The Microsoft Band is a wonderful device that is a cross between a smartwatch and a fitness band. It monitors your steps, guides you through workouts, delivers the latest headlines and alerts you of notifications and calls. The Microsoft Band App (formerly known as Microsoft Health) is a must have for Band users, but there are several Windows 10 apps available that can help you customize your Band themes or expand the Band's abilities.
Even though the future of the Band is a little foggy, we continue to see more Windows 10 apps emerge to support the Band such as Huetro for Hue, where you can now control your Phillips Hue Lights from your Band.
We sifted through the many offerings in the Windows Store and tapped a few as the best Band ap ps on the shelves. These apps stood out for their functionality, ease of use and ability to compliment the Band's built-in capabilities.
fanband is a marvelous Windows Phone app for customizing your Microsoft Band's theme to better match your mood or personality. The interface is simple and the developer is routinely adding more themes to the mix. The collection includes over 2,000 pre-set themes ranging from movies, sports teams, video game characters and brand names. There is even a Dan Rubino and Windows Central theme!
fanband was recently updated to add the option to create your own theme based on Bing Wallpaper images or your photographs. Band themes can be searched by keyword, as well as filtered by popularity or newness, and tagged as favorites for easy reference. You can even set it to automatically rotate your Band theme if variety is your cup of tea.
While fanband is packed full of themes, the developer, Liquid Daffodil, is regularly updating the catalog of wallpapers. And on top of all that, the developer is open to suggestions for new themes and offers an easy way to request a new theme within the app.
fanband is available for Windows 10 PC and Mobile and is currently priced at $1.99. The app supports both the original Band and Band 2 screen resolutions and is a must have title for every Band owner.
Band Heartbeat is a basic app for monitoring one of the Band's key feature, the heart rate monitor. When launched, the Windows 10 Mobile app acquires the pulse information the Band is collecting and once a reliable connection is established, the screen displays your current heart rate in real time.
Band Heartbeat also taps into the Band's skin temperature sensor and displays that information in the lower right corner of the display. In addition to your heart rate and skin temperature, Band Heartbeat displays your minimum and maximum rate across the top of the display. Sound and animations are available to flash a red heart with each pulse and a beep similar to a hospital heart rate monitor.
Settings are accessible from the three-dot menu at the bottom of the app's display and includes the options to mute the sound, stop the animation and choose Celsius or Fahrenheit for the temperature reading.
Band Heartbeat isn't an overly complicated Band App and I can see it coming in handy if you want to monitor your heart rate during workouts from a larger screen. I would like to see the option to reset the minimum and maximum readings, but the but lack of this feature is not a deal breaker. Band Heartbeat is a free app, available for Windows 10 Mobile.
Clear My Band
This is a ridiculously simple Windows 10 Mobile app that can save you a lot of tapping to clear your Band notifications. Clear My Band eliminates the need to go from Band tile to tile to clear any notifications that have popped-up.
Once you give the app permission to connect to your Band, all that is needed to clear your Band of notifications and messages is to tap the center button. If you don't want all your notifications cleared, you can pick and choose which tiles to clear in the app's settings (found under the three-dot menu).
I keep Clear My Band pinned to my Windows Phone Start Screen for easy access and it definitely makes clearing all my tile notifications a lot easier. Clear My Band supports both the original Band and the Band 2, and is currently priced at $0.99.
Awesome Band Backgrounds
While fanband is the Cadillac of Band theme apps, Awesome Band Backgrounds is the free option that is a Cadillac in its own rights and offers a more photographic experience for customizing your Band.
Awesome Band Backgrounds includes a healthy library of wallpaper images that you can use as Band backgrounds, the ability to customize tile colors and use your own images as Band backgrounds. The layout has a nice flow to it with tabbed main pages that cover your images and theme colors.
Images sources like 500px and Bing Image of the Day and include photos of movie characters, landscapes, cars, abstracts and more. You can search by keyword and filtered by several variables (relevance, most recent, oldest, etc.). In addition to a solid source of images, the ability to use your own images, Awesome Band Backgrounds also includes a small collection of image filters to further customize your Band wallpaper.
Available for Windows 10 Mobile, the app supports both the original Band and Band 2 screen resolutions. Overall, Awesome Band Background is a great, free option for personalizing your Band wallpaper.
These apps are amongst the best Microsoft Band apps in the Windows Store. If you have given any of these apps a try, let us know how they worked out for you. Also, if we have overlooked your favorite Band app, feel free to share your recommendation in the comments below.