It wasn’t long ago that fitness bands were at the front of the wearables pack grabbing all the tech headlines left and right. Then the smartwatches showed up, and talk of Android Wear and Apple Watch are the headlines of the day. But fitness bands are still a large part of the wearables market, arguably larger than smartwatches. Huawei’s TalkBand B2 is the company’s offering into the space. Check out what we think of it in our Huawei TalkBand B2 review.
The TalkBand B2 design isn’t that far off from other fitness bands on the market. Our review unit was all black with a rectangular shape that molded around your wrist nicely. The strap is made of a rubber material that is textured and deals with sweat nicely, though it does feel a little bit cheap and the single post clip can come unclipped easily. The strap is changeable with an easy one button design that takes literally seconds to swap out.
The actual TalkBand B2 unit itself is clipped into the band by two buttons that hold it into place. It is a bit bulkier than what I would have liked to see and takes up a fair amount of wrist space. The screen is nice, no color, and clear with good readable text but it does struggle in bright sunlight.
The Hybrid part of this equation is when the TalkBand B2 pops out of the strap it can be used as a Bluetooth headset. Again, it’s fairly bulky, but the design is nice and sleek, in black anyway. There is one power/pairing button on the side and the rest of your interaction will be done via the small touchscreen. Overall, the look of the TalkBand B2 is nice. It’s sleek and pretty to look at, but, on the flip side, it is bulky and the band is cheap feeling.
Software and Apps
The TalkBand B2 works on both iOS and Android, which was a great choice on Huawei’s part, and you can download the accompanying app on the App and Playstore’s respectively. If you’re a Jawbone user who wants to use the TalkBand B2 you can also use the Jawbone tracking app with it. I stuck with the Huawei app for iOS and I found it to be fairly reliable. As with any smart activity tracker the numbers will sometimes be inaccurate. The TalkBand B2 records your wrist movements through its gyroscope and does not have GPS on board, so sometimes you can add steps to your count if you constantly move your wrist. All your day’s data can be seen on the TalkBand B2 screen with simple swipe gestures to access each various piece of data.
The Huawei app performed just as I imagined it would. It was very similar to other apps that track fitness, though it is fairly simple. Most everything you see on the app is also available on the TalkBand B2 screen. I did not try the Jawbone tracking app but the TalkBand B2 is compatible with it. One of the TalkBand B2 features I did thoroughly enjoy was the sleep tracking function. I’ve never had the best quality sleep in the world and the TalkBand B2 was able to tell me exactly how much deep sleep, light sleep etc I was having. To my surprise I found my deep sleep was much less than I had thought, only coming in at around 1.5 hours out of 7.5 hours of sleep.
Overall I found the TalkBand B2 software to be simple, easy to use and fairly accurate. When compared to other phone tracking apps the step count and calories were similar.
Bluetooth Headset and Battery
One of the selling points of the TalkBand 2 is its ability to function as a Bluetooth headset as well. You simply press both buttons on the side and the TalkBand B2 pops out and you pop it in your ear. As I already said, the unit is a bit bulky but no bulkier than some Bluetooth headsets already on the market. I never use Bluetooth headsets, but this one felt comfortable in the ear and the quality was acceptable but not stellar. I didn’t lose any connectivity while using it (either as a headset or tracker) and it functioned just as you would expect a Bluetooth headset to function.
Battery life is exceptional on the TalkBand B2. The advertised working time for the device is 6 hours, but I was able to pull just over 7 hours out of it. Standby time was advertised as 14 days, but I was able to get just over 20. I haven’t tested other fitness/smartwatch trackers to see how it would stand up, but I walked away impressed, mostly because I have to charge my Moto 360 every night.
For the most part the Bluetooth headset works just fine, nothing spectacular but it’s nice to have that feature for those who want it. Battery life is excellent and I pulled more than the advertised life out of it.
The price tag for this hybrid smartband rolls in around $179.99 and Huawei may have missed the mark on that. While there’s lots of good in the TalkBand B2, it’s ultimately going to be up to the user to determine if the $179.99 price tag is worth it. With many other fitness tracking/smartwatch bands out there, users have a choice. The one thing the TalkBand B2 does that the others don’t is turning into a Bluetooth headset.
Overall the Huawei TalkBand B2 does what it does well. The design is slick and good looking but a little too bulky and unruly looking. The software is super easy to use and it is also supposed to work on Jawbone’s tracking app, something I did not test. Bluetooth connectivity is average and using it as a headset isn’t anything to write home about. Battery life is stellar and well beyond the advertised rates. The price is the one area users may step back at, $179.99 is no small potatoes when other products do almost the same job. If you’re in the market for a fitness tracker and a bluetooth headset, then the TalkBand B2 is something you should look at. If you’re not in that company then it’s one you could consider alongside the rest of the pack.
*We were sent a demo unit of the Huawei TalkBand B2 for the purposes of this review.
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