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Huawei Launches the Talkband B3: Strong Form-Factor & Styling, Questionable Value for Price

by Steven Waltzer | Apr 06, 2016

Huawei, at an event in London today, has formally announced a new generation TalkBand B3 wearable, compatible with either Android or iOS.  The B3 is the third generation of Huawei’s signature Bluetooth-headset-hid-inside-a-fitnessband form factor for hands-free calling and limited notifications.  It was launched in several new configurations/band options, including the Active (US$120 wholesale / US$190 retail) sport band in black and white, the Classic (US$145 wholesale / US$225 retail) leather band in brown and beige, and lastly the Elite (US$180 wholesale / US$282 retail) titanium gray stainless steel band.

Huawei TalkBand B3:

The TalkBand B3 now sports a sturdier curved Gorilla Glass PMOLED display at 80x128 resolution.  Its battery stands at 91mAh providing 3 to 4 days of days of normal use, a marked improvement over the 2 day limit of the B2.  The wearable is also IP57 certified for dust and water resistance, so it can be worn while washing hands or doing dishes, but not submerged for an extended time. 

Building on the TalkBand line’s signature strengths, device styling is notably upscale and its comfort level is high versus competing connected fitness bands.  The B3 has also adopted a black background on all band colors for easier viewing of the screen in daylight, versus the gold and white faced options for the B2 which were very hard to see in broad daylight. While the style of gold and white faced options were appealing, the trade-off in our view is the right move.

The wearable, like its predecessor, still lacks robust notification support, notably missing simple text message notification.  It also does not include an optical heart-rate monitor, which is becoming a staple and major differentiator of modern fitness bands and smartwatches.  Huawei should overcome this in future versions, despite the challenges presented by needing to cradle the pop-out earpiece.

Huawei currently holds 1% of global wearables market share as of Q42015 and should definitely look to add more features, such as heart rate and full notification support, for the relatively high price of the B3 in order make further headwinds in the wearable and fitness band markets through 2016.
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