Best Alternative to Microsoft Band
Fitbit's solid reputation and great app experience are what really sells the Charge 2 on Windows 10 Mobile.
The Charge 2 tracks all the necessities, including steps per day, calories burned, and active minutes, and you can see all that information on a bright OLED black and white display. With the Fitbit PurePulse heart-rate monitor attached to the back, you're bound to get accurate results.Although the Charge 2 does have the ability to display notifications from your phone, notifications are still in beta for the Fitbit ecosystem on Windows 10 Mobile. so expect a few issues here and there. The Charge 2 will also keep an eye on you when you're sleeping, and automatically track some exercises, such as running and biking. It can even help you calm down by taking you through breathing exercises.If you feel you need a more substantial overview, check out our in-depth look at the Fitbit Charge 2.Bottom line: The Charge 2 tracks all the necessities and is simple and reliable making it well worth its price tag of $149.One more thing: The Fitbit app looks great on Windows 10 Mobile and functions smoothly, offering a pleasant user experience while providing you with more in-depth statistics on your fitness levels.
Why Fitbit Charge 2 is the best
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Fitbit has been in the fitness tracker game for quite some time and has ironed out a lot of the kinks you see with other companies. Its heart-rate monitors are fast and accurate, it can track most of the excersises you need for a complete workout, and it's Windows 10 Mobile app looks superb and functions virtually flawlessly.
Coming in firmly at a mid-range price, the Fitbit Charge 2 appears to offer quite a compelling proposition as a feature-packed fitness tracker that won't hit your bank account too hard.
Best for runners
The Blaze lets you see your heart rate, steps per day, calories burned and other fitness statistics, all by swiping through the menu with your finger. It also tracks your sleep data and automatically logs certain exercises, such as running and biking. Call, text, and calendar notifications are possible on the Blaze; however, currently that feature is still in beta on Windows 10 Mobile.Bottom line: Fitbit Blaze is very similar to the Charge 2 in functionality, offering the same fitness tracking abilities but on a much more colorful display that's more like a full-fledged smartwatch.One more thing: Blaze costs a little more money than the Charge 2 (usually starting around $199), but you get the added benefit of phone-connected GPS, so serious runners may want to take note.
Best for swimmers
The Vivosmart HR+ is a solid activity tracker that can track a multitude of different types of exercises, from basic running and biking to more extreme sports like snowboarding, all while using the built-in GPS. That makes the device pretty appealing to serious fitness fanatics. With its onboard heart-rate monitor and Windows 10 Mobile app, you aren't going to have a problem reviewing your progress, and you can rest easy knowing it's accurate data.A significant advantage to Garmin's offering is the ability to dive into the pool and do some laps. That's right. The Vivosmart HR+ has an impressive 5ATM rating, meaning it can be submerged in up to 50 meters of water. This feature-laden fitness track will set you back approximately $199.Bottom line: If you like the look of the Microsoft Band, the Garmin Vivosmart HR+ is probably the closest thing out there in that regard. But it isn't a complete replacement, as Windows Central reviewer George Ponder pointed out in his review.One more thing: While Garmin's product excels at the fitness tracking side of things, it falters when it comes to the smartwatch side. The Vivosmart HR+ says it can receive notifications. However, whether or not you can get them to work may be another question.
Best for smartwatch lovers
If you're hoping for an alternative to the Band that can do the smartwatch thing with a little more finesse, the Vector Smartwatch is an interesting, although more expensive ($299), option.The Vector blends a more traditional watch experience into its design and functionality. It allows you to receive notifications and track activity, and it even has an app store with some basic apps you can download. You can also download and add "Streams." Streams are widgets that can be added to any watch face. These Streams range from basic ones that show you the current weather conditions, to some more specific data, such as a Twitter follower count. You can change the watch face and handle other customization options through the dedicated Windows 10 Mobile app.Bottom line: The app doesn't work flawlessly and is prone to syncing issues, but there is a Windows 10 Mobile app, which is more than you can say about other smartwatches on the market. Plus, new updates have been fixing a slew of problems with the Windows 10 Mobile Creators Update.One more thing: Check out our Senior Editor Zac Bowden's review of the Vector Smartwatch, to find out why it truly provides a different experience than most smartwatches on the market.
For the best Microsoft Band alternative, take a look at the Fitbit Charge 2. Fitbit's Windows 10 Mobile app will give you the smoothest experience, and the Charge 2 is the most polished experience we've seen Fitbit offer. If you're a runner, the Fitbit Blaze will give you a little more bang for your buck, because it has the ability to use phone-connected GPS. Swimmers should give the Garmin Vivosmart HR+ a gander, because its waterproof rating means you can track your laps in the pool. However, the notification side of things is lackluster. For people who care more about the smartwatch capabilities of a wearable, Vector smartwatch offers a clean and unique experience for a wearable that does a great job of keep you connected.
The Charge 2 tracks all the necessities, including steps per day, calories burned, and active minutes, and you can see all that information on a bright OLED black and white display. With the Fitbit PurePulse heart-rate monitor attached to the back, you're bound to get accurate results.Although the Charge 2 does have the ability to display notifications from your phone, notifications are still in beta for the Fitbit ecosystem on Windows 10 Mobile.. The Charge 2 will also keep an eye on you when you're sleeping, and automatically track some exercises, such as running and biking. It can even help you calm down by taking you through breathing exercises.If you feel you need a more substantial overview, check out our in-depth look at the Fitbit Charge 2.Bottom line: The Charge 2 tracks all the necessities and is simple and reliable.One more thing: The Fitbit app looks great on Windows 10 Mobile and functions smoothly, offering a pleasant user experience while providing you with more in-depth statistics on your fitness levels.
Updated August 6, 2017: We fixed some inaccuracies regarding the functionality of the Fitbit Charge 2 and the Fitbit Blaze.
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One complaint is sometimes the app crashes my phone, but that could be because I'm running Windows Insider builds.
The Band itself was never an option, with it's reliance on Cortana, which is not available here.
My friends had no problems to replace second bands: one had broken strap and other one had firmware problems. But this were somewhere mid October - start of November.
I had several band 1s and band 2s. Finally had enough and bought a charge two. Still awaiting GATT servers promised by MS. If they don't get here soon may activate an android phone I purchased and reset the charge 2 to android.
So far, no complaints from me, step counter, heart rate, sleep monitor, activity tracker, customiseable all thw works. The only problem I have untill now, is that I am unable to receive notifications on the Vivoactive. It is enabled in both the Garmin app and the watch itself, but no notifications are received :'(
I'm getting pretty close to needing to replace the thing, but since I'd have to get many different fitness trackers in order to get most (not even all) of the functions of the Band, doing so isn't an economically viable option. The nightmare of exporting my Microsoft Health data to each tracker's apps only emphasizes how bad of an option this is. I'm probably going to end up getting a Band 2 from Amazon to replace it, since I won't have to transfer any data or spend lots of money on many different fitness trackers if I do that.
And when it came to personalization and really good Windows Phone tie-in, the Band and Band 2 were pretty much the only choices. Sure, the Microsoft Health app only comes with a small number of backgrounds and colors for the Band, but third-party apps like Fanband and Pimp My Band allow you to set any picture and any color to the Band. Not to mention that the Band Line was the only smartwatch with Cortana integration. I feel like this line is a pretty accurate sum-up of the Band Line's demise:
No more fiddling on the device's screen this thing detects and tracks everythign 24/7!
It's simple, really affordable ($59) and did I mention is also tracks your swims?