Microsoft has got it right with the Microsoft BAND. It’s a cutting edge, hi-tech product that works. It’s directly comparable with the Apple Watch – better in some respects, less so in others. The key thing is the 2 day battery life, the Apple Watch will hardly last you from dawn ‘til dusk. For that reason the Apple Watch simply can’t be a ‘proper’ activity tracker as, by definition, it can’t track your daily activity. If, like me, you do a lot of exercise then you realise that quality sleep is fundamental.
Turning from Apple to most of the other competitors in the ‘health & wellness’ market then these other competitors are simply not in the same league. The Microsoft BAND has built-in optical heart rate and GPS. These two ‘simple’ components are fundamental to tracking activity and even more obviously for tracking exercise. Even tracking your heart rate at night is VERY important, IMHO, as your resting heart rate is a great measure of stress and recovery from exercise. Recovery (adaptation) from exercise is fundamental in the effectiveness of that exercise.
The zealots from other manufacturers’ camps can argue all they want to. They’re wrong.
I have never reviewed a Microsoft product before and I own an iPAD.
The BAND does an awful lot of other stuff. I won’t dwell on this here too much as I have already reviewed the MICROSOFT BAND from a sporty/activity perspective (here).
Suffice to say you can do very much of the same things that other manufacturers can do:
- Everywhere: The BAND seems to work on everything, everywhere. I deliberately tested it on an old Android phone, a 3 year old iPAD and a Windows phone. Simply, it worked on them all. More than that you don’t need ANY of those devices with you. Head off for a run without your mobile phone and all the GPS/speed/pace data is stored on the band. Many other products, if they can even show ‘correct’ speed, rely on the GPS from your smartphone.
- Productive: When within Bluetooth range of your smartphone it notifies you of text message, emails, calls and calendar items.
- But prettier: OK the Apple Watch is pretty and some of the other manufacturers have ‘pretty’ devices. But most are not pretty. The Microsoft BAND is pretty. It took me 48 hours to find someone who didn’t like the look of it.
- And more accurate: Some other devices are accurate, some not. The accuracy of ‘steps’ is probably not so important but my Garmin measures 1000 steps when I drive a hundred or so miles. The BAND does NOT do that, moreover even if I keep my arm still when walking it still correctly records steps.
- And you won’t get sunburn: It’s got a rather clever inbuilt UV monitor.
- It differentiates: Tells you your fat burning exercise vs. your higher intensity activity (both are important), it tells you in detail your sleep quality restfulness, number of cycles and more.
- It can’t do it all. But what can? I like it.