Smart bands seem to be everywhere these days: simple devices that tell you the time while recording data about your daily movements and reminding you to keep moving. A few of them can also connect to your phone, which lets you access that information and use more functions while you’re on the go. One of these is the Huawei Talkband B2.
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The Talkband B2 is a small, rectangular, curved metal device with a rubber adjustable strap. It has a simple, monochrome, LCD touchscreen display. Its screen lights up when you move your wrist up to see the time. It also displays calories burnt and can track your sleep.
The Talkband B2’s point of difference to other smart bands is it can be detached from the wristband and used as a bluetooth headset with your phone. It’s a neat trick, but does it really work?
I was sceptical. Unclipping the Talkband B2 from the wristband is easy and doing so answers the call. Note, the clip is sturdy enough that it won’t accidently fall out. I find most earbuds don’t fit my ears and the Talkband felt quite loose when I put it in, but it stayed in, even when I bobbled my head around.
The sound quality was surprisingly good; both receiving and transmitting. The main issue I had was how if you use the Talkband with your right ear, the microphone points away from your mouth. It still works but you need to talk louder, annoying for anyone around you.
The band vibrates when you get a call or other preset alert, but also to remind you to move around if you’ve been sitting still for a while, so you can expect to receive a few false alarms.
The Talkband B2 is designed for the new Huawei P8 phone but can be used with any bluetooth-capable Android or iOS phone (Android 4.0+, iOS 7.0+). No matter which phone you use, you need the Huawei Wear app for the band to work properly with your phone. For example, you can use the Talkband B2 as a remote control for your phone’s camera, but only while the Wear app is running.
The band itself is comfortable. The strap system has a catch to stop it accidentally falling off and can be adjusted like a normal watch. It’s roughly a centimetre thick, twice as thick as my regular analogue watch, but I didn’t find it cumbersome. It’s also water-resistant, which means you can wear it in the shower, but don’t go swimming with it.
While the Talkband B2 is one of the “smarter” smart bands in the market ultimately I still haven’t found a smart band I have fallen in love with. It all still feels a little gimmicky. Maybe I’m too cynical, but I can’t think of why you’d use a use a smart band, when using your phone to achieve the same results takes just as much effort.
RRP: $229 (also available in a gold and leather version for RRP $289)
First Looks are trials of new or interesting products from the perspective of our product experts. Our lab-based tests offer truly objective product comparisons.
By Hadyn Green.
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