Skip to main content

Microsoft's Band Looks Mighty Impressive

Microsoft didn't launch a smartwatch today, as many had expected, rather it showed its own take on the fitness band, showing an insight into the market that has bypassed many.

However like its only real direct competitor - the Samsung Gear Fit - battery life is going to be a big friction point for those who buy this over a more traditional fitness band.

In truth both Microsoft and Samsung have delivered something that sits in the middle ground between smartwatch and fitness band. Not quite the full smartwatch experience, but more than a plain fitness band. The big problem with this is battery life. The Gear Fit can stretch to three days without charging, but you're more likely to want to juice it up after two. Microsoft claims two days for the Band, but we'll have to see what it's like in the real world before taking that as gospel.

Two to three days without charging just isn't long enough to be better than a smartwatch - with the LG G Watch R already claiming two days battery life, whilst its so much less than the Fitbit and Jawbone fitness trackers which promise around seven days of battery life as to make the extra features a little bit pointless.

The Band does promise to make for an impressive fitness tracker though. It's loaded with sensors, including GPS for mapping runs without carrying your smartphone, and a UV sensor which could useful here in ozone layer-challenged New Zealand. Windows Phone users will be able to use voice control via Cortana on their phones, although I don't see any reason why Siri and Google Now couldn't be activated too, should Microsoft have the desire to do so.

Microsoft Health makes an appearance here as well, with the Band integrating nicely into the service, as well as supporting other exercise tracking services like MyFitnessPal and RunKeeper.

I like the look of the new Band, as I do the Gear Fit. They're both devices I might be tempted to wear as well as my watch, and if that was the category I was considering the Band outdoes the Gear Fit by being cross platform compatible.

Other than the LG though, I'm not seeing a smartwatch at any level that offers the looks and features that would persuade me to replace my traditional watch.


Popular posts from this blog

F1: Robert Kubica Impresses In Renault Test Run

The car may be old but its the performance of the driver that's the story here. Robert Kubica returned to F1, after a fashion, earlier this week with an extensive test run in a 2012 Lotus Renault F1 car at Valencia.
The age of the car and the circuit were likely determined by F1's current rules which ban testing, but the reason for Kubica being in the car is far more interesting. Considered by many to be a potential World Champion and certainly one of the fastest drivers of his generation, Kubica's F1 career seemed to be over after a 2011 crash whilst driving in the Rally of Andora. His Skoda Fabia was penetrated by a guardrail in the high speed accident partially severing his right arm.
Up until last year Kubica has been competing in rallying, with the expectation that the limited movement in his repaired arm would prohibit a return to single seater racing.
So this week's test is both interesting and confusing. Interesting because Kubica completed 115 laps of the ret…

Panos Panay's Defence Of Microsoft Surface Hardware Sounds Eerily Familiar

This weekend I went out with my ten year old daughter to select a laptop for her school year beginning in January. The schools requirements are quite specific, requiring a Windows 10 device, with a preference for a touchscreen and a stylus. She chose a Surface Pro, after trying a large number of different options. Having seen the way I use my own Surface Pro - and tried it herself there was only ever going to be two options - and the other was a Surface Laptop.
I tell you this so that you understand I am a buyer of Microsoft's products through choice, not compulsion. I'm on my third Surface device now. 
So when Panos Panay dismissed reports of the death of the Surface hardware line, I was very interested to see exactly how strong these denials were. Especially how they reflect what has gone before. To whit: Windows 10 Mobile.
Panay claimed that Microsoft is in hardware for the long haul. Almost exactly mirroring the words of Terry Myerson, when he claimed Windows Mobile was g…

WhartonBrooks Indiegogo Windows 10 Mobile Even More Doomed To Failure Than Usual

WhartonBrooks is currently crowd-funding its latest Windows Mobile smartphone on Indiegogo. If crowdfunding isn't already a bad enough idea, a company trying to crowdfund a Windows Mobile device should be warning enough for you.
Not that anyone seems to be taking the project too seriously. With a few weeks left to run the campaign has managed to ensnare just 2% of its $1.1m target.
If you want a better indication of how few Window Mobile loyalists remain I doubt there is one. Of 3,900 Windows Phone enthusiasts Wharton Brooks was seeking for its new phone, it has managed to entice just 50.
Windows for Phones is dead, even if the corpse hasn't stopped twitching yet.