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Hands on with Microsoft Band: It's awkward and inaccurate, but stuffed with features

Jon Phillips | Nov. 4, 2014
It's uncomfortable to wear, and its heart-rate data is inconsistent. But for just US$200, the Microsoft Band is stuffed with more sensors than any other wearable available.

Nonetheless, the display is easy to read in sunlight, and I easily got more than a day's use on a single charge (Microsoft claims 48 hours' battery life unless you amp up brightness and hit the GPS a lot).

Speaking of which, I really appreciate the onboard GPS: I wish all activity trackers used GPS to map workout routes, and report exertion levels and pace against those routes. I also liked being able to read text messages, email snippets, and weather reports right from band's display. I paired the Microsoft Band with an Android phone, so I currently don't have any opinions on Microsoft's Cortana voice-control integration.

I've only been using the Microsoft Band for two days, but so far I see an incredibly ambitious product that feels like an unfinished project. But let's give this wearable a bit more time to percolate. It's always possible I'll get used to the band's fitment, and its initial heart-rate performance will turn out to be an unfortunate fluke.


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