Review: Microsoft Band Smartens Wearable Tech

A couple of months ago I attended the grand opening of the Microsoft store in Dallas. It is the largest one they’ve opened, and so of course the biggest would have to be in Texas. The manager and staff were enthusiastic and very knowledgeable about the many Microsoft products that are now available for you to test drive in-store. While there, the one that caught my attention was the Microsoft Band. They generously gave me one to try and to see how my husband and I would like it. This is Microsoft’s entry into the smart-watch, Fitness band market. It is aptly just called the Band because it turns out that it’s a bit of both.the-bandThe Microsoft Band can connect via Bluetooth with either your Android, or Apple smart phone and displays your texts, tweets, messages, and even the weather. If you happen to have a Microsoft windows phone, you can do even more with it. It’s limited to just display when used with my iPhone, but still convenient when my phone is in my pocket. For me, it serves mostly as a fitness monitor. When used in tandem with the Microsoft Health Cloud app that I down loaded on my phone, there’s quite a bit I can keep track of. It costs $199 and packs an impressive list of sensors. There’s an optical heart rate sensor, accelerometer, gyrometer, GPS, ambient light sensor, skin temperature sensor, UV sensor, capacitive sensor, galvanic skin response sensor, and a microphone. It measures common metrics like steps and heart rate, and calculates some second order metrics like sleep quality and calories burned.Microsoft_Band_LifestyleMonitoring my activity and sleep provide me the best opportunity to fight the effects of the aging process which most of us worry about. Last night, I slept for 6.5 hours and awakened 4 times. This is only an 85% sleep effectiveness rating. I am feeling a little tired today, and tonight, I will be making a conscious effort to get more sleep. With the feedback gained, I can also try different sleeping positions and room temperatures to reach a more optimal rest pattern. These are things that I couldn’t, or wouldn’t think of doing if I didn’t have the great feedback I get from my Band. I have also begun setting goals for how many steps I walk in a day, and I am more likely to take the stairs just because I know I’m monitoring steps.microsoft-bandThe Band is a sleek looking device and I get comments from people all the time about it. It’s comfortable to wear, and over time, I don’t even notice it’s there until I feel the vibration alerting me to a new message. It has taken a little getting used to wearing it with the face on the underside of my wrist, but it is easier to read due to the horizontal display. I wish the battery lasted longer between charging, and I wish I did not have to take it off to charge it. Other than that, I really like everything about it. Personal health tracking is only getting more and more popular, and it seems everyone is getting into the market. With my Band, I have both smart watch and fitness capabilities, and I love it. I have to go walk now, or I won’t reach my 7,000 steps today!

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