Technophile

A Bluetooth headset that also tracks BP and fitness level

Varun Aggarwal | Updated on July 11, 2018 Published on July 11, 2018

The Soulfit Sonic V08 Talkband packs in a host of features at an affordable price

If you’ve ever owned a fitness band and decided to take it for a run, you’d know how annoying it is to use your phone while at it. But what if that fitness band can allow you to take calls directly. Better still, what if it could fit in your ears so you can have a clear conversation instead of shouting at your wrist? Want more? How about heart rate monitoring as well as blood pressure monitoring? The answer to all these questions is the new fitness band from Soulfit, the Sonic V08 TalkBand HR.

Looks can be deceiving, and especially so when you look at the Sonic V08. It looks like any other fitness band in the market, and only bulkier. A plain black design with no other colour or design options doesn’t help with the appeal either. But what’s appealing is what lies inside.

A full-size Bluetooth earpiece fits into the wrist band and doubles up as the dial. You have to pull out the earpiece with the press of a button on the strap to take calls or play music.

The display is a 0.96-inch OLED panel and at around 35 grams, the band is light enough for wearing all day long, and if you keep it clean, then you can even take it to bed to track sleep. But something very basic that you’d expect of a fitness band is missing — waterproofing. So you cannot take it for a swim and you’d rather take it off before you start sweating profusely.

Features

The band also lets you use your personal assistants with ease, be it Siri or Google Assistant, making it very useful while driving or biking.

If enabled, the earpiece will also alert you when your heart starts to pump too quickly. When the piece is attached to the wrist band, it can monitor your steps, track your sleep, ping your phone in case you can’t find it, monitor your heart rate and best of all, act as a blood pressure monitor.

That’s a lot built into such a tiny device. You can even use it as a remote to click pictures from your phone.

But how does all this work in practice? Well, while Soulfit has done a tremendous job in taking wearables to the next level, execution is still nowhere close to where it should’ve been. Just setting up the device is a complicated task and the small instruction booklet that comes along with it isn’t very helpful either.

Moreover, you have to pair the band with your phone twice — once when the earpiece is attached to the band and once when it is not. This is to make sure the phone can see it as an activity tracker as well as an external headphone. That sounds smart but doubles your work.

The way the earpiece works is very smart. The moment you detach it from the band, it automatically connects to the phone as a Bluetooth headset and the moment you put it back on the band, it automatically disconnects. So if you want to use the device as your primary Bluetooth headset, think of the band as a placeholder so you don’t have to keep wearing it in your ears all day or whenever you’re expecting a call.

The voice assistant can be activated in the headset mode by tapping on the touch area for three seconds. It is possible to make calls and listen to music with the voice assistant. But answering a call with a tap doesn’t always work and you have to pull your phone out, which was a big bummer. But the sound and mic quality on the headset is pretty good and clear.

In terms of the interface, the band has a single touch interface that helps you navigate through all the features. To save battery life, which lasts about three days on a single charge, the interface is simple with no colours draining power.

But while live heart rate tracking is becoming a norm for fitness bands these days, to check your heartrate on the V08, you first have to tap a few times to navigate and then wait for about 5-10 seconds. Even the app that is supposed to show your heart rate history mostly fails to track it.

BP monitoring

BP monitoring is one of the most complicated functions that a fitness band has ever had to do. Perhaps that explains why BP monitors are not the most convenient to use if you ever had to use one. They require the use of a cuff that temporarily stops blood flow. But latest technology being used by V08 lets you monitor BP by gauging subtle pressure changes at the surface of your skin above one of the main wrist arteries — the radial artery — without stopping circulation.

So even as just a BP monitor, the device is an extremely convenient one. BP monitoring takes about 30 seconds to show up on the watch and syncing it to the app is another task in itself, which is where the company still has some work to do.

At ₹9,999, getting a BP monitor along with a fitness tracker that doubles up as a Bluetooth headset is a great deal. However, if you’re a hardcore fitness enthusiast, you’d be better off avoiding this purchase as the lack of waterproofing and multiple steps required to track your data will eventually turn into a frustrating experience.

Price: ₹9,999

Pros: Good build quality, large display, excellent multi-purpose earpiece, blood pressure monitoring

Cons: Not waterproof, app is buggy, complicated procedure to maintain records

Published on July 11, 2018
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