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Microsoft Band

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  • Now official:
    http://www.microsoft.com/Microsoft-Band/en-us

    Disappointingly US-only for now, it seems. Luckily I'm there at the minute, so I'll be picking one up tomorrow morning. I'll report back!




  • Was just reading the articles on WP central this morning. Yeah I like the look of it and would have picked one up if available here, but sadly not! Was kinda hoping for more features in the MS watch but this ticks enough of the boxes that I'd still buy. Pity about US-only and I see you can't even download the app here, so you'd have to have your phone on US mode I assume for it to work? Maybe we'll get it post-Christmas?




  • g0g wrote: »
    Was just reading the articles on WP central this morning. Yeah I like the look of it and would have picked one up if available here, but sadly not! Was kinda hoping for more features in the MS watch but this ticks enough of the boxes that I'd still buy. Pity about US-only and I see you can't even download the app here, so you'd have to have your phone on US mode I assume for it to work? Maybe we'll get it post-Christmas?

    I think you can just switch to US region, download, and then switch back to your regular region. Not sure if that affects updating, but I don't reckon so. I reckon they'll announce more about international soonish, but I suspect they weren't actually planning on announcing it today at all until all the stuff leaked anyway.




  • This looks great, was in the market for a fitbit one but will investigate this.




  • Looks decent, I'll have a chance to play with it in a few days and report back. Really glad to see the apps are well designed across all platforms.

    Also, this won't complete with the Apple Watch in any meaningful way.


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  • Please post your reviews, I'm looking at WPC's review and it looks fantastic.
    I want. :)

    I think MS have gone the right route, they've basically NOT gone the watch route (but it has that capability with notificatiions you actually need on a wrist device) - the health software backend is the pull and cross-platform goodness the cherry on the cake.

    And I happen to think it looks great.




  • I picked one up this morning (their second customer!) so here are some photos:

    10287029_10152880237152941_7517844545708478535_o.jpg

    10465249_10152880237172941_2576135549707218961_o.jpg

    10697316_10152880237177941_2830589912153938712_o.jpg

    10710478_10152880237317941_2651247760903527124_o.jpg

    10484490_10152880237432941_3675301853509108898_o.jpg

    10687896_10152880237382941_2950603484139508100_o.jpg

    First impressions: I am quite impressed with how it integrates with my phone to provide notifications and voice control etc. It'll show you any notifications you get on your phone (which you can customize using the app on your phone) via Bluetooth LE, (I can summon Cortana with mine too, don't know if that's possible with Android and iOS). On the health side it has steps, heart rate, GPS, accelerometer/gyro, skin temperature (stress), and a UV sensor, but also has things like guided workouts in there. I'm really impressed by the scope of it actually - it does enough to make it smart and more than just a fitness tracker, but doesn't try to do too much so that it ends up with only a days worth of battery like the you-know-what Watch.




  • Want!

    Can they be ordered online in states or only picked up at a store? Need to find me someone living near an MS store!




  • Gimme it now!




  • g0g wrote: »
    Want!

    Can they be ordered online in states or only picked up at a store? Need to find me someone living near an MS store!

    You can order them online and have them delivered to somewhere in the US, or go to a store.

    I should mention that the second last screenshot is the FB Messenger "app" that's on the band, it is read-only right now, but really handy. I'll take photos of some of the other apps.


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  • Here's an Imgur album from me showing some more of the apps on the Band:
    http://imgur.com/a/Cda8O#9

    There's also Facebook (non-Messenger) and Twitter apps for it too that I haven't tried yet.




  • Do you have to wear it with the face on the inside of the wrist? If so what faces outwards, like a normal watch?




  • Ranjo wrote: »
    Do you have to wear it with the face on the inside of the wrist? If so what faces outwards, like a normal watch?

    No, you don't have to, but the horizontal orientation of the UI makes it a bit awkward (but not impossible) to wear on the outside of the wrist. The other side is just the clasp of the band (which has a nice clever design of its own btw).




  • Reading more now it sounds like there was a fairly limited number of them and sold out in most stores already!




  • MJohnston wrote: »
    No, you don't have to, but the horizontal orientation of the UI makes it a bit awkward (but not impossible) to wear on the outside of the wrist. The other side is just the clasp of the band (which has a nice clever design of its own btw).

    What phone do you have it paired with?




  • theothernt wrote: »
    What phone do you have it paired with?

    I'm using it with a Lumia 1020. Pairs with basically anything that has Bluetooth though. In fact you don't even need a phone as you can set it up via a computer, but having a phone lets you use all the nice smart features, whereas without its just a fitness tracker.




  • So the Starbucks app is pretty interesting, not because I like Starbucks, but because of what it might encourage others to do. It basically presents a complex barcode on the screen that can be scanned in store to replace the Starbucks payment cards that you can buy. While looking at it, and my Aer Lingus boarding pass, I am very much hoping we might end up with it being possible to load airline boarding passes on there:

    A0bzSx0.jpg




  • MJohnston, please let us know if you managed to board with that one.




  • Interested in these reviews, keep them coming.

    I tried the barcode thing with my Dunnes store card. They wouldn't accept it. They have been told the person has to have the actual card. I don't really know the reason why and I don't expect it to become the norm.

    Boarding passes, I would not expect that to catch on for a long time, but it's a possibility.

    Very disappointed its not available here yet, and fingers crossed it's coming before Christmas. I'm never an early adopter of new tech but this is a winner for me!




  • dublin-texas the barcode on the band is just from the Starbucks app, it's not actually my boarding pass unfortunately!
    Ranjo wrote: »
    I tried the barcode thing with my Dunnes store card. They wouldn't accept it. They have been told the person has to have the actual card. I don't really know the reason why and I don't expect it to become the norm.

    Probably just some employee who is worried the world might end if the wrong barcode gets scanned or something. Saying that, I have used barcodes on my phone for Safeway's self-service checkouts in the US and it works fine, but it doesn't work on the Tesco ones in Ireland.
    Boarding passes, I would not expect that to catch on for a long time, but it's a possibility.

    Who knows - having them as a code on your phone has definitely caught on recently, however awkward that ends up being. What they really need to do is add NFC to the second gen of this thing - it'd be brilliant to be able to load your Leap card onto it.


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  • For those curious, the band lasted 29 hours on its initial charge (about 70-75%). I was however also demoing it a lot yesterday, so it was used much more than under average conditions.




  • MJohnston, now that you had the band for a while, how is it in daily usage?




  • It's working out pretty well for me on the whole - some areas for definite improvement, some areas where it's really useful. I'll just do a list.

    Pros:
    + Step tracker works well, or as well as my Fitbit Flex ever did. I get reasonably similar step counts for the same daily walk into and out of work.
    + Heart rate tracker is really helpful, lets you know when you're stressed, and how food and exercise are affecting it. Also led to this funny graph when I was watching the Ireland match last Saturday. I note that The Verge measured the Band up against a fully-fledged heart rate monitor and it was very close aside from an initial delay in measurement.
    + Sleep tracker is also really good, little distressing to see how little "actual sleep" I'm getting on a regular basis though!
    + Cortana integration is bloody fantastic, I'm walking along and want to change what I'm listening to on Xbox Music, so I just use the Band now with Cortana instead of taking my phone out. Works for pretty much everything too, you can even confirm the setting of location and time based reminders directly on the band itself.
    + General phone integration is also really great, depends on what you use your phone for as to how helpful you'll find this I suppose. But for me, especially with the rainy weather in the last while, my phone is usually buried in my pockets under a layer of coats or whatever, so I can just glance at my wrist and see that I've gotten a new email, or message, or Facebook message or whatever, and if it's important I can get my phone out, but otherwise I know what it's about (because you can read the entire message, and some of the start of the emails).
    + This has also been somewhat useful when I'm at home, and I can just leave my phone sitting on a counter in the kitchen, still getting notifications through to my Band when I'm in the living room. Basically, it essentially liberates you a bit from your phone, so you don't always have to have it within reach, or in sight.

    Cons:
    + It is not the most comfortable thing in the world. Now, take this with a pinch of salt, because I'm exceptionally sensitive (not in a medical sense) to things that are on my wrist, and they will always annoy me somewhat. However it is a bit more noticeable than a Fitbit Flex. Generally there are two instances where I notice it (1) when it feels "stuck" to my skin and (2) when I'm typing on a laptop because it'll bang against the laptop surface (this isn't a problem with regular desktop keyboards because my wrists sit differently). YMMV on the first of those (its more of a...quirk of mine) but you will certainly encounter the second if you use a laptop.
    + The "top" of the band (ie the clasp side) is very practical looking, and probably not to everybody's tastes aesthetically.
    + The screen looks more like that of a Lumia 530 than a Lumia 1020, if that makes any sense (colors are more washed out, blacks aren't dark). This is a minor complaint, because its not like I'm watching movies on the thing. However, I have read that people are getting quite a lot of scratching on their screens. I put the screen protector that they provided with the Band on mine, and it has thankfully kept it pristine.
    + The actual rubber band part of mine is showing a bit of wear already, on the bit that usually brushes up against my desk in work when I'm typing. Nothing to worry about by the look of it, but it might be a problem in a year.

    Other random observations:
    + Battery life. I have settled into a good pattern with this - I take the Band off in the morning when I'm showering and getting dressed and ready after the shower, then when I'm about to go downstairs after all that, I put it back on again. That gives it about 20 minutes of charge each day, and so far, after doing that for just over a week now, it hasn't run out of battery yet, or even gotten to the low battery warning. This is a pretty ideal situation imo, though I can confirm that it will definitely run for 40-48 hours from 100% to empty.
    + On the software side, I would love to see them start to crank out new updates and improvements to the data processing. For example, right now, there is a fantastic little bit in the Health app that tells me how far away from reaching my steps goal I am. But because it knows my usual speed of walking, it can also calculate how long I'd need to walk. So it tells me that, basically: "400 steps to your goal, it would take a 3 minute walk to reach this" or whatever. That's really handy, but I just know that there is a tonne of little things like that they could add in, given how much they're collecting from the sensors. I don't see this as a con though, because I trust Microsoft to iterate on the software side. If you've been paying attention to what they've been doing with Cortana and the Xbox One software over the last year, you'll understand what I mean.

    Things I haven't tried yet:
    + Guided workouts. I have an interval run one loaded up on mine, and it certainly looks like a really great feature, but I haven't gotten out for a run yet to use this.
    + Same with the standalone GPS.

    As a quick, one-line review, I'd say that this is definitely a v1.0 device in terms of ergonomics and potentially build quality, but in every other aspect it has nailed what I wanted from a smartband/smartwatch/tracker, and hopefully software updates will make it even better in the coming months.




  • MJohnston wrote: »
    It's working out pretty well for me on the whole - some areas for definite improvement, some areas where it's really useful. I'll just do a list.

    Pros:
    + Step tracker works well, or as well as my Fitbit Flex ever did. I get reasonably similar step counts for the same daily walk into and out of work.
    + Heart rate tracker is really helpful, lets you know when you're stressed, and how food and exercise are affecting it. Also led to this funny graph when I was watching the Ireland match last Saturday. I note that The Verge measured the Band up against a fully-fledged heart rate monitor and it was very close aside from an initial delay in measurement.
    + Sleep tracker is also really good, little distressing to see how little "actual sleep" I'm getting on a regular basis though!
    + Cortana integration is bloody fantastic, I'm walking along and want to change what I'm listening to on Xbox Music, so I just use the Band now with Cortana instead of taking my phone out. Works for pretty much everything too, you can even confirm the setting of location and time based reminders directly on the band itself.
    + General phone integration is also really great, depends on what you use your phone for as to how helpful you'll find this I suppose. But for me, especially with the rainy weather in the last while, my phone is usually buried in my pockets under a layer of coats or whatever, so I can just glance at my wrist and see that I've gotten a new email, or message, or Facebook message or whatever, and if it's important I can get my phone out, but otherwise I know what it's about (because you can read the entire message, and some of the start of the emails).
    + This has also been somewhat useful when I'm at home, and I can just leave my phone sitting on a counter in the kitchen, still getting notifications through to my Band when I'm in the living room. Basically, it essentially liberates you a bit from your phone, so you don't always have to have it within reach, or in sight.

    Cons:
    + It is not the most comfortable thing in the world. Now, take this with a pinch of salt, because I'm exceptionally sensitive (not in a medical sense) to things that are on my wrist, and they will always annoy me somewhat. However it is a bit more noticeable than a Fitbit Flex. Generally there are two instances where I notice it (1) when it feels "stuck" to my skin and (2) when I'm typing on a laptop because it'll bang against the laptop surface (this isn't a problem with regular desktop keyboards because my wrists sit differently). YMMV on the first of those (its more of a...quirk of mine) but you will certainly encounter the second if you use a laptop.
    + The "top" of the band (ie the clasp side) is very practical looking, and probably not to everybody's tastes aesthetically.
    + The screen looks more like that of a Lumia 530 than a Lumia 1020, if that makes any sense (colors are more washed out, blacks aren't dark). This is a minor complaint, because its not like I'm watching movies on the thing. However, I have read that people are getting quite a lot of scratching on their screens. I put the screen protector that they provided with the Band on mine, and it has thankfully kept it pristine.
    + The actual rubber band part of mine is showing a bit of wear already, on the bit that usually brushes up against my desk in work when I'm typing. Nothing to worry about by the look of it, but it might be a problem in a year.

    Other random observations:
    + Battery life. I have settled into a good pattern with this - I take the Band off in the morning when I'm showering and getting dressed and ready after the shower, then when I'm about to go downstairs after all that, I put it back on again. That gives it about 20 minutes of charge each day, and so far, after doing that for just over a week now, it hasn't run out of battery yet, or even gotten to the low battery warning. This is a pretty ideal situation imo, though I can confirm that it will definitely run for 40-48 hours from 100% to empty.
    + On the software side, I would love to see them start to crank out new updates and improvements to the data processing. For example, right now, there is a fantastic little bit in the Health app that tells me how far away from reaching my steps goal I am. But because it knows my usual speed of walking, it can also calculate how long I'd need to walk. So it tells me that, basically: "400 steps to your goal, it would take a 3 minute walk to reach this" or whatever. That's really handy, but I just know that there is a tonne of little things like that they could add in, given how much they're collecting from the sensors. I don't see this as a con though, because I trust Microsoft to iterate on the software side. If you've been paying attention to what they've been doing with Cortana and the Xbox One software over the last year, you'll understand what I mean.

    Things I haven't tried yet:
    + Guided workouts. I have an interval run one loaded up on mine, and it certainly looks like a really great feature, but I haven't gotten out for a run yet to use this.
    + Same with the standalone GPS.

    As a quick, one-line review, I'd say that this is definitely a v1.0 device in terms of ergonomics and potentially build quality, but in every other aspect it has nailed what I wanted from a smartband/smartwatch/tracker, and hopefully software updates will make it even better in the coming months.

    Great review, I can't wait to get one even at v1.0




  • Yeah I'd happily take the first version if I could get my hands on one right now, but the longer time goes on the more temptation to see if a newer version will come early enough!




  • So this is coming to the UK next month, on the 15th of April, for a grand total of £169.99 pounds. It's available to pre-order now.

    I wonder if the updates that it's starting to get have improved things.




  • I see www.mobilefun.co.uk list it for £150... wonder if they'll be able to honour that price? Also, at this stage I'm wondering if better hold out for V2 of the Band and try out the MiBand as it has a Windows app now and is dirt cheap. I know the functionality is vastly different, but so is the price!




  • LIGHTNING wrote: »
    I was going to get one but I heard it doesn't track Cycling that true? I just started Cycling to work but its no use if it doesn't.

    It does with it's latest update.




  • LIGHTNING wrote: »
    Nice one thank you. Although if I get a band I think my mates will actually think I am a Microsoft sleeper agent with the sheer amount of MS devices I own :pac:

    Yeah, I'm the same, but it's down to how much I give out about the influence Google has on the internet.


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  • Out today in the UK - which means if you can get to a Currys/PCWorld somewhere, you can pick one up - they have a stock checker on their website.

    As a follow-up to my usage of the Band, I've had to replace mine once, and it's a problem that seems to be fairly common, which is the following - you wear the Band for a long time, sweat a little maybe, but either way small amounts of salt gets deposited on the charging connector (which is surrounded by metal). Then you go to connect the charger, and everytime this happens, it reacts with the minerals, and causes a tiny amount of corrosion on the metal surround of the charging connector. Eventually, over about 4-5 months, this builds up to the point where the charger cannot connect anymore and won't work. Really frustrating. There are two bright spots though - the first is that I've found Microsoft's support to be absolutely top notch in these cases, and they will instantly replace the Band (I happened to be in the US and was able to walk into a store and do it, but online works just as well) under the basic purchase warranty (I have the extended one for accidental breakage, but haven't needed it yet!). Now that they're on sale in the UK, this should be much easier to take care of. The second is that you can stop the problem happening by just making sure to wipe off the charging connector on the Band fully, and then dry it fully, before connecting to charge. This isn't too much of a big deal, and I don't know whether it fully prevents the problem, but it certainly will reduce how quickly it'll happen. This should be something that MS are aware of, and hopefully they'll address it in a V2. Also, you can buy one of these "body skin" packs from Amazon which look like they cover up the metal part I'm talking about, and may help prevent the problem - however I don't know whether this would block the galvanic skin sensor from working.


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