Hands on: Huawei Talkband B1 review

Talk to the band! No, seriously

What is a hands on review?
Huawei Talkband B1 review
It may not be a looker, but don't rule it out

Early Verdict


  • +

    Makes calls

  • +

    Clever charging

  • +

    iOS and Android support


  • -

    Tricky to get on

  • -

    Awkward on the wrist

  • -

    Very small screen

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These days it's like you're not a proper mobile device company if you're not involved in wearables, and Huawei's first foray into the market comes in the form of the Talkband B1.

The Talkband B1 isn't actually due out until the second half of the year (in Western Europe at least), so its design and features could very well change between now and then, so keep that in mind as you read on.

In terms of price Huawei is quoting €99 (around £80, $140, AU$150) which is the current going rate for fitness bands, and quite a bit cheaper than smartwatches such as the Galaxy Gear and Smartwatch 2.

Considering the Talkband B1 is a fusion of the two - something Huwei is calling it a "hybrid smartband" - that isn't a bad price point.

Huawei Talkband B1 review

At first glance you'd be forgiven if you think it looks like a slightly overweight Fitbit Flex, as there are a few similarities between the two devices.

First up the strap - and more exactly the locking mechanism is a two pronged metal claps which you squeeze into undersized rubber holes to give the Talkband B1 on your wrist. Just like the Flex.

I found this rather difficult to do, as the metal nubs appeared simply too big to actually fit through the flexible rubber holes. Even when not trying to get it on my wrist, I still struggled to pop the pegs through the holes using two hands.

Huawei Talkband B1 review

Of course the rubber should loosen up after a few wears, but it's still going to be a fight the first few times.

Another similarity to the Fitbit Flex is the removable unit, which you can pop out of the rubber strap by pressing the square button next to the device.

The core in the Flex is obviously smaller and doesn't have a screen, while the Talkband B1 is more substantial in size and even has a speaker on the rear.

Huawei Talkband B1 review

Why a speaker you ask? Well to make telephone calls with of course! Yes, as well as showing you the time, tracking your sleep, recording your activity and alerting you of new communications on your mobile, you can also speak to someone using the Talkband B1.

I wasn't able to test this out during my time with the Talkband, but I fear for the quality going on the diminutive size of the unit, although Huawei has stuck in two mics to aid noise reduction.

While the staps of the TalkBand are nice and flexible - as you'd expect - the top section is very rigid, and it will swamp small wrists, making it look a little odd when being worn.

Huawei Talkband B1 review

Hauwei has done something clever with USB connectivity here, hiding a USB stick connection under the tip of one of the straps.

Plug the Talkband B1 into your computer to charge the device fully in just two hours, and the 90mAh battery should last six days before you have to plug it in again.

The 1.4-inch display is handy, although you need to hit the small button on the side of the Talkband to see the time and I did find it was just that little bit too small.

Huawei Talkband B1 review

I liked the fact that the Talkband supports both iOS and Android devices as it's something we don't really see much of from the smartwatch contingent, and it'll help broaden the appeal of the B1.

Early verdict

The Huawei Talkband B1 is an interesting proposition and shows once again manufacturers are still unsure what features should go into a smartwatch.

I feel Huawei may have got the balance almost right with the Talkband B1, although it may want to have a word with its designers as it isn't the most attractive piece of kit on the market.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site. 

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.