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Living with Microsoft Band: 3 weeks, 3 pounds, 1 drained battery and a few scratches

band1I’m strolling throughout city to the shop for a gentle lunch most days, boosting my each day step rely. (Resisting the urge to pop throughout the road for a burrito.)

(*1*)Within the mornings and evenings, I’m using my (*3*) whereas checking electronic mail and even whereas engaged on tales. (Sure, the bike has a built-in desk that holds a laptop computer.)

On my newest go to to the gymnasium, I spent a lot time lifting weights that I couldn’t straighten my arms for a day afterward. (Lesson discovered.) Each morning, I’m weighing myself to test my progress. (3 kilos down, 32 kilos to go.)

These are the excessive factors from my testing the Microsoft Band wearable gadget over the previous three weeks, in my experiment to see if this gadget can make me healthier. I’ve come to understand the Band for making me extra health-conscious, not less than, however these are the forms of life modifications that individuals can expertise with just about any wearable gadget today.

So is the Microsoft Band definitely worth the premium $199 worth? Not but. However it has promise. Right here’s a rundown of my expertise over the previous few weeks.

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The Microsoft Band has 48 hours of battery life, as promised. That’s greater than the everyday smartphone, however lower than the everyday health tracker, owing to the truth that this beefy gadget has a colour show, and is actually greater than a health tracker. (It provides light-weight apps.)

However for me, the two-day battery life means the Microsoft Band falls into the realm of “one more gadget to cost.” Particularly if you wish to use the gadget to trace your sleep, it’s powerful to seek out the precise time to cost it.

I’ve talked with different Microsoft Band customers who’ve developed a routine for charging, resembling topping it off with a automobile charger when driving to work, however a few occasions I’ve discovered myself forgetting to cost the gadget, solely to understand in the midst of my day that the battery is drained. Arghh!

There aren’t any two methods round it: this gadget is extraordinarily straightforward to scratch. I inflicted a lot of the scratches in the beginning, by sporting the gadget below my wrist whereas typing — extremely unadvisable!

However even since switching to a top-of-the-wrist orientation, I’ve had a laborious time utilizing it with out inflicting additional scratches, simply from inadvertent scrapes on my desk or in opposition to the wall.

It seems I gesture a lot when speaking, and I believe a number of of the scratches got here from waving my arms throughout our newest recording of the GeekWire radio present (at one level I hit the mic display screen with my wrist) which I understand just isn’t a typical use case.

You’ll be able to see the worst of the scratches within the photographs accompanying this piece.

This looks as if one thing for Microsoft to repair in future variations of the gadget, though a number of elements are at play right here, with the supplies used on the display screen and bezel in the end factoring into the load.

In my utilization, not less than, Microsoft appears to have nailed the step rely. On certainly one of my walks I counted steps in my head for a number of hundred paces, in contrast the quantity to the Microsoft Band’s rely, and it was lifeless on.

For functions of comparability, I’ve additionally been sporting a Fitbit Flex gadget (I’m beginning to really feel like a robotic with all this {hardware} on my wrist) and the Fitbit quantity appears inaccurate by comparability, overestimating the whole variety of steps I’ve taken. At one level, when the Microsoft Band was telling me I used to be at 3,500 steps at mid-afternoon, the Fitbit mentioned I used to be at greater than 5,000. This was after placing them on on the similar time within the morning.

Coronary heart charge is one other matter. At one level whereas on the elliptical machine the gymnasium this weekend, my Microsoft Band was exhibiting a coronary heart charge of 180 (is that even attainable?) and the hand sensors on the LifeFitness machine had been exhibiting one thing extra within the realm of 125. The latter appeared much more practical. I used to be shifting at a good tempo, however nothing that excessive.

I additionally discover discrepancies within the Microsoft Band coronary heart charge throughout the day. I’ll go up a few flights of stairs, begin respiration laborious, and but the Band exhibits my coronary heart charge within the mid-70s, extra within the realm of a resting coronary heart charge. This looks as if one thing for Microsoft to handle in a software program replace.

Talking of software program updates, that is one motive why I consider the gadget has potential long-term.

Microsoft is engaged on a internet dashboard and superior analytics, so that you’ll be capable of see all your stats aggregated on a pc (not simply on the Microsoft Well being smartphone app). Finally the system will be capable of analyze your actions in opposition to issues like your calendar — telling you, for instance, how your schedule impacts your sleep.

Within the meantime, you’ll be able to see particular person exercise stats on the smartphone app (out there throughout Android, iOS and Home windows Telephone) and you’ll be able to sync your Microsoft Well being app with a restricted variety of third-party apps. I’ve had good luck utilizing the Microsoft Band with MyFitnessPal, for instance. The MyFitnessPal app routinely takes into consideration the energy burned whereas exercising with the Microsoft Band and makes use of that within the equation with each day energy consumed, to let you know the way a lot you’ll be able to eat.

That’s a good functionality to have, however having to make use of another app is form of like having to cost another gadget. The Microsoft Band will probably be a significantly better worth when Microsoft has time to unify and improve the software program and on-line experiences.

Backside line, I’m going to maintain utilizing the Microsoft Band. I do know this put up has largely targeted on its flaws, however hey, it’s making me more healthy. And within the broader scheme of issues, I believe Microsoft ought to be applauded for getting this gadget out into the market — beginning with one thing modest, sticking to it, and making progress over time.

Simply like my strategy to train.

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