you have a lot of Wyze devices, you will find the Shortcuts useful too. All of our Wyze devices are controlled through automation. For testing, we set up two shortcuts on the watch to turn on and off a Wyze bulb. These worked as expected.
The watch is very customizable and comfortable. The battery life is great. Find Device, Alarms, and Notifications are all solid, useful features.
Wyze Band: Cons
This is tough for me. I really like Wyze and love what they have done to bring smart home devices to so many people by making them incredibly affordable. That said, this device needs some work. After reading a lot of posts on the Wyze community forums and on Reddit, I really question if this is Early Access or extended Beta testing. This device was not prime time ready. There are some people who are trucking along without any problems, but there are a lot of people having issues. We have our major issues conquered for now, but it took a lot of time and navigating through helpful posts on those forums. I’m very thankful to the people who took the time to post their experiences and solutions.
Connectivity was the biggest issue. That’s a pretty major requirement! The biggest problem for most people following all of the troubleshooting steps laid out by Wyze ended in a complete reset of the band, losing all data. It seems like a firmware update solved the connectivity issue for most Android users along with notifications. However, a lot of iOS users are still reporting problems. There are some tips if you do have connectivity issues. Some of these may be temporary as Wyze works to resolve some of these issues.
- The Wyze App must be running in the background
- Location must be set to Always for the Wyze app in phone Settings
- Exempt the Wyze app from battery optimization on Android devices
If you continue to experience issues, try the following steps reported as helpful by some iOS users:
- Make sure no other instances of the Wyze app are running on other devices with Bluetooth enabled
- Ensure no other Bluetooth devices are active when trying to connect the band to your phone
Here’s another suggestion that worked for us. Before doing a complete reset of the band, try the following steps suggested in a post on the Wyze forum:
- Open Settings -> Bluetooth on the iPhone
- Select “Forget this device” for the Wyze Band
- From the band, tap “Find Phone”
- The watch should pair at this point
- Open the Wyze app and select the band to sync
There was also a suggestion to use a separate account just for the Wyze Band which some are doing. Personally, that’s just a little too much workaround for me. The above resolutions have fixed our connectivity issues so far.
There are some other issues. There were problems with notifications, but that seems to be resolved after a firmware update. Will and I tested the Run function. He wore the Wyze Band and I wore an Apple Watch. The results were fairly close with some exceptions. We found that you must open the Run data on the phone before closing out of the Run on your watch. If you pause the Run on your watch, the band tracks the proper time. However, on the phone, it includes the paused time and does not record the correct data. Take a look at Will’s run data on the watch versus the phone to see what I mean.
Also, the distance is a bit off. We found that running doesn’t factor into your total step count either. The step count was pretty off initially but seems to be improving other than that. Wyze Band doesn’t track any exercise outside of walking and running. The sleep tracking isn’t completely accurate either, but it’s not terrible. The screen responsiveness is a little slow. The screen goes to sleep quickly, and we did not find a way to control that. It’s also easy to unintentionally activate. Screen lock might be a good idea if you find that annoying. The Alexa functions need work too. Get used to repeating yourself. Also, when a request is completed, there isn’t any proper feedback.
Who Might Want Wyze Band?
I realize that is a pretty extensive list. You may be thinking “hard pass” or “challenge accepted”. If you are on the fence, that’s understandable.
All in all, Will is pretty happy with his Wyze Band at this point. There are a few things we hope to get resolved, but for the most part, he thinks it’s pretty cool. The activity tracking on the Wyze band has been motivating for him being stuck at home without team sports and P.E. at school. He’s my “automation buddy” and really enjoys IoT devices and working on all these projects with me.
Overall, I’d say if you are wanting an inexpensive, light activity band with some cool extra features like smart home control, this could be a good choice. The potential is there. If you aren’t wanting to navigate potential problems, then definitely hold off until Wyze fixes some of these bugs. We will try to update you as the Wyze Band gets closer to its public launch.