Skip to main content

Huawei TalkBand B2 review

Ok, so I've bought a new gadget. It was long overdue because I, being a MediaPad X1 user, sometimes feel uncomfortable pulling that monster of a phone just to check the time on answer a call. Of course, Bluetooth headsets are cheap and abundant but I don't really like the idea of keeping one in my ear all the time. And having it not in the ear usually makes it pretty much unusable. Various wearable gdgets that can show time and some notifications aren't new either, and there are a lot of cheap options, but, again, there are even cheaper watches and I don't care much about fitness tracking (I don't mind it though) and notifications (reading long texts is seldom convenient on a small screen anyway). So when I heard about the new TalkBand that combines watch and wireless headset I was all interested, read reviews, became even more interested, and waited a few weeks only because of the price and availability.

The price, for most people around the world it might seem a little expensive provided it's not loaded with extra features but, thanks to the continuing currency collapse and discounts in my favorite local electronics retail chain, I had to pay less than $100 in cash. Well, not counting the store credit I used, the actual discounted price was more like $130 but it's still $10 cheaper than on aliexpress (or $50 cheaper than on amazon), much faster, and with full warranty and everything. Anyway, in comparison with some cheap but good fitness tracker (about $20) and good headset (about $10) it's very expensive. But...

The main feature is convenience of on-demand headset (with nice additional features in the same device). When you take it out of the band and put into your ear, sound output in the phone automatically redirects. It also accepts the call if there's a call when you do so. That's the solution if you, for any reason, don't want to wear a headset all the time but still want to use one occasionally. It's sitting in the ear comfortably, pulling it out of the band is easy once you get the technique right (first press the release buttons and only then pull, not simultaneously), sound is good enough, there are extra rubber eartips in different sizes.

But the review wouldn't be complete without writing about other features. There are notifications for calls and missed calls, an all the apps you whitelist (vibration, icon, and a short title for each one, missed calls you can return). Fitness tracking is ok, tracks steps automatically, although needs to be switched manually before it can track running. Sleep patterns tracking I haven't tried yet, will see if it's comfortable enough to sleep in. Camera remote control is working with my X1 (although it tries to start google search app occasionally) but doesn't seem to be working with Galaxy S6 (maybe it will with some non-default camera app, other features work with S6 well, by the way). Device search is working. Automatic phone unlock works on newer Huawei devices, including X1 with the latest Chinese ROM, not sure if I want it though the way it works though. Automatic awakening of the gadget (when you wave your hand) works nice after software updates and there is a do not disturb period so that it doesn't try to blind you at night and wake-up button is convenient enough. That's probably all, — as I said, it doesn't have too much extra features. Maybe third-party apps allow for more, don't know for sure.

Any accessories (like new wristbands, more rubber eartips, anything) seem hard to come by at least yet.

Bottom line is DO buy if you want super-cool on-demand headset and maybe some smart watch/fitness tracker features, DON'T buy if you need advanced fitness tracker, very smart watch packed with features, or wear a headset all the time anyway (or don't use a headset at all). It's super smart as headsets go but definitely isn't the smartest watch around. Worth its price for me.

Update (Jan., 2016): Custom notifications, do not disturb, smart unlock, gestures — those all were introduced/fixed with software updates over time. It sucks that you can't find accessories easily. Like screen protectors, extra eartips, and straps. A standard-sized eartip I had got slightly flattened over last months of continuous usage, maybe because of the heat, and I had the extra ones left in another country. Screen became slightly scratched without a protector (totally my fault, the wall had nothing to do with it). The strap can be replaced with one made for watches, I believe it has a standard size, but I haven't tried that yet, couldn't find anything more comfortable and good-looking although it can occasionally get unclicked in a bad moment.

Update (May, 2016): It works just fine with my new Galaxy S7, no Huawei's extra features but basics (talking/syncing/notifying) are just as fine. Eartips continue to wear down, it probably has nothing to do with weather as I replaced one on returning home and it has yet to warm up out here. Judging by the fact that my wife's one is in much better shape, that none of us talk using them too much, and that she wears hers much less often while I usually sleep in mine to track my sleep, I'd say it most probably flattens from the constant wearing, body heat or something like. I have a few spare ones but they are not likely to last for more than a couple years at this rate.

Popular posts from this blog

UK plug and wall socket is probably the best there is

While we are on the topic of sockets and chargers. UK three-prong plug (type G) allows you to put heavier things into the socket and they will sit there securely. Also it's rated 250V/13A allowing more powerful appliances and probably safer than any other plug type  (not mentioned there that almost every socket has an off switch, as an additional safety feature, apart from all the shutters, insulation, and built-in fuses). (Photo from Wikimedia Commons) If the world ever comes to a standard AC plug type, I hope it will be either that or at least something as robust and safe. And, let's face it, the only two alternatives (EU and US plugs) are not that universal, there are dozens of variations (where to put the ground prong, how to ensure polarity, even how big the prongs themselves must be) that makes either harder to adopt as a single universal standard.

ORICO — small things that stand out

More than once I've written about stuff made by Big Brand manufacturers so I decided to balance things out by writing about a mostly-unknown but good things. In short, if you need something small like HDD enclosure or some cable or USB hub or a dongle of some kind, check if ORICO makes it and chances are you won't be disappointed. It's usually slightly more expensive than low-end stuff from aliexpress but, in my opinion, it's usually worth it. Disclaimer. This post is a shameless promotion of their brand although, unfortunately, nobody paid me for it or even sent me any free stuff. Guys from ORICO and not, if you read this, I'll gladly review whatever free goodies you send me :) I only do honest reviews so better make sure to send the good stuff. At this point I own a USB hub, three different 2.5" HDD enclosures, and a precision screwdriver set from them. And probably something else I don't remember. Here are the pics: USB hub in its natural habitat

Terrible experience with bluetooth headsets and what to do about it

If you own a Bluetooth A2DP headset and any kind of personal computer, good chance is you tried connecting them together. Isn't it nice to watch movies and listen to music free from cluttering wires? Well, good chance is you hated that experience and if that was the reason for buying the headset, you might've even considered throwing it away (or using it only with your phone). Why do they suck so much? Everything points to the fact that it's not a hardware problem. The same headset most likely will work flawlessly paired with an android device or even the same computer under a different operating system (windows users report huge difference between, like, 8.0 and 8.1, and not in favor of the latter, surprisingly, I think only mac users report good stuff about their macbooks and beats although I didn't try it myself so they might all be faking it :) ). And most likely it's not even the drivers or other low-level stuff, android and desktop linux has mostly the same