Timing is everything. I just happen to be in Seattle with my family when Microsoft’s first wearable debuts.
I first saw notification of the Microsoft Health apps, then news of the Band itself. Straight away we booked a rental care to take us to University Village so I could pick one up (for myself, and others back home).
Over the past year I’ve been wearing a Fitbit Flex, and before that a Fitbit Zip – so I’m familiar with carrying something around with/on me that is not my phone.
The Fitbit Flex has been great but is somewhat limited in that all it counts is steps and sleep. I know there are other wearables out there – however I am firmly rooted in the Microsoft ecosystem so I wasn’t eager to change to adopt a new one.
Walking out of the Microsoft Store I connected the Band to my portal charger pack and had it configured and paired with my Nokia 930 within a minute after entering in age, weight, height.
The first thing to notice is that the Microsoft Band is heavier and thicker than a Fitbit Flex (to be expected), and also needs to be closer to the skin in order to track your pulse and skin temperature. This was a bit of a change for me as I like to wear my Fitbit Flex or old fashioned timepieces with a bit of looseness. The great thing is that the clasp is adjustable so you can set it to your own comfort level.
Over the day I did notice the slight difference, but I suspect that was mainly due to the Microsoft Band being on my left wrist whereas I had the Fitbit Flex on my right wrist.
By the evening I had for the most part forgotten that I was wearing it other than wanting to continually look at the readouts.
Sleeping with the Microsoft Band (that just sounds weird) was also a non-event. What is great to see is the details recorded about the sleep itself are more detailed than that of the Fitbit Flex.
This morning the family and I went for a walk to Pike Place Market and to no surprise it was raining in Seattle. Unfortunately my jacket got damp on the sleeves as I had them exposed pushing the pram, which concerned me slightly as the Microsoft Band is only dust and splashproof – compared to the Fitbit Flex which is waterproof. This means I’ll need to take the Microsoft Band off when having a shower, swimming, and probably when doing the dishes. I expect this to be frustrating for many people, not just myself.
Due to the large amount of playing I did yesterday, setting the device to be in watch mode for a period, and fact that I never fully charged it – I am now having to charge the Band. Luckily it’s only supposed to take 1.5 hours for a full charge, which should have it last 48 hours.
There is a Microsoft Band sync app for Windows and Mac which I strongly suggest you download as it can perform device updates. I hope to see a Modern app available at some point in the future.
I also look forward to the data the Microsoft Band records making its way over to Microsoft HealthVault because at the moment I’m not seeing it go there – nor is Microsoft Health or Microsoft Band showing up as apps or devices that HealthVault connects to.
One of the coolest features is the ability to talk to Cortana from my wrist – that will save time and is extremely useful.
The Microsoft Band is an amazing version 1 device. I suspect that within a short period of time we’ll see more features, more updates, and a lot more amazing things.