After teasing the TalkBand B2 earlier this year at MWC, Huawei is officially releasing the wearable today (June 3) -- and with a twist. The company's new activity tracker doubles as a Bluetooth headset in a similar fashion as the TalkBand B1, but now comes in a sexier package. complete with Jawbone Up integration for making more use out of your fitness data.
When I went hands-on with the B2, I immediately appreciated the design upgrade. The 4179 TalkBand B2 looks and feels more luxurious, with its aluminum alloy metal body and .73-inch PMOLED touchscreen. The touchscreen lets you easily scroll through steps, calories, sleep and activity screens, and the home view shows the date, time, battery life and Bluetooth status.
My band came with a plastic strap that's similar to the B1's, but the charging port has moved from the end of the band to the device's itself in the form of a microUSB port. You'll be able to purchase leather bands for the B2 as well.
The B2's pops off the cradle easily with a press of both circular side buttons. It acts as a Bluetooth headset when removed, with the same flexible silicone ear insert as the B1. Unfortunately, none of the B2's three sized ear inserts felt super secure in my ear, though I was able to shake my head back and forth without the earpieces falling out.
At its core, the B2 is a fitness tracker -- it logs steps, calories and sleep and now automatically recognizes if you're walking, running or doing other kinds of exercise. But the Huawei Wear app for Android and iOS remains a little bland, and the company went to Jawbone to bolster these activity features.
Now you can connect the B2 to Jawbone's Up app to send your activity data to its Smart Coach, which analyzes it and spits out advice on how to get healthier. It takes at least a week for Smart Coach to fully kick in, even for Jawbone devices, so you'll have to wait to see how it can help you get and stay fit. Still, it has potential to do more with the B2's data than Huawei Wear can.
Like the B1, the TalkBand B2 is IP57 rated, meaning it can withstand dust and being under one meter of water for up to 30 minutes. It also has the same 95-mAh battery as the B1, which means it should get at least five to six days of battery life. However, we'll have to test it further to see how much juice is drained by frequent Bluetooth calls.
The B2 also has a few fun features for Huawei smartphone users. Pressing and holding the side button brings up a menu that lets you use the band as a remote for the smartphone camera, and as a phone finder. I personally liked the finder feature a lot, since you simply tap on the icon to make your Huawei smartphone vibrate and jingle, saying, "I'm here, I'm here!" We're interested to test all of the B2's features out further, so stay tuned for our full review.