Microsoft Band will keep you fit and buy you a cup of coffee – review
Microsoft fans have been waiting for their fitness wearable, and it’s flying off the shelves. Microsoft released their wearable – the Microsoft Band – with all the bells and whistles you’d expect, with a few more surprises. And the best part, you can buy a cup of coffee from Starbucks with a scan of your wrist.
Regardless of your preferred platform, this wearable is good for Windows 8.1, iOS 7.1 and Android 4.3 & 4.4.
Microsoft Band and Health app in action / view time: 4 minutes
Delving into the look and feel of the device, the band itself is a thermal plastic elastometer with sliding clasp. The design is completely mancentric and it feels a bit chunkier than the Fitbit or Polar Loop due to all the technology within the Band. However, I did like secure wrap of the Band and the sliding clasp that adjusted to my wrist size. They do offer this wearable in small, medium and large.
The screen size is 11mmx33mm, full color and 320×106 pixels, with a power and action button on the side.
To capture all of your health info, the Band has 10 sensors that include: heart rate, gyrometer, GPS, ambient light sensor, skin temp, touchscreen, galvanic skin, UV, haptic vibration motor and microphone.
For those planning on managing the LBs over the holiday, the Band will track your calories, heart rate, running, steps, distance, sleep, fitness goals and has UV ray monitoring (one of my favorite features).
As part of their value ad, Microsoft partnered up with various services and devices to expand their fitness experience. The Band pairs with the Microsoft Health app where users can store, share and convert health data from their other wearables and fitness services into their cloud service, as well as use Microsoft’s Intelligent Engine algorithm to translate your data and receive insights on how to best achieve fitness goals. Partners for the app include: Jawbone UP, Gold’s Gym, RunKeeper, Under Armour/MapMyFitness and MyFitnessPal
Also through the Health app, users can choose guided workouts from their partners, such as, Gold’s Gym, Shape and Men’s Fitness, and more.
Other functionalities include receiving notifications from texts, calls, social media and calendar. For those with the Windows Phone 8.1, the Band syncs with the Cortana personal assistant, but can only take notes or set reminders from your wrist at this time.
After you finish your exercise and need a cup of coffee from Starbucks, no problem, you just need your Band to pay. Through the Microsoft Health app, users upload their Starbucks Card information and My Starbucks Rewards account and it will sync automatically to the Band. When you are ready for that latte, simply go to the store, click on the Starbucks icon on the Band, hold out your wrist, and the cashier will scan your barcode for payment – done.
Other specs include: a 48 hour battery life for normal use and charging to 100 percent could take 1.5 hours. It is water-resistant and it will function up to 12,000 meters.
The Band is $199 and Microsoft is offering a $5 Starbucks gift card and screen protector with every purchase. Fair warning, the stores are already taking backorders, so get it while you can.
Graphics provided by Microsoft