The Band is a fitness tracker made by Microsoft. This wearable comes equipped many different sensors, including: an Optical Heart Rate Sensor, 3-axis Accelerometer, Gyrometer, GPS, Skin Temperature Sensor, UV Sensor, Galvanic Skin Response, and more! The Band is also capable of lasting two-days on its rechargeable battery, and is sweat resistant.
Band is worth looking at because it packs in so many features. In addition to tracking your steps, calories, and heart rate – it tracks your sleep. The sleep tracker has the ability to track how long you’ve slept and how many times you’ve woken up. It also details your restful sleep periods/times.
One of its key fitness features is Guided Workouts.
Let me give you an example:
Let’s say your workout involves you warming up for a run and then cooling down, so you walk for 5 minutes and your wrist buzzes. Now, it’s time to jog for 5 minutes. Once again, your wrist will buzz, indicating that it’s time to run for 10 minutes, then buzz. It’ll repeat the same process, but backwards for a cool down, and then build back up for however long the activity lasts.
This wearable, however, doesn’t just stop at fitness. Microsoft has thrown in some other features to make this appealing to consumers. See, the Band, while not quite a Smart Watch, is a happy medium between fitness-wearable and Smart Watch. You can view notifications from your phone, such as: texts, calls, email, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, and any other push notification on your device. You can also tie in your Starbucks card for payment straight from your wrist. Checking the weather, your calendar, and of course, using the UV sensor to see how long it’ll take for the average person to get sunburned are just a few of the possible applications of the Band.
When synced to a Windows Phone, you get a little more functionality, which shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. You can actually text from your Band with its virtual keyboard, or send preset text messages if you’re in a hurry. Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant, is also available straight from your wrist.
The Band is compatible with Windows Phone 8.1 and later, iOS 7.1 and later (specifically iPhone 4s and up), and android 4.3 and up. The Microsoft Health app needs to be installed, as that is the app that talks to the Band.
The price point on this is $199.99. You can pick up yours online or in person at the Microsoft Store, Best Buy, Target, and Amazon. It comes in small, medium, and large. You can visit a store for sizing.
Now that you have a good idea of what this product is, let me tell you about my experience.
I’ve owned my Band since November, back then it was impossible to find one in store. So I searched craigslist and found someone who had a sealed one, and I picked it up for retail price.
I was excited! I got to my car and immediately had it opened and paired up with my phone. I was using the Lumia 1320 at the time. I was over the moon. I was, however, surprised that I couldn’t do Facebook or email on it.
When I got home I discovered that I would open up those features if I was running the developers preview on my phone. I quickly did this and had full access to all the features. This band did everything I needed it to.
At that time, the virtual keyboard wasn’t available. That came at a later date with a major firmware update, but when it did, it was very intuitive. I rarely made mistakes while typing on it. Although the screen was small and my fingers were large, it didn’t seem to matter much. Microsoft had obviously put in some time to make sure the user experience was well worth the wait.
Overall, if you’re looking for a fitness tracker, I think the Band is a good way to go, especially when you tie in the notifications. If you have a Windows phone, the Band is the only wearable you should be looking at. It’s practically a Smart Watch on this platform.
I do want to close on a couple of notes. The screen isn’t scratch resistant, but Microsoft supplies you with a Zagg screen protector. Also, a few months after getting it, I started to occasionally develop a rash where it sits on my wrist, but I haven’t heard that from fellow users, so it may not be wide spread.
Image credit: microsoftstore.com