My Microsoft Band arrived last Thursday, a day after it was officially launched in the UK, and my initial impressions were mixed. It was well packaged and it looks good (actually it looks great, much better than I expected), but it feels heavy in the hand. It also feels very rigid, particularly when it’s compared with the Fitbit Charge I’ve been wearing recently.
Before I put it on, it’s the rigidity that I’m most worried about, but once on it was surprisingly comfortable and light. In fact it was that comfortable that on the second day of wearing it I twice had to check it was still on my wrist and I hadn’t lost it.
Before going on I should probably add a bit of context here. I’m not what you would call a “watch guy”. I haven’t worn one regularly for many years, but I do have a stainless steel Swatch Windfall that I wear very occasionally. I’m usually one for the more practical wrist adornment – I have a Garmin Forerunner 620 which I wear when running and recently I’ve been wearing a Fitbit Charge.
Out of interest here are a couple of photos that show the various devices together.
Here are the weights of all four, according to my kitchen scales:
- Microsoft Band – 63g
- Fitbit Charge – 24g
- Swatch Windfall – 122g
- Garmin Forerunner 620 – 44g
Although I initially thought it was very heavy, that may be because I was going straight from the Fitbit which is barely a third of the weight.
As far as I can see, setting up the Band requires pairing it with a smartphone. The good news is that it works with Windows Phone, Android or with the iPhone that I have. Set up is simple – pair the devices using Bluetooth and then open the Microsoft Health app (which on first launch downloaded a firmware update for the Band). I signed in using my existing Microsoft account and opted to store my data in Microsoft Healthvault (which is entirely optional).
In my next post I’ll give an update on what I think about it after wearing it for a while.