Microsoft Fitness Band has been on the market a little while now but it’s no surprise that they have got into the fitness business.
The Windows platform and the Windows phone are reasons enough for this move.
Apple is concentrating on its smartwatch which it hopes will change the way we track our fitness, or indeed, live our life.
Microsoft got there first, but how does the Band stand up to other fitness trackers? Does it perform any better and is there a good enough reason to go for it rather than one of the rivals?
It’s hard to believe that the Microsoft Corporation was formed as far back as 1975, in fact it goes back further than that. It all began in 1972 but the Microsoft name came into being in 1975.
Microsoft Fitness Band Features
- Powered by Microsoft Health
- Built-in GPS
- Tracks steps, calories burned and sleep quality
- 24 hour heart rate monitoring
- Tracks all activity automatically
- Run and bike mapping
- Guided Workouts
- Preview calendar alerts, incoming calls, texts, and more
- Works with Windows Phone, iPhone and Android
With the Microsoft Fitness Band comes Microsoft Health, which is a relatively new cloud service designed to help you live a healthier life.
Both the service and the band are completely separate, although they do work together. Microsoft Health also works with any mobile phone or smartwatch and many apps. It says more devices will be included in the future.
It stores your data and can also give you insights into your health and fitness.
The data collected is interpreted to give you personalized information.
Because its cloud based it can give you real time results, which should help you to get to your goals.
The built-in GPS works very well by tracking the distance that’s been run together with the pace and the route taken.
This can be stored so that you’re able to go over the same route and compare the results from previous times.
As you might expect, steps taken are recorded along with calories burned.
You’re able to work out how many calories have been burned off from the steps recently taken.
A recent addition to the data given, is a more in depth analysis of sleep quality.
Knowing when and how well you sleep will help you to understand the overall picture of your fitness.
There’s also the option to compare your exercise and sleep quality with other Microsoft Health users who have a similar body type.
It can now also show maximum oxygen volume during workouts, which you can use to understand your cardiovascular fitness. Measuring oxygen isn’t easy but it can be worked out using the heart rate data it collects.
The 24 hour heart rate monitoring helps to make the data more insightful.
The fact that it monitors the heart 24/7 is a huge benefit. This is because it not only monitors as you exercise but it also during rest periods so you get a better picture from the data.
Once you know your capabilities you can set goals to work towards, this is compiled from data collected by the automatic activity counting.
You can also get Guided Workouts which are built in to the Band with more inside the app. These guides will work with apps from various fitness partners.
Recent partners added are Strava and MapMyRide which allows you to track any cycling you do. This will be welcome news for cyclists as many fitness trackers don’t do this.
Incoming phone calls, texts and even social media updates can be seen on the Microsoft Fitness Band screen.
You can respond with standard replies or even set up your own personal ones in the app. Having this facility is perhaps not necessary but it does mean you don’t need to keep checking your phone or you don’t even need to have it with you!
- Accurate tracking
- 24/7 heart rate monitoring
- Good display
- Excellent touch controls
The Band isn’t the cheapest on the market, but when you consider it has built-in GPS and a heart rate monitor, then it doesn’t look so expensive. In fact both these are pretty accurate and that can’t be said about some more expensive rivals.
The Microsoft Health app is something which will probably grow as it isn’t tied to just Microsoft devices, but it is, of course, completely compatible with the Band and you can get some very good insights using both.
If you do have a Windows Phone 8.1 you can use the Cortana personal assistant which will let you take notes and set reminders with your own voice.
Guided workout are loaded into the Band and come from various sources.
They’re fairly basic but there are quite a few to choose from and they will give ideas on how best to do your work out.
The screen is very good with a colorful and bright display. It isn’t very big at 11mm x 33mm but it doesn’t have to show too much data and is better than some others which don’t have a screen at all.
There has been mention by a few customers that it’s a little uncomfortable to wear although it seems that as it’s a little bulky it just takes time to get used to it.
It’s designed to wear the screen on the inside of the wrist but really it can be worn on top as well. Perhaps this is where some of these comments have come from.
It’s a shame that it isn’t waterproof, a common thing with many fitness trackers but more and more of them are now making them so.
Battery life is said to be about two days but if you turn on the watch mode it will give you less.
On the positive side, having the ability to track cycling is a very good thing as this feature isn’t too common and linking it to the heart rate monitor means it’s even better.
Probably the best features, as already stated, are the heart rate monitor and the GPS, both being accurate with their data.
This, along with the power of Microsoft behind it and the reasonable price at which you can get it, makes the Microsoft Fitness Band a fitness tracker worth considering.