The Good: Microsoft Band is definitely a lot more than just a fitness band. It gives you the performance and features of a smart watch along with GPS support and heart rate monitoring that are both only found on high end fitness trackers.
The Bad: Cumbersome design, short battery life.
The Verdict: Microsoft Band is a compromise between a wearable smart device and a fitness tracker. It's a bit clunky but comes packed with features you won't usually find in any other fitness tracker. If you are fine with the extra weight and the size of this device, Microsoft Band may prove to be a great buy.
Microsoft Band is one of those devices that is more than just a fitness tracker, but is not fully on the same level as an Apple Watch. It offers more features aside from tracking your fitness activities, and probably the most unique wearable device of its kind on the market.
Its design was the subject of some controversy when it first came out. This is because Microsoft Band uses a solid wrist strap that is more cumbersome than your average fitness tracker, and has been revised since its first version came out. In the latest version of Microsoft Band, they've used a softer and more flexible rubber while the battery is now located inside the clasp. This design still makes it a bit clunky, and you are left with a sizable bulge on your wrist. This device sports a large display that works well with all the features Microsoft Band brings.
As a fitness tracker, Microsoft Band is capable of recording your steps, calories burned, sleep quality. Essentially everything that you can expect from an average fitness tracker with the addition of heart rate monitor. There is also a Guided Workouts feature that sets challenging goals and routines designed by various Microsoft partners from the field of fitness.
Microsoft Band is unique since it's more of a smart wearable device than just a fitness tracker. Once you sync it with your smart phone, you gain access to features such as incoming calls notification, reading your text messages on your Microsoft Band, direct access to your Facebook Messenger. You can also preview your e-mails, sync up your phone's calendar with Microsoft Band, and use Cortana if you're using a Windows Phone. You can configure these features using the Microsoft Health app that you need in order to use this device.You can hide features you don't like, and view all of your stats. The app sports a clean layout, and is very easy to navigate.
One great advantage of Microsoft Band is its use of GPS to track and calculate your activity. It's a more accurate system compared to using accelerometers. Due to its numerous features and a rather large OLED screen, the battery life is not too great. It will last you for 2-3 days on average, as long as you don't use any of the GPS features. In that case, your battery's life will be significantly shorter.
One of the only cons of this device is its clunky and rather uncomfortable design. Microsoft Band is large and cumbersome to wear sometimes. However, it's a lot more than just a fitness tracker. It's a compromise that that many won't like, but we feel that all the extra features are worth the trouble. Purely as a fitness tracker, the GPS support and heart rate sensor make it outstanding. How useful it is for everyday workouts is questionable, as you will definitely feel it.