Microsoft Band – Beauty in the Beast

I have been drooling over the Microsoft Band ever since I first saw the specs, just waiting for it to hit the market. It was one of the few smart bands that did everything I wanted.  It has GPS, a color touch screen, microphone, Bluetooth, Facebook, Twitter and text notifications, heart rate sensor, calorie tracker, sleep tracker and so much more!  The UV Index sensor will let you know when you should apply sunscreen.  Most bands have one sensor but the Microsoft Band has ten.


The band has guided workouts that can detect reps in a set and vibrate when you finish a set.  It has great features for runners, showing the exact route you ran and tracks where you ran the fast and where you slowed down.  It also will vibrate to let you know when you have covered a mile.

The band has a watch mode that will always show the time and date, but this is a battery killer and is turned off by default.

The band comes in three different sizes, and each size has a good amount of adjustment.  The latch is easy to connect, and seems sturdy.

Not only is Microsoft working hard to make the Band compatible with as many devices as possible, they are also establishing partnerships with other companies who have visions of healthy living.   They will work with the Fitbit app.  Gold’s Gym, myfitnesspal, RunKeeper, mapmyfitness and Starbucks are all service partners to make the experience even better.

It was with great anticipation that I ran down to the Microsoft Store when I heard they were in stock.  My excitement lasted until I actually saw the band.  There is no good way to say this.  It was just ugly and bulky.  All those sensors, had to go somewhere, and it made for a thick, stiff band that wasn’t very comfortable to wear.  I just couldn’t see myself wearing it all day and night. I wore it around the store, wondering over all the great features,  but sadly, left without it in my possession.   I will say that if I was a runner, I would definitely try this band.  As it is, I will probably wait until Microsoft comes out with the next version and see if it has been streamlined at all.

One more point, Microsoft Band is sold out online and is only sold at Microsoft Stores brick and mortar stores.  The Microsoft Store I went to did have them in stock, but it wouldn’t hurt to call ahead to see if they still have them before you drive to the mall.


Key Features

  • Cost – $200
  • Works with Windows Phone, iPhone and Android
  • See incoming call notifications
  • Facebook and Twitter updates
  • See text messages. reply with pre-set responses
  • Built-in GPS
  • Background can be personalized. (Band only comes in black)
  • Full color touch screen
  • UV monitor
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Personalized metrics displayed on phone app that gives a summary of a run either outdoors, indoors or on a treadmill
  • Tracks steps and calculates the calories your burned and the distance traveled
  • Sleep tracking
  • Guided Workouts with prompts on the band and more in the app
  • Goal setting
  • Will sync with the calendar on your phone
  • Microphone
  • Contana (Windows Phone 8.1)
  • Do not disturb mode – turn off all notifications.
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Watch mode
  • Weather – Get real time weather conditions and a five day forecast



  • Band – Thermal plastic with adjustable fit clasp
  • Display – Size 11mm x 33mm
  • Resolution 320 x 106 pixels
  • Battery life – 48 hours of normal use, advanced functions like GPS will impact battery performance
  • Average charge time – 1.5 hours
  • Water resistant
  • Dust resistant
  • Charge cable magnetically coupled connector to USB
  • Warranty 1 year limited warranty
  • Sensors
  • Optical heart rate sensor
  • 3-axis accelerometer/gyro
  • Gyrometer
  • GPS
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Skin temperature sensor
  • UV sensor
  • Capacitive sensor
  • Galvanic skin response
  • Microphone


Supported mobile devices

  • iOS 7.1 and later
  • iPhone 4S, 5, 5C, 5S, 6, 6 Plus
  • Android 4.3 – 4.4 with Bluetooth
  • Windows Phone 8.1 update with Bluetooth



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