Huawei TalkBand B3 hands-on: Unique Bluetooth headset and activity tracking wristband

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When you think of an activity tracking wrist band, it’s unlikely that you would think to pair that with a Bluetooth headset. That’s exactly what Huawei has been doing and the new Huawei TalkBand B3 is its third generation offering up this combo.

It’s been a while since I’ve regularly use a Bluetooth headset for calls, but after a few weeks with the Huawei TalkBand B3 I have to say using a headset lets me focus more on my surroundings and keeps my hands free for other functions.

I don’t hold a ton of phone conversations, but when I do I prefer to use a speakerphone instead of holding my phone to my head. That doesn’t work too well while walking around the city with streets to cross, bags to carry, and pedestrians to navigate around.

Hardware

The Huawei TalkBand B3 has a wristband form factor the display contained in the central core unit. This core module pops out when you press in on the two lower buttons to reveal a full Bluetooth headset. The wristband part is simply a dock for the Bluetooth headset and activity tracker.

The wristband consists of an aluminum body with an open cavity on the top. There are two lower buttons that release and lift the core module. There is also one button on the side that matches the side button on the module. This aluminum body piece is connected to the band with quick release pins.

The bands come in three different variations for leather, metal, and silicone band options. I evaluated the beige leather band, which is designed for the office more than the gym. The silicone bands have straps that secure similar to what you find on the Apple Watch. The metal titanium model has a double click clasp.

The TalkBand B3 is very light at just about 100 grams total with the headset at about 11 grams. It has 128KB of RAM, 16MB of internal storage, operates on the 2.4 GHz Bluetooth frequency, with a 91 mAh battery rated for six hours of talk time and three to four days of activity tracking.

In addition to the one side button, you interact with the curved Gorilla Glass 3 touchscreen OLED display to navigate through the various screens of the device. A microUSB port is present to charge up the TalkBand B3. Silicone eartips of various sizes are included to provide a comfortable fit.

Software

There is software installed on the TalkBand B3 while you can also download and install the Huawei Wear software for your iOS or Android device to view all of your data and manage advanced settings of the TalkBand B3.

Press in on the side button to turn on the display and see the watch face. You can choose for a few different watch faces, showing the time, day, date, and temperature.

Swipe up to view steps taken, calories burned, sleep, launch manual workout tracking, or view more screens. These other screens include changing the watch face, finding your phone (sends a special sound to the phone so you can find it as long as it is within Bluetooth range), changing your Bluetooth settings and more.

The TalkBand B3 is designed to automatically detect and track your various activities, including running, walking, cycling, climbing, and sleep. You can also manually inititate a tracking session by choosing workout and then one of the four active situations. The TalkBand B3 appears to reliably track these activities and provides you with some very basic information. The TalkBand B3 is not designed for the athlete that wants to track and view all the details of an activity, but it works well for the person who just wants a central place to track all of their activity.

One great aspect of the Huawei TalkBand B3 is the capability to pair with the Jawbone UP ecosystem. The UP ecosystem is powerful and provides great insights as well as motivation from friends. While I don’t care for Jawbone’s hardware, its ecosystem is one of the very best for activity tracking so Huawei formed a great partnership here.

In addition to software and status on the TalkBand B3 itself, you can connect an Android smartphone or an iPhone to view many more details and manage more settings on the TalkBand B3.

Download and install the Huawei Wear application from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. Launch the app on your phone and see your detailed activity stats. Swipe from right to left to view your sleep data. After tapping on either your fitness or sleep data, you can then dive deeper into the data to view different days or a month of data on charts.

Controls in the smartphone software include setting idle reminders, rotate to wake the screen on the TalkBand B3, set your favorite contacts for quickly calling them, alarm settings, do not disturb settings, weather report settings, and software update controls.

Options and availability

While I tested the leather beige model with gold docking module, you can also purchase a brown leather one with gold, gray metal one, white silicone band with silver, or black silicone with black. The brown and beige ones are labeled TalkBand B3 Classic and retail for about 170 Euros ($190). The black and white ones are labeled TalkBand B3 Active and retail for about 200 Euros ($225). The gray metal one is labeled the TalkBand B3 Elite and retails for about 250 Euros ($282).

These prices seem rather high for an activity tracker. If you want a Bluetooth headset, then the TalkBand B3 may make some sense. If you have no intention of using the Bluetooth headset, then it’s tough to justify the price just for the activity tracker given there are more powerful dedicated activity trackers, some with GPS, available at these prices.

The Talk Band B3 is not available in the US and we haven’t received any indication it will be released here. However, you can purchase it in Europe and other countries so it’s likely US customers can find importers to purchase the device. Amazon may also eventually carry the Talk Band B3.

Closing thoughts

The Huawei TalkBand B3 is an interesting take on the activity tracker, but unless you really want a Bluetooth headset it doesn’t make much sense to purchase it for activity tracking. It is well designed, very light and comfortable, provides a good quality audio experience, and last for a few days.

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