My first week with the Microsoft Band

It’s been over a week now since I started wearing my Microsoft Band and I can say I’m still in love with the device.

While there are several things that frustrate me, there are several things that still amaze me and I find to be of great benefit. I’m also in love with the potential of what this device can do, and am still thankful I happened to be in Seattle when it was launched.

I’ve previously written about some of the pros and cons of the device, as you can read about here and here.

After a week what have I learnt & enjoyed?

  • Charge the device every day (the best time I find is during/around a shower as you can’t wear it anyway)
  • Getting text notifications on my wrist is far less intrusive than checking my phone, and as such is a big bonus
  • Keep your VIP list small (only my wife is on mine) for emails
  • Do NOT enable the notification centre to display on your Microsoft Band, unless you’ve tweaked it so that very little shows up – otherwise you will buzzed every few minutes
  • Deal with the fact that the notifications are not truly bi-directional – I’m sure this will be fixed in the future
  • Paying at Starbucks using only your wrist is very handy
  • You can customise your call & text message replies separate to that of a Windows Phone (I’ve gone so far as to have one which says I’ve seen the message on my Microsoft Band but am not in a position to respond). My good friend and fellow Office 365 MVP Sean McNeill has taken this a step further by adding some humour about having fallen and can’t get to his phone to respond.
  • Having Cortana on your wrist is AMAZING!!!

As I’ve been at the Microsoft MVP Summit in Redmond for the past week I haven’t had the chance to really test out the fitness capabilities of it. Now that I’m back in Seattle and on a more normal schedule I’ll certainly be trying it out this week – so watch for updates.

It’s also been interesting paying for items at Starbucks (we don’t have any of them back in Australia) as each person who has seen me do it has remarked with commons like “wow, that’s cool” or “that’s amazing” which is great to hear.

Something I do want to address is wearability. I’ve seen other blog posts and reviews saying the device is big and clunky. If you look at most men’s watches these days most likely they are wearing something bigger and clunkier. After a week of wear I barely notice that I’m wearing it. It feels as present on my wrist as wearing a watch or Fitbit would.

Having the screen on the underside of my wrist has been slightly noticeable while typing, however normally I use an ergonomic keyboard with raised wrists so I probably wouldn’t notice if that was the case.

I do find the very adjustable strap on the Microsoft Band to be of great benefit. It allows me to make minute adjustments to the tightness of the Band throughout the day based on the thickness of my wrist (due to water retention, temperature, etc.). This is definitely a benefit over my Fitbit Flex.

So my synopsis after a week of use? This device has amazing capabilities. It is very usable and advantageous in its current form. Yes it could do with a lot of improvement, but for a version 1 device and solution it is quite adequate. And as I said earlier – having Cortana on your wrist is AMAZING!!!

My first 48 hours with the Microsoft Band

I’ve now been wearing the Microsoft Band and am quite comfortable with it. I find that throughout the day I may make some minute adjustments to the band based on how it feels on my wrist. This is much easier than it was on the Fitbit Flex.

(FYI this post is a follow up to my first 24 hours with the Microsoft Band)

It’s gotten to the point where I don’t really notice that I’m wearing it. Taking it off to shower is slightly annoying as this morning I forgot to put it back on (although only for a couple of minutes).

My two frustrations with the device are:

  • Battery seems to churn through fairly quickly, but that is because it’s paired to my phone almost all the time
  • Notifications on the phone don’t go away when you’ve responded to them on the phone. For example I may have a conversation with someone via SMS and all is done, but on the Microsoft Band it shows that there are still a number of SMS messages received.

That’s pretty much it.

What I love about it so far:

  • Quicker access to my phone features such as calendar, Cortana, emails, etc.
  • When I turn on Sleep mode it shows a starry sky and says “Goodnight” – awwww
  • The sleep data is more detailed than what the Fitbit Flex was able to provide

I expect in the coming weeks we’ll see a number of updates based on relatively consistent feedback from users. I also hope the Windows Phone app gets an update with multiple sized tile as well as actual live tile functionality.

I am thoroughly amazed at how Microsoft launched this with relatively no leaks (much like the Surface), and that their retail campaign was ready to go with in-store fitness displays and giveaways (I managed to score a gym bag, hat, bottle, and fruit drink – I chose to leave the yoga mat & skipping rope as I’m not there yet).

What I am a bit disappointed about is that there is no Twitter account or User Voice site yet. I feel Microsoft could collect a lot of feedback and concentrate their improvement/development efforts based on this.

Overall I’m still as smitten with my Microsoft Band as much as I am with my Surface Pro 3. This is just a case of Microsoft getting things right. While version 1 may not be perfect the important thing will be how quickly they adapt and react – which Microsoft has demonstrated of late they are getting very good at.