The fitness wearable market is quite saturated, so companies need to find ways to stand out. Huawei attempted as much with the TalkBand B1, a tracking band that doubled as a Bluetooth earpiece, which was a novel idea but struggled to impress.
Huawei refused to give up on that particular angle. It made a slew of changes for the TalkBand B2. So, can it impress more than its predecessor?
Those who used the TalkBand B1 will notice an immediate improvement when they first catch a glimpse of Huawei’s new wearable. The design has been significantly improved and looks, dare we say it, quite stylish.
There are several designs available, but one thing that remains consistent is the little touchscreen unit that looks like it’s made of metal. The whole package is nice and lightweight, and we’d be happy to wear any of the models.
Two little buttons on the side of the band let you remove the unit. It pops out easily and can be replaced just as easily. You’ll do this to charge the device or to take advantage of the TalkBand B2’s unique feature, taking calls.
You might feel a little self-conscious using a Bluetooth headset to take calls, so that’s something you’ll have to get on-board with before investing. If you do, you’ll find that the headset works really well. You can take calls quickly by removing the Bluetooth headset from its cradle and popping it into your ear.
Call quality is excellent with no difference in sound quality. And when the call is over, you simply slot the headset back into the band. It’s particularly useful if you’re not quite sure where your phone is.
The device notifies you of incoming calls provided you’re within Bluetooth range of your handset. It can also be set up to notify you of incoming messages, though the documentation to go with this process could be more thorough. Unfortunately, it draws the line there and won’t fill you in on social media alerts or e-mails.
What it will do, however, is wake you in the morning. You can set an alarm time and a window before for it to wake you up. When it senses that you’re in the light sleep cycle it will buzz. It’s less tempting to hit a snooze button when you know that this is as awake as you’re going to feel.
The touchscreen is blank until you wake it, so it looks like a fashionable accessory. Once you tap it, you can see the time, or scroll through a couple of screens to be informed of your steps taken, calories burned, sleep, or to start a timer for your exercise regime.
Huawei’s TalkBand B2 is compatible with both Android and iOS, though you may need to install the software via a computer. The software is pretty nifty, giving you instant access to exercise and sleep stats that are easy to understand at a glance. We occasionally found that the app crashed on launch, but it wasn’t a major inconvenience.
We really liked the Huawei TalkBand B2; it’s far more fashionable than many fitness trackers on the market and the Bluetooth headset functionality is quite novel. You will need to be comfortable with that aspect to fully take advantage of this device, but its other capabilities are useful in their own right.