I love smartwatches. They just seem like the next step in technology by taking the technology we already know and love and making it more readily accessible without the inconvenience of pulling out another device. We can just glance at our wrists and get all the information we need. Some do more than just provide information but for me, all I need is something to complement my smartphone, not replace it. However, with all the iterations of smartwatches now in existence, the variation between them is shockingly limited. They may have design differences but essentially, they are all trying to become a smartphone on your wrist. The Galaxy Gear is a good example and even the Pebble is guilty of this. What about the people who don’t need all the apps and flash that go with the standard smartwatch?

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The Best of Many Worlds

The Huawei TalkBand B1 (TalkBand, really?) is a combination of a watch, a notifications bar, a fitness tracker, and a Bluetooth headset. It will give you the time, it will show your notifications on a touchscreen, it will track your exercise and fitness as well as any fitness tracker, and it can be popped out of the wristband and put in your ear to answer a call. A brilliantly simple idea that is more useful than most people might realize. Rather than forcing you to raise your wrist to your face like you’re about to cough or requiring you to pull out your smartphone, the TalkBand skips that silly step. When you want to answer a call with the TalkBand, all you need to do is accept the call and then pop out the device and stick it in your ear, just like a normal Bluetooth headset, all without ever touching your smartphone.

The Bluetooth part of the TalkBand has dual-mic noise reduction and up to 7 hours of talk time. An OLED touchscreen should make the screen easy to read when you’re outside in direct sunlight. Coupled with fitness tracker capabilities, water and dust proofing, and 6 days of battery life on a two hour charge, the TalkBand is a truly unique and useful device. Don’t forget, to charge the TalkBand, all you need to do is plug the end of the wristband into a USB port. Now that is truly innovative by making use of a device that everyone already owns without adding the need for yet another charger to remember on a trip.

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The Bad News

The TalkBand is only available in China for the moment and I am truly disappointed. The TalkBand has so much potential and while China certainly is a huge market, it would be great to see such an innovative piece of technology make it to North America and Europe. Maybe if we all petition Huawei, they’ll listen to us!