My Thoughts on Microsoft Band 2 (based on feedback)

I received some feedback on my last post, My Experience with Microsoft Band and wanted to address it here. First, thank you so much for the feedback and for taking the time to read my post. So, the feedback was that I wrote more about my Fitbit than I did about MS Band. So, this post is dedicated to the Microsoft Band 2.

I have worn the Microsoft Band 2 for nearly two months. The first thing about the Band is that it is a very nice looking device. Microsoft really made this device “pretty” and also comfortable. I liked the fact that it is narrow and has rounded edges. The screen is very clear and crisp as well as the navigation of the menu “tiles”.

One of the big things to keep in mind about Band 2 is that Microsoft designed it from the ground up as an activity tracker. It was not designed to be a smart watch, but fits that description very well.

I really like the device a lot, I would swipe to run and start my daily walks. I prefer to use the GPS to track my walks just to see where I have walked and show my wife. 🙂 Walking is the main exercise I do, I am a couch potato trying to get healthy. Tracking your steps with this device is very accurate and I also feel the heart rate was a good form of measurement. I would NOT use this or any activity tracker to monitor my health for safety. Use it for a metric to help you on your journey. Medical issues should be handled by medical professions.

I didn’t get a lot of use out of the UV tracker since it is winter.  One of the cool features of the Band 2 is guided workouts, it allows you to build a workout and download one and have it on your wrist. Think of it as a HIIT timer on your wrist that writes out your next activity. You choose from many workouts that are pre-built on the Microsoft Health app or site and then sync it to the Band. You can also assemble your own works and sync to the Band. Once you the workout is loaded you can then swipe to the Guided Workout Tile and start the workout. The Band will guide you through the workout. This is just a wonderful innovation and very useful. Like I said I am starting out and use small workouts which there are plenty of. There is also a Couch to 5K guided workout. These are FREE!

Initially I loaded a lot of tiles and found that the battery couldn’t handle it. I removed tiles that I really didn’t need like Facebook and Twitter. I do like the notification tile which allows you to receive any notification from your iPhone on your Band. Texting, phone calls and appointments are think are a wonderful addition and just make sense on the Band. You will feel a vibrate and glance to see who it is or what appointment and where the appointment is.

healthdashboardPersonally, I charge the device every night. I tried the sleep tracking and didn’t find it useful for myself. I also found that the Band and my wrist needed the time to charge and rest.

Final notes on the Microsoft Band 2. I feel the Band 2 (or the Microsoft Health app/site) are missing the social components of the health tracking. Gamification is a great tool if handled right and I don’t think Microsoft is there… yet… I won’t be surprised if they get there very soon though. #DoGreatThings They are handled the social components on social media just need to close some loose ends.

My Experience with Microsoft Band 2

I have been using a Fitbit for several years, I started with the Ultra, moved to the One and then moved to the Surge. I have had very good experience with the product and customer service.

Almost two months ago I participated in a contest with LoseIt as part of their #MyDayMyWay and won a Microsoft Band 2.  Needless to say I was very excited about it. I had been considering purchasing an Apple Watch and looked at the Band 2 as well. I liked the fact that the Band was designed from the ground up for fitness (something I am trying to get better at). I feel there is no need to have as many applications on my wrist as Apple Watch offers since I have my phone with me all the time anyway.

I passed my Fitbit Surge on to my father-in-law, who uses it daily now. I strapped the Band on my wrist and used it daily. I quickly stopped using it for sleep monitoring (just like I did with the Fitbit). I noticed that Band needed this time for charging more so than the Fitbit. Also, I didn’t see a huge value in monitoring my sleep. I already know that I have sleep apnea and I like to have my wrist get a break from the device while I sleep.

Now that I have over a month of using Microsoft Band 2 I figured it would be a good time to share my thoughts about this device and the Fitbit.

23546032912_0bcbee8c8c_oI really like the look and feel of the Microsoft Band 2. It is smooth, sleek and comfortable. It doesn’t feel like a watch and offers an easy action of using it. I can easily use it all day without it getting in my way. The clasp that they chose it great, that was one issue I had with the Surge but Fitbit customer service replaced the Surge after issues.

The Fitbit Surge is bulky, it isn’t as comfortable as the Band. It is nice that with the Surge you can see it in direct sunlight where what Band is harder to see because of the display. I think they both have a smooth navigation system on the device.

The Band offers more “Tiles” or apps that you can use than the Fibit Surge, I thought this was nice at first. I loaded them up with the max and noticed that the battery needed charged nightly once I did this. The Fitbit Surge I had no problem going several days with GPS on and not charging the battery. But, I still charged it nightly unless I was away for the weekend.
16220726542_1fbf0c855a_oI was able to look at my steps and my activities on my phone easily with both devices. I could sync the activities from the device to my phone to view the details. Sharing the activities is very different, with the MS Band when sharing if you have GPS turned on your map is shared but not the basic data (miles,steps etc). Fitbit has a very nice sharing feature, even if you have the GPS turned on your map is kept private and your details are shared. Fitbit also provides a way of taking a Selfie or other pic and putting the details of your activities with the selfie. I have turned off GPS tracking on Band because I don’t want to share my location with the world.

Also, the Fitbit app tracks your calories in either by logging food in Fitbit App or syncing with other apps. I use LoseIt to log all of my food and drinks and it syncs directly with Fitbit and I can see my calories in on both LoseIt and Fitbit.

CaptureOne of the biggest advantages of Fitbit is the community, Fitbit has built a community around their devices and provided features for you to build communities around you. So you can get support, you can compete with others and cheer them on. Fitbit has really talked gamification with their devices and I feel that all other devices can look at Fitbit for gamification.

So, right now I still have the MS Band 2 on me. I am now using my iPhone with the Fitbit app to track my exercises. I have already decided that I will be upgrading to the Fitbit Blaze once it is released. I do have an older Fitbit surge with a broken band that I may try to get working until the Blaze is released.

19429318962_e15a5c2e24_o
I have experienced an issue with a Fitbit devices and their customer service is just amazing!

 

UPDATE: (1/18/2015)

I have decided to purchase the Fitbit Flex for both of my daughters. Because of the community, web app and phone app on the Fitbit I am moving my family to Fitbit devices. My old Surge has velcro to on the band to fix the clasp issue. My wife is using the MS Band 2, once the Blaze is release both my wife and I will be wearing that.

 

 

 

 

Reflecting On 2015 Loved Ones

As I reflect on 2015 I think of much sadness. Our family lost several people that we love very much. I think of each of them and the joy they brought in my life.

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Each of the loses this year was hard and sudden. We did not expect any of them to occur.

Aunt Ginny 3/18/1955 – 2/16/2015

My Godmother, with her wonderful sense of humor, always bringing laughs to people. I will never forgot her dressing like a nun for Halloween or having a giant ear when she first started cutting hair. She laughed and just wanted to be happy. Now she is happy and with her young son who past at the age of 10.

Uncle Ray 12/17/1949 – 3/27/2015

My Uncle losing his battle to cancer, visiting our cottage is not the same without him there. His cancer progressed fast, getting worse and limiting him. We had hoped to get him to our cottage one last time but we couldn’t. But, he is now at rest there by the boccie court and I am sure he is happy and at peace.

Pap Balistrere (Balistrieri) 10/12/1922 – 4/5/2015

On Easter Sunday I got a call that Pap was taken to the hospital and not responsive. Rushing to get family together and make it to the hospital so he would not be a lone. He wasn’t. He was surrounded by family as he passed on. I was honored and sad to be there with him, just like I was with my Grandmother (his wife). I also discovered that he spelled his last name different than everyone else in the family, even his parents and his children. Correct spelling is in parenthesis above.

Amber (1/2/1991 – 6/4/2015

Losing Amber was and is devastating still. I have decided to speak out and try to help others in her memory. She suffered for a long time and is now at peace and no longer battling her demons. I believe that she is enjoying eternal peace and joy as she deserves. I miss her very much, we had so many wonderful talks together. She was a very intelligent young lady. Hearing her voice, seeing her smile and just being with her is a huge void in my life. Being around her filled me with happiness.

Then, two others not pictured, my cousins Ron and Johnny both also sudden and surprising to us.

Reflecting on 2015 is sad. Our family is strong and stuck together to comfort everyone.

Remember to live each moment, enjoy everyone you have and love. Tell them you love them. Be with them. As 2015 has shown you never know when you will lose them.