This is how often the Microsoft Band checks your heart rate

The Microsoft Band is making some waves in tech media these days with most initial impression articles giving praise to the new health tracker. Sure, there are some quibbles here and there on design or comfort, which is predictable, but overall, many users seem to be quite happy with their new wrist accessory.

Over in our Microsoft Band forums, an interesting question about the Band's heart rate monitoring came up. Specifically, people were wondering what does it mean to monitor your heart rate continuously?

I decided to find out and asked Microsoft.

On the face of it, this seems obvious but in practice, it can mean many different things. Sampling rate for any technology is something with which we find significant variation. Even when I worked in neuro-labs doing electroencephalograms (EEG), the rate at which the samples are taken, and the amount of channels used varied from lab to lab, experiment to experiment.

Another concrete example is video. You could say a video camera records continuously, but this does not tell you anything about the sample rate aka frames per second (FPS). A video camera recording at 5 FPS captures fewer images than one recording at 120 FPS. They are both continuous video but not analogous in terms of richness of data.

The problem

Many users have played with the optical heart-rate sensor found on the Microsoft Band, and with different expectations comes different outcomes. Some people found that the band seems to be always 'acquiring' a signal when they tap the Me Tile to see their heart rate. That has led some people to believe that the heart rate monitoring is not working, as it should. Others believe that the Microsoft Band cannot accurately pull in heart rate data from the top of the wrist.

Such experiences come from a common misunderstanding of how this technology works.

Rates of heart rate data acquisition

We asked Microsoft specifically about how often the Band acquires your heart rate, and they were more than happy to provide the information.

We asked about three specific scenarios: regular activity/step counting, sleep, and workout/run mode. Here are the three conditions

Microsoft Band heart rate sampling frequency

  • Exercise modes (Run and Workout): Heart rate records every second
  • Sleep tracking : 2 minutes on, 8 minutes off. Repeats throughout duration
  • All other times : 1 minute on, 9 minutes off, and repeating the cycle
  • Manual: You can force-check your heart rate at any time by tapping the Me Tile

When the Microsoft Band is just being worn under regular conditions, users can expect ten-minute intervals for heart rate data collection, which is six data points an hour. During sleep, the heart rate monitor is working slightly harder, taking a longer periodic sample.

Finally, during exercise when the user puts the Band into Workout or Run, the Band goes into a high-performance mode collecting a user's heart rate once every second.

Why this matters

Heart rate, when combined with your physical stats like age, weight, and height, can help better determine caloric burn. Heart rate, in theory, measures your body's exertion. Combined with the movement measured by the Band's sensors, you get a more accurate estimate of calories burned during exercise (as opposed to just movement and no heart rate data).

Accuracy for caloric burn during exercise is more important than knowing how much (or how little) you are not burning while sitting on the couch. For sleep, it is a little more important for other reasons, including detection of sleep disturbances, possibly related to breathing disorders like sleep apnea or general stress.

The reason the Microsoft Band does not record every second for 24-hours a day should be apparent: battery life .

Turning on the green LED optical sensor and leaving it on drains the Band's batteries within hours, instead of days. Considering those batteries need to power a color touch screen and nine other sensors, the Microsoft Band has a lot to do, so conserving power is a priority.

There is also the question of value. Having constant heart rate data during exercise is crucial, but the science is a lot less reliable for just lounging around or walking to the kitchen. It may sound nice to have a heart rate monitor that can follow your heart 86,400 times a day but so far there is no practical need for that much data.

As someone who worked in the medical field with patients, I find Microsoft's choices for heart rate sampling to be acceptable, and appropriately prioritized.

Working for you

In conclusion, the Microsoft Band blends technology with smarts to deliver a well thought out product. The Band records your heart rate when most needed and backs down when it is not, letting the device last two days on a single charge.

You may not see the heart rate monitor acquiring your pulse every second, but be assured that it is working behind the scenes, just as Microsoft intended. Likewise, the Band acquires your heart rate regardless of position on the wrist. The important thing to remember is it is about consistency and change over time.

You can see a graph of your heart rate by going into Steps, Calories, Night, Exercise and Run tiles in the Microsoft Health App and then tapping the graph. That switches graph modes and reveal your heart rate, spanned over the entire day with highs, lows, and more.

We are doing more with the heart rate sensor on the Microsoft Band in the coming days, including comparing it to chest straps worn during exercise. Stay tuned.

Daniel Rubino

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.

  • Excellent explanation and very useful. Can't wait to get mine.
  • Daniel Rubino, setting things straight once again.
  • I would have thought this was common sense, but this article was probably necessary to, as you say, set things straight!
  • I've said it a zillion time, Danny boy is worth listening to, he adds value PERIOD
  • +1
  • You can actually vote now.
  • If you run or lift or just like tracking health related activities, you will love it.
  • Well done, Daniel.  Thanks for putting this to rest.  One follow-up question:  I thought I read somewhere that HR measurements are also triggered by movement as detected by the accelerometer, presumably even outside of the exercise modes.  Is that true?
  • You may have read my (baseless) assumptions in that thread. I was so irritated by that dude I was just jumping to conclusions which I shouldn't have done. Sounds like that's not the case. Sorry!
  • No, it does not seem to be the case. Of course, Microsoft could just as easily adapt the firmware to do that if they find value in it. The Band is interesting only because the hardware is done, but all the 'magic' can be tweaked and adjusted going forward. Many of the sensors are still not used to their full capability, but they will grow as the platform grows.
  • Thanks, I might have been overlaying this with the smart activity recognition capabilities.  I guess it would still require going into exercise mode.   I think I inferred it from this description on the website:   24-hour heart rate monitor: Gives you a better understanding of your calorie burn, sleep patterns, and peak and resting heart rate so you can perform at your best. It seems like it would be difficult to ascertain peak heart rates without some sort of trigger during "all other times."  As you suggest, they may tweak that a bit based on feedback from users.
  • Totally agree about the firmware. I think we can expect slow incremental improvements and tweaks overtime. I wonder if they can utilise the phone sensors such as GPS when paired to save more battery. I reckon it'll be useful when doing marathons. Does it use GPS when doing stationary workout? I hope not.
  • GPS is turned on manually. You must select run mode with GPS.
  • GPS is a passive sensor so it barely drains battery
  • Check wikipedia. GPS needs to do A LOT of calculations per second! it really drains your battery.
  • That's the exciting part about this to me; that it's a platform. MS isn't boxing themselves in like competing fitness tracker manufacturers, or even smart watch makers. They've created a platform that can be used by third parties :D
  • Thanks for the info!
  • It works differently than I assumed, but as you say these choices seem reasonable. Nothing that puts me off a purchase. Thank you for clearing this up.
  • Sure thing. I was curious myself.
  • Excellent article. I was a bit worried with all the nay saying going on in the Band forum. More so because it wasn't based on anything except conjecture. Now we know, and people can decide if it meets their needs or not. For me, it still does. Can't Wai for my Band to arrive tomorrow.
  • "Now we know, and people can decide if it meets their needs or not. "
    Absolutely. For my needs, I think the Band's HR is more than enough. I mean, it is really only during serious exertion (gym, running) that I really care about my HR, followed by sleep. Using it for just walking around/existing is nice but not crucial.
  • So Daniel , In terms of accuracy in measuring the heart rate, how does it compare with other bands such as the moto 360 or the gear fit.....are you peeps going to do  a  comparison!??  
  • It's a Microsoft product, of course there will be nay saying. 
    With it being a Microsoft product that a lot of people are speaking highly of, the nay sayers are going to nay say even louder than usual. See the Surface for example. 
  • And see what PCWorld has had to say about Band. Almost nothing but dislike for the product, with comments coming to its defense.
  • PCWorld is ironically the least Microsoft-friendly site out there. They're also just a bad news publication with bad writers. 
  • So if your tracking your sleep when do you charge it ?
  • I've heard a lot of people suggest throwing it on the charger while you take your shower. 
  • But that only takes like 20 minutes and you probably need like 2 to charge it fully
  • Nope. 30 minutes charges it to 80%. It's the last hour that takes to get to 100%. Tossing it on the charger during a shower is ideal.
  • THX for the info :)
  • I know the Band is new, what time duration are you experiencing, 1-2 days beflre charging?
  • I plug it when I sit down for dinner. Got a no gadgets policy at the dinner table :) that is usually plenty. I'd expect 30 minutes every day will keep you going.
  • It is supposed to take 30 min to get to 80 percent and another hour to finish the job. So your example is not that far fetched. It is what I am doing as well.
  • additional 10 minutes when you take a dump, unless you want to measure your heart rate while pushing it out.
  • Favourite comment of the week. Good one :)
  • Well, sometimes it is a struggle!!!
  • You need more fiber in your diet. Lol.
  • Lol
  • Dang it, I accidently reported the 'take a dump' comment instead of giving it the up arrow.   - I did not mean to report it!   It's just funny
  • That's just mean. Really mean
  • Since your original comment was 3 months ago this is probably OBE but I have now had mine for a couple of days and my method is to charge it while I'm reading before bed (about 30 minutes) then put it back on for the sleep time, then charge it again when I wake up and get ready for the morning (shower plus breakfast, about 45 minutes). That gets it back to 100% but in reality I've never gotten it below 60% at the end of the day.  I love my Band! 
  • Clever, thanks for the idea. I was wondering the same thing myself.
  • Well you probably don't need to record your sleep every night to get some good data. Or you strap the charger to your arm and hope you don't strangle yourself with the cord. ;)
  • i just have it in my living room now and charge while I'm not being fit and sitting on the couch gaming or watching tv. :X before that, i also charged during showers. a few mins of charging has kept the battery more than 50% since I got it.
  • I want one to wear while playing alien isolation to see what that does to my heart rate.
  • Another option is charging in the car during your commute.
  • I want this in Italy
  • Pay for my flights and I'll bring you one. ;)
  • Me too. I dont understand all this Americans selling on eBay and shipping only to usa. What's the matter with them? Why not ship worldwide?
  • I might have missed it in the article, but what's the consensus about the heart rate when wearing the band on the top vs the bottom of the wrist?
  • I have found no variation. However, people are confusing the 'acquiring' manual mode with the Band getting a reliable reading e.g. 'It says acquiring, so this thing is not working' when in reality that is just the way it works and it is fine.
  • My limited sample size (one 30 min stationary bike session and one 40 min bike ride) shows a lower BPM reading (110-120 vs 140-150) when I wear the band face up vs. face down.  The face up reading on the stationary bike matched my chest strap my bike uses.  I prefer to wear the band face down because it is easier to read, but I will switch to face up when I bike.  My bike has straight handlebars so face up is best to view the watch display. 
  • Uh-Oh... an article with all kinds of logic, science and common sense. That kind of stuff doesn't go over too well in these parts.    (Seriously though, thanks for this)
  • I'm having a blast with this stuff since it overlaps with my old job(s). Love science, love tech.
  • Care to elaborate on those old jobs?
  • Various ;) LinkedIn
  • Daniel, just to let you know that you should probably change the Windows Phone Central wording into Windows Central in your LinkedIn profile.    Time to move on =)
  • Man you got your own fan base! I am in queue too!
  • Expert knowledge and opinion is what we need. Thank you. 
  • Daniel - you are a star! Period!
  • Sparks are flying.
  • Did you wake up 7 times thinking about writing this article!? :P
  • ...Which I enjoyed by the way (sleep easier tonight in that knowledge) zzz
  • :) Yeah, I'll be doing some stuff on sleep too as I have years of medical experience with that...great topic!
  • I'm extremely curious to know the mechanics that go into play on the Band to track sleep. I know the accelerometer plays a big part, but if you could add some tidbits from your experience and the science behind it, it would be very much appreciated.
  • Agreed - article on mechanics of sleep tracking, please!
  • I loved your analogy using a video camera as an example. It's really obvious when you think about it but at the same time it could be used to explain so many different scenarios.
  • Thanks. Yeah, we take this stuff for granted but the sampling rate is a crucial piece to understanding how this all works.
  • Excellent article and explained in a way everyone understands. Respect!
  • Good explanation. I'm totally pumped to get one. Although "24-hour heart rate tracking Monitor your heart rate 24 hours a day so you can perform at your best" is totally misleading, so I totally get the confusion
  • Well it does do it at least once an hour.
  • Yep but 24 hour implies constant. So one would assume you could go through the chart and see 24 hour logging. A shop that advertises 24 hours doesn't just open for 1 minute in every 10 minutes. Don't get me wrong, I totally dig the band and am hanging to get one myself. The constant heart rate monitoring during exercise is all I want want personally anyway. Just I think they've left themselves open a bit there stating 24 hour monitoring
  • This article was trying to explain that. It is checking about 10% of the time when idle and 20% while sleep. For some people, 1 second interval might be considered too long. It would drain the battery too much to check it once every 10 seconds.
  • When it comes to sampling "constant sampling" often varies to achieve good enough results. Of course, "good enough" is often a subjective standard.
  • Its all perspective. A home alarm service may offer 24 hour monitoring, sure the alarm is powered 24 hours but the connectionto the monitoring center only works when there's a reason to connect, otherwise it normally just pings them every once in a while for status checks.  Variable bit rate streams are the same thing, you get more data when it will make a difference, less when the difference isn't worth the added cost (bandwidth vs battery)....The result is NetFlix, something most people like...   I admit that's what I thought before, but after finding out the truth I can't say I feel slighted.  I would like it to detect sudden sustained movement and perhaps increase the frequency during those periods but we'll see how useful the data is.
  • I must say I am slightly disappointed of the frequency as in nine minutes a lot can happen that might warrant recording. Hopefully the recording frequency could alter on basis of other sensors activity levels in the future. However, I think that I will get this once in Chicago in ten days. Fingers crossed for the stock to be there...
  • It does it 6 times an hour. 
  • The article explained this very well. Video at 24fps vs. video at 120fps. Both are "continuously" shooting video, but one is collecting more data than the other. However, like heart rate, different frame rates serve different needs at different times. Based on the evidence offered up in the article, I agree with Daniel in that Microsoft got the balance between data collection and battery life just right.
  • How about during sex. Can we get your readings on that exercise?
  • no comment
  • That would be the ultimate geek move, to continuously check your Band during sex.
  • Okay, but does Gold's Gym provide the workout reps/routine for that one? :)
  • It would only take 2 minutes and 3 if she is lucky. LOLOL
  • That would mean only one reading!!!!
  • Over 9000 for me
  • Oh shit, didn't think about that. TOTALLY going to try that. It's probably the most exercise I get anyways!
  • Works well, just disable posting to social networks with run keeper.. I already got called out for my 6 minute workout
  • You guys are the best
  • This is great information, thank you for finding out and writing this up. After seeing a few of those forum posts speculating on how and how often the Band accumulated the HR numbers, it's great seeing the facts. I am still on the fence between getting the Band and waiting for the FitBit ChargeHR (once it is released in early 2015), solely due to the size and the look of the Band - I have demoed it in a Microsoft store and give my wrist size and body physical appearance, I'm unsure if the Band would look "good" on me. All that aside, Microsoft made a great product and I was honestly surprised to see even Gizmodo gave it a great review! Looking forward to more factual articles like this on future Microsoft products from Windows Central :-)
  • Yeah, the Fitbit ChargeHR sounds great and do like their hardware. I'd say it depends on if you want something with more smartwatch features or not, since Fitbit won't be supporting notifications for awhile on WP (due to crazy API stuff).
  • I'd love to hear more about that Daniel, as I was planning on getting a Charge HR for my wife for Christmas...IF...her 8XT get's updated to 8.1 by then... So....Fitbit would have to adopt MS's Band & OS to get those features?
  • Daniel, did you get any info on measuring stress levels? I saw it in an ad I think, but I assume that is under the category of "coming later" right?
  • Correct. It's there but not being used at this point.
  • I hope it comes soon. Nothing better than hard data in showing your manager that he is completely overworking you :)
  • Yes, cuz we all need the beeper like Sheriff Buford T. Justice when we're stressed! LOL!!!
  • LOL. On a serious note though, managing and understanding stress is a big issue for many unfortunately. I had to learn that the hard way after I nearly burned out completely.
  • Yes, I agree, I'd love to have additional insite as well.  
  • Thanks for asking this.
  •   Ahhh yes Thanks :) great article, makes all the sense :) beautiful device to have.
  • Should have a competition to give away a few..
  • My friend used it as a little detector on his girlfriend, it really worked LOL
  • I assume you mean lie detector?
  • Yeah but Microsoft WP 8.1 autocorrect is very dumb sometimes.
  • Hahaha, true. But I still think it's the best of all the virtual keyboards. And there's a unique idea for the Microsoft Band. xD
  • The tech is pulse oximetry if I am not mistaken, can someone suggest why the band uses a green light as opposed to the traditional red?
  • Green light. Similar to pulseox, although pulseox has a photoreceptor on the other side with the red light passing through; also pulseox is good for blood oxygen, but less reliable for HR.
  • I need this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Very nice explanatory blog post. Two things come to mind. 1) It'll be interesting to see when Band users get on their inner geek and begin to tweak the hrm algorithm in the Band to optimize data collection and performance for their own specific situations. You know it will be possible when they release the sdk. 2) When will we get comparisons of the hrm algorithm used in other fitness bands like the Fitbit and Jawbone as well as the yet-to-be released devices? Especially with devices that will be using the same sensor tech as the Band as well as high end peformance devices from Polar and Garmin.
  • Off-topic. Is their a way for the band to give you a warning when it gets out of range of the phone?
    This would be handy should someone take you phone or you walk away form lunch and leave you phone behind.    
  • Good point, much akin to Nokia Treasure Tags.
  • Yeah, that would be a good feature. 
  • Great article!
  • Hey Daniel,   I'll email a more detailed feedback on my band usage but a couple of quick questions:   1. I linked myfitnesspal to the health app but don't see my calorie intake on the health app. I'm guessing that will be included in a future update. Afterall if I am to use the health app as my hub if you will, then I will need it to source info from different apps - esp if Microsoft wants to get into predective analytics like measuring the imapct of carb intake on workout efficiency vs. high protein intake or telling me how much more I can push myself the next time I workout (P.S. I'm a hardcore crossfitter - super happy to find the common WODs :)) 2. How do I check the "stress levels"? I remember this being mentioned during the press release but don't see it anywhere
  • Thanks Daniel. Very helpful. Part of the debate in that thread was a claim that MS said the Band did continuous HR monitoring. I looked on the website where this was alleged to be and couldn't find it. 24 hour, yes. But that is not the same thing as continuous. Was that word actually used or was a good part of that thread based on misunderstanding?
  • It was used in a blog containing an interview with 5 of the engineers. "Continuous heart rate monitoring was something lacking in the market at that point in time and we set out to solve that problem." I guess that's where the confusion stems from. He probably should have used a better word.
  • The other thing was that he said it was nice seeing his HR go up when presenting the device to Bill which also leads to the asumption its sampling all the time
  • I want this... Bring it to Canada!!!
  • Go get it. Can't be hard, right.
  • Nice read. 
  • great read Dan
  • No question...many people are saying it's uncomfortable and I felt the same way the first time I tried it on, but after 10 minutes, I forgot it was on my hand...
  • Daniel Rubino: He can always be counted on to hush the hype and set things straight. :)
  • The informer of the uninformed. The discipliner of the undisciplined (#commenting_guidelines article).
  • Thank you for seeking out the facts directly from Microsoft on how the Band reports and handles heart rate monitoring.  The Microsoft Band forum contains a number of posts with a lot of speculation, erronous conclusions and, overt misstatements. You and the other writers at Windows Central are doing a terrific job helping to keep users informed on what's happening at Microsoft. Plus, extremely useful, unbiased, information of new products such as the Microsoft Band!  Keep up the good work.    
  • Good article Daniel ! 
    It will be interresting to see how the SW will evolve.
    Would like to aquire one when it appears in Norway :-)
  • No. I would buy 2. One for me and one for the wifey
  • Loving all the little articles you guys keep publishing about the band, and hopefully come Christmas I'll be able to put one to good use!
  • Ooh I'm excited about the comparisons to the chest worn sensors. I have been wearing on this band for some time though so I'm definitely getting one. This is putting Microsoft back on the map in a big way. As more people hear about it and use it and it gets better they will become curious about Surface/Windows/Phone(Cortana). Hopefully Microsoft will release some more product to entice people to buy into the ecosystem. (side note I saw the icon still available at the Microsoft store.... So its just Verizon that dropped it I guess... Prob old news).
  • You are very correct - the MAIN reason I have never switched to a Windows phone is the lack of support for my firness device - this may change that....
  • Thanks so much for this article. It helps explain how it works and when it should. The details and depth that this site goes into is one reason I am always interested in reading, we learn alot from your hard work. I saw the forum thread about this and wasn't sure if the band was going to disappoint me when it comes tomorrow,I am confident now it will not.
  • I want this for Christmas. When does Microsoft plan on releasing it to the international community?
  • My RHR is in the 40s and the band often finds phantom beats bringing it up into the 60s... Inaccurate at the lower end?? I do have a slight murmur, maybe first device I have seen detect this.
  • makes perfect sense to me!  Thanks for the clarification
  • Good explanation, all sounds reasonable. However, isn't saying "days," a bit generous when the maximum quoted battery life is 2 days? That's my biggest gripe with this device, to be honest. I think it would have been cool of they could have extended the battery life by offloading GPS work to your phone or something, since the sensor is named as the biggest battery draw for the new FitBit Surge. Having this pair with Bluetooth to start and stop a device's GPS to mark a run would have been cool.
  • That's what Apple done, isn't it? I love the standalone GPS so that I don't need to go jogging carrying my gigantic 1520. Charge the a Band everytime I go take shower. I don't find battery life not enough.
  • Can my doctor use all this data in some way?
  • Thanks for getting the clarification Daniel. That should end the thread on the forum.  I have noticed that the HR monitor comes on when I interact with the band - i.e. looking at the time when notin time mode or touching the display to view a notification. Did MS comment on that at all?  I am also wondering if you could ask them about the tempeture and mosture sensors and how they interact with the general function of the band.  I am seeing some discrepacies when compared to my Polar Loop (see the posting in the forum) and am hoping they are still just tweeking the firmware.  I am really hoping this will be my default device. Thanks again.
  • Are there any comparisons on the accuracy of the Optical HR sensor the Band is using vs. a Chest Strapped monitor such as a Polar? There seems to be a big difference in the types of Optical sensors that can be used in these devices. Some are accurate during exercise and others are note
  • From my own experience, Basis B1's HR sensor is junk... Tho I like the product. So far I only trust the number from a chest band. So can't wait for Dan's comparison between devices!
  • Great explanation, thanks Daniel. Glad this answered a lot of the questions brought up in thread. I was about to make a log when I got mine tomorrow just to prove the point.
  • Thank you so much, Dan. There is nothing better than someone who'll provide an educated, informed and intelligent response to topics such as this.   You are the man! Also thanks to Microsoft for answering your questions!
  • This is just what I was looking for. Thanks again Daniel for a great article. My old Basis B1 can monitor HR but not at such high frequency. Must say the three modes setting is a smart touch from Microsoft, I do need HR data at such high frequency when I work out, but not so when I work. Love my Band since day1...
  • Thanks Daniel for your great insight.
  • And here's someone who clearly doesn't understand. So funny, as someone has linked in this article in the comments...
  • Thanks for the link Fred. The PC World author claims the Band is "awkward and inaccurate" but that largely describes his article itself. He backtracks from most of his accusations when challenged in the comments. You know how a review is going to go when it starts out with a discussion of house arrest ankle braclets. He promises to do a more thourough review later, so I only hope he actually talks to Microsoft like Daniel did and maybe a medical pro or two.
  • I compared against a polar, and while it wasn't 100% the same as the polar, the basic data was. I think the method used with all sensors is pretty brilliant. It's able to estimate a lost signal with precision using the other data its receiving, which is something other wrist based monitors can't handle.
  • To Daniel or anyone else out there who can answer: How long does it last when it's recording on a per second basis?
  • Without GPS, at least 4-5 hours... My band got low battery after that
  • Daniel, does the Microsoft Band monitor if you have been "still" for too long, and ever suggest that you should stop sitting still and get up and move. I have been looking for something that does that. 
  • GARMIN vivofit does that.
  • Nice article Daniel. anyway, I am sure the freaks that worry too much about the heart rate not going 24/7 are the first that don't exercise well and they probably don't eat healthy food either and have a soda while posting on the forums. but of course they worry about how the band doesn't adquire it as they want it to... and also they compare the MS Band to other products... but how do they know the other products are more accurate or works better or gives the ultimate better information? I am sure they see the graphics and see differences and say "oh Microsoft must be the wrong one". so good explanation so some people would stop saying the band doesn't work.
  • I look forward to the chest strap comparison.
  • Wow, that UI looks great! I really miss the Metro design on my iOS devices. Alas, I am stuck with Verizon and they don't care for Windows Phone users on their network. The Icon was a great phone, killed by a lack of support from Verizon.
  • i returned mine today. for it to lock onto heart rate the straps had to be on significantly tight making it even more uncomfortable to wear than it already was. my second buggest complaint was battery life. although i bought it being fully aware of the 2 day capacity, in practise it was much more annoying than i had imagined even with its fast charging capabilities. i found that on the second night after a long workout that i had wait 20-45minutes before going to sleep for the band to recharge or go without using the sleep tracking feature. other small annoyances that werent a deal breaker and im sure will be fixed with firmware upgrades are for example the "stock app" shows default securities that cant be customised. as nice as it is to know how the dow and s&p are doing id rather keep track stocks I actually own. after i returned it i grabed a fitbit they had on display for comparison and the soft rubber band around the wrist was very comfortable to wear. hopefully they microsoft can find a middle ground between comfort functionalith and battery life, but for me as it stands now it fell a bit short. i think im going to hold out for the fitbit surge and give that a try. 7 day battery life seems more reasonable to me. also not worring about taking it in the shower. 
  • Really interested to see what the accuracy is like vs a chest strap HRM: DC Rainmaker points out that the Fitbit's optical heart rate monitoring may not be very accurate during exercise, because the band isn't wide enough to block ambient light: But the Microsoft Band looks narrower to me, which would suggest it would struggle even more with accuracy
  • DC Rainmaker is a great place for folks to look about optical HR trackign as I don't think I've seen anywhere else that has so many products tested so thoroughly.
  • They should make it recharge as you run!
  • This is a serious question... Have any of you Band owners used the HR function while you are in afib (atrial fibrillation)? If so, is the data useful and informative regarding the duration and severity of afib? I'd love to find an easy way to accurately measure episodes.
  • Great article Daniel, but why oh why don't Microsoft publish info like this on their website! It would have prevented/reduced all the misleading conjecture in these forums and elsewhere. It seems to be the trend these days for manufacturers to just provide "marketing blurb" and FAQs which tell the average user (Ok, tech savvy geeks like us) what they already know. Useful info often only appears after months of questioning on forums like Microsoft Community and Microsoft Support.
  • I hope this Band available in Indonesia Store
  • where can buy this in india???????? i want this one
  • On ebay!!
  • I don't understand that value of the HR monitor this way.   Obviously I'm not going off testing, just gut.   My gut is that going 8 or 9 mins off can miss a lot.  During the day if I"m up or down from my desk to different floors or doing some varried manual labor the 2 mins sampled can be vastly different that the other 8.    It would seem to be more accurate to get a portion of every minute instead a portion of every 10 mins.  (assuming actual aquisition and measurement is realtively instant).  
    Of course what my partner (and to some degree I) really want is more of a health monitor not just a 'fitness monitor'.  Goofy things like bs 'calories burned' is relatively worthless but having full day and night monitoring of activity, HR (and in the future ideally things like cardiac event monitoring and things that they haven't figured out yet like blood pressure, sugar levles) would do amazing things for actual health and fitness optimization.  
  • Because for calculating your "non-fitness" HR, you want snapshots over a period of time.  There shouldn't be major flucations during the course of 10 minutes. Yes, when working out you want constant checks.  But for non active times, it's not needed.  If someone has a health concern where they need to track their HR on a constant, second by second, all day basis, there is probably a medical need and a prescription device to do this.
  • No way in the near future to get a blood pression sensor? That would be useful for lots of people. What do you think Dan, hard but possible or impossible?
  • I haven't been following the tech for mobile blood pressure, so I would not know, sorry.
  • Meh.
  • Daniel, great article and info. Thx! One question, is the run mode best for cardio machines? Treadmill or elliptical? Or is the workout mode the same in terms of heartrate monitoring. I wonder if the run mode is calibrated for more vibrations/movement during a cardio workout.  thx
  • I use run mode with no GPS for treadmill.
  • Most of the tech sites have good review with MS Band, except Pocketnow. I expect that from Pocketnow anyways. That's why I rarely visit that site.
  • Hello Everyone I am new to the site and I will be getting my band on Wednesday. My question is this. I am not a runner I am a walker I like to go for walks and at times I do bike ride. Which mode if any would I set the Band to for a walk or even a bike ride. Should it be Workout or Run mode or just normal. Unlike Runkeeper which has many different modes. Any ideas?
  • I did a comparison with my polar H7 chest strap monitor the day the band came out; I did weights and noticed that the band was off by 10 beats per minute. At times it was spot on with the strap, but for the most part it was too high or too low.
    Another time I went for a run and the band was again off by 10-20 beats per minute, but this time it was on the low end (strap at 185 and band at 170). Both times placed the band with the sensor on the inside of my wrist.
  • My experience exactly, only with a Garmin and a chest strap. For anyone interested in technical details, see last comment (Jan 2016).
  • Sorry guys but no. your guys and your reviews are simply too nice to Microsoft. I took the time yesterday to play with one at the store for a good long time, I love its features, love its function’s, love that an API is coming which will give it even more features, but no, for that price we should expect more.  This thing is clunky, I tired typing with it and it was in the there, it was in the way when using the mouse. I sat in a chair with arms and it was noticeable there.
    I've always had a problem with the face size of smartwatchs but never the band, and the band on this device is not something to write home about. If you’re in the market for a Microsoft Smartband/watch, wait for version 2, it can and will only get better.  
  • Great article, BTW, can someone plz explain how the sensor actually works and why it's really accurate worn wrist inside and outside?
  • Good job in gathering info from Microsoft and writing an article about this most important feature on Microsoft Band (MSB). Many people who bought MSB, ran some quick tests, misunderstood the Heart Rate sensor configuration or implementation and came to wrong conclusions. Hope this article helps them to understand this feature better.
  • I have had the device on for 3 days and it IS NOT UNCOMFORTABLE. It feels like a very light watch. Maybe this has to do with the different sizes? I have the Large on and it fits great. Maybe if you have tiny wrists this is what is causing some of these reviews? So far I dont have any complaints. As a avid technologist I think the platform they are building is different than the competition which is all I enjoy to see. Is it is accurate as a Polar chest band? Probably not, but I really dont want to wear one of those 24x7. So if this is off a certain percentage I am ok with that otherwise I'd feel like I am hooked up to a hospital heart beat monitor. The quick flick of the wrist to see statuses on emails and text's that you can determine to ans.wer or ignore is what I am gaining out of the device the most. Thanks for your write up!
  • Ok I have had my Band for some time and I think is really good. Everything works well but I have some concerns on the HR monitor. Yesterday I selected workout because I was on a treadmill and the HR was all over the place.... today I selected RUN and after an initial period of adjustement it locked in perfectly for teh entire run. I compared with a HR belt. Are we sure that teh algorythm in RUN and WORKOUT is teh same ?
  • Giovanni, I have used the band for a week with a running workout and I have experienced inconsistantcy with HR monitor. When I looked at it during the workout the values were very high. When looked at the app on my phone after updating the data the graph was missing two 9mn HR monitoring sections for a 30 mn workout. And the max values were way under what I looked at during workout on my band. I experienced it already two times and I can't say if it's due to the app, the mode of HR or the size of the band (I have a large but it seems that it is definitely my size). As mentioned above not sur either if I should wear the band screen down or up on the wrist but I only worn it down for now. Would like to have your opinion on that. TKS
  • I wish the actual band came with detailed instructions like this. Microsoft should provide us these details on the website. I just got my band, and I feel that it lacks some instruction. I was weary of updating my phone software to the oddly named "windows phone preview" program to enable all the band's features. They should've explained it more to me. Oh well. In any case, this band is super awesome and I love it!
  • Excellent explanation. I do have a question about the heart rate measurements in exercises modes. Here the heart rate is recorded every second. When viewing this on the band you can see the HR varies every few seconds but when viewing the graphs in Microsoft health you only see five data points per 5 minutes. The rest of the graph is drawn bij connecting these points. The synced data looks to be ones every minute instead of every second. For sporting analysis this is way to low a frequency. Any body noticed this to ? It's a shame that the hardware records more data then is being synced and analysed bij MS Health. Hope an update changes this as the hardware is capable of this  
  • Excellent point! I have been using the Band 1, and have been severely disappointed by the time resolution of the HR data (and yes, I've been using it in Run mode and Bike mode, and yes I have the latest firmware). To confirm your point about the apparent 1 point per minute shown on the graph, I did 2-minute intervals on a treadmill wearing the Band on one wrist, and a Garmin Forerunner 410 on the other (along with the Garmin chest strap). What I found was that the Garmin HR data showed that each "hard" interval HR topped out in the 160's (bpm) and the minimum HR during the following "recovery" interval was in the high 120's or low 130's. I did 5 pairs of intervals, and the maxima increased for each successive set, as did the succeeding minimum. Apart from a few spikes, the Garmin HR curves (tried to paste graphs below, but no luck) were clear as day, but the Band data showed only 1 point per minute, and almost all of the points were in the 119-135 bpm range, increasing gradually, but very noisy around the average of 121 bpm (given by the Dashboard app); the Garmin average was 143 bpm. Again, both sets of data were acquired simultaneously. So, at best, Microsoft may be sampling at 1 Hz (once per second), but, either it is being averaged before it is uploaded, or the App does the averaging down to 1 point per minute (surely they can't be throwing away 59 of 60 readings, but stranger things have happened). No way are they providing the user with 1 Hz data! And on top of that, the data acquired seems to be inaccurate (so maybe they are throwing most of it away). Pretty useless unless you want to run at a constant speed on an unchanging treadmill and try to calibrate what the Band measures to what the actual HR is! Always pays to double-check what a vendor says about their product. Often users will find holes in the software before the programmers do. In this case, observing the problem would require leaving the diet-Coke-and junk-food-stocked, darkened room where the programmers work (ok, that's not fair!). According to the Band SDK docs at the MS developers site, it does appear that 1 Hz HR data should be accessible to a programmer, but no word on anyone doing so.