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I Have Joined The Band January 22, 2016

Posted by Peter Varhol in Technology and Culture.
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I have written in the past about my experiences with the Microsoft Band. Microsoft has a really good product here, although they fail to effectively market it (or even market it at all, as near as I can tell).  I use the GPS in races, and manage and monitor steps, other exercises, sleep, and heart rate.

I especially like its integration with the Microsoft Health app, which provides a convenient way of getting access to this information. If you use the GPS, you get a map, complete with running route, speed (I love the snail versus the gazelle icons), altitude changes, and mileage splits.  It shows your average, peak, and finishing heart rates.

Moreover, it integrates with your phone in other ways. You can get notifications of incoming calls, texts, and email, and actually have a limited way of responding to texts.  While I get too much email to make that service practical, it has become an essential notification tool for me.  And the notifications and other features are highly customizable through the app.

I recently bought Bands for two people close to me (technically, the Band 2). Both are using it in ways similar to myself, and are happy with the product.

If it has a downside, it is its short battery life. The battery lasts for a maximum of two days, especially using the GPS, and charging it can easily take an hour or more.

I have never been a Microsoft fanboy, but as near as I can tell, I am the Band’s biggest (and maybe only) promoter. It has about 80 percent of the functionality of the Apple Watch for about 40 percent of the price.  I understand that there is some (not a lot) of additional functionality on the Apple Watch, and that may encourage people who are not price-sensitive.  But for people looking for an activity tracker and an extension of their mobile phone, it is something that they should look at.

Microsoft, I just don’t get it.

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