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Microsoft Band – Smarter and Sleeker

October 11, 2015

 

featureI was watching the Microsoft Band event online a few nights back and thought if it’s actually possible we’ve reached the end of innovation for fitness trackers. You know, smart notifications, vibration motors, heart rate monitoring, 3 party apps and so on. You can’t blame me for being skeptical. Well my reply is a resounding “No” after the press presentation. Microsoft has upped the ante.

New metrics such as VO2 max estimation and altitude measurement from the addition of a barometer have been added along with tighter integration with 3rd party apps; on last count, there were at least 20 apps that are compatible with the new Microsoft Band.

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Like its predecessor, the new Microsoft Band features an on board GPS so users can track their running or cycling and receive real time tracked stats in the form of heart rate, pace, speed, distance and more. The data can be analysed later on the Microsoft Health app which is presently available on iOS, Android and Windows platforms. The AMOLED touch display allows smart notifications such as messages, emails and calls to appear on screen.

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List of features:

  • Tracks steps, distance, calories, sleep
  • On board GPS and optical heart rate sensor that reads continuous HR 24/7
  • 11 sensors including UV, accelerometer, ambient light sensor, galvanic skin response and more
  • Vibration motor for smart alerts and alarms
  • Smart notification displays texts, emails and calls
  • Works with compatible iOS, Android and Windows devices.
  • 48 hours battery life
  • Cortana voice activated assistant on Windows 8.1 phones or later

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Golf and guided workouts are a huge part of the Microsoft Band ecosystem, on top of activity tracking. Microsoft has partnered with TaylorMade to allow golfers to focus on their game with features such as range finder and automatic shot detection. Guided workouts from Gold’s gym and Shape allows the Microsoft Band to track reps and calories burned, taking the guesswork out of an effective training programme.

The new Microsoft Band boasts closer integration with 3rd party apps, fits better with a curved display rather than a flat one, added new metrics such as  VO2 max and altitude, and most importantly, a confirmed shipment date.  The list reads like a KPI that has been thoroughly checked and remedied; everything that the original band wasn’t capable of doing.

Here’s the bummer, the new Microsoft Band is not water resistant. While it should survive the rain splashes and hand washing, you’ve been warned not to immerse it in liquid or wear it during shower. Ouch. Perhaps this is another KPI to strike off for the next Microsoft Band.

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You can pre-order the new Microsoft Band at most major online retail stores including Amazon.com and Microsoft’s own web store at the recommended retail price of $249.99. Your purchase helps to fund the running of this site.

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