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Huawei's TalkBand N1 plays your tunes while tracking your moves (hands-on)

/ Updated: March 1, 2015 6:26 PM PST
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BARCELONA -- Going jogging without music playing is a horrible experience, so stuffing fitness-tracking technology into a set of headphones makes perfect sense. Huawei's TalkBand N1, shown here at Mobile World Congress 2015, is a device that does just that. It's essentially a set of wireless Bluetooth earbuds that contains an accelerometer to track your activity.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The two earpieces are connected by a cable, allowing them to hang around your neck and magnetically clip together when not in use, like a weird necklace. As they operate with Bluetooth, you don't need to have a cable dangling down to your phone in your pocket. The earbuds have 4GB of built-in storage, which can hold up to 1,000 songs, meaning you don't even need to take your phone with you on a run if you'd rather not have it banging about in your pocket. They'll last a promised 7 hours of music playback.

The accelerometer will count the number of steps you take and, when synced with the app on iOS or Android, will give you a (no doubt quite rough) estimate of calories burned. There's no GPS, so if you want to map your run onto Google Maps, you'll still need to take your phone with you.

We looked briefly at the TalkBand N1 at MWC, but didn't get a chance to hear music on them. Hence, even though Huawei promises these will offer premium sound competitive with some Sennheiser earphones, we can't comment on the quality of the music the drivers produce.

The buds felt okay, but the housing around them is big. The N1's are, however, a lot less bulky than some Bluetooth headsets. A handy bonus is that they're waterproof to 1 metre, meaning they won't break when you run in the rain. Although why you'd want to run in the rain is another matter entirely.

The TalkBand N1 earbuds will cost 119 Euros (about $133 US, or £86, or AU$170) when they debut this May. Good wireless headphones with quality audio aren't cheap. Are these those headphones? We won't know for sure till we've really used them outside a quick show-floor demo.

Discuss Huawei TalkBand N1

Where to Buy

Huawei TalkBand N1

Part Number: TalkBand N1

Visit manufacturer site for details.