First off, I am not really a tech nerd. I don’t really know much about processor speeds and the technical this or that. I am, however, a fitness addict. I like having a fitness accessory that looks good. So if anyone was thinking about picking up a fitness tracker, this is my review of the Microsoft Band 2. I’ll try to keep it short and sweet 🙂
Let me open by saying this thing is sexy. I mean look at it…
It has a better aesthetic appeal, in my opinion, than a Fitbit or Garmin. It’s just mysterious enough that you get that, “Oooh what is that?” from people seeing it for the first time. One of the cool features is that you can change the color of the screen and the design as well. So if you’re a metrosexual like me that likes to match their accessories to their outfit, this is perfect. The downside is that the designs are limited and the colors are your basic color schemes. The upside is that the colors are basic enough to match any outfit I can throw at it. The edges are rounded which make it super comfortable to wear. The clasp is different than most bands I’ve seen. It has two buttons that you push in on the sides to set the clasp. The clasp slides on a groove which allows you to tighten it as little or as much as you want without having to deal with holes like a watch band. It’s more than comfortable enough to sleep in.
But it’s not all about aesthetics, how does this thing perform?! The band has a built in GPS so you can go on runs without having to drag your phone along with you. When you get back to your phone, it will show you a map of what you just ran, along with your pace, splits, and even your heart rate with the built-in heart rate monitor. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot more lifting and HIIT workouts so the heart rate function has been very handy in finding that sweet spot to get the most out of your workout. I’ve found the functionality to be very accurate compared to side by side mapping by my phone and Pivotal Living Bracelet.
Some other cool features are the workout tracker. Actually it’s more of a workout planner. You can program through the Microsoft app what you want your workout to consist of and you can follow it at gym time. Alternatively, you can choose a workout that’s already been provided by some of the built-in fitness professionals. The Microsoft Band 2 also functions as a smart watch, as it can receive texts, emails, and alerts as long as you are within Bluetooth range of your phone. The face of the band is touchscreen which is pretty rad. You can scroll through the menus by sliding your finger across the screen or just tap the screen to access your daily steps, distance, and calories burned. One of the coolest features is the built in UV monitor. If you’re like me and love getting your tan on, click the UV menu, turn your wrist upside down so the sensor is in the sun, and within five seconds it will tell you the UV index. Pointless? Maybe. But I think it’s the coolest thing ever. “UV index of 9?! I need to be outside!” Yea, that’s me.
So what are the honest downsides? Sometimes I have trouble getting the band to sync. It’s like the Bluetooth doesn’t want to find it. The Microsoft Health forum is a huge resource to troubleshoot any issues you may have. The biggest downside is that it isn’t waterproof. Which means no, you won’t see me running a Spartan Race in it because the water obstacles will likely turn my band into a $200 paper weight. Being in the rain or something probably wouldn’t hurt it, but it is advised to not be submerged.
To wrap this up, if you’re looking for a fitness tracker that does a good job tracking your runs, can double as a sexy accessory, can color coordinate to your workout attire, can work as a smart device and let you know when you’re receiving important messages and alerts, and can tell you whether to tan or if it’s going to rain later, and can tell your heart rate whole doing all that, then this may be the device for you!
*all opinions are purely my own with no ties to Microsoft whatsoever. Photo credits to Microsoft on the last two pictures.