Microsoft Band – Fitness Meets Convenience

Microsoft Band
  • Display
  • Sensor
  • Battery
  • Memory
  • Connectivity

A while back, we did a post regarding the best fitness bands, and the Microsoft Band was one of them. Well, this week we thought we would take an in depth look at the wrist piece and find what we liked and did not like. So, without any further ado, here is our review of the Microsoft Band.

Microsoft Band – Design and Features

The Microsoft Band certainly goes for an understated look. The band only comes in black, and all in all it looks fairly bland. The band itself also doesn’t have a lot of give, so you have to be cautious when choosing the size you want (it comes in small, medium, and large sizes). Some reports claim that the band is a bit rigid, so it feels clunky and uncomfortable on the wrist, I would attest to that. It takes a bit of time (not usually allowed to reviewers) to break it in or get used to it; these vary from person to person. It is meant to be worn with the screen inside, so you may want to invest a small amount on screen protection since it easily scratches.

The display is probably one of the most notable parts of the Microsoft Band. The display is OLED, so it is bright and vibrant. In many ways, it functions like the Samsung Gear Fit, but it lacks the curved screen.

On the bottom of the wrist piece is the Microsoft Band’s heart rate monitor. Reports on its effectiveness vary, but overall it seems just as accurate as every other heart rate monitor on the market.

Probably the worst thing about the Microsoft Band, though, is the battery life. With normal, light use, the band will last you about two days. That isn’t too bad, and is right around where Microsoft said it would be, but it pales in comparison to other fitness trackers which last a week. You’ll want to put this one on the charger every night like any other smart watch.

Microsoft Band As A Smart Watch

The Microsoft Band really strives to be a smart watch as well as a fitness band. For the most part, it gets everything a smart watch does right. You can’t answer phone calls on the Microsoft Band, but it will vibrate to notify you of incoming calls and text messages. The band also has a series of other notifications including: Facebook Messenger, Twitter, weather reports, stocks, and your email.

Many other smart watches offer similar notification settings, and some (like the Galaxy S Gear) even have a small digital keyboard on the watch itself. These keyboards are annoying though, and Microsoft made a wise choice trying not to integrate such a feature onto such a small device.

For Windows Phone users, the Microsoft Band also has Cortana integration. This means you can reply to emails and texts by speaking to the band, and Cortana will do the rest. Both Andoid Wear watches and the Apple Watch have similar functions, so in the end they all operate more or less the same way. What makes the Microsoft Band different, though, is its cross platform compatibility. The band works with Windows, iOS, and Android handsets. That’s something the competition (well, unless you count Pebble) can’t boast off.

Earlier, I said the battery was pretty weak, lasting only two days. But, that is only compared to other fitness bands. When you narrow it down and compare it to smart watches in particular, the Microsoft Band is pretty impressive. Even the Apple Watch only has a battery life of 24 hours or so, and the same is true of the Galaxy Gear S. So, while it certainly doesn’t have the battery potential of popular fitness bands, the Microsoft Band far exceeds the battery life of other popular smart watches.

The only thing the Microsoft Band is really lacking is app capability. The band only supports a limited choice of apps, while its competitors the Galaxy Gear S and Apple Watch have a wide selection available to them. Here Microsoft really needs to up its game if it wants to really be a leader in this market.

Microsoft Band As A Fitness Device

The Microsoft Band really wants to be smart watch and a fitness band. It accomplishes being a smart watch well enough, but how does it hold up as a fitness tracker? Well, you’ll be pleased to know that the Microsoft Band is a pretty powerful tracker, minus a few problems.

The band always tracks your footsteps and heart rate, and you can even set it to track your sleep activity. Combine that with built in GPS and calorie tracking, and you have a fitness tracker that pretty much covers all the bases.

But, something unique about the Microsoft Band is its guided exercise routines. Users can download workouts from premier partners like Gold’s Gym, Strava and others to track progress, give themselves a unique challenge and keep themselves motivated. As far as we know, no other fitness band does this, and it is just another thing that separates the Microsoft Band from the rest of the pack.

The Verdict

The Microsoft Band does a lot of things right and very little wrong. It has a ton of notification options, it is cross compatible, and it functions as a perfect blend of the smart watch and fitness tracker. In terms of battery life, it isn’t nearly as good as some other popular fitness bands, but it far exceeds the standard smart watch. Really, the Microsoft Band’s only shortcomings are its lackluster design and limited app selection. If you are looking for a powerful hybrid device, the Microsoft Band is the way to go.

Take a look at the gallery based off pictures collected from the Microsoft Website

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