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Microsoft Band 2 Review - Health and fitness unshackled

The Microsoft Band 2 brings significant changes to all aspects of the fitness wearable making it pleasing to the eye and more comfy. The core functions remain the same, however, with only a few new tweaks and features.

Windows Central Recommended Award

Exactly one year ago to the day Microsoft surprised many with the release of their first wearable device simply called the Band. Announced late into the evening with little fanfare the Band always came off as an investigational device for Microsoft, with a slow international rollout and restrictive availability even in the U.S. Microsoft seemed to be testing the waters with the Band, unsure of how people would respond.

One year later and Microsoft is releasing its successor the Band 2 on Friday, October 30. At the core, the Microsoft Band 2 does the same things as the original Band mostly. However, the only thing that has changed is everything to borrow a recently popular slogan. With a refreshed design, better materials and a super sleek curved display the Microsoft Band 2 looks like it is ready for primetime.

Here is our full review of the new $249 Microsoft Band 2.

Microsoft Band 2 – What's different

Like its predecessor, the Microsoft Band 2 can be described as half fitness and half smartphone companion. It's not exactly a smartwatch, but it is more than just a health device too. Indeed, it finds its niche right between Apple's Watch and Fitbit's suburban-athlete message. At $249 the Band 2 is not cheap, but it is more affordable than a full Apple Watch. There is also less commitment to the idea of it as a smartwatch. That enables you to wear the Band 2 on one wrist while still wearing a fancy watch on the other.

The Microsoft Band 2 is similar to what the Surface Pro 4 is to the Surface Pro 3. The overall functionality is the same but there are so many smaller improvements that it feels – and acts – like a whole new wearable.

Microsoft Band 2 versus Band 1

Let's talk about design. Microsoft clearly went back to the drawing board after feedback from the first Band. That first iteration was divisive with some people loving it, and others hating it. It wasn't too long before people jokingly referred to it as The Shackle. Here is what changed with the new Band:

  • The Band 2 is made from new materials including medical-grade steel and a new type of rubber (Thermal plastic elastomer silicone vulcanate (TPSiV))
  • Larger, curved display now at 320 x 128 pixels and as a bonus it's now AMOLED instead of TFT
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3 with improved touch responsiveness
  • New Barometer sensor for elevation measurements for stair climbing That is in addition to the other sensors including heart rate, accelerometer, GPS, ambient light, UV, microphone, skin temperature and galvanic skin response sensors.

Additionally, Microsoft moved around a lot of internal hardware to make the Band 2 much more comfortable and practical. For instance:

  • Battery moved from the sides of the Band to the new clasp
  • Heart-rate sensor moved from the clasp to underneath the display
  • The charging port moved from underneath the display to the clasp
  • UV sensor is now on the clasp

The benefits of making all of those moves make the Band 2 much more comfortable as the sides now flex along the wrist. The heart-rate sensor is now on the inside of the wrist, and the charging port never touches the skin, which prevents skin irritation and the connector from getting dirty.

All of these changes address the big complaints with the Band 1 including discomfort, scratched displays and the soft touch peeling off after a few months.

Band versus Band

CategoryBand 2Band
MaterialThermal plastic elastomer silicone vulcanate (TPSiV)Thermoplastic elastomer
Display Size12.8mm x 32mm11mm x 33mm
Display TypeCurved AMOLEDFlat TFT
Resolution320 x 128 pixels320 x 106 pixels
Battery48 hours (GPS may impact battery life)48 hours (GPS may impact battery life)
Average Charge TimeFull charge in less than 1.5 hoursFull charge in less than 1.5 hours
Battery TypeLi-polymerLithium-ion polymer
Operating Temperature Ranges-10°C to 40°C (14°F to 104°F)14°F to 104°F (-10°C to 40°C)
Maximum Operating Altitude-300m to +4877m3,937 feet (1,200 m)
SensorsOptical heart rate sensor
3-axis accelerometer
Gyrometer
GPS
Ambient light sensor
Skin temperature sensor
UV sensor
Capacitive sensor
Galvanic skin response
Microphone
Barometer
Optical heart rate sensor
3-axis accelerometer
Gyrometer
GPS
Ambient light sensor
Skin temperature sensor
UV sensor
Capacitive sensor
Galvanic skin response
Microphone
ConnectivityBluetooth 4.0 LEBluetooth 4.0 LE
Supported mobile devicesWindows 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®
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®

On paper, these two wearable seem very similar. However, the difference in display quality, comfort, design and even tweaked UI changes the overall dynamic of the Band 2 as a viable alternative in the fitness market.

This Band is smarter

Besides the hardware fixes and improvements, the Band 2 also has a few new software enhancements that are useful.

For example, there is a slightly updated UI. When tapping the clock for your fitness tracking the progress meter now takes up the full display instead of being a tiny line-bar at the bottom. The back arrow key area is now black with an accent line instead of a solid color. New toggle buttons for GPS reflect the new pill design in Windows 10. Although subtle, these UI refinements look good.

Microsoft Band 2 clock

There is now an optional Smart-Alarm tool that only goes off when you are tossing and turning in bed. Fun fact I used to be a sleep technician at Cornell, and we never woke a patient out of a deep sleep because it causes disorientation. Instead, you wait until the patient moved as their sleep state is very light during that moment. The Band 2 feature works by monitoring your movement during a 30-minute window around your alarm time. So if you set your alarm for 7 am the Band 2 may wake you between 6:30 and 7 depending on when you toss and turn in bed. The result? You wake up refreshed and not groggy. Don't worry, though, you can still use the snooze feature.

Microsoft Band 2 clasp

There is also an optional Auto-clock feature called Rotate. The clock turns on only when you raise your arm up to view the Band. Fitbit does something similar, and it is tremendously useful, so I'm glad to see it here as you can now save battery life while gaining a clock.

Finally, there is a UV reminder function. This is an alarm that goes off after a defined period of exposure to the sun, and it is ideal to avoid sunburn. Since the UV sensor is now on the clasp, when worn with the display on the inside of the wrist it exposes the sensor towards the sky.

Unfortunately, none of those new features are coming to the Band 1 either.

Microsoft Band 2 heart rate

Interestingly, Microsoft is doubling down the 'inside wrist' orientation. To be clear, you can wear the Band 2 with the display facing out, but the Band 2 re-orientates the UV and HR sensors for more optimal usage when worn display down. I prefer this style too as it makes checking notifications in social settings less awkward.

Fix everything and change nothing

Okay, so how is the Band 2? To be fair, I was a big fan of the Band 1 although I agree with the criticisms that people made against it. As far as I can tell, Microsoft fixed almost everything in the Band 2. That's not to say that people won't find personal reasons not to like it. The new buckle clasp is still rather large and prominent, and some people still won't like the horizontal display.

For myself, I enjoyed the Band 2. It's comfortable. The display is delightful, and the sensors all work quite well. Battery life is decent, and you will still need to charge every other day. Like before, the best tip is to throw the Band 2 on the charger when taking a shower. The Band 2 can charge to around 70% in just 30 minutes with 2 hours needed for a full charge.

Microsoft Band 2

The new charger is superior to the previous incarnation. The magnets are much stronger now. You won't be able to shake it off, and it clicks into the sculpted port. The clasp doesn't quite fall into the charger port, so you need to align it, but overall it works fine.

Anything wrong with it?

Technology is never perfect, and the same goes for the Microsoft Band 2. Although Microsoft has made tremendous improvements in this version there is still room here to make it better. Here are a few weaknesses I noticed.

For one, I'd like to see a double-tap on the display to turn it on. Fitbit does this with their recent wearables, and even Windows Phone have a double-tap to wake. This may seem like nitpicking (and it is) but doing this can be easier sometimes, and it is doable technology.

There are also some feature inconsistencies that works in the favor or Windows Phone, for once. On an iPhone or Android phone, there is no Cortana option, no voice to text, and you cannot use the awesome on-screen keyboard for text replies. Those aren't deal breakers for non-Windows Phone users, but they would be cool to have as options. At least Windows Phone gets a win here.

Microsoft Band 2

The Band 2 is still not waterproof, only water resistant (e.g. rain, doing the dishes, washing hands). To be fair, the Band 2 is built much better than the last generation, and I expect the water resistance to be very good. Still, you cannot use this in the pool, and it is not advised to wear it in the shower. This restriction is the norm for these types of wearables, so it is hard to ding the Band 2 too much, but it is worth mentioning for aquatic athletes.

The price of the Band 2 also went up by 50 bucks to $249. This price is fair compared to the competition, but it is one more thing to consider.

I also have some concerns over the stainless steel that is used in the new Band. Although it does not cause any irritations, it still can scratch like any other metal and the clasp had some slight marring after a few weeks of usage. Others have noticed in-store demo units also heavily scratched. Like all wearables, the Band 2 is still slightly vulnerable to damage from everyday bangs and scrapes. The Corning Gorilla Glass 3 is durable but if you scrape it against a rock while climbing, it can scratch.

What about accuracy? I did find the heart-rate sensor to be better than the Gen 1 version, and Microsoft says it is 20% more optimized. It is still not always on and instead check periodically to save battery. Steps counting is conservative when compared to Fitbit too. (We'll be doing a deeper comparison to Fitbit and Band 1 in the coming weeks).

Microsoft Band 2

The Band 2 also still lacks controls for music, which is a big selling point for many users when exercising. Regrettably, the Band 2 still does not run a full OS, so it is not possible to multitask. In other words, when in exercise mode you cannot go to another task such as theoretical controls for music. I suspect that the Band 3 will go to Windows 10 IoT and there it will gain many more features with newer APIs and multi-tasking.

Finally, my biggest complaint about the Band 2 is the lack of social features. Part of the appeal of Fitbit is the same as Messengers: Your friends are on them. This lets you compete, set fun challenges, and rewards. None of that is on the Band 2 yet so you are using all of the health features in isolation. Sure, in the web dashboard (dashboard.microsofthealth.com) you can compare to the general populace and similar demographics, but this is not the same as a friends list. Microsoft says they are working on social, but it is something we'll just have to wait for. That makes switching from Fitbit a tough choice in my opinion.

C'mon Microsoft. Bring Xbox integration, achievements, and friends list already.

Wrap up and should you buy?

Forgetting about health the Band 2 is just a great phone companion. I do enjoy the notifications for text messages, emails, weather, and more. Luckily, that is all configurable too. In fact, I find the Band 2 more interesting as a smartphone accessory than pure fitness, and I have no issues recommending it for that reason alone.

Overall, Microsoft did right with the Band 2. The new design not only feels better than the first one, but the whole thing looks more elegant too. The price point is fair, and there are no real weaknesses to it. Most drawbacks are likely to be addressed in forthcoming firmware and software updates, which also lets Microsoft add new features.

Like the Surface Book, the Band 2 represents some crazy engineering from Microsoft. I am disappointed that it is not running Windows 10, possibly adding limits to the wearable, but I believe this will be addressed in next year's model. My biggest hope is that it gets abilities to add friends and family, adding more social value to Microsoft Band and Health.

I still recommend trying on the Band 2 in person, and I hope Microsoft releases it to more markets as well. But overall, the Band 2 is a winner, and it shows Microsoft is serious about this new category of technology.

The Microsoft Band 2 is available starting October 30, 2015, and in the coming weeks for $249 at Microsoft Stores, Best Buy, and online retailers in the US and the UK.

Looking for more Band 2 coverage? Windows Central will be doing numerous follow-up articles, including direct comparisons and deeper dives into features in the coming weeks!

More information

If you need more information on the Microsoft Band 2 you can read our main topic page or jump into our forums!

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

290 Comments
  • Awesome. I've been waiting for this review all week! Looking forward to picking this up tomorrow. It was surprisingly comfortable to wear when I tried it on. Sad to see the keyboard doesn't work with Android.
  • I was waiting for a review as well, but some how reading the drawbacks, especially not running W10 makes me hesitate. I still want one just knowing if they release a 3rd Gen with propper OS and better integration with the phone and MS services, band 2 will not cut it. Im not the type to upgrade yearly when it comes to phones or PC components. Just that scares me a bit. Tomorrow will be a painful day haha.
  • Same here - the review was something I was waiting for and unfortunately the same drawbacks you mention are what would prevent me from jumping on board with this. I have been using a Fitbit Charge HR (and a Fitbit Force previous to that), and while I like the functionality of the Fitbits, I have such haphazard syncing using the WP app that I am ready to give up on Fitbit. I was hoping that the improvements with the Band 2 would be enough to persuade me to make the switch, and while it is certainly tempting, I am also not one to upgrade on a yearly basis and would need something I could by happy with for a few years - I am not certain that the Band 2 is that device. Although, I'm not sure if the Fitbit Charge HR is that device either as it has been wearing rather quickly, the band shows significant wear and has stretched. I like the use of a traditional watch clasp over the solution in previous / lesser models, but that and the sleep alarms are all that really stand out for me with my current device, I would value the feature set the Band 2 has over the Fitbit, but it just isn't quite enough to make me switch yet.
  • I have a Fitbit Charge HR as well and your syncing issue isn't the Fiitbit. It's WP. I had a WP it was paired with and had the same experience. Couple that with the fact that it didn't do notifications at the time (Anyone know if this has changed?) and I switched to Droid for my handset. Since then, syncing (with the same Fitbit) has been rock solid and spot on and I have notifications as well. It's not your Fitbit.
  • I've had significant syncing problems between a Charge HR and an iPhone 6+.  So ... I think the problem is most likely with the sync interface from Fitbit ...
  • What is Droid? Do you mean the Verizon phones? I think the biggest draw for this device to me would be the phone companion features. Reading texts, getting notifications and such, would be more of a benefit to me than the health stuff.
  • Droid =AnDROID=google OS  
  • Android if Google's OS and Droid is exclusive Motorola Android based phones sold exclusively for Verizon. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • That is my same hangup too. I would really like to upgrade and get rid of my Band 1, but I would hate to get the Band 2 and then try and justify to my wife why I need the Band 3 next year. :-) The Band 2 isn't all that much different than the Band 1, except in quality and comfort, which are two big differentiators. I wish MSFT was running some sort of trade in program here in the US. It would make upgrading a little more palatable.
  • They are, at least my local MF's store is doing it for me.
  • what are they giving for it? and where are you located?  i spoke with my MS store in atlanta and they said that some guy went the trade in route and they offered him 19 dollars (through the recycle your old tech trade in program).  Is that the trade in program you are speaking of? I specifically want like a $75-100 discount for handing my band 1 in
  • That is a very unrealistic request. Why would they give you more money then the resale market for the band. You can hop on craigslist and get them for $65 or less. Almost no resale program would give you more then $25 percent of the original sale value and that is what you are asking  
  • Unrealistic? Really? http://www.windowscentral.com/uk-microsoft-band-2-buyers-can-trade-origi...
  • Microsoft always gets it right on the 3rd time. That's why I'm waiting for the band3 while I wear out my band1
  • MindSynthetic, I too am on the fence.
  • Not true!! 
    My works perfectly fine! :) I hope yours does too
  • I am using a Nexus 6 with my band and I can tell you that the on-screen keyboard does work with the Band 2 as opposed to the Band 1. I gave replied to multiple text messages using the keyboard in the Band. I was surprised to see this feature as it was absent on the Band 1. 
  • Thank you for pointing this out!!! I was SUPER excited to see that it works on my HTC phone!
  • Saving for it!! Once it comes to India I will grab one 8)
  • Had the original Band, but when it came out made the switch to the Fitbit Charge HR which I've more or less been happy with. Band 2 looks really, really great though. Think I'm going to order and make the switch. Also, great review Dan (you're killing it with all these Windows10Devices reviews and videos!).
  • If only I could get it in Belgium..
  • You can! From the UK MSFT Store. Only thing required is a valid UK billing adress (hint: use MSFT UK campus). They will ship to belgium without any problems :)
  • Much easier than that order from amazon uk.
  • And what about South Africa?
  • Really? I can enter the Microsoft address as billing address, and my own home as shipping address? That would be great!
  • I called Microsoft UK to help me order the Band  from germany and they also filled the billing address with one from the UK. It seemed to be no big deal for them. Then they filled the shipping adress with my adress in germany and a few days later I got my Band! So just do it.;-)
  • You can order from amazon.co.uk. No special tricks involved. I also saw that MS Health support SI units for weight, height and so on. So it seems that band 2 would be fully usable in rest of Europe
  • How did you find the comfort level of the Band while sleeping? Do you use it every night?
  • I use it every night, had no issues. That is personal preference though as some people are bothered by it. But I even wore the Surge, which is slightly bigger/bulkier to bed too with no issue.
  • "I prefer this style too as it makes checking notifications in social settings less awkward". I prefer the display facing out. Loving my Band 1!
  • "I find the Band 2 more interesting as a smartphone accessory than pure fitness, and I have no issues recommending it for that reason alone". Exactly!
  • I've tried it in in the store and it is much more comfortable than B1
  • Excellent review!  I also now feel better about my poor sleep after looking at your sleep tracking in the video!
  • It's nice to hear you can wear it every night. I can't sleep with my Band 1 at least 3 or 4 nights out of the week because it's really not comfortable.
  • On the Band 1, you get used to it. It feels super strange the first couple nights. Sometimes it's a little awkward when your arm is lying sideways, pushing the battery into your wrist. That I'm hoping the 2 fixes (in a way you can't really test in-store). But basically yeah, I can sleep fine with the Band 1 and see no reason the 2 will be worse.
  • NIce review Daniel. Microsoft has done a good job on the hardware side, however, the software side needs significant work. The mobile apps are bare bones and social integration is key. I was hoping that Microsoft would surprise us with new software on ship day (tomorrow), but that doesnt look like its happening. Either way, I await the delivery of my Band 2.
  • Looks good.
  • Drool...
  • talking about health, the health&fitness app is going down very soon, what is the alternative for the majority of us who don't have the band app available?
  • The only alternatives are non-MS. MS f-ed up.
  • The Microsoft Health app is the alternative, it's not exactly the same and same structure, but it is the replacement
  • Microsoft Health can't be an alternative since it is not available. at least not here where I live.
  • I wondered about that as well, and even asked Daniel about it when it was announced that MS' own app was being shuttered, and how it would affect the band and its functionality, and selling points. I of course got ignored and my post got deleted.
  • Great review - fair and balanced.  I also purchased the Band 1 on Day 1.  I'm on my third (first stopped charging and battery case spit open after 6 months; screen died on the second one, but to be fair, I was kickboxing with it on).  The flick-the-wrist to turn on clock mode is a nice addition that I voted for a while back.  One very nice new feature on the web Dashboard is the ability to make your own workouts!  I just stumbled on this a few days ago and it was something I wanted for a while.  The workouts to select are all very good, but not having all the equipment or simply wanting to adapt a workout to my personal fitness was not possible until now.  Analytics are also improved with the ability to compare yourself to your peers.  Actually made me feel more "average" than I thought! It will be great to see what other types of 3rd party apps can be developed.  Overall, great product.  But Microsoft needs to PROMOTE IT!  Give me a TV spot on Agents of Shield or something (wasn't "Daisy" wearing a prototype in one of the Season 2 episodes last year?).  Just promote it with the web tool and analytics. I think the vast majority of people don't know Microsoft even makes hardware, besides the Xbox!    
  • Haa someone did notice it. Microsoft has carefully placed Lumia and Surface too in other series also
  • Yup. Lumia gets good looks on Agents of Shield AND Scandal.
  • Don't forget Dallas as well!
  • And Hawaii-Five-0
  • lots of lumias on The mindy project :D
  • How about the NFL commentators? The NFL promotes Surface. MSFT needs to sponsor some athletes. LOL
  • So, speak up, now! Who wants to buy ME one of these? /j
  • *crickets*
  • That's mighty sweet of those crickets to think of me. ;)
  • Chirp, chirp..Chirp, chirp..
  • I use Xbox fitness regularly and it would be great to see a companion app of some type extended to the band 2. Will top apps for the band series be featured next?
  • Same here...
  • You seem to sleep as bad as me. At least the one night. (19 minutes of restful last night. And I feel like it. Ugh)
  • I noticed that too! I have similar sleep patterns, but I usually get about two hours of restful sleep. I really wonder what the data Microsoft has collected shows. That's the real power of the service is being able to take the amalgamated data and generate statistics about the general population and our sleep health.
  • My wife consistently gets 3-4 hours, drives me crazy. I am always at about an hour, though last night was really bad. Yes, I would be really curious to see some stats.
  • There's an option to compare!  Check out the Dashboard picture in the article.  There's a new entry called "Comparisons" and the web app where you can do just that.
  • I tried out the Band for a couple weeks before deciding that it was just too uncomfortable.  But the best feature (for me) and the reason I've decided to get the Band 2 is for the sleep feature.  It made me aware of just how bad my sleeping pattern was and how it was negatively affecting my day at work.
  • Hey Dan, does the wordflow keyboard on the Band 2 follow the language of the one set on your phone? Or is still confined to languages onboard the device?
  • Daniel, where did you get that poster in the background? "Xbox Off...."
  • redbubble.com
  • Nice it has some additional features that they hadn't mentioned. I should be getting mine soon as it is on its way from China. Interested in the smart alarm and auto clock on when you lift your arm.
  • I wonder if its possible to bring the software improvements over to the original Band? Can we get Rotate, Auto-Alarm, and the UI updates on the Band1?
  • I mention it in the review that for now, no that is not happening.
  • Do you know which improvement will be available for Band 1? On presentation MS said that B1 will get improvements too.
  • Why so you think I didn't get band one lol
  • My dream is to can buy one of these sometime here in Brazil...
  • Cool. Excellent review. This will make a good birthday present for myself.
  • How many birthdays do you have each year?  I have about 3.
  • How many birthdays I have each year depend on how many exciting stuff are released for that year.
  • Hmm, I prefer wearing my band 1 like a normal watch (and have the clock on permanently and not really noticed it as much of a drain). Does the heartrate monitoring still work ok in that orientation on band 2? I guess for the times I go to the gym then flipping it around wouldn't be much effort.
  • It should work fine. I wear my Band 1 with the screen facing down and HR monitor on top of my wrist. I've never had a problem with it getting a reading. I've tried it in both positions and the HR readings were the same whether the monitor was on the top or bottom of my wrist.
  • You can put the heartrate monitor just about anywhere on your skin, and it will work.  I tried wearing it around my ankle, and it read it just fine.
  • Pre-ordered one for replace of my Band 1 and another for a gift. I'm totally ok with wearing Band 1 screen outside and it dosn't look nice for me as they force it to be weared with 'inside wrist' orientation, however more ads this time was with screen outside. I tried 'inside orientation' but it was unconfortable to work for long time with band typing on keyboard and gave me pair of deep scratched in one day of experiment :(
  • How does it communicate with internet? Does the phone need to be nearby? I'm unclear on how Cortana would work or txting etc. Thanks informative review as always from Daniel.
  • B2 doesn't have standalone OS as well as Bluetooth only as connection option, so phone is required. Not usre about tablets.
  • The Band does need the phone for any communication functionality.  The various fitness tracking functions will work just fine away from the phone.
  • Ordered mine as soon as it was available. Expecting delivery in 3 weeks
  • I preordered mine. It shipped today. I'm really excited to get it and this article only make me more excited.
  • Great Review. I hope the Golf GPS feature has improved as it was a little shaky on the band one as far as holding the signal etc.
  • It's slightly better, but takes longer than I would like to grab a signal. Works well though and I like the mapping.
  • Did you have a phone closeby? With Band 1 I notice quit a time difference when a phone is closeby or not.
  • Few years back with the garmin forerunner bands: Could run up to 3miles before a gps lock, band 1 always made it within a minute mostly 10-20 secs. Funny, this morning I reminisced an old sleeping pattern alarm clock that would wake one up during light sleep. Was a great concept, just too "soft-spoken" to wake me up. I wondered why the band did not have this. Aaaand now it does. Most imp tidbit of the review, thanks. Waiting for the shipping date of the 19th. Feel naked since sending back band 1 last week. Because of the thickness of clasp 2, I would have waited for band 3. All in all I am happy band 1 did not last. Here's to hoping clasp 2 will not hurt the kids when the frolicking gets rough, clasp 1 did sometimes which was the only reason to take it off apart from charging.
  • Any chance you tried the other golf fucntions? Wasn't this supposed to have stroke counter function built in as well? That would be very appealing to me as a golfer (especially since there's only really one golf app in WP). Gotta say, this device looks really appealing, but the lack of any sort of social networking functions is a big drawback. I love competing on my Fitbit and it's a big part of why I use it. Any chance the WP Fitbit app would be able to use the Band 2 as a device?
  • for me the lack of music controls is a deal breaker
  • Yeah hopefully the Band 3 has either on-board music, or A2DP/AVRCP support.  Both would be great.
  • Daniel, I'm curious, with your band 1 did you have issues with it stuck on "connecting" forever when you tried to use the keyboard, and did that go away with the band 2?
  • Great review! I really enjoyed it, looking forward to getting mine!
     
  • Thinking about getting one of these for the wife, but no cortana interaction with Android or iOS limits potential future use as we are unfortunately tied to Verizon and her Icon is in terrible shape at the moment. Lets get W10 on this thing ASAP!
  • Microsoft is looking into Cortana for iOS/Android, but it's not a clear-cut thing that they can implement due to some complexities involved.
  • Daniel does it work with current indie wp apps made for the Band 1...? Thank you :)
  • Yes, but since the display resolution changed, wallpaper doesn't quite fit (letterboxed), so those apps need to be updated.
  • I was really impressed by this at my local store. It fit well, ran well and overall was a neat device. My reservations are mostly around the companion Health app (don't like it on my phone) and the improvements I feel will be in for next year's model after Windows 10 and 10 Mobile have been out awhile. I'll stick with my still going strong (and previously free!) fitbit for awhile longer. Definitely on the right track and jealous of the notification support.
  • Mine should (hopefully) arrive or ship tomorrow. Really looking forward to it; I haven't ever owned a fitness tracker (or a watch for the past 10 years), so it should be an interesting change.
  • Amazing...
  • A nice review Daniel. Regarding your described lack of social fitness features though, keep in mind that Microsoft has included integration with many third party fitness services sich as Strava. This is where the social fitness element will come from.​
  • Great review of the Band 2.  Huge plus for the included video.  Great quality, editing, motion and overall production design.  By far the best video so far on the Windows Central. No static shots! Whoever did the video did a pro job!
  • Thanks and credit goes to Mark Guim for the video and editing!
  • I guess when not shooting for WC his cam consists only of his dog Google and some mouth watering food.
  • Yeah but WCentral needs a drone camera like those snazzy guys at The Verge! http://www.theverge.com/2015/10/29/9631634/new-microsoft-band-2-review-f...
  • @MikeSo Nice link!. The video from Verge is interesting.  I really like the drone camera, and the text on grass scene is a nice touch (1:30 mark).
    https://i.gyazo.com/e483d986ae496e4abf533999813f88d9.png The Verge's focus on Fitness seemed more like a commercial and less informative when compared with WCentral.  Overall I like WCentral's approach visually better than the Verge's.  Would be curious to see other people comments on the two video approaches.
  • Great reiview Daniel! Thank you! Mine was just shipped. Awaiting delivery.
  • Still not there yet...I will wait for Band 3!
  • No multitasking at all... So if I'm working out get a call, I have to "stop" my workout? Is that only if I use the band? Could I use the phone or bt headset to do phone or music stuff without impacting the band and stat collection?
  • Not quite, you do get a notification and it won't interrupt your workout. But if you are in a workout, you can't navigate away.
  • Try: Action button, back.
    It worked on band one.
  • You do have to pause the workout to reach other functions on the Band, but, yes, you can do whatever you want with your phone or music stuff while you excercise.  The phone-Band sync is done in the background.
  • If you're in a work out you can still answer a phone call with anything but the band and it wont cancel out your work out (that's how the 1st Gen works at least) it's rare that multitasking is needed on the device to be honest.
  • The band is "standalone" of the phone. The "no multitasking" simply means: If you do a run for example and want to check the UV meter, you can't. You have to stop the workout (end it), switch to UV check and start a "new" run afterwards. That is a bit of a gripe for me because it would be nice to just switch to another tile to check something but it's not possible. But it's no dealbreaker for me.   Regards,
  • It isn't to me either. Anyway during a ride you can check the current time and other things when swiping to the right. That's all that I need after using a Band 1 for almost a year. 
  • Agree, would be nice, but not a dealbreaker.  Hopefully Gen3 gets that.
  • So in true Microsoft fashion it'll be the 3rd iteration that gets it right......
  • The Xbox and Xbox 360 were both damn good. All 3 generations there where right. Bot sure why you think the band 1 and 2 aren't "right". Surface pro 1, 2, and 3 are awesome. Your logic is just plain flawed.
  • Thank you Daniel!
    Delivery November 2nd
  • OMG I can't wait. I have just recevid an email from MS confirming my shipping.by 
    Should be here by Saturday.
  • Hope MS can strike a deal with Samsung (or some other battery manufacturer with similar tech) to use a slimmer battery in Band 3. The bulky clasp seems to me the biggest weakness of the Band 2 physical design. http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2015/10/23/samsung-unveils-new-stripe-batter...
  • You make this statment without trying one on...?
  • Lol, everyone is making all kinds of statements here without trying one on. Second, I said it _seems_ to be the biggest weakness of the Band 2 physical design. What would you name as that? You don't think it would be good if the clasp in Ban 3 was slimmer thanks to new battery tech?
  • Did they increase the number of tiles available on the band?  (Right now, on the Band 1, out of the box, you cannot enable all of the available tiles as there is a limit ... hoping v2 isn't as limiting)
  • Nope, same limit.
  • That sucks.
  • Sorry, but that god awful clasp is the deal breaker for me.  It looks and feels terrible. 
  • Wearables will always be divided on design and comfort preferences due to their proximity.
  • I wear the display on the inside of the wrist and I'm not a fan of that clasp, either. I'm hoping there is a black skin that will cover the clasp without messing up its operation. Even with the improved comfort, there's not enough new functionality to justify a new Band purchase for me when I find it so ugly. I still love version 1. A trade in program tied in to Microsoft Complete might make me change my mind, though.
  • You may be the only one who thinks the Band 2 uglier than the first one.
  • No issues here, have no idea why people make it out to be such a big deal. It's highly functional and doesn't cause discomfort.
  • Yet there's a giant, silver square on the top of your wrist.... how can anyone find that desirable?   Maybe it's because I'm use to wearing nice watches.... then all of a sudden to see this thing on my wrist is such a drastic shift
  • http://www.amazon.com/ArmorSuit-MilitaryShield-Microsoft-Anti-Bubble-Replacements/dp/B0169MYAHG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1446140867&sr=8-1&keywords=band+2+skin   I used this on the first band.  They included a little piece that covered the clasp which made it more discrete.
  • I agree, it is big and ugly.  Was hoping MS would figure out a way to make one strap slide into and disappear inside the other, or some other way to smooth it out.  Still not enough to keep me from wearing and using one (I've had four original Bands), but MS is not done, for sure.
  • I'm suprised they didn't make more note of the change of the charging location.  My current band is a nightmare to charge.  My sweat has eaten away at the copper plates and so no matter what I do to clean them, even with a brand new charging cable, I have to wiggle it around for a good 5 minutes before I can get it in a position where it will start charging. Does anyone know if MS offers a refurbishing/repair service for the old bands?  Has anyone done it?  I'd like to sell/give away my old, but no one would take it if they have the same charging issues I've had for the last several months.
  • Just curious, have you tried a stronger charger? I had a left over iPhone USB adapter and I had the same problem. Turns out it was only a 1.5A and when I switched to a 2.5A it works so much better. Every so often I have to wiggle it once, but still way better.
  • I haven't tried anything other than the one that came with it and the one from my Dell Venue Pro 8.  I'll hunt around to see if I have a more powerful charger.  I hope it's that simple, thanks for the tip!
  • If you have Complete, they'll replace the band completely.  I was told they don't bother trying to repair a used band. (for Band 1).
  • sweat less
  • You can absolutely get a replacement, for free, from MS Support, if your Band is not charging well.  You do have a one-year warranty.
  • Give a Contest for band 2.
  • Excellant! answered lot of my questions.... Thanks! Grabing one next month. I like that the clock lits up with hand movement. Now my girlfriend will sleep with me in night!!! Only complain is that it wont rotat so cannot be worn other way as I am better at using fingures compared to thumb!
  • Excellent* Grabbing* Lights* at night* complaint* rotate* so it cannot* the other way* fingers* compared to my thumb*
  • You know sleep tracking mode turns off the display right?
  • Nice review Daniel.... Seeing one for the first time at a Microsoft Store I noticed scratches on the metal clasp. That won't stop me from getting one. It was nice to try one on. Looks great. Fits nicely on the wrist. Very crisp and smooth scrolling display. Hope s/w development moves at a good pace with 3rd party contributions.
  • Yeah looks like we're going to have to get used to the scratches on the clasp.  Wish they would have just made it black.
  • Daniel, are you confident enough with the inside orientation that it will not scratch the display?  Is GG3 that good against scratches from normal use?
  • I have had no issues yet, looks fine. TBH, even on gen 1 it wasn't the display that scratched but rather the plastic bezel that did.
  • Indeed. Luckily for me, my Band that had developed a scratch was also the one that died and refused to turn on. So I got a new one in replacement under warranty. I've had a screen protector film fitted since. I'm presently on my third band due to the first two failing. I'm hoping Gorilla Glass 3 makes the display and surround more scratch resistant as dont recall any scrapes previously that would account for the scratch, It really shouldn't scratch just in normal use.
  • I loved the first gen Band, but returned it within the first month when I started getting issues. It was a tough decision because it was otherwise such a great device. So I've taken a gamble by preordering the Band 2, but I'm putting my faith in Microsoft having addressed those issues.
  • What issues did you have?  I've had four Bands myself.  The first one was great, but the screen was accidently smashed against a rock.  The 2nd and 3rd were lemons; they had problems with water resistance, touchscreen support, and heartrate monitoring.  On the fourth one, MS Support "made sure" I got a good, working one, and it has in fact been great.  Just saying, you could have replaced yours with MS Support, and even though it might have taken a couple iterations, they eventually would have "made sure" you were good.  Not ideal, definitely, but I do love seeing companies support their products after the fact.
  • I guess I'm an admitted MS fanboy. Despite having the original Band, I have the Band 2 on preorder. I guess I will give the original Band to my wife. She's been wanting a fitness band. Lol Yeah, nothing like a hand-me-down.
  • Can all notifications that comes on your phone show up on your band? If so is it windows phone specific? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Of course, and no, works with iOS and Android too.
  • I wish you could somehow have the data from it automatically sync with Fitbit. I really want one, but I like the social features of Fitbit, not to mention a lot more people have Fitbits.
  • Microsoft has integration with a few third party fitness tracking services, some of which have social aspects, such as Strava. Data from your band will be synced to those services automatically. At first glance I can see RunKeeper, myFitnesspal, HealthVault, mapmyfitness, Strava and TaylorMade myRoundPro.  The latter presumably for golf.  No sign of a fitbit service integration though, however I'd imagine fitbit wouldn't really want their system to be linkable to a competitor's device.
  • I am glad to see the Strava integration (I'm hoping this means we'll get a standalone Strava app someday as well) as well as others, and I imagine you're right about Fitbit not wanting the Band to tie in so closely since it's a competing product, it's just kinda unfortunate for me since my parents, a cousin, and a few friends all have Fitbits and we like to do the challenges.
  • I just dropped about $25 a few weeks ago for a used Fitbit Zip so I can participate somewhat with my family and friends who are in that system. Just clip it on or throw it in my pocket and it counts my steps separately from my Band which collects details on the stuff only I care about (sleep, heart rate during workouts/runs, run distance/pace/etc). Kinda fun, but it would be nice to have better sharing tools from for the Band when I do want to show something off.
  • That's not a bad idea actually! I am curious to see what Microsoft will do with the supposed social features they're going to have someday, but of course it will never work with Fitbit. Oh, well, can't have it all I guess. :P
  • I wish for the same thing. Im upgrading from a fitbit flex and its fun to kick my friends ass at steps.. i wanted something that had more options like golf work outs and bikeriding with out having to manually put in generic options. so i decided on the band 2 instead of the fitbit surge but not being able to compete with friends kind of sucks. might put my fitbit in my pocket while i wear the band so i can still compete. 
  • Ha, I was thinking of just having my Charge HR on one wrist and the Band on the other...but that'd look a little silly. :P
  • Quick question, Dan. How does it feel when you type on a keyboard wearing the band with the display under the wrist?  Should we be aware of the screen getting scratched? Typing was quite a challenge with Band 1, also due to its shape. :)    
  • On my ergo keyboard, it's fine, no issue. I take it off when using a laptop, however,
  • Thanks for the clarification.
  • Question: does the charger work internationally? Is it 120-240Hz / 50-60Hz? Or is it just a regular USB charger?
  • just a regular usb cable
  • Are notifications still horribly delayed (from time to time)?
    Perhaps that is a Windows Mobile issue...
  • For me it seems specific to Windows Mobile 10.  Notifications were better before I started getting insider previews.  Notifications have improved greatly in recent weeks though.
  • Ah. Great to know it has been worse. But still not good enough, in my opinion. However, I hope they keep working on it! :)
  • Good review with some nice action shots. The Band 2 looks like a big step up from the original. The UI is nicely done too. Clean and elegant. W10M should look like that.
  • About to order. Just need confirmation on sizing. Hopefully soon US delivery starting tomorrow. My wrist circumference 180-184mm. With Band 1 in size L in Wintertime: set on thighest setting. Band 2 is according to some 1 or even 2 notches bigger the Band 1. And to some other they are exactly the same size.
  • Hi Dan, do you think the Band 2 can be upgraded to Windows 10 IoT in the future? Posted via.........deez nutz!!!!!!
  • It should be. I hope so too!!
  • Nice to see that MS did well on the Band 2. MS is creating a nice hardware ecosystem to go along with the windows 10 platform.
  • Dan, you said your gut feeling is that Microsoft will do the Win10 IoT in next year's device. Does the band 2 have hardware that can be upgraded to that if Mircrosoft does indeed do that with band 3?
  • No.
  • Thanks!
  • Is this sure? You broke my heart.
  • If I set an alarm on my phone it'll sync to my Band and if I turn the alarm off on my phone it'll also turn the alarm on the Band off. But if I turn the alarm on the Band off it'll still carry on going on the phone. Has this been fixed? So if an alarm set by the phone is turned off on the Band 2, the alarm on the phone will also go off? And with the Smart Alarm feature, does this now mean if we set an alarm, it'll go off even if the sleep tracking is turned on the Band 2?
  • On the original Band, sleep tracking is an optional app you manually select before going to sleep.  There is an automatic sleep tracking feature, but it's purely passive, and only adds sleep sessions after the fact.  So I'm guessing the Smart Alarm feature only works when actively tracking sleep with the app?
  • Sleep tracking is built into the Band natively, but yes you have to set it manually. I know the Health app has an "auto detect" feature for sleep but I'm not entirely sure how that works.
  • Just sleep with it in on, it will show up a few hours later as "time of sleep (detected)".  
  • And with the Smart Alarm feature, does this now mean if we set an alarm, it'll go off even if the sleep tracking is turned on the Band 2?
    The Band's alarm already goes off when in sleep tracking mode. Sleep tracking mode does disable the connection between the phone and the Band, so alarms set on the phone itself do not send a notification to the Band when the alarm goes off. I don't think this will change with the new Band and the new smart alarm feature. If you want the Band to wake you up, you'll probably need to start setting your alarm on the Band itself.
  • Really? Even if I set an alarm on my Band and then turn on sleep mode, the alarm doesn't go off until I turn the sleep mode off. Severing the connection between the Band and the phone when it's active does make sense as to why nothing comes through; I just assumed it just 'disabled' notifications but would still receive them.
    I still wish that if I set an alarm on my phone and then turned it off on my Band when it went off, it would turn the phone alarm off too. I'm sure its possible, it's just whether MS would implement it.
  • Nothing about the V02 Max functionality?
  • Band 1 has that already. But yes, it's worth mentioning.
  • Okay, that's my bad. I thought it was something that only the 2 had.
  • This was added to the Microsoft Health service backend recently.  It determines your VO2 Max based off your sensor readings, which are the same in either Band (the added barometer won't affect this reading).
  • I think it was left out of the review because it was one of the features that didn't change.
  • This is awesome
  • Two questions:
    How long will the battery lasts with the GPS on? I would like to run my next marathon with it, my last marathon time was 4:46. And I climb Mt. Whitney twice a year (winter and summer) I start at 5am and back down around 11pm, will the GPS last that long? Can I turn off the GPS and have the Band use the GPS that's on my phone? Posted via Spaceship One
  • I've read estimates of about 4.5 hours with GPS on. I ran a half-marathon in 2:16 about 6 months ago and had plenty of battery left on my Band (with watch mode turned on the entire time). I plan to run a full marathon next year and expect to be able to finish before the battery dies.
  • Thanks. Which half marathon did you run and which marathon do you intend to run? 
    I did a couple Los Angeles Marathon and one Portland, I also did six Disney Half marathon (only women get medals for that) My girlfriend got them all, we men only get to play the 120$ to run but fun just the same. 
  • I'm in Oklahoma City where we have the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon every April to honor victims of the OKC bombing in 1994. I got talked into trying the half marathon about a 3 months before the race, and decided I want to try to complete a full one next year (with more adequate training time).
  • I must tell you, my knees are out for about two months after a full marathon. Don't run for time, run to finish when you do your first marathon. My girlfriend is learning this the hardway. She lost two of her toenails and one of her toes looks like its been zombified.
  • The miles, they do add up.
  • I guess this can be used as an incentive to improve your times.
  • The GPS would last about four hours on the original Band, and I'm guessing it hasn't changed very much.  Unfortunately you would probably have to carry an external battery and a charger cable, which is what I do on my longer hikes and bike tours. No, the Band won't use your phone's GPS, unfortunately, or use some other way to preserve battery, like checking the GPS only once a minute or so, to confirm your step readings.  The Garmins are better for this functionality still.
  • How long does your Band 1 take to get GPS lock? I have the Highgear Altimeter watch and its quick to lock GPS signal. Thanks
  • The initial lock will take a while on its own, but the secret is to manually sync the Band with the phone app while searching for GPS.  The Band will use your phone's GPS location to help it lock immediately (assuming you use your phone's GPS).  After the initial lock, the Band locks fast (<5 seconds).  It it ever slows down, just sync your Band with your phone again.
  • I get 5+ hours with GPS on my band v1. Key is to turn off notifications, turn off watch mode, set to airplane mode, turn off haptic alert and turn off bluetooth. After starting run or cycle activity, turn screen off. Rode 5.5 hours last weekend with GPS and heart rate monitor both turned on.  Hope this is useful to any fellow marathon runners or riders. Cheers    
  • I get about 3,5h of Gps tracking with my band one :-(. Did Anyone try gps tracking with the Band 2? Any improvements?
  • Lack of "social features"?!? This is your major complaint? Wow
  • Yes, for most people that is the major complaint.  For FitBit, it's huge to be able to compete with friends... with this, you get none of that.  
  • You can. Because of the integrated services. I do on Strava (Bike)
  • Strava is a network, but not nearly as popular as Fitibt or I dunno, Microsoft's own Xbox LIVE. I think this is an obvious thing, I mean the Band started as an Xbox accessory for crying out loud and they removed everything from it. Geez, if I can get an achievement for watching Netflix or TV on my Xbox I should be able to get one for running or riding 20 miles. Also, I don't have Strava and know no one who does. Yet I know like 10 people with a Fitbit.
  • Strava is hands down the best service to use if you are serious about cycling/running/swimming/hiking.
  • Then again I know nobody with a Fitbit and have a couple of friends on Strava. But I agree, social features could be better. Just that it does already for me. 
  • Opposite is true for me here. If your run or bike ride isn't on Strava then it doesn't count! :D 
  • Social features are important nowadays. Think of how users decide to buy mobile phone apps and mobile phones. Friendly competition is a good motivator to get people to buy and actually use their fitness bands. It's more fun to race against someone you know rather than just against a digital timer or counter, even if it is just the number of steps walked in a day. Microsoft needs to build these types of features into the firmware and Health app. It can't rely on outsourcing such key functions to third parties.
  • It's nice to see badges too. Trophies and all, daily challenges, etc.
  • WIsh battery would get longer on it... I picked up a Band 1 from a member on here and I get about 2 days on it (give or take a 1/2 day) to play with to see if I like it. Coming from a Pebble, the battery life has much to be desired....
  • And going to a Pebble from a Band would leave many others things to be desired ...
  • It's no different than any Android smartwatch... iwatch... etc.  In fact, it might have better battery life than those.  Yes, we get it, nothing competes with a ink display of the pebble.... get use to it for now.  
  • The Band 2 still lacks controls for music. For this alone I will wait for Band 3.
  • Do people not realize you can use Cortana to control music? Sure it's not all the functionality, but it's got next, repeat, back, request a certain song, start, stop, play a playlist...
  • Only with Windows Phone so that is around 3% of the mobile phones in the U.S. 97% is a big number.
  • I think the majority does not know this.  Of course you'll have to be on a windows phone.
  • Ben Sailors, the use of Cortana for music controls sounds promising.
  • Good review, one mistake: max operating altitude is 4877 meters, not 3937 feet (where did you get that from?).
  • OMG, this review is 200% better than the garbage The Verge put out this morning.  Thank you for greater details.
  • If it doesn't have an apple logo, the verge is completely against it
  • FYI, the Win10 desktop app is not showing the review. The only thing is shows is "click here to review comments."
  • My pre order arrives on Monday. I'll always buy the latest Band. By far the most useful wearable and fitness device out there imo.
  • Dan, since the Band 1 can be had for $99 US, does the Band 2 improvements justify the extra cost?  Take this question from the perspective of one who can't upgrade every year.
  • Question: What about unicode support in notifications? Can you test it? This feature is really important for foreign users :) Thank you!
  • It's getting universally panned by just about every site... From mashable: When worn on the inside, the clasp — which is a little tricky to secure and is relatively unattractive — faces up. Considering this is the part everyone will see, you’d think Microsoft would have paid extra attention to nailing that part of the design (or better yet, altering the design entirely so you don't have to wear it on the side).  In theory, this type of addition could be applauded, but it didn't take longer than a day or two for the silver part to scratch and scruff. PCWorld: Microsoft Band 2 review: This health-oriented wearable still faces big hurdles Engadget: Band still isn't the most comfortable thing I've ever put on my wrist; the GPS can take ages to work properly; and the interface can be obtuse.     
  • The review here is good from a smartwatch perspective and contains some nuggets of information not included in other reviews.  TSPiV? As expected, the more fitness oriented reviewers are comparing Band 2 with similarly priced fitness bands from companies known for their fitness products like Fitbit and Garmin.  Microsoft is new to the health and fitness game so they can't be expected to be as good right out of the gate.  Maybe in Band 3 if they remain committed to a wrist wearable.  They are close.
  • You don't need to be experienced in watch manufacturing to know the form factor is terrible and unappealing to most consumers.  You just need to have some common sense.
  • That's the original Band/Band 2 tradeoff between cramming all that sensor tech in a tiny device and battery life versus comfort and form factor. It'll be interesting to read WC's direct comparison of the Fitbit Surge and Band 2.  It might be a little unfair because the Surge has been out for almost a year.  As we all know, wearable tech gets better and better every year.
  • They are completely different devices.  To compare them directly is ridiculous, like cross-shopping an Accord and an F-150, both of which have wheels, brakes, and steering wheels and function as transportation.  Which one is "better" depends on what the buyer is looking for.
  • As fitness bands go, the Surge probably comes the closest to the Band/Band 2 in terms of features/price.  Garmin has a number of devices in that price range too.  So reviewers focused on fitness are going to be basing their reviews on experiences with those and other similar fitness devices.  The comparisons are going to be made. Band 2 isn't competing against the Apple Watch that's for sure.  Besides the big price difference, the Band 2 only comes in one color.
  • lol, one color.
  • That said, I also hope they stick with it.  I felt the MotoActiv was on the right track and this could be too...it has most of the right functions it just doesn't do them very well and falls short as an actual everyday watch.
  • If a watch was what you wanted, the band/band 2 is not for you.  If you want something that's less bulky, get something that's less bulky but i'll guarantee you that it will not have all the sensors that either band will has.
  • Thank you for the good review.  You just failed to mention that the band 2 will be available for the first time in Canada November 20th.
  • Does anybody know what's the weight of the Band 2? And could it use Wifi instead of BT for notifications if I'm too far from my phone? That's something I use on my iP6+ with Apple Watch
  • From my understanding, there's no wifi functionality.
  • No WiFi.  Would be nice, but not really that important, and would suck more battery.  The times I am away from my phone with my Band are usually when I'm running or otherwise excercising, and no WiFi would be around anyway.
  • Questions. 1. Sizing, are they defined as the same size as before ? I have a Medium band 1, it fits but, I cant make it any bigger (at the max), so I should get a large one and it should be able to shink a little if needed? 2. Sleep timer, does it work if I set the phone to wake me up (as I always have done), or do I need to use it on the band ?
  • 1. Paul Thurrott said that the sizing seems to run larger than the previous version. I and others who were wearing the medium at or near the tightest settings found that the medium Band 2 was too big at the tightest setting. If the same holds true on the upper end of the medium, a medium would probably work better and the large might be too big. You might be better off if you could try one on first. 2. If you are in sleep tracking mode, communication is cut off between the phone and the Band. I'd assume the same would hold true for the new version. Outside of sleep tracking, you'd still get alerts when the phone alarm goes off, but if you want to use it to wake you while tracking sleep, you'd probably still need to set the alarm on the Band itself.
  • http://www.microsoft.com/microsoft-band/en-us/buy-now Download their sizing guide and print it out.  There's a cutout for measurements.
  • I was intrigued by this, but as a runner, I feel it's just another toy.  Operating temperature range and battery life don't cut it.  And no word on GPS accuracy, which on Band 1 was not very good.  Questionable water resistance once again.  And unreliable heart monitor that is next to worthless if you are in motion. I ended up with a Garmin Vivoactive and am quite happy with it.  Sure, it doesn't do as much, but it's a lot better at the core things a fitness watch should be capable of.  Maybe next year somebody will figure it out and offer a true all-in-one watch.  But I doubt it.  Much easier to cater to the fitness pretenders.
  •  And no word on GPS accuracy, which on Band 1 was not very good.
    I haven't used any other fitness trackers with GPS, but I've found the Band's GPS to be very accurate compared to any phone I've ever used to track my running. Phones always show a lot of deviations from the route with little zig-zags adding extra distance to the tracked route, but the Band always records precise movements following my path. Locking the GPS location to start is a different issue. I have had some issues getting an initial lock. It is usually fairly quick, but I have had some instances where I can't get a lock after a few minutes. Power cycling the Band resolves that issue.
  • Thats an unfounded claim. I use the GPS all the time, it works great. http://www.strava.com/activities/420761211
  • Yep. Agree. Works great. In general a quick GPS fix and it's very reliable.
  • Sounds like you got a lemon.  Should have replaced it via MS Support.  Insert reply indicating your impatience here.
  • I'm an avid mtber, and my band 1 is a touch too big, and I get fine HR data. Matter of fact I put my HR strap back on to compare the  the HR data. The sample rate on the Band is slower, but easier to read, and in the end told me the same exact thing. GPS was better than my 1020, and seems pretty good in the trees. Perfect when on the road. Enjoy your Garmin.
  • Yo, nice Bike, what brand is that? I wish the band tracked bike rides for atleast 4 hours.  
  • Thanks. Specialized Crosstrail Sport Disc.
  • Get a Garmin Edge for cycling. Much better than the Band for cycling . Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Yeah, no thank you, and I beg to differ. I no loger have to wear a chest strap, and only have my powermeter on my handlebars, and get notifications, and health monitoring. But that's me.
  • Hey Dan how reliable is the connection with the Windows Phone with the Band 2?  Do you always get the notifications when the device is near the phone or do you have to sync the phone to the device periodically to ensure notifications are always sent, ex SMS, call notifications... If you leave the proximity of your phone will it automatically resync with it when you are nearby? I have a Fitbit Charge HR and the syncing between the phone and the Fitbit is extremely unreliable.  I always have to resync the device in order to see the live tile information.  If the Band 2 is just as unreliable I don't see the benefit of having a device like this as a phone accessory at least for constant updates without the worry of , "oh I didn't get that message/alert".  Thanks for anyone enlightening me on this behavior as I am really interested to add this to my B-day wishlist.
  • The Band 1 had SOME syncing problems, but it was pretty reliable, overall.  Guessing the Band 2 will only improve on that, both on the Band itself, and in the app.
  • Is there a mode to wake you up once in deep sleep. I would like to tag the wife. She is really annoying me with all her sleeping.
  • Anyone know where I can order an additional charger? I charge it when I'm in the shower, but I spend a fair amount of time in the car as well, so I like to keep an extra cord there to plug into my USB car adapter charger.
  • WOW. All i wanted was music control support (available on just about every wearable device) and a internal HD with waterproof capabilites. And  these are the 3 items they decided not to address? 
  • You won't ever see a hard drive in this thing ... flash storage, maybe. I'm sure Microsoft is sorry they let you down.
  • I think the following clears up about being water resistant: Microsoft Band and Microsoft Band 2 meet these standards for dust- and water-resistance: IP6X: No ingress of dust. Complete protection against entry of dust. IPX7: Protection against temporary immersion in water (at depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes). IP67: Meets both the dust- and water-resistance standards above.  Microsoft Band and Microsoft Band 2 have tested to the IPX7 standard. Although they meet this standard in testing, Microsoft Band and Microsoft Band 2 are not intended to be immersed in water and immersion is not covered by the warranty.
  • Garmin has a simpler explanation. An IPX7 designation means the GPS case can withstand accidental immersion in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes. An IPX8 designation is for continuous underwater use. http://www8.garmin.com/footnotes/IEC_60529_IPX7.html Apple Watch and Microsoft Band 2 are IPX7. Fitbit Surge is "water resistant to 5 ATM, or 50 meters" but "does not mean the trackers can withstand the force associated with swimming strokes." http://help.fitbit.com/articles/en_US/Help_article/Can-I-swim-or-shower-... The Garmin Vivoactive has a "5 ATM" rating and is designed for swimming.  It doesn't have a built-in optical HRM.  Could optical HRM work reliably while swimming?  I wouldn't think so.
  • How are the connection for the new stress sensor? Will they corrode like band1 ? They seems quite smaller and different to previous implementation
  • Looks like a solid device. Frankly, I'd like phone companion that is just that and less fitness device so as to remove some of the bulk.  I'll probably pick one up anyway since I've been waiting for Gen 2.
  • Thank you for the review Daniel. I would like to see you touch on the VO2 max thing. So many people (like Leo Laporte and Sam from the Sam's report) got wrong what features were actually on the first Band and are now available on this Band. The VO2 max is a function of the site that I have have noticed there for some time, and isn't actually new. As far as social interactions, MS might not have them on their site (other than the how you compare functionality), but it connects to Strava, MapMyFitness (which included MapMyRun, MMRide, MMHike, etc.), my fitness pal, etc.. This means people compete and socially interact where they have been and don't have to move communities. Walkers, maybe not so much. It'd be kinda cool for them if the band sent its data to FitBit's site. I really don't think MS has to, or even should go down the social road. I still want to see downloadable .gpx and/or .tcx files for us "hardcore" powermeter cyclists, and runners who need these files. Actually the files should automatically upload to a folder of our choosing in OneDrive. I really see no excuse as to why not. Why this isn't ANT+ compatible I'm not sure. While it could do a lot, sending HR info to cycling computers in real time and allowing cyclists to ditch the HR straps would be big selling point (or maybe that's just me). Actually, allowing real time HR broadcasting via BT to high end Garmins would be nice, becaue right now if they go to ride they are putting HR strap on and possibly keeping their band/fitbit on out of convience and hoping their friends don't notice. Also, does it hold more tiles? I could use more tiles. Or, actually I could use less tiles if the notifications tile would give you alerts for FB, messenger, twitter, etc., if you didn't have them loaded on the watch. Right now the instructons said if there are tiles for said notifications then you will not get them through said tile. So, if I am at the trail head waiting for people to show and already have my phone stuffed in my pack, then I have to dig for it or ditch the weather and UV tiles in favor of all the social media tiles I have to have to make sure I get the "stuck in traffic please wait" message. P.S. It'd be nice if the next time you ride a bike on camera (or ever really), you wore a helmet. Unless of course you are willing to admit that you ride so slow and so afraid to ride around cars you don't need one.
  • "As far as social interactions, MS might not have them on their site (other than the how you compare functionality), but it connects to Strava, MapMyFitness (which included MapMyRun, MMRide, MMHike, etc.), my fitness pal, etc.. This means people compete and socially interact where they have been and don't have to move communities. Walkers, maybe not so much. It'd be kinda cool for them if the band sent its data to FitBit's site. I really don't think MS has to, or even should go down the social road." This works if Microsoft expects Band 2 buyers to switch from other mid- to higher-end fitness devices.  The Band 2 is nice but I doubt there will be significant numbers of users switching from their Garmins, Polars, or Suuntos.  Not with the current battery life with GPS on. My guess is that Microsoft is looking more at gadget oriented, casual fitness consumers (> 90% don't have fitness bands if you believe the market researchers) and consumers looking to upgrade from fitness bands with fewer features such as from Jawbone or the lower end Fitbits where social interaction and friendly competition are more meanful and motivational than a dry listing of a personal best.  Few of these consumers will be on those third party sites.  Also, it would be beyond funny if Fitbit allowed Band users to send data to its site. But maybe Microsoft is content providing the hardware and basically outsourcing these functions out to third parties until it can 'catch up.'
  • I am definitely getting one for myself when they are released.​
  • After doing some self reasoning based on Daniel's review of the Band 2, I finally cancelled my pre-order and will just stick to my Band 1 for longer (only just got it in April). I honestly see not that much improvement/reasons to upgrade other than better straps and sensors placement. Even if I manage to trade in the old Band for up to £70 credit, I don't think it'll be worth it. Based on what I saw with the pricing of previous Band, expect this new one price to drop much further after around 3-4 months. Maybe from there I'll reconsider again but for now, with no music control ability and lack of social features and not really waterproof, I'll just wait for the Band 3.
  • Unicode message support in v2 for double-byte characters (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Hebrew)???  
  • Mixed reviews about the review: Without doing a proper fitnes tracking test, I don't think one do a proper review of a fitness tracker. Having said that I belive the underlying assumtion is that most users are aware of Band 1 and its capability. However, it does address the questions that Band 1 users may have and for them it is a pretty good review. In my opionion, I still don't think Band 2 is the best device out there. I personally would love more smartwatch than fitness tracker but that is personal. However, given its design I don't think many people would buy it as a smartwatch alone. It is primarily a fitness tracker only. Secondly, even for a fitness tracker I would want more screen space with minimal bezel around the sides. Plus I still feel the device and the belt can be mode somewhat thinner and the strap should be replacable.  Not to forget features like the ability to control some of the phone apps and systems which include controlling the music and some basic settings would really make it the collest fitness tracker and/or smartwatch in the market
  • I have several questions: 1. How is the grip of that rubber? On Band 1 I am having trouble pulling long sleeves over the Band, it is very annoying. 2. Does it seem that clasp might deattach from the strip? It happened on my Band 1, so I am extra careful. This new one goes over the strip but I am still not convinced it will be durable. 3. Are the limitations on number of characters still there? It's a shame you can't read the whole message from whatsapp. Mostly it is enough for you to know if you need to reach to your phone, but from new version we all expect more. Thanks
  • Interesting device. In what way is the heart rate sensor optimized by 20%. It is interesting to know because inaccuracy of more than two beats per minute would mean the difference between being able to rely on the data on the band vs sticking to measuring your heart rate by measuring your pulse on the wrist/carotid and just using a stopwatch and question the value of the reliability of the sensor. I guess with the microsoft band the Elbrus, Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, McKinley and Everest are out of the question. But then again a batterylife of two days wouldn't be much use. Is the band chargeable from an external battery pack or is it mains charging dependent? One of the caveats with a barometer is that you have to calibrate it regularly, because the barometer reacts to weather and pressure difference in buildings. Not doing this can seriously affect reliability and accuracy of the altitude measurement. Do the band do this automatically or is there a possibility to change this in the settings manually? Does it incorporate weatherdata into the calibration? I like the new design. Perhaps two things I was expecting was 1: gps data and displaying .gpx routes on your band and 2. a vertical UX design (I think if done right, I could look nice and be funcitonal at the same time. Perhaps a bit more screen and less bezel (just like the surface pro 3->4 update).                 
  • I'm probably going to be a third generation adopter. All signs point to good things for Microsoft's Band but I would like a bigger, bezel-less screen. The current interface would look much better IMO if it filled up all the space under the glass. A couple of suggestions for Band 3: - Slightly wider and more 'masculine' width (which could also potentially help it compete with smartwatches). - More screen real estate. (Just like how phablets became the norm, people will ALWAYS want more screen to play with, even if it curves out of direct view).  - Live Tiles. 
  • The Band 2 looks amazing. But really I have to have a waterproof one for swimming. Here's hoping for Band 3.
  • CAN'T Wait to pick mine up!!!  Should be in the shop today, right?? Really liked my Band, but there were some deal breakers that I believe are getting worked out in the 2.  I actually liked the straight body, felt good on the underside of the wrist, so a little anxious about the new fit, but the old charging was so bad...    
  • Does anybody know if it's possilbe to access apps on the band 2 that aren't pinned? Say access the starbucks app without having it on the strip of apps?
  • You CAN use the on-screen keyboard with Android now. I'm guessing it's the same for iOS.
  • Yep, just used it to reply to text messages on mine that I have paired with my Nexus 6. Not the greatest input method, but at least it's an available option for people. Via the Windows Central app on the Nexus 6
  •   I agree social features are a natural for this device and it is surprising that Microsoft of all people hasn't done this. I mean, the Zune had social features (and, of course, was mocked for that at the time). Daniel, master of unboxing, you didn't mention that even the box has been improved with Band 2. Band 1 came in a simple clamshell type box. I was really impressed with the box for Band 2: the pedestal style, the clever reveal of the product and all. As for Band 2 itself, while I was never bothered by the size or rigidity in terms of comfort with the original Band, putting on the Band 2 was remarkable. I barely notice it is there. I love the Rotate feature to see the time and don't see a need for the old Watch Mode anymore. I also like that charging status shows up on the screen while charging. No swiping required. I purchased the clever charging stand for Band 1 that was the subject of an article on Windows Central last year and used it daily. The Band 2 charger won't work with this stand, so I hope someone develops a new version.
  • Packaging is very nice this time around. Via the Windows Central app on the Nexus 6
  • Wow, I'd really like music controls. It's a feature I'd use while working out or even when my phone is in my pocket, especially when headset remote controls, the other option, aren't always a convenient way to control the phone. Perhaps it's something to be added in a software update. How accurate is the heart rate monitor?  It will be the deal breaker for me. That's gotta be accurate. 
  • Hi everyone, I've received band 2 from Amazon on Friday the 30th. The band straps on the band I received were grey as opposed to the black which was shown in this review and at Microsoft event. I'm using the band2 with nexus 6 and I was not able to find the smart alarm feature. Is it something only available to Windows phone users? . I haven't checked the forums yet but will do. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Well, you know what they say, don't buy Windows till the 3rd release (XP service pack 3, 8.1 update 1, WP 8.1 (WP7->WP8->WP8.1), Surface Pro 3, etc.)  I'll probably get it anyway, if I get the money for it.
  • Can't get past the big silver clasp.  It just looks stupid on the wrist.   Bummer because I like my band one.  Guess it's time to move to another watch/band of some sort.
  • Didn't read all the comments, but I have the Microsoft Band 2 and the Samsung S6 Edge and the keyboard works amazingly well for it. Also, I have Cortana beta on my phone and checked with the Microsoft store and they said that once that moves out of beta, then a software update should occur on the band so I can also use Cortana.
  • This seems to be a winner. Finally, a device with smart alarm AND Windows compatibillity! But... it would even better if it had some internal memory so that you could use it to stream music to your bluetooth headphones. This way you wouldn't need to have your phone with you at all when you are on a run. Maybe with V3?
  • For anyone that owned a band 1 and now owns a band 2 would you say that it is a worthy upgrade?
    I'm asking because I was able to get a band 1 on clearance from my local target for $100 and I don't know if I can justify the price jump to $250. I like the updated design of the band 2 along with the inclusion of the barometer, but don't know if it is worth a $150 premium. Any feedback would be great.
  • Is it possible to update Band 2 to Windows 10 IoT? I don't see myself getting Band 3 next year, maybe two years from now. I wonder why they didn't ship it with W10 IoT. They lacked time again?
  • I've had my band 2 for a week or so now. I have the same problem with it as I had with the band 1 - still impossible to wear while you're working at a desk with keyboard+mouse (I have to wear it on my right wrist as its way too uncomfortable on my left wrist - also screen inside - which isn't very good for using against a desk's surface!). I honestly don't find it that much more comfortable than the first band. Definitely a step in the right direction but I am always aware that I'm wearing it - unlike other wearables I own (jawbone up2, pebble time, and apple watch). I have quite skinny wrists, so it doesnt quite curve around my wrist very well. That said, I find the clock work pretty flawlessly - every time i tilt my wrist, it appears as desired. I have no need for a double tap feature glad to say!
  • I'm having issues syncing mine lately with my Windows Health App, Icon WM10. Any suggestions?   I've restarted both. Turned on/off BT.
  • Should Motion Data on Lumias be turned off it a person is using Band 2? I assume there is no benefit running both and it would save some battery on a phone? I also assume, for those that want to run both, there is no drowback of results getting duplicated in a final tally when you carry both?
  • I got my band a couple of days ago and it has been utter failure. Take anything, steps, floors, calories - the band gets them all wrong. I can tell because I'm wearing a fitbit Surge at the same time. The Surge has been very reliable and believable, no matter what I throw at it, so any tracker claiming to help me get healthier and achieve more should get very close to what the Surge records. The band doesn't get anywhere close. Steps are off by at least 10%, floors by as much as 50%, same as calories. For example, my calorie reading on the Surge for yesterday was 3145 kcal, the band registered 2130 kcal. Over 1000 kcals less, that's a bloody joke, it puts me in the "typical person" range when in a fact I'm a very active person. Go check what you have to do in order to burn 1000 kcal then come back here. That's not where the bucket stops, if you put the band in watch mode (show time of day constantly) you get around 8-10 hours of battery life. The Surge lasts 5 days easily, showing the time. Yes, apples and pears, LCD vs OLED but come on, 8 hours? It then takes 1-2 hours of charging, in that amount of time it doesn't track anything, of course. I'm wondering how someone who has just the band must be feeling about their activity records: Miserable. Underachiever. I think the performance of Band 2 must be detrimental to anyone who starts out to live healthier and achieve more. Don't be as stupid as I was. Don't buy this thing because it is prettier than the Surge. Get the Surge instead and actually have a chance to change your life.
  • Maybe I'm weird but I just put my Band 1 on for grins and ya know what, it's just a comfortable as the Band 2. At least for me that is. I've learned the reality of wrist fitness bands are not the most accurate when monitoring heart rate with a light sensor  which would change calorie burn during a wokout greatly. I Know this to be fact because I've compared it with my Polar (with a chest strap) and a professional hospital grade heart monitor during my cardio rehab. The Polar and the hospital monitor where right on par with each other where the Band and Band 2 show much higher peaks and eratic heart rates. So while I think there're great to help one with motivation it stops there. Oh not counting the other features like mapping runs but heart rate and calorie burn should be used just as a guide line.
  • I had the first gen and the small was too big for me and it led to the results being inaccurate since I couldn't get it to stay put for readings during a workout. Has anyone else had this issue and found that the 2nd gen to be better fitting?