Denise Goldberg's blog

Sunday, November 01, 2015

first impressions :: Microsoft Band 2

I've been wearing a Microsoft Band since the formal release of the product earlier this year. I like the tracking ability it provides, following both activity and sleep.

I was happy with the band other than the difficulty I was having getting the charging cable to connect and be recognized. Unfortunately it connected on the underside of the band, the part that was exposed to sweat from exercise.

A few weeks ago I saw the announcement of the new Microsoft Band 2 with a release date of October 30, 2015. I looked at the product information and saw enough to know I wanted to upgrade. I placed an order on the Microsoft web site and sat back to wait.

Friday was October 30th, the day that the new Band 2 was officially available. My new band shipped directly from China with a delivery date planned for the 30th. The box was adorned with this warning:

warning, do not sell before October 30, 2015

It arrived Friday morning and was promptly plugged in to charge. As soon as it was powered on it went through the set-up process. The connection to my old band was removed from my phone and the new Band 2 was set up to use.

Microsoft Band 2

The look and feel has changed from a flat front with batteries on the side of the band making the band feel a bit clunky to a curved front with a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 coated OLED touchscreen. The sides of the band no longer house the battery; they are made of a soft material. The charging point has moved to the inside of the outer clasp, a piece of the device that is not touched by skin and sweat. The charger snaps in place with a very tight connection.

The original Band was fairly comfortable to wear but the feel of the new band and the resulting comfort is much better. I believe the Gorilla Glass face will wear much better than the face of the old band.

I had my old band set to show the time and day when it wasn't in a band function. The options with the old band was to show the time or to leave the display blank. I'm using it as a watch as well as a fitness device so I chose to show the time. There is a new option on the new band for the time, "rotate on". That means that the display is blank when I am not actively using it; rotating my wrist wakes it up to show the time.

For the most part the functions match those on the previous version of the band. There is the addition of "floors" tracking which tracks the elevation change. My floors count for the day is currently 29. Hmm... I hiked at a park this morning and then did a fast walk this afternoon. There were a few hills, but the equivalent of 29 floors? That feels a bit off. That's OK though, it's the distance that I'm really interested in and based on my knowledge of the routes near home the distance and steps logged still appear reasonable.

So far I'm quite happy with the upgrade.