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Microsoft Band Diary: SportsCenter, Starbucks and, yes, exercise

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I used to be working errands this weekend when my wrist buzzed with a SportsCenter alert, telling me that the College of Washington soccer group had defeated Colorado 38 to 23, with a number of key stats and prime gamers from the sport.

Microsoft-Band_Hero_1It was a fast serving of well timed, bite-sized details about a group that I observe. I didn’t want to tug my cellphone out of my pocket; I used to be in a position to simply look at my wrist to study every little thing that I wanted to know.

In brief, it was nice instance of the worth of Microsoft Band, and a solution to individuals who ask why anybody would need a smartwatch after they’re already strolling round with a smartphone.

Right here’s the catch: There’s no devoted SportsCenter app for Microsoft Band. The alert got here via the system’s integration with the iOS notifications platform, which lets customers see, on their wrists, all the notifications that come via on their cellphone.

And within the bigger scheme of issues, that’s really an issue. With iOS notifications turned on for my Microsoft Band, and no particular filter for the system, I’m getting a ton of notifications which might be actually best-suited to the cellphone, like prompts from video games and apps that I can’t entry on the Microsoft system. My wrist is buzzing on a regular basis.

Because of this, I’m in all probability going to show off iOS notifications on Microsoft Band comparatively quickly.

Tons of potential, with underlying challenges. That sums up my first weekend with Microsoft Band.

I’m chronicling my expertise with Microsoft’s new wearable system on this sequence on GeekWire. After the primary few days, it’s clear that this system is a foot within the door for Microsoft, a primary step that positions the corporate as one in every of many gamers in wearable expertise.

Microsoft is promising to make regular enhancements, however within the meantime, the expertise can really feel uncooked at occasions.

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One other instance is the Starbucks expertise. One of many first devoted third-party apps for the Microsoft Band allows you to purchase espresso together with your wrist, by scanning a bar code on the Microsoft Band on the Starbucks register.

It’s linked to a Starbucks Card, which many individuals retailer within the Starbucks app, however the preliminary setup on the Microsoft Band requires coming into the cardboard quantity manually into the Microsoft Well being app on the iPhone.

That’s little bit of a ache when the quantity is barely saved within the Starbucks app, not a bodily card, requiring you to recollect the digits as you turn forwards and backwards between the apps. Presumably, over time, they’ll make it potential to shortly import your card quantity from app to app.

After the preliminary setup, really shopping for espresso at my neighborhood Starbucks was seamless. The scanner acknowledged the bar code on my watch shortly, identical to the Starbucks smartphone app. You may debate the relative worth of paying together with your wrist reasonably than simply taking out your cellphone, but it surely was quick and straightforward, and the cardboard within the Starbucks app up to date shortly with my new stability.

It’s cool sufficient that I’m trying ahead to seeing what occurs when different devoted third-party apps emerge for Microsoft Band.

Given my aim of reducing weight with the Microsoft Band, I’ve been using my exercise bike and lifting weights for no less than a half hour every morning, and in addition making some extent of strolling extra to fulfill my preliminary day by day aim of 5,000 steps. (I understand I’m going to wish to step it up considerably to fulfill my targets, however I’m taking issues gradual to begin.)

IMG_7559The exercise monitoring works effectively. I’ve skilled some bizarre bugs, just like the inexplicable clean interval within the chart at proper (I swear I stored on biking!) however total I really feel like I’m getting good insights into my exercises, and the numbers are giving me additional motivation to maintain going, which is in fact one of many key advantages of health trackers generally.

The companion iPhone app (Microsoft Well being) offers a pleasant abstract of information from exercises and different actions tracked by the band, however there’s nothing like slicing and filtering knowledge on a pc, so I’m trying ahead to seeing what Microsoft has in retailer with its upcoming internet interface, which is predicted to be launched comparatively quickly.

Within the meantime, I’ve arrange an account with the app MyFitnessPal, the free calorie counter. Along with letting me observe my energy and weight, MyFitnessPal connects to the Microsoft Band (and different health trackers) to log my steps total, and energy burned throughout exercise.

These knowledge factors from Microsoft Band are mechanically taken into consideration in my day by day progress in MyFitnessPal, and the kicker is that I can then use the MyFitnessPal internet interface for an total view on my pc. Thus far it’s working effectively.

I’ll report again on my health progress after one other week or so with the Microsoft Band. Amongst different issues, I’m planning to begin utilizing the guided exercises obtainable via the band, which include companion movies within the Microsoft Well being App.

I’ve determined in opposition to a WiFi-enabled scale for now. Simply didn’t appear value the associated fee. I purchased a brand new battery for my old style scale over the weekend, and I’ll be coming into my weight manually into the MyFitnessPal app.

microsoftbandScratches and Marks: You’ll be able to in all probability see this within the Starbucks picture above: the bezel of the Microsoft Band scratches fairly simply. It is a minor annoyance — the scratches are solely noticeable in vivid gentle, and the display itself hasn’t scratched on my system. But it surely’s one thing to bear in mind.

As I noted in my first post, the orientation of the display makes an under-the-wrist placement optimum for viewing alerts, however this makes the system simple to scratch whereas typing, for instance.

Battery Life: Microsoft’s declare of 48 hours of battery life appears fairly correct to me thus far. I final charged the system on Saturday evening, and proper now, as of Monday morning, it’s at roughly 25% cost. That is a lot much less battery life than many different health trackers, however the system does cost shortly, giving me greater than sufficient to get via the day with about half-hour of charging.

Superior analytics: One of many eye-catching concepts that Microsoft talked about at launch is the notion of connecting the Microsoft Band to your calendar to know, for instance, if particular patterns in your schedule are affecting your sleep. These superior analytics will not be obtainable at launch, nevertheless. Microsoft hasn’t but given a timeframe, however as soon as the corporate does come out with these options, they might be an enormous differentiator for the Microsoft Band.

That’s it for now! Hitting publish and leaping on the exercise bike. May have one other replace quickly.

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