Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve likely seen some press on Microsoft Band.  Either NY Times: Microsoft’s New Fitness Tracking Device is a Welcome Surprise  or  TechRadar: The Microsoft Band is What Apple’s Watch Should Have Been.  I’ve been asked by a dozen people my thoughts on the Band. Having put the device through a week of activities, I thought I’d capture my experience… let’s get right to it.

The Cons

  • size – it’s a little big compared with other devices.  I’ve had a Jawbone Up and Fitbit Flex on my wrist, both were smaller. After a day I didn’t notice the Band anymore.  After taking it off to charge, it still felt like I had it on… so I think I’m used to it.
  • battery life during training – while the everyday use battery life is awesome, if you are monitoring a workout, I’ve noticed it burns through the battery much faster (duh).  I turned it on while doing yard work and it drained about 50% of the battery in 4 hours.
  • step accuracy – seems a little ‘forgiving’…  on a walk, I counted my steps and noticed it was adding an extra 10% or so (my research is showing most wrist devices have this +/- error as well).  for me the accuracy isn’t as important as the general realm of ‘active’ or ‘get off the couch and walk the dog’  but still.  heartrate seems accurate on the low end, but I haven’t been able to verify on the high end.  during a 5K run, I peaked at 154bpm and came back down to 140 for the duration of the run.  seems relatively accurate.
  • read notification sync – or the lack thereof when I read a message on my phone (it still sometimes shows unread on the band and vice versa)

 

The Pros

  • features – the fitness and productivity combo is awesome.  thought the “don’t take your phone out of your pocket” pitch was just marketing, but I am loving the notification from Cortana and other apps: ESPN, Facebook, etc.  Also like the ability to quickly reply to text messages.  I added, “driving. reply in a bit”
  • cross platform – while I own a Windows Phone for main sync app, it was cool to have the app on my iPad as well (iPhone app running 2x)
  • integration – the auto sync to RunKeeper was cool.  just logged in via the mobile app and my runs were automatically uploaded.  Now just need RunKeeper app for Windows Phone.
  • battery life – i’m finding that I charge the device about every 36 hours.  that usually includes measuring one 60-90 min activity and one night’s sleep
  • GPS – great add for me as I previously carried my Lumia 1520 in a hip pouch with GPS on

I thought the whole “leave your phone in your pocket” was a bit of marketing blah blah blah…but I find myself touching my phone AND wrist significantly less to check on notifications, etc.  I can triage notifications much better so it’s far less of an interruption to conversations, emails, driving, etc.

All in all very happy with the device.

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