Huawei’s latest fitness tracker is super-stylish, but is a bit lacking in some areas
There’s no doubt that wearables are increasingly taking over the technology world, but a large part of this growth has been down to fitness-focused devices.
Offering the ability to keep track of your daily workouts, from walking up the office stairs to a session pumping iron at the gym, fitness wearables have exploded in popularity in recent years.
Huawei first entered the market last year with the TalkBand B1, and earlier this year announced its follow-up, the TalkBand B2, as it looks to grab a slice of the lucrative market. But how does it hold up in our test?
First revealed at Mobile World Congress in March yet still unable to buy in the UK, the TalkBand B2 looks to offer smarter fitness tracking functionality with higher accuracy, alongside enhanced synchronisation with a user’s mobile device.
It’s available in two styles, coming with either a high-end brown leather strap and rose gold metal frame, or like our review unit, a black plastic TPU strap. This feels light yet sturdy when it’s on your wrist, and is able to take a few bumps and scrapes when out and about.
The screen of the device is a fully touchscreen 0.73-inch PMOLED touch display which does the job, but can be tough to see in the bright lighting conditions many of us like to walk and run in.
The tracker itself can measures several different kinds of activity, including running, walking and cycling, as well as being able to track steps taken, stairs climbed and calories burnt – all accessed via a swipe of the screen. But it can also detect the duration of deep sleep and light sleep, and provide consumers with health tips on ways to improve their sleep pattern, putting it one step ahead of many other devices around right now.
All of this data can also be monitored and tracked using the companion Huawei Wear app, available now on Google Play and the iOS store. The app also lets you set goals and program your own workouts, and sends you a congratulatory message on your TalkBand when you achieve these targets.
However what makes the unit stand out even more is that it can also act as a Bluetooth headset, allowing you to take calls without needing to access your smartphone – particularly useful when exercising. Users simply need to pop the unit out of the strap and place it in the ear to take the call, which when we tried it offered pretty good sound quality, although it was a bit slow to respond.
Battery life is estimated to be up to five days continual use or 12 days standby time, and for once this does appear to be the truth, as we used the TalkBand B2 solid for that amount of time without needing to charge. However this didn’t involve taking many phone calls, which has been reported as being a major drain on battery life.
Overall, the TalkBand B2 is a nice little device. However compared to some of the other competitors around at the moment, it’s tough to recommend it above the likes of FitBit, Pebble or even a Microsoft Band. The touchscreen interface needs a fair bit of work, and the companion app falls way short of other around on the market today.
However it’s definitely a step in the right direction, and the long-lasting battery life and stylish design should definitely see it win a few friends.
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