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Huawei TalkBand B1 review

Huawei TalkBand B1

Huawei is entering the wearable market with its first smart wristband, the TalkBand B1, which doubles as a Bluetooth hands-free kit

Huawei isn’t the first name that comes to mind when you think wearable technology, but the Chinese company is hoping to change that with the TalkBand B1. Announced during the company’s Mobile World Congress press conference, the TalkBand B1 combines fitness features with a Bluetooth handset to make calls without having to reach into a pocket for your smartphone.

Huawei TalkBand B1

The 14.6mm thick earpiece will pair to an Android smartphone using NFC and Bluetooth 4.1 to provide up to seven hours of talk time or up to two weeks of standby charge. dual microphones should cut out any unwanted background noise. It’s very light, but we aren’t completely convinced the flexible rubber earpiece will stay firmly in place – it will depend entirely on the size of your ears, but as we weren’t allowed to try the demo unit on we’ll have to wait for a full review to see if you’ll have to keep popping it back into place.

By itself, the B1 is a fairly unremarkable Bluetooth headset. Place it inside the bundled wrist strap, however, and it turns into a fully fledged fitness tracker. It tells the time, displays number of steps walked, estimates of calories burned and progress towards a daily goal on the flexible OLED display. It’s monochrome, but was very bright, letting us see the readout clearly even in the dim lights of Huawei’s MWC booth.

Huawei TalkBand B1

A dual-notch securing mechanism is more than a little reminiscent of the one used by FitBit in its Flex activity tracker, but it at least ensures it won’t pop undone when on the move. The entire thing is IP57 water- and dust-resistant, so you won’t need to take it off when going for a swim.

The 90mAh battery should last for up to six days of continuous use when in fitness tracking mode. It should take around two hours to completely recharge, so you won’t be waiting around for too long before moving away from a wall socket. the strap has an integrated USB connector, so you don’t have to take the unit out and dock it in a cradle just to fill it with juice.

Huawei TalkBand B1

It’s currently unclear whether only Huawei smartphones will support the TalkBand B1 at launch; the company is planning on releasing an accompanying app which will sync with the tracker automatically, but it wasn’t installed on the smartphones on display at Huawei’s booth.

The TalkBand B1 is due to launch in China next month in a selection of colours, with Japan, the Middle East, Russia and Western Europe to follow by the summer. It will cost €99 in Europe, which should equate to around £85 here in the UK.

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