GadgetsTechnology

New Microsoft Band doesn’t really offer anything ‘new’

Never be alone again with the new Microsoft Band

So, after some leaks earlier this week, Microsoft have confirmed a limited release of their new fitness band to the US market. The limited quantities are only available in Microsoft Stores and its web store in the States for now, with a launch price of US$199 (£125).

The plastic band boasts an adjustable strap and a full-colour touchscreen. It’s dust- and splash-resistant and powered by two 100mAh rechargeable lithium-ion polymer batteries that give you 48 hours on standby. What does it do? Follows your every move basically.

At work, during and after your workouts and even when you sleep, the band will be gathering data on you 24/7. Not so sure I like that idea.

The latest Microsoft gizmo is out in the USA this week – the Microsoft Band will track all your fitness needs for you.

Microsoft band logo image
Image credits Robert Scoble

Doesn’t my phone do most of these things anyway?

We all love a sparkling new gadget in our lives. But shouldn’t it be doing something the ones we already have don’t offer? The apps on my iPhone can give me GPS, heart-rate monitor, calories burnt, etc. when I’m working out. We’re good for that.

There is a 1.4in (320×106) touch display that can link to your smartphone to display email, call, text, calendar, and social media notifications, plus you can access weather, finance, and other information. All of which I can already do on my smartphone anyway, thanks.

Balance in life is essential. I’ve already got the gadgets that can encourage me to get out and stay fit as well as showing my progress. When I come home and want to chill, the Microsoft Band isn’t going to allow me play games, gamble or watch a movie.

If I decide I want to go to PureMicrogaming.com and choose from the 600 Microgaming casino games on offer after a tough day at work or a long bike ride, a 1.4in screen won’t cut it. I won’t be able to see where the ball of the roulette is landing!

All the fun and games of the instant play flash casinos are already on one device, along with my fitness needs. The new Microsoft Band seems to replicate many of the features we come to expect from our phones. Except the fun ones!

Microsoft band devices
Image source: Mixxula

Compatible with all your favourite devices

Microsoft were quick to confirm the band is compatible with Windows, Android and iOS. Through those existing devices, the band will synch with an online service and app called Microsoft Health. Essentially, you need to log on, possibly via your phone anyway, to make sense of the data collected on the band.

I will say in defence of the band, it stores your Starbucks card details so you can scan your wrist to pay for a coffee without reaching for your wallet. Don’t think this one is for me I’m afraid, a little too samey!

William Chambers

Digital Strategist at Lithe Pty Ltd and Reviews Editor at Tapscape.com

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Jeff Daly

Interesting. I hope you have the same criticism when Apple Watch is released.

Also, I couldn’t disagree more that it offers “nothing new”. What other band has this collection of 10 sensors? Standalone GPS certainly isn’t on every band/watch so that you can leave your phone at home and just run or bike or hike. This is also probably the best balance between fitness and smart that exists in this space. Even the price point for what’s packed in and the fact that it works on all three major platforms is “new”. For the record, your phone doesn’t do all that the Band can do. Maybe it’s not for you, but you should at least be honest and accurate with whomever reads this article.

I’m guessing that you don’t have a Band and haven’t even looked at one in real life. I’ve had mine for a few days and it is already a great tool. I use voice to control my music when it is plugged in to the speakers and I’m doing things across the room. I can screen my calls without pulling out my phone. I can see texts and if they don’t need a response, I can again avoid pulling my phone out of my pocket.

The data is available on your phone and I find the sleep stuff interesting. I walk more of my errands to get my steps count up. You can also attach the band data to MyFitnessPal.

I’m done. You don’t care. You just want to dismiss with snark, no matter the facts.

libertyordeath
libertyordeath

“Doesn’t my phone do most of these things anyway?” Can we assume you’ll write the same thing about all fitness bands and smart watches available today and even the Apple watch?

For those of us who frequently use things like heart rate monitoring, we understand that a fitness band offers a much better experience then holding your finger over a freaking camera lens. We appreciate built in GPS so that you don’t need to carry a phone to track routes, mileage and speeds. Especially with a phone the size of a 6 plus or other large smartphones. (Not even the Apple Watch does this)

24 hr heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, UV sensors, custom built in work out programs, quick glance vibrating notifications, the band is a great little device that brings a deep feature set for a very reasonable $199. The author is reviewing something he hasn’t very much knowledge about let alone used and it shows.

JoeInMontana
JoeInMontana

Who on earth expects to play casino games or watch a movie on a smartphone? Shoddy article really.

Peter Kremzar
Peter Kremzar

I’m sorry. But it looks this guy didn’t even try this band. Looks like he searched for the info he put together very badly and then started bashing the band.

Does this guy even know what these bands are for? Any educated person could guess from its name that it is for monitoring fitness activities and not for playing casino games.

I guess you can’t make an Avatar movie with your beloved iPhone? So does this mean your iPhone is a garbage?

Did anybody ever seen a snowmobile racing at a Formula 1 race? I didn’t. But a snowmobile is not a garbage just because it can’t race with a Ferrari or Mercedes or BMW race cars. It just has a different purpose.

I hope this guy now understands that a fitness band != smart phone.

nastradacha
nastradacha

I can tell you don’t workout or care about fitness. You probably never used the GPS,heart rate monitor sand all the features you said your phone has.
Anyone who is really into fitness would know it doesn’t feel comfortable working out with his/her phone.
If you don’t have nothing to write about, then don’t write crap. Microsoft band is not a smart watch but a fitness band

Miles
Miles

Blah blah blah Microsoft sucks blah blah blah I’m all over Apple’s nuts blah blah blah.

Really? Next article please.

Joseph Turgeon
Joseph Turgeon

Uh, it works with my Nokia 1520, thats new!

Marcio Correa
Marcio Correa

I didn’t finish reading the article, but clearly this author has never worn the band for more than a few minutes. I’m not even sure what to make of this:
“At work, during and after your workouts and even when you sleep, the band will be gathering data on you 24/7. Not so sure I like that idea.”
If you don’t like the idea of gathering data 24/7, then why would you even look into a device that claims to do just that? If you don’t want people to know where you are, do you use Facebook’s CHECK IN option? If I am not interested in ridding a bike, should I write an article telling people how the new bike is horrible, only because I hate riding a bike?
The list could go on of how the author not only does not understand the device, but has very poor insight on it’s purpose and functions.

Aaron Abraham

Not the first time I have seen an ignorant article about Microsoft products, there was Cnet that reviewed a lumia 920 and complained about the poor camera without installing an update MS released specifically to address the issue. The update was available when the product was being reviewed, the same Cnet a reviewer also also complained of very poor Facebook integration in WP of Lumia 1020 without actually loging into the Facebook account in the phone.