Microsoft band is the first band from Microsoft. They have put a lot of effort in creating this band and have included a lot of stuff. It also works as a partial smart watch and a GPS unit. Microsoft has focused solely on fitness while designing this tracker, so you will be able to see features that will help you track your fitness in the best possible way.
Now let’s take a look at the features of the Microsoft band.
1. Tracks steps, calories and distance. It has a 3 axis accelerometer like most of the other fitness trackers out there to track the steps and distance flawlessly.
2. Built in heart rate sensor – It has a built in optical heart rate sensor which will track your heart rate 24 x 7 and give you real time monitoring. There are many fitness trackers out there with heart rate monitor but there are only a few trackers which have continuous heart rate monitoring. So it will be very helpful to you. For e.g. you are running and it will show you that your heart rate is 70bpm and you know that up to 80 or 90 you can easily go, So in this way you can push yourselves further to run faster. This will not just help you while running but while doing exercise or like say doing any activity.It will also help you in a great way in counting calories accurately. According to the heart rate the Microsoft band can calculate the burnt calories in the best possible accurate way. Though we can also calculate the calories without the heart rate monitor, but it will be an approximate estimate. It would not be as accurate as the calories counted with heart rate monitor.
One unique thing that the Microsoft band does is that, it also tracks the heart rate while you are sleeping. This will help you to track the overall health of your heart in the best possible way, because you are tracking it 24×7.
3. Tracks Sleep – It tracks your sleep and will give you detailed insights on your sleep data. It will show you insights such as duration of your sleep, how many times you woke up, whether you had a deep sleep or light sleep, heart rate while you were sleeping, did you had a restful sleep, etc. In this way it will show you a huge number of statistics of your sleep, so you can analyze it the best way.
4. GPS – Yes, It does have a GPS which will help you map the routes on which you are running or bicycling, etc. So this will help you to run without the phone but you will still be able to track the distance, route and pace. Most of the trackers out there do not have a GPS built-in, instead they use the GPS of your phone. Though that’s not a problem in using the phone’s GPS but when you have the GPS in-built you can save you phone’s battery and not be dependent on the phone.
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5. Smart Notifications – It has got a 1.4 inch display of TFT touchscreen. It will show you your regular activity tracking data but the fun part is it that you can also view your notifications like your new text messages, incoming calls, email previews, calendar alerts, etc. This will make you more productive and save you a lot of time.
For e.g. you are in the middle of a meeting and you are getting a call, so instead of looking unprofessional by taking out the phone to see who’s calling. You can just see it on your band and nobody will even notice it. And you can also reply from the band itself that you are in meeting and I’ll call you later. It can be done with the help of the auto text function; you can save texts which will help you to reply later without typing them.
6. Cortana – It’s your personal assistant. It will listen to you and do every task you assign it just like Siri. So you can ask her what’s the time, what’s the weather like, what’s the latest stock quotes, etc. This will make you more productive and will ultimately save you a lot of time.But there’s a catch. In order to use Cortana you need to have a Windows Phone. So all the Android and iOS users out there won’t be able to use the Cortana function.
7. Microsoft Health – It’s the app designed by Microsoft especially for the Microsoft Band. It will analyze all the data you are tracking and will display in an awesome manner. The best thing that Microsoft has done is that they have made this app for multiple platforms including iOS, Android and Windows Phone.There are not much devices in the market which supports all the platforms and Microsoft is one of the first company to do that. And the data on the app is uploaded on the cloud, so you can access the data on any device as long as you have the account credentials.
8. Workout Coaching – It is a really awesome feature. Here you can see guided workouts on your phone by services like Gold’s Gym and Mens Fitness and then the band will track your activity.
9. Sharing data with other apps –
The data you track with the fitness tracker is gold. So there’s no point in keeping the data just to itself or its own mobile app. So here you can sync the data with other apps like MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper, MapMyFitness, etc.
10. Extremely Pricey – It’s priced at around $200. And let me tell you that most of the fitness trackers in the market come at around $100 and if you look at the top high end models from the best company then also you can get those at around $180. So at $200 it’s extremely pricey but I guess you have to pay Microsoft for the brand value.
Now let’s take a look at the cons of the Microsoft Band.
- It’s heavier and Bulkier – When you look at the top fitness trackers in the market like Jawbone UP24, Fitbit Charge, etc. they all are extremely light weight and not bulky at all. But here Microsoft totally loses. If you really don’t like something heavy to wear all day this can be a really bad problem for you.
- Battery Life – It has only got a battery life of 2 days, yes just 2 days. That’s insane because when you look at the other trackers like Fitbit or Jawbone, most of them on an average work for a week. And let’s be real who likes to charge a tracker every alternate day, that’s just a new pain you are going to bring in your life. So if you don’t like the battery life you can check out Garmin Vivofit, which has a battery life of over 1 year.
- No Social Features – Yes we admit that it tracks awesome data with the help of its sensors, GPS and heart rate monitor. But we can’t show anybody how much data we have tracked. We can’t compare it with our friends. If we look at the Nike FuelBand SE there are some awesome community features, which will motivate you and it’s just to look at your friends and family’s data and compare it with your data.
- Not Water Proof – It is not waterproof and hence you would not be able to use while you are having shower or doing extreme water sports. Most of the top fitness trackers are waterproof like Garmin Vivosmart. So if you are a sports person or an athlete who is more in the extreme water sports then think twice before getting this device, because you won’t be able to track your sports activities at all.
Now let’s take a look at the competition of the Microsoft Band.
1. Nike Fuel Band SE
Nike Fuel Band SE comes at around $150. It does not have a heart rate monitor while the Microsoft Band does. But on the flip side when you look at the design of the Nike it’s pretty sleek and light while the design of the Microsoft Band is very bulky. The battery life of the Nike is also over 1 year while that of the Microsoft band is that of just 2 days – it’s just a very bad thing to have a battery life of just 2 days.
You would have to charge it every alternate day. Microsoft band has a GPS while the Nike doesn’t have it. Hence if you want a band with heart rate monitor and GPS, Microsoft band is the perfect pick for you.
2. Fitbit Charge – Fitbit Charge comes at around $130. Fitbit Charge can automatically track your sleep while in the Microsoft Band you would have to manually turn it on the sleep mode – It’s really annoying at every night to turn on the device in to sleep mode.
Fitbit Charge has a battery life of 6-7 days while the Microsoft band just has a battery life of 2 days. On the flip side Microsoft band has a heart rate monitor and a GPS while the Fitbit Charge doesn’t have it. Hence if you really want a GPS and heart rate monitor you can defiantly go for the Microsoft band otherwise click here to check the review of the Fitbit Charge.
3. Garmin Vivosmart – Garmin Vivosmart is an excellent device and one of the best and high end products of Garmin. It’s priced at around $180. While we look at the Microsoft band it’s priced at around $200 and is the only fitness tracker from Microsoft, so they have put their best stuff in this device.
Now when we compare the Garmin Vivosmart with the Microsoft band, the first thing we noticed is that – Garmin Vivosmart can track your sleep automatically while the Microsoft Band can’t. This is a really cool feature because nobody likes to turn the device to sleep mode at every night when they are completely tired and just want to sleep.
The other difference is that the Garmin Vivosmart is waterproof while the Microsoft Band is not waterproof. So if you are more in to water sports like swimming, scuba diving, etc. Garmin Vivosmart would be a perfect choice for you.
The Garmin Vivosmart has a really cool feature called Movebar while the Microsoft Band doesn’t have anything like that. Movebar will notify you every hour you have been inactive, so move a little bit throughout the day.The battery life of the Garmin Vivosmart is of 7 days while that of the Microsoft Band is just of 2 days. Microsoft band has some great features which the Garmin Vivosmart has like Cortana, GPS and workout coaching.
So if you really want a GPS, Cortana and workout coaching along with the features which both of these trackers have you can definitely go for the Microsoft band, otherwise you can check the GarminVivosmart review here.
Hence after looking at all the features and cons of the Microsoft band, keeping in mind that its price is around $200. It’s a perfect pick for you if you want a GPS, heart rate monitor and all the standard features all in one package.