I have now had Microsoft Band on my wrist for just less than two weeks and I continue to find it very useful. On top of that it is prompting me to get out and exercise more than I was previously and I consider that a very positive aspect of owning the device.
It is likely that my geekiness at seeing how the device works and what information it tracks with each activity session is pushing me out the door to exercise. If that is the catalyst to establish a new habit for when the geek factor wears off then I am all in.
No matter the technology or psychology behind it, the device is working well. I have been collecting a list of items that I think can be improved/changed and some things that the Band does in its normal use that I want to highlight.
So lets begin with some things that are nice to know/be aware of:
- There is a Microsoft Band Sync App for your Windows desktop and it can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=44579. This app shows a lot of info and can ultimately be used to download firmware updates to the phone when they are released.
- Charging the Band up to the 70% mark takes about 30 minutes and then the last 30% slows down and takes about 60 minutes. That quick charge to 70% is more than enough to keep the Band running for 24 hours depending on your usage.
- The Band consumes about 20% of its battery charge in 30 minutes when using the GPS to track an activity (run/walk/bike).
- The first low battery warning on the Band happens at the 30% remaining mark which means you should have 30-40 minutes at that point if you are using GPS to track an activity.
On the flip side – here are some areas for improvement with the Band:
- Show the percentage of battery charge remaining for the band on the main display. Currently you can slide the status indicators from the left side of the Band’s display but you are really guessing what the percentage left is.
- Sync Band data with the Microsoft Health Vault and give more options for importing Band data to other apps/services. Currently there are only two options to connect your Band to other apps and one of them, RunKeeper, has not been published in the Windows Phone app store for some time.
- Add social sharing options to the Microsoft Health app to share work out activities. This also allows you to put together a list of folks using Band as a leaderboard style chart for friendly challenges.
- Build a modern version of the Microsoft Health app for the Windows Desktop.
- Currently you must turn on Banner Notifications on your phone for those notifications to push over to the Band. This should be changed as the display of notification banners just put an unnecessary drain on the phone battery . A simple solution would be to give a single option on the phone to share notifications in the Notification Center with Band without having to turn on banners on the phone side.
- Sync notification read status between your phone and the Band. Currently if I clear notifications on the phone I still have to clear them on the Band – a very redundant step and should not be necessary if the two devices are already talking to each other and sharing notifications.
Overall, I am very pleased with Band and how it is working. I am getting about 2 days of battery life from it but, as suggested by many others, I have developed a charging plan so it is always charged to make sure it does not die on me while it is being actively used for an activity, tracking my sleep, etc.
If you have been able to snag a Band for your wrist what has been the pros and cons of your usage?