Honor Watch ES versus Honor Band 5

Got a Honor Watch ES-21C to replace the Honor Band 5 I have had for half a year.

(Got it 20201003, this post was last updated 20201027)

Except the obvious larger screen, the Watch ES and Band 5, are functional identical, with some newer software in the Watch ES.

After almost a week, I see no drawbacks in the upgrade, only pluses. Well it is 33g vs 21g, but both are very light. The band need to be somewhat tight for at device like this to function, and the discomfort of this far exceeds the felt weight of both.


On the arm the Watch ES feels less bulky due to its slightly rounded display, and rounded edges.

As can be seen it even sticks up slightly less, despite objective measuring the devices says otherwise 12.2mm for the Watch ES vs 11.6mm for the Band 5 (it is a matter of how the shapes works on the arm)

Also note on the first images and the below, how the curvature of the band matters, if you do not have a fat arm.

The “Huawei Watch Fit” is close to physical identical to the Watch ES, though its band attachment is curving away (as the Band 5), making the Watch ES variant more suitable for a lesser arm. But if you got a sufficiently fat arm then the band attachment of the Huawei variant looks better IMHO. On the other hand the Watch ES uses a standard band attachment, so can be changed to say a Milanese band…. (already ordered…)

The case width is approximately 30.5mm (30.0mm excluding the button), vs about 17.4mm. So the general feeling is that it is a widened Band 5 with larger display

So compared to the many pill-box on a string ‘smart’ watches, this lands as a hybrid with the decent width. So you can see it as a rather wide band or compact watch. Personally I see this 3cm as right on the sweet-spot. It could have been compressed a bit in the other direction to better fit more women and children, but is enough for my arm.


The obvious difference between the two is the over trice larger display 22 × 35 mm (7.7cm²) 280 × 456 pixels versus the 10.8 × 21.6 mm (2.3cm²) 120 × 240 pixel.

Here seen with the closest to a white German shepherd in the default watch faces, to show the full display areas on both:

Most of the Band 5 faces are made with a black background, as this makes it less obvious how small a part of the surface the display covers…

On the Watch ES you can add your own image to at the least one of the watch faces though:

(Selecting an image consisting of say 1×2 black pixels works too, giving a minimalistic watch face)

On a phone I’m not a fan of displays with missing corners, but on a ‘watch’ where the faces are designed for it, I think it looks better and more ‘natural’ than squared corners.


The two clearly do not agree in their measurements when mounted on the same arm. I’m not sure which is the more accurate, but imported on the same phone, gives some clearly odd curves, and I THINK the Watch ES is the more accurate of the two, as the Band 5 often showed lower rates than I expected in the past.


The Watch ES syncs substantially faster with the Android app than the Band 5. 🙂


The extra software stuff of the Watch ES is all about the sport and health-fanatics stuff I don’t really care about. But AFAIK all are additions to the Watch ES.


The interface is a bit different between the two, so I fumbled a lot finding the SpO2, as functions are not found by swiping from the watch face as on the Band 5, but you have to press the side button while the watch face is visible, to have a menu pop up with that, and a bunch of other stuff (including Timer & Stopwatch). So just a matter of getting used to a different interface.
The button turns the display on showing the watch face, and from a sub menu returns to the watch face. So I just (without even trying) incorrectly assumed that pressing it from the watch face would turn the display off, (if too impatient to wait for the automatic time out) – and well it does not, it shows the menu….


One crazy detail is that the charging cable that attaches magnetically is of such a lousy stiff quality that it out of the box kept twisting itself off the watch!
I could not bend it to stay in a reasonable shape directly, but with the use of a heat gun (!!) I got the cable in a usable shape, bend like an L, allowing the pins to points upwards, for use on a flat surface e.g. a table.

I would expect that some hot water or a hair dryer might have done the same. But it must be modified to be usable after unpacking IMHO…
ADD: Though it looks a bit silly, you can actually charge it whilst  on the wrist if you are working at say a laptop with a USB-port


The Watch ES generally looks and feels like a decent sized watch:

Though obviously far from as elegant as a real watch like this….

And this is with the Watch ES band quite tight (and the Omega Polaris isn’t).

Reversing the order so the Polaris also sits tight, makes the thinness of the Polaris even more pronounced (close to half, 57%, 6.95 vs 12.2 mm)

Note that 12.2 mm is the actual thickness, the visible thickness ignoring the centre protrusion I measure to 10.7mm. So the circular 16.5mm ‘dome’ goes down 1.5mm.

Oddly they do not (currently) offer a completely minimalistic watch face with just the hands. The above with the ‘shades’ is the closest.


A user-interface contra intuitive oddity: When an Alarm is active and you try to cancel it, nothing happens when you touch the cancel ‘button’! It keeps vibrating until you remove your finger!!!


You can find Gsmarena’s review of the Watch ES here.