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How to use Quick Read on the Microsoft Band

The latest Microsoft Band update released earlier this week added some new features and functionality. One of those things is the new Quick Read function. It's another option to scan incoming texts, emails and other notifications on your Microsoft Band. When enabled, notifications are displayed word by word in a large size. This is handy when you're in motion and rather not scroll down to read. We'll show you how it works in our hands-on video.

Quick Read seems to have been enabled automatically after the recent Microsoft Band update. To check if it's enabled on your band, go to settings, tap the Tools icon, and swipe towards the right until you see Reading Speed. You have options for Slower, Slow, Medium, Fast, Faster, and Off.

Quick Read works on Notifications, Text Messages, Email, Twitter, Facebook Messenger, and Cortana. Tap the action button on the Microsoft Band when a message or notification is on the screen to show Quick Read mode. Words then get displayed one by one at the speed rate you've picked in the settings.

When is Quick Read useful? It can be handy when you're on a treadmill and want to read your messages without scrolling. Other than that, we can't think of many other situations when it'll be needed. While Quick Read is a nice option to have on the Microsoft Band, we think it can be better. Instead of simply flashing messages or notifications on the screen word by word, we'd also like to have an option to have them slide like a news ticker.

In addition to Quick Read, other notable new features in the latest Microsoft Band update are the virtual keyboard and the Bike Tile. Microsoft has also introduced the Health Web Dashboard so you can check your stats and insights from your computer's web browser.

How do you feel about Quick Read? Will you be using it frequently? Sound off in the comments!

Mark Guim is Video Editor at Windows Central. He switched to Windows because the MacBook Pro isn't Pro enough. You can follow him on Twitter at @markguim.

  • I'm just glad they listened to our feedback. I'm so happy I can now see a list of my sleeping patterns (or lack of sleep)
  • And, its that very feedback, and these improvements, that make me so glad that I'm waiting for the MSB2.... It's gonna be very refined thanks to all you MSB1 adopters...
    Sorry... I've been a beta tester for MS, and WP, for five years now.... I can only beta test one product at a time.
  • Speaking of sleep, I hope they get the auto detection of sleep thing, ready.  I forget, too many times to set it.  I also forget to tell it that I'm up sometimes.   Yes, they are listening to feedback, which is awesome.  I was mostly happy out of the box, especially with the hardware and sensors.  These software add-ons are great though.  It's also great to see the experience best on Windows Phone with the keyboard and Cortana making this an extremely useful tool in my tech arsenal.  Also, is it me or does voice recognition with Cortana work BETTER through the Band than directly into the phone's mic?  I feel like it's more accurate through the Band, which seems odd.  Not that I'm complaining! :)
  • I like the sleep mode because it turns off the clock which I have configured to be on normally.  I dont think I want it to automarically try to detect when I'm asleep and I'm not sure how it would anyway. Heart rate isn't monitored non-stop so we can't count on that.  Lack of motion after a learned hour might seem like a good way, but that assumes a regular schedule and a motionless sleeper.  I think if they want to add a feature for people who want it to be automatic, there should just be a scheduler.  I like being able to set it to sleep mode so the display immediately goes dark, thus not disturbing my wife who is normally already asleep - The display is quite bright in the dark.
  • Like anything else, I'd guess that this would be an option.  I don't know how it works, but other fitness bands like FitBit do it.  If I was guessing, I would think it might be a combination of things.  My logical mind would thing that once motion stops being detected that it would check the proximity sensor (to ensure that it is still being worn) and then check the heart-rate and body temperature (I think it changes when we sleep).  If it's not that accurate, one could always manually enter sleep mode like we do currently, I just know that I forget, A LOT, so even if it's "off", it'll be more accurate than I'm doing most days. :)
  • The only problem I'm having with sleep mode is that a set alarm doesn't break thru. You can't imagine the amounts of sleep i'm getting these days! ;)
  • I use sleep mode every night and set an alarm to wake me up every morning.  Works great for me.  No problems with it not breaking through for alarms.
  • The bike tile is they best new feature, IMHO.
  • It actually motivated me to bike to office today, just want to try it out. 
  • Does it update heart rate and gps etc at a different rate to save battery? I tried using the run tile previously but after an hour + ride if it wasn't 100% fully charged at start it wouldn't make it to the end.
  • Did you have the GPS on? That's usually the battery consuming culprit, but even then it should last a few hours.
  • Nice. I'm going to try it tonight in my Spin class, though I'm not sure how the heart rate monitor is "tuned" for indoor biking vs. the regular exercise mode.  
  • I'm not sure how either but they mentioned both
  • Will be great if we could set how the word appears on screen on this mode, e.g.: the words could passing by the screen (scrolling), like those movie credits.
  • That's what I think would be a good idea
  • I wonder if that takes too many resources to scroll. That's animation. 
  • I've read the flashing gives better comprehension, don't remember where this was many years ago
  • I'd like to see them use something like "Spritz" for the reading. Also, it would be nice if notifications could provide more details that I could read from the Band. Example, when I get an Xbox Live message, I get a notification that just says, "You've received a message". I still have to go to my phone to see what that message is.
  • Any idea on why the keyboard is MIA? I've tried everything. It doesn't exist after the update. I did update while using an Android phone, then switched to my 1520. Reset the band and app. No keyboard at all. Different FW versions depending on the device you use to update?
  • I had a similar issue and was able to resolve it by resetting my band and NOT my phone. At least for me, that seems to throw it out of whack. Also, it only works for WP. I hope this helps. p.s. You scrolled down to the end of the text to see if there was a reply box right?
  • True - it only works for WP.  I had originally had it paired to my GS5, then I moved it to my Lumia 1020 and did a Factory Reset. I saw and did the keyboard tutorial, but I still haven't seen an opportunity to use it.  Is it only for SMS or can it be used for email?  
  • Same here mine refused to update workout the hard reset.
  • I think scrolling across the band's screen would be better or at least another option.
  • Its also great if your eyesight is declining.
  • Its not a feature I'm likely to use since I typically read my notifications 5-10mins after they come in, due to work restrictions. But its a neat feature. I LOVE the onscreen keyboard tho
  • i havent seen the bike tile..  how do u do it  
  • Go into the Microsoft health app, swipe over to manage tiles, sbd add it to your band. Boom.
  • And add it*
  • Great. Now make more and spread them around the world.
  • Wish the band was available here in my country :(
  • I guess the reason band is us only is it is a beta device.. Thank you people of usa for beta testing it! Rest of the world will get the finished product
  • The band itself is a beta product.  Don't worry, you will get to test it too.. for a nominal fee ;)
  • I've seen many band people in Germany over the last weeks ...
  • Technically the Band was supposed to be a reference prototype. The idea was that Microsoft was going to license the innards of the Band to other OEMs who could make their own (ideally better) versions that worked the same. I think that's part of the reason why we also haven't seen a massive influx of supply of new Bands yet. They might still be weighing their options here...
  • Somehow this mega update didn't include a functional live tile? How is that possible Microsoft....
  • I use Quick Read all of the time if the text is more than what I can read on the screen. I don't worry about scrolling anymore. I have it set to the slowest setting so that it isn't awkwardly fast. Great first effort and I agree that a horizontal scrolling text would be a great option as well but then again, scrolling text would cause you to have to focus your eyes more, reducing the usuability during motion and defeating the mental benefit of understanding text word by word. I always tell people that their purchase should be based on the hardware capabilities as software can come and go. The Band has solid hardware and the software will get better over time. I love my MS Band even more now and I can't wait for a Band 2 with a sleeker design and mass availability. Microsoft can have several hardware products: Microsoft - Xbox Surface Lumia Band Hololens   Tie it all together with WIndows 10/x and things will get better and better.
  • Yeah, it's looking up! Some great products for sure....
    It's awareness that's holding things back...
    Lets pray marketing improves tremendously.
  • My favorite feature is the option to use Cortana to respond to texts
  • yeah, love that feature!
  • The flashing is actually better than sliding for quick reading. But hey, if sliding cam be added as an option for those who prefer it, why not.
  • New features are great, but what about ability to compose texts using virtual keyboard rather than just reply. Would be cool if I could ask Cortana to send a message to Joe blogs and then compose via keyboard as sometimes I have to 'start again' multiple times saying my message to Cortana.
  • Seems I was not the only one gave them this feedback. 
  • Cant wait until this comes to Canada...a guy can dream...
  • I guess this is a good update, but I can't try it out since I can't get my hands on one without overpaying the employees and friends of employees that get tipped off when new stock comes in so they can take them to the secondary market. It is disgusting that the online store hasn't had any in stock since November and my local store is always out of stock, claiming they only get 2-3 each week.
  • Would be great if they brought this technology to the desktop or the phone as well. I love speed reading this way.
  • Just wish they sold this thing outside the US :(... Oh well, I had to get a charge hr...
  • 2 Notes: 1) The rhythm seems really off. It blazes past certain words too quickly in the video even in "slow," yet pauses too long on words with any kind of punctuation. 2) Can I get a Star Wars opening crawl mode?
       "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...."
  • Recently, I've found the Bluetooth connectivity issues to be a huge hindrance - rendering the new keyboard features useless.
  • I wish that there was a way to have it automatically quick read. The main time I can picture myself wanting something like this is if my hands are tied up and I can't tap the screen to scroll the message. But this still requires me to have to take my other hand and press the action button. Perhaps it can sense that if I rotate my wrist up to view the screen, then it automatically launches the quick read?
  • Juan bar a las montaña del España
  • typical MS: good idea. poorly implemented.
  • Microsoft ROCKS, CrApple SUCKS . THE END.
  • Just a simple question: do You know how to stop the tracking when taking your car? When clicking on plane mode it's just stoping Bluetooth.    
  • My quick read gets stuck on some message and i can't get it to read a newer message unless i restart the band. So even if i go to a new message and press read button it reads me a old message i once read before. Do i use it in wrong way somehow or has anybody else noticed this kind of a bug?