The Microsoft Band is one of the newest fitness mobile gadgets on the market, but it showcases Microsoft’s own contribution to the wearables market.
The Microsoft Band is Microsoft’s answer to the fitness bands and smartwatches from major players like the Apple Watch, Pebble Steel, and Samsung’s multitude of offerings like the Galaxy Gear, Gear 2, Gear Neo, Gear S, and Gear Fit.
One of the major advantage of the Microsoft Band is that it is cross platform with support for all the major platforms.
Works with Major Operating Systems
The Microsoft Band works with all three major operating systems (iOS, Android, Windows Phone), not just Windows – which is a major plus for the company’s first wearable device. Microsoft’s been blazing this same trail with its Office software for iPhone and iPad, with the company having just released its Android smartphone app recently (and the company’s promise that an Android tablet app is imminent).
Additionally, Microsoft has increased its OneDrive cloud storage offerings for iOS and Android users – a sign that the company looks to propel itself to the top of the cloud wars by way of a cross-platform approach.
The new Microsoft Band is cross-platform fitness band and smartwatch compatible for devices updated to Windows Phone 8.1, iOS 7.1 or later, and Android 4.4.3 KitKat and Android 4.4.4 KitKat (the latest version of Android; an Android 5.0 Lollipop is pending for Nexus devices).
The Microsoft Band features a 1.4-inch thin film transistor (or TFT) display with a screen resolution of 320 x 106 pixels. To put the Microsoft Band in perspective, the fitness band is smaller than that of Samsung’s Gear Fit (1.84 inches) with a somewhat smaller screen resolution (432 x 128 pixels for the Gear Fit vs. 320 x 106 for the Microsoft Band).
Other Important Specs
The Microsoft Band also features two 100mAh batteries (200mAh total), which falls short of the 300mAh and 400mAh battery capacities of Samsung’s own Gear Fit and Gear smartwatch lineup as well as Android Wear watches like the LG G Watch and LG G Watch R (or Samsung’s own Android Wear smartwatch, the Gear Live).
As a fitness band, however, the Microsoft Band battery matches closely that of Samsung’s own Gear Fit – with the Gear Fit featuring a 210mAh battery to the Microsoft Band’s 200mAh battery capacity. Microsoft says that its fitness band can last up to 48 hours on a single charge and only takes about 90 minutes to fully recharge.
The Microsoft Band runs on Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (LE) and is only splash-resistant but does retain the dust resistance we’ve come to expect with most element-proof fitness wearables.
Early reviews disapprove of the Microsoft Band’s splash-resistance, which is at the bottom of the list when it comes to most fitness wearables that have been released in 2014. Most devices are water-resistant; the Microsoft Band will allow a few water splashes, but don’t expect to use it in the gym shower after going for that 4K run.
Sensors and Software
The Microsoft Band features 10 sensors, including an optical heart rate sensor to monitor your heart rate, GPS, an ambient light sensor that helps you read your fitness band’s display (even in sunlight), a UV sensor to determine your risk of damage from the sun’s rays, as well as a microphone (likely pertaining to voice command capabilities for Windows Phone’s Cortana voice assistant and email and other notifications).
The optical heart rate monitor works well with the Microsoft Band’s heart rate monitor software, but you can also track your steps, run times, distances, and calories, as well as your sleep quality and habits.
When you’re not tracking your physical fitness information, the Microsoft Band will also showcase your text message, calendar, call, email, social media (Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, MyFitnessPal, MapMyFitness, Gold’s Gym, Runkeeper), weather, and other notifications. You can make your notifications smart as well by selecting which ones you’d rather receive on your wrist and which ones you can live without – making the Microsoft Band as subtle as your wardrobe.
The Microsoft Band looks to provide something for everyone, and the device certainly covers just about every feature you’d expect on a wearable that looks to take on the Apple Watch and Samsung Gear Fit and Gear smartwatch lines (as well as Google’s Android Wear).
Pricing and availability
Microsoft Band costs $199.99 and is available only in the US (for now) and can be purchased from either a Microsoft retail store near you or at the Microsoft Store online. It is not yet available in Nigeria and we currently have no data on pricing and availability for Nigeria.
When available, Microsoft Band Price in Nigeria is expected to range from N35,000 to N80,000 at launch.
Microsoft Band Specs
Here are a few specs of the Microsoft Band Smartwatch & Fitness Band:
- Platform: Microsoft Wearable Architecture
- Processor: ARM Cortex M4 MCU
- Memory: 64 MB RAM
- Colours: Black
- Dimension: 19 x 8.7 mm (width x thickness)
- Weight: 60 g
- SIM Slot: No
- Water Resistant: No, Sweat and Splash Resistant
- Dustproof: Yes
- Standalone Calls & SMS: No
- Sync with Phone: Yes (Windows Phone 8.1, Android 4.4.3+, iOS 7.1+)
Display & Camera
- Display: 1.84-inch TFT Touch Display, 320 x 106 pixels (183ppi)
- Display Protection: –
- Camera: No
- Built-in Storage: –
- Memory Card Support: No
- Bundled Cloud Storage: –
- 2G GSM: No
- 2G CDMA 1X: No
- 3G WCDMA: No
- 3G CDMA EVDO: No
- 4G LTE: No
Internet & Connectivity
- GPRS: No
- EDGE: No
- 3G/WCDMA/HSPA: No
- HSPA+: No
- CDMA EVDO: No
- 4G LTE: No
- WLAN: No
- Wi-Fi Hotspot: No
- Bluetooth: Yes, Bluetooth 4.0 LE
- NFC: No
- Infrared Blaster: No
- USB Port: Yes, Magnetically coupled (for USB Chraging)
- SMS/MMS: Yes (Syncs with Phone)
- Instant Messaging: No (Displays Message Alerts)
- Push Emails: No (Shows Email Previews from Phone)
- Email Protocol: No
- Music Player: No (Syncs with your Phone)
- Video Player: No
- FM Radio: No
- Loudspeaker: No
- 3.5mm Jack: No
- Navigation: Yes, GPS
- Maps: Yes (Activity Mapping)
Sensors & Control
- Digital Compass: Yes
- Accelerometer: Yes, 3-axis Accelerometer
- Proximity Sensor: –
- Light Sensor: Yes
- Barometer: No
- Pedometer: Yes
- Gyroscope: Yes
- Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
- Galvanic Skin Response: Yes
- Skin Temperature Sensor: Yes
- Capacitive Sensor: Yes
- UV Sensor: Yes
- Microphone: Yes
- Hepatic Vibration Motor: Yes
- Fitness Apps: Microsoft Health App
- Image Editor: No
- Video Editor: No
- Image Viewer: No
- Video Viewer: No
- Maximum Operating Altitude: 12 kilometre
- Battery: 2 x 100mAh rechargeable Lithium ion Battery (i.e. 200 mAh)
- Battery Life: 48 hours of normal use
- Average Charge Time: 1.5 hours