Huawei's new TalkBand 2 promises to improve on the original B1 in every way.
A new design and smarter insides sound appealing, and the zany built-in Bluetooth headset also makes a return.
We were lucky enough to wrap our hands around the B2 ahead of its announcement in Barcelona. Read on for our impressions, ahead of our full in-depth review.
Goodbye ugly sister, hello Cinderella
We're going to come straight out and say it. The original TalkBand had an appearance that made babies cry and milk curdle, with its cheap-feeling plastic strap and uninspired design.
Huawei has more than fixed all that though. The B2's mirror-finished OLED display is encased in an attractive, sturdy metal casing, and the rubber strap feels far better, less cheap, and more comfortable on the wrist. The extra loop on the strap also means it's less likely to fly off if it gets undone.
The gold version is actually rather attractive in the flesh, escaping the tackiness that can easily accompany the use of the colour. The brown leather strap compliments it nicely too.
It's a shame then, that the black version sticks to a rubber strap. Given that the straps feature a proprietary click and release mechanism (which, by the way, is solid and smooth), users will have to wait for Huawei to release more strap options, assuming that it plans to do so at all.
While both versions are IP67-rated and can survive a dunk in up to one metre of water for 30 minutes, the rating on the gold version is a little lower, purely because liquid will tarnish the leather strap. The actual device itself is just as waterproof as the black model though.
Look who's talking
The main unit can be released at the click of a button and pulled out from the band casing, revealing its true form: a Bluetooth headset.
The idea behind it is to pop it out, stick it in your ear, and answer calls, leaving your hands free while driving, running, or trampling around plush corridors saying important business things while flicking through quarterly reports.
We found the headset a little loose in our cavernous ears, but there are a variety of tips included to offer a snug fit.
The TalkBand B2 is a million miles better than its ugly predecessor. It's grown up, ditched the tracksuit bottoms, and returned in a bespoke suit. While it's arguable how useful its Bluetooth headset transformation is, at least it brings something different to the table.
If it's priced at the lower end of the stated £150-£200 (S$300-S$400) price bracket, then it could be a tempting buy for those looking for a fitness tracker without the expense and extra functionality of a full-featured smartwatch.
Stay tuned for our full review and final verdict.