I’ve had the Microsoft Band 2 for about six weeks now and it does exactly what it is supposed to do well. It is a fitness band with a ton of functionality – which is a different animal altogether than a “smart watch”.
What it does extremely well:
- Fits great. This has to be where any review starts. A device that is designed to be worn but is somehow not comfortable is in a losing battle. The Microsoft Band 2 wins solidly here. I am predominantly right handed and wear the device on my left hand with the screen facing outwards.
- Has solid battery life. A device that has to be tethered to a power outlet but is designed to be worn sleeping … is also going to fail. I have worn my device a full two days between charges (that’s full sleep tracking enabled, too).
- Is easy to use. The screen / user-interface is very responsive – I would go so far as to say that it is “slick”.
I happen to use an iPhone 6 Plus and the Microsoft Health app works well. It conveys all of the information in an easily digestible format. The only knock I have on the device is that it takes longer than I would expect for the Band 2 and the iPhone to synchronize – upwards of a minute. Not sure why that is. It does synchronize without my requesting it to do so – it’s only in the morning when I want to review my sleeping pattern that I find myself waiting for it to update.
I’ve used the Band 2 while weightlifting, running, and walking – it does an extremely good job of monitoring heart race, pace (on both the road and on a treadmill), and exercise duration. I love how easily it logs all of the information for later review on the Microsoft Health web site.
After over a month of continuous wear while working out, working, traveling, and sleeping the device has only some minor scratches on the back of the clasp. The screen looks like new. The ability to customize colors and backgrounds is also nice. I even connected the Starbucks app which worked.
The main thing that sticks out to me: it is not trying to be a competitor to an Apple Watch. It’s not trying to be a full on smart phone replacement or a smart watch. It’s trying to be an incredibly intelligent fitness watch that works well. It is priced like one too.
If you’re in the market for a great fitness tracking device that also has some unique other capabilities then I would recommend a Microsoft Band 2. If you’re hell bent on getting a smart watch then I’d suggest to wait – not even the Apple Watch in its current version can do some of the things that the Band 2 does.