We can say 2014 is the year of the wearable, and any manufacturer who doesn’t join the game is simply out of the field. Staying in the bench is not quite an option, especially for Microsoft, which is trying to jump into the hardware manufacturing market with both feet in. Redmond’s answer to wearables is the Microsoft Band, but how well does it fare against the competition?
The Microsoft Band is a unique device in that it’s mostly a fitness tracker, but it does offer some smart features for keeping yourself productive. We got a chance to go hands-on with the device and are ready to tell you all about it, but first let’s go over the specs.
Microsoft Band specs
- 1.4-inch 320×106 TFT display
- Optical heart rate sensor, Ambient light sensor, UV sensor
- 3-axis accelerometer/gyro, microphone, haptic vibration motor
- GPS, Bluetooth 4.0 LE
- 2 X 100mAh for 48 hours of “normal use”
- Dust and splash resistant
Features and design
As you can expect from any good fitness tracker, the Microsoft Band offers a very healthy set of features to keep tabs on your body. It monitors your sleep, tracks your steps and distances traveled, measures UV radiation and can measure your heart rate. The whole package.
As a fitness tracker, the Microsoft Band works very well and the interface is very easy to understand. You can then move to the Microsoft Health app, which essentially powers the device’s features and can show you all the details the unit records.
The Microsoft Band is no average fitness tracker, though. And of course, Microsoft needs to do something a bit more special in order to really compete against the wide array of smart watches out there. While you won’t be going nuts with all the apps say, Android Wear offers, the device does offer some communication tools.
You can view messages and incoming text messages, as well as email, Facebook/Twitter notifications, calendar details, timer/alarms and more. And for the times when you need a bit more assistance, you can always get help from Cortana.
It all works very well and the device is pretty solid. It comes in three sizes, something not many manufacturers have adopted. And each size does customize in size by a bit, with the aid of the mechanism found in the watch band. The device feels great in the wrist, to say the least. And most people will find a version and set-up that fits well.
Price and availability
Now let’s jump into the real details. When can I buy the Microsoft Band and how much will it cost me? Microsoft has it available in the USA now, but it’s currently out of stock. It will cost a pretty penny, though. Its price tag is set at $199.99.
We can say it’s worth its price due to its many smartwatch-like features. It’s a good product and it won’t really disappoint. Let’s take a look at it in action and see if it’s the right fit for you, though.