It has been 10 days since I got my Microsoft Band and after wearing it 24/7, tweaking it (using Pimp My Band), and working out with it in the gym and outside, I think that the Microsoft Band is the coolest wearable around.
Definitely across the 2014 models.
Here are 5 Reasons Why Microsoft Band is the Coolest Wearable Today.
The Microsoft Band is a combination of an activity tracker and a smartwatch. It is noticeable both in the functionality side and in the overall design. While current smartwatches are too bulky to be considered as fashionable objects, the Band is sportive and slim while at the same time thick enough to make a statement. I love the way it sits on the hand.
Plus there’s the unique screen display. I just love it. It’s colorful, flat, and designed to be placed on the inside of your wrist. How freaking cool is that? I think that from all aspects, the Band has the coolest shape across all wearables, and since a wearable is also a fashion object – I think it’s important.
2. User Interface & Notifications
The UI concept of the Band is actually much nicer than the one in Android Wear. Instead of focusing on notifications that stay forever on your screen (until you manually dismiss them one by one… by one… by one…) – the Band is using Live Tiles, just like Windows Phone. That actually makes a lot of sense because the notifications are much lighter (they disappear after a few seconds) and if you want to dig into historical ones you have the different tiles.
Usability wise, the Band is wonderful. I hope that future updates will bring more capabilities to the notifications and longer text in emails.
3. A Truly Cross Platform Wearable
With 4% market share for Windows Phone, Microsoft made a smart move making the Band multi-platform.
I’m using the Band with a Windows Phone device but it works smoothly with iOS and Android through the cross platform Microsoft Health app. Microsoft seems to be more self-aware lately and a product like the Band can only succeed with such kind of approach.
4. The Perfect Activity Tracker
The Microsoft Band has a lot to offer when it comes to sports. The functionality includes heart rate monitoring, calories, steps, gym workouts (pretty rare for activity trackers), built in GPS (to store routes without having to carry the phone with you), and many other capabilities (some of them are not even exposed yet by the app or the Band). That’s more than most activity trackers out there! (Although I miss the ability to count stairs – something I had with the Fitbit).
In a time when most people will either go with a smartwatch or an activity tracker (or none…) – the Band provides a powerful mixture of the two without compromising on the sports related features.
5. Battery Life
According to a research from Endeavour Partners, one-third of American consumers who have owned a wearable product stopped using it within six months. I think it’s because wearables still miss some “must-have” features while at the same time their battery life is pathetic (for instance, the LG G Watch lasted less than a day, which is not something anyone can live with). I cannot say the Band has amazing battery life, but during the day it never runs out of power, no matter how much I use it. Formal documentation talks about 2 days, I think it’s less, but definitely more than a full working day including a 90 minutes workout.
Bonus Item: Personalization:
The Microsoft Band has other advantages I did not include in my “top 5” list. One of them is the ease of customization. There are nice ways to customize the UI through the Microsoft Health app, plus a very nice app called Pimp My Band that adds many options to change the background (color or image) and accent colors.
It took me hours (and many different apps) to find 1 decent Android Wear Face (for the LG Watch) and I still wasn’t happy. The Band looks amazing and took seconds to personalize. Great job Microsoft!