Hands-on with the Microsoft Band 2
It's now official. Microsoft announced the second version of the Band today at the launch event in New York City. It features a curved display and fixes for the most common complaints about the first version of the Microsoft Band. Watch our hands-on video to learn more about it.
Microsoft Band 2 Details
|Category||Microsoft Band 2|
|Material||Thermal plastic elastomer silicone vulcanate (TPSiV)|
|Display Size||32mm x 12.8mm|
|Display Type||Curved AMOLED|
|Average Charge Time||Full charge in less than 1.5 hours|
|Operating Temperature Ranges||-10°C to 40°C (14°F to 104°F)|
|Maximum Operating Altitude||-300m to +4877m|
|Additional Technology||Haptic vibration motor|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth® 4.0 LE|
Supported mobile devices
- Windows Phone 8.1 update or greater
- iPhone®5, 5C, 5S, 6, 6 Plus with iOS® 8.1.2 or greater
- Android™ 4.4 or later phones with Bluetooth
- Optical heart rate sensor
- 3-axis accelerometer
- Ambient light sensor
- Skin temperature sensor
- UV sensor
- Capacitive sensor
- Galvanic skin response
- Barometer (New!)
Microsoft's Band 2 also took the stage today and this is likely one of my favorite gizmos around. In fact, it is because it's a gizmo - not a phone, not a tablet - that I think makes it interesting. Many of you know I was a big fan of the original Band even I could see plenty of room for improvement. I liked how it was not quite a Fitbit, and neither was it an Apple Watch. Instead, it is in its own category.
The Microsoft Band 2 is exactly what we want from Microsoft. Take a product, get feedback and bring it back with many new fixes and features. Let's take a look at what is new:
- Flexible strap with no rigidity
- New battery charging mechanism
- Curved 320x128 pixel AMOLED display
- Gorilla Glass 3
- 48-hour battery life
Okay, so maybe it's not waterproof, but hey everything above is a significant step in the right direction. The price also jumps to $249, but even Fitbit's Surge is at that price level making the Band within the range of modern fitness devices.
So how is it? I love it. The Band 2 now form fits to your wrist with the curved display and flexible sides. It simply feels way nicer to wear. The materials also feel more premium with higher-grade metal. It's like the perfect combo of metal, rubber and glass.
Speaking of, that display is so much better. Besides being curved, it is also more responsive now to touch and if you have sweaty hands. Yes, the keyboard is still there as well as all the other previous features. In fact, Microsoft has added a barometer for elevation measurements bringing the total number of sensors to eleven.
Everything about the Band 2 looks like a win, especially for those critical of the first generation. Having it available at the end of this month is even sweeter. I'd still like to see more Xbox and social integration, so hopefully Microsoft will continue to build out the software feature set of the Band 2 in the coming months.
Pricing and availability
You can preorder our Microsoft Band 2 now for $249 in the US and £199.99 in the UK with availability on October 30. No word yet on other countries though we have heard this launch will go wider in the coming week. Stay tuned.
Pre-Order the Microsoft Band 2 for $249
We only spent a few minutes with the Microsoft Band 2 today, but we look forward to testing it further, especially on bike rides. What do you think so far of the Microsoft Band 2? Will you be getting one? Let us know in the comments!
For the rest of our NYC #Windows10Devices coverage head here:
- Lumia 950
- Lumia 950 XL
- Surface Pro 4
- Surface Book
- Microsoft Band 2
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.