Huawei TalkBand B2 Review

Huawei TalkBand B2 Review
Huawei TalkBand B2 Review
Huawei TalkBand B2 Review
Huawei TalkBand B2 Review
Huawei TalkBand B2 Review
Huawei TalkBand B2 Review
Introduction


Not waiting around for that full one-year product refresh cycle, Huawei hastily announced its second-generation Bluetooth headset/fitness tracker unit in the Huawei TalkBand B2 during its press conference at Mobile World Congress 2015. A drastic departure aesthetically from its predecessor, this year’s version aims to be a vast improvement, naturally – while showing off its more premium, attractive looks. Design aside, it’ll need to perform strongly in both fronts, the Bluetooth headset and fitness tracker sides, seeing that last year’s model didn’t quite live up to be a strong performer in either category.

Packaging contains:

  • Huawei TalkBand B2
  • microUSB cable
  • extra ear bud attachments
  • spare wrist strap
  • User’s guide
  • Safety information

Design

A radical departure, the TalkBand B2’s design commands attention thanks to its premium and stylish looks.

What a radical departure! Unlike last year’s offering, which favored a sporty style, the new Huawei TalkBand B2 features a more premium looking design. Naturally, it’s a 180-degree change that comes as a surprise, seeing that we thought they’d follow the sporty style with this one. Quite often, random people are fascinated by the look of the TalkBand B2, which in a way, shows that the design is undoubtedly stylish looking and fashionable.

Frankly, it looks more like a piece of jewelry than a fitness band of some sort – something that’s more poignant with the gold edition of the TalkBand B2. Complementing the premium look is the adjustable leather strap, which is also what allows the actual unit to stay firmly onto our wrist when it’s worn. Sure, it looks a lot thicker than some other comparable wearable fitness trackers, but there’s certainly a higher degree of sophistication with this one. Well, if the flashy look of the gold version isn’t your kind of thing, it’s available in black and white too, for that conventional look.

In regards to it being a Bluetooth headset, it’s still accompanied with that stylish attitude to command attention when it’s worn. Unfortunately, we’re not fans of its fit and feel. First and foremost, it requires some fiddling around in our ear for it to sit firmly still. And even though it’s able to stay attached while walking, it’s not something we’d recommend for rigorous activates – even biking because there’s always that fear of it coming off.

And finally, even with its premium aesthetics, the TalkBand B2 is IP57 rated to offer dust and water resistance. With the latter, it’s protected to withstand being submerged in up to 1 meter of water.

 

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Display

Keeping its look uniform, the display blends discretely into the unit.

Just like its stark design, Huawei ditches the flexible OLED display of the TalkBand B1 and opts instead to outfit the TalkBand B2 with a smaller sized 0.73-inch 128 x 88 PMOLED display – and boy is it discrete! What’s really impressive about the display here is how it blends into the unit’s façade, as if it’s not even there in the first place. Pressing the single button on the unit illuminates the display, which is visible in most conditions, with the exception of direct sunlight where it’s too weak in luminance to see. Oh yeah, it’s touch sensitive too, whereas it wasn’t before – so we’re able to scroll through the units various screens.

Specifically, we can swipe up/down to scroll through the main screen that displays the time & date, steps taken, calories burned, sleep total, and its workout mode. For the most part, it’s responsive to all of our interactions. Besides its tough visibility under direct light, the POLED screen is a nice touch that accentuates the TalkBand B2’s already beautiful design.

Huawei TalkBand B2 Review

Huawei TalkBand B2 Review
Huawei TalkBand B2 Review
Huawei TalkBand B2 Review
Huawei TalkBand B2 Review
Huawei TalkBand B2 Review
Huawei TalkBand B2 Review
Introduction


Not waiting around for that full one-year product refresh cycle, Huawei hastily announced its second-generation Bluetooth headset/fitness tracker unit in the Huawei TalkBand B2 during its press conference at Mobile World Congress 2015. A drastic departure aesthetically from its predecessor, this year’s version aims to be a vast improvement, naturally – while showing off its more premium, attractive looks. Design aside, it’ll need to perform strongly in both fronts, the Bluetooth headset and fitness tracker sides, seeing that last year’s model didn’t quite live up to be a strong performer in either category.

Packaging contains:

  • Huawei TalkBand B2
  • microUSB cable
  • extra ear bud attachments
  • spare wrist strap
  • User’s guide
  • Safety information

Design

A radical departure, the TalkBand B2’s design commands attention thanks to its premium and stylish looks.

What a radical departure! Unlike last year’s offering, which favored a sporty style, the new Huawei TalkBand B2 features a more premium looking design. Naturally, it’s a 180-degree change that comes as a surprise, seeing that we thought they’d follow the sporty style with this one. Quite often, random people are fascinated by the look of the TalkBand B2, which in a way, shows that the design is undoubtedly stylish looking and fashionable.

Frankly, it looks more like a piece of jewelry than a fitness band of some sort – something that’s more poignant with the gold edition of the TalkBand B2. Complementing the premium look is the adjustable leather strap, which is also what allows the actual unit to stay firmly onto our wrist when it’s worn. Sure, it looks a lot thicker than some other comparable wearable fitness trackers, but there’s certainly a higher degree of sophistication with this one. Well, if the flashy look of the gold version isn’t your kind of thing, it’s available in black and white too, for that conventional look.

In regards to it being a Bluetooth headset, it’s still accompanied with that stylish attitude to command attention when it’s worn. Unfortunately, we’re not fans of its fit and feel. First and foremost, it requires some fiddling around in our ear for it to sit firmly still. And even though it’s able to stay attached while walking, it’s not something we’d recommend for rigorous activates – even biking because there’s always that fear of it coming off.

And finally, even with its premium aesthetics, the TalkBand B2 is IP57 rated to offer dust and water resistance. With the latter, it’s protected to withstand being submerged in up to 1 meter of water.


Display

Keeping its look uniform, the display blends discretely into the unit.

Just like its stark design, Huawei ditches the flexible OLED display of the TalkBand B1 and opts instead to outfit the TalkBand B2 with a smaller sized 0.73-inch 128 x 88 PMOLED display – and boy is it discrete! What’s really impressive about the display here is how it blends into the unit’s façade, as if it’s not even there in the first place. Pressing the single button on the unit illuminates the display, which is visible in most conditions, with the exception of direct sunlight where it’s too weak in luminance to see. Oh yeah, it’s touch sensitive too, whereas it wasn’t before – so we’re able to scroll through the units various screens.

Specifically, we can swipe up/down to scroll through the main screen that displays the time & date, steps taken, calories burned, sleep total, and its workout mode. For the most part, it’s responsive to all of our interactions. Besides its tough visibility under direct light, the POLED screen is a nice touch that accentuates the TalkBand B2’s already beautiful design.

Huawei Wear app

The new Huawei Wear app is basic as they come when it comes to fitness tracking.

Dissecting the data acquired by the TalkBand B2 requires the use of the free Huawei Wear app, which is available for Android and iOS devices – sorry Windows _phone_ owners! This particular one replaces the TalkBand app from last year. The new Huawei Wear app by itself is a standalone hub that aggregates the data gathered from the unit, broken up into two categories; fitness and sleep. Don’t think for a moment it’s going to be a comprehensive thing, like the Fitbit app, seeing that this one is as basic as they come.

Beyond showing us how many steps we’ve taken, the amount of calories burned, and the amount of sleep we managed to get, the data can be viewed in a daily or monthly format. And that’s about it in terms of what it has to offer. There’s no food tracking option, nor is there GPS information regarding workouts, so it’s as basic as it goes when it comes to fitness tracking. While it’s able to sync up steps properly, we’ve come across a buggy issue using the iOS app – where it sometimes doesn’t sync sleeping times properly.

Connectivity


In our review, we paired the Huawei TalkBand B2 with an iPhone 6 Plus. The process, much like any other Bluetooth enabled device, is a simple one that requires placing the unit into pairing mode and then connecting it. From our experience, the connection is maintained up to 20 feet. What’s nice, though, is that there’s an option for a disconnection reminder – so once the connection is severed, our _phone_ reminds us that it’s lost.

Supplementing that is the feature of being able to ping our phone using the TalkBand B2. Essentially, if we somehow misplace our phone, we can send a ping from the unit to the phone, so we’re able to track it down – just as long as the Bluetooth connection is still there, obviously.

Performance

Great for the convenience of being a fitness tracker and Bluetooth headset, it’s not particularly a strong performer with either.

Huawei TalkBand B2 Review
On the fitness side, the TalkBand B2’s 6-axis motion sensor is intelligent enough to distinguish what kind of movement we’re doing – whether it’s walking, running, or biking. In most cases, it’s able to differentiate between them all, but every now and then, it mistakes us driving in a car with running.

Thanks to its touchscreen display, it’s nice being able to glance at our daily totals without the need of relying on the app – it’s just so convenient! The subtle animations that run when viewing the various panes are a nice touch, but we would’ve like an option to view the results from previous days. Still, there’s a dedicated workout mode for running that breaks things down even more to tell us our pace, time, and distance covered.

Tracking our sleep is made better because it’s automatic, so there’s no need to set it into the mode – that’s one less painless thing to remember. From what we can gather using the app, it’s able to tell us the amount of deep and light sleep we get, and roughly how long it takes us to fall asleep.

Rounding out its features set, it offers phone call notifications by displaying who is calling on the display and vibrating, but there’s no text, email, or other notifications. Now, if you pair it with a Huawei smartphone running EMUI 2.3, you’ll be able to use the TalkBand B2 as a remote shutter for the camera.

Using it as a Bluetooth headset, however, it’s not the best thing for the occasion – though, we really appreciate the convenience factor it offers. Specifically, it’s great to use while driving because we can quickly pickup calls without being distracted. Volume can’t be adjusted directly by the TalkBand B2, since it can only be done through the connected phone. Voices, though, sound a bit thin and garbled at times, so it’s a challenge trying to decipher them in noisy conditions. On the other end, it’s a hit or miss experience, seeing that some folks have no issue comprehending us – while others say we’re distant sounding.

Huawei TalkBand B2 Review
Battery

Four days of use isn’t that bad for a fitness tracker.

Using it primarily as a fitness tracker, with a few occasions using it for phone calls, the TalkBand B2’s 95 mAh battery gets us a little over 4 days of use. That’s not too bad for a combinational device, but it’s not class-leading for a fitness tracker. Compared to last year’s unit, it’s a step back because that one was able to achieve 6 days of use. Luckily, it features a microUSB port for quick and easy charging, which is slapped on the underside of the unit.

Conclusion


We won’t deny that it’s fantastic that the Huawei TalkBand B2 combines a fitness tracker and Bluetooth headset into one product, it’s just convenient and eliminates the need to purchase and carry on with us two products. Plus, it new premium and stylish design is an attractive new direction that we dig – made better with its water and dust resistant construction.

Huawei TalkBand B2 Review
Pricing stands at $179 for the Huawei TalkBand B2, a price that’s higher than most of the popular fitness trackers out there right now, but bear in mind that this also doubles as a Bluetooth headset. Just like last year’s unit, however, the TalkBand B2 doesn’t really excel in either categories. As a fitness tracker, it’s as basic as they get, and as a Bluetooth headset, there are some challenges using it in noisy environments. And finally, the Huawei Wear app is just limited in what it offers.

Regardless of those shortcomings, the new premium design continues to enthrall, and just recently, a new partnership with Jawbone allows TalkBand B2 users to send their fitness data to the Up Smart Coach app, which is by far a more complex, powerful, and intuitive all-in-one fitness solution for hardcore fitness buffs. Go with the TalkBand B2 is you love its beautiful design and the convenience factor of what it offers, but serious fitness folks might want to look elsewhere.



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