Huawei has announced the TalkBand B5, the latest in a surprisingly long line of unusual wearables, which combines a wrist band and fitness tracking features with … a Bluetooth earpiece. Yes, that technology beloved by taxi drivers and those stuck in time somewhere around the new millennium, is back and this time you wear it in your ear and on your arm.
Flippancy aside, the TalkBand series serves a keen niche, and although it’s unlikely to get a wide global release, previous versions have clearly proved popular enough to continue making new models. Huawei describes the TalkBand B5 as a hybrid device that combines a smart Bluetooth headset with a health tracker. The earpiece fits snugly into the wristband’s body, and can be removed to answer an incoming call.
There’s plenty of new tech inside the earpiece. Huawei says it contains the industry’s first triple-core audio chip, along with a dual microphone set up for reducing noise. The fitness band has a heart rate sensor on the back, and it supports continuous monitoring when doing specific exercises. Huawei’s TruSleep technology, which monitors all aspects of sleep and has also been seen on the Huawei Band 2, is included for 24-hour wearability.
Data and other information is displayed on the earpiece’s 1.13-inch AMOLED screen, which has a 160 x 300 pixel resolution and is hidden under a 2.5D piece of curved glass. The screen is 2.4 times larger than the last TalkBand’s screen, making it considerably easier to read when on the wrist. Other TalkBand B5 features include a displaying notifications from your phone, a remote camera shutter, and a phone finder.
The entire wearable is IP67 rated to resist dust and water, so it’s fine for the rain and in the gym, but not for swimming. Huawei will produce a Sports Edition with silicone straps in different colors, along with a Business Edition with a metal or leather strap.
Rumors of the TalkBand B5 spread before the announcement, and some wondered if the device might store Bluetooth earbuds for music, rather than an earpiece for calls. However, the TalkBand B5 is a business tool and not really one for leisure, so it sticks rigidly with tradition. The TalkBand B5 will go on sale in China on July 20, with a release in parts of the Middle East coming after in August. It will cost 1,000 yuan in China, or about $150, for the Sports Edition, or 1,200 for the Business Edition, which is around $180. No U.S. and European launch details have been provided.