Typing on the Microsoft Band keyboard is surprisingly good

One of the new features in the latest Microsoft Band update is a customized keyboard. And despite its diminutive size, typing on it is surprisingly good. To get to grips with it, Microsoft embedded a tutorial guiding you through everything you need to know. If you haven't got the update yet, check out our short video below to see it in action.

OK, you're not going to be typing out long emails or writing a novel using your Band. But for what it's intended, that is, quick replies to notifications, it's surprisingly good. As indicated in the tutorial, there seems to be a good contact area around each letter as you tap. And since it'll be using a prediction engine to help identify that you tapped the right letters, it's potentially going to be very accurate.

The keyboard dominates the display while you're typing then once you're done you swipe to the right to see what you've written. If you're happy, a tap of the action button completes. And that's pretty much all there is to the actual keyboard. It's still a ridiculously small display to consider typing on, but if you're going to do it, it may as well be done right. And the Microsoft Band keyboard has definitely surprised us.

With a developer SDK now in preview form, too, hopefully we'll be seeing a lot more coming to the Band in the near future.

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

  • Is it really? Like... Can I swipe?
  • Maybe you can..
  • no you can't Swype... but it is good and accurate for quick replying, I love it. and if your not in a noisy environment you calm also use voice to type too
  • Yeah, no Swype. But, pretty good!
  • It would be good if it had Voice Input
  • Dude did you even read any of the articles
  • Seems cool, but even if I had the band I wouldn't type on it to send messages because I couldn't read what I had just written!!!!, I'm still hoping for some kind of European Release, although I have a feeling this release is just to test the waters Anna from what I've read people are liking the band, so I'll just have to wait for Band 2.0, which isn't always the worst thing since they work out all the kinks and add the things that were missing in the first release!!!!
  • If you swipe to the left you can read AND fix what you typed.
  • but you can't read while you're typing
  • It's not for writing Homer's Odyssey. But, great for responses.
  • This is great! Now I need to pull out the phone less often.
  • If its on my hand it will be hard to type with one hand
  • ...type with the other hand then?
  • He's saying he types with both of his hands and just using one will be hard. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Typing with two hands would be pretty difficult on a Band...
  • Will you keep band on table ... Just to type or do you have 3 hands...? Brother Its band not phone ok.... And you are seemed to be asking for 5.5inch OLED 2k display with Gorilla Glass 4 w
  • What?
  • It needs mini WordFlow
  • What we need is wordflow to support more languages, like Portuguese
  • I'm fine with that. The more the merrier.
  • Better we had that Mic Button for voice input instead of keyboard
  • Surprised how reasonably well it works, liking it. Also like that fact I can go back and reply whenever I want.
  • Likewise, I'm so glad that introduced that. I hated not being able to reply if I didn't catch it just then.
  • This will be great for quick hits!
  • I don't see the keyboard. How come?
  • Why not demo it in your arm? That demo is not the practical way of use.
  • Because this was quicker for the purposes of shooting a video at 9pm.
  • Not to be rude but then you shouldn't have shot the video.  Would have been better to actully demo the typing function while wearing the device.  ijs
  • So what, then we get 100 comments all saying "WHY DIDN'T YOU DO A VIDEO"
  • Its amazing - probably faster than speaking to Cortana by the time it's finished thinking...
  • You can't change Language. So i have to reply all my texts on english :/
  • Its actually not bad!!! But to many cry babies on here, its for quick responses. If you need to write a novel take out your phone.
  • This is starting to seem formidable. I may just order one once (if?) they're back in stock online.
  • I updated my Band, but I'm not seeing the keyboard. :/
  • Would have been nice to see you actually using the typing while wearing the device.  ijs
  • It's a 20 second video to show the keyboard. I'm really not that bothered about moving my office around to get a camera in the right position for the lighting to show that. At 9pm at night. It's not a Hollywood blockbuster. It is what it is.
  • Then you should have done the story and the video tomorrow.  It's not like this such a big story that it had to be done tonight at 9pm.  smdh
  • Ok, boss.
  • How do you update the band, the health app seems to have been updated but don't seem to have the bike tile option on the band or in the Health app
  • You'll get a firmware update notification in the Microsoft Health app when it's available. It's like anything though, it'll not hit all of the people at once necessarily.
  • Hi Richard, Could you tell me how to get the  keyboard to work? I have the update but don't see the keyboard anywhere. =(
  • When you receive a text message, you'll have the option to reply. when you hit reply, you will see the keyboard input, voice and your preset reply options.
  • To activate the Bike tile on the band, go into the phone app and swipe left and open the "Manage Tiles" page. Add/remove, customize and reorganize tiles from here. The bike tile IS there... and will be synced to your band once you activate it in your app.
  • Good evening, Does anyone know how to bring up the keyboard?
  • I'm really looking forward to Band 2! And I hope they release it world wide!
  • if you were to find a fault with the new keyboard, there are no numbers. at all. you have to spell out 4. maybe thats a future update?
  • Swipe back and tap the "123" button
  • Swipe like you would to check your battery on the home screen(from left to right). The number and symbol keyboard switches will be on the left side.
  • Very cool... easy to type with.
  • ... With voice commands it would be like the 80's.
  • Why would they not have swipe? Seems like the best input for such a small screen.
  • Yeah I used it and can say it was really easy to use. It uses some smart guessing of what words you were trying to type like Swipe!
  • Can you reply to older messages? I haven't updated yet.
  • You can reply to any message in your notifications. Old or new.
  • OMG...it actually works pretty good
  • Used it a couple of times and it really does work wonders. It's typed correctly every time. It is quite small but hey...what do you expect for a wrist band?
  • Hi there. Could you tell me How you got the keyboard to work?
  • See their latest article. It will show you everything you need to know. Just make sure to check for an update for Microsoft health first hand. No update? The keyboard won't be available to you yet.
  • Thank you for responding nubbikins. I have the update but I still don't see the keyboard. I have the biking though. Strange..
  • Hmmm...that is very odd. The only thing I've seen so far that you can reply to is text messages. Then when you view a text on your band, it will say "reply" in a box below it. That should bring up the keyboard. If you still don't see it, try restarting your band. That might help. Hope it works!
  • Thanks for the suggestion. I'm sad to say it did not work. I'm going to reset than band. I hope me having the DP isn't causing this issue. Thanks again for your time.
  • No problem. I'm not exactly sure what else to try other than the reset. Developer Preview shouldn't affect it. If you're running Win 10, that might, but unlikely. Good luck!
  • New required signature:
    "this is an xxtrmly brief message from my Windows Wrist Device"
  • This is actually pretty impressive to me. A keyboard, and a half decent one at that, is the last thing I honestly expected MS to bring to this device. Very excited for what's to come!
    Also, don't mind the haters on the video. I'm glad there are people dedicated to getting news out ASAP, instead of trying to make everything as purty as it can be!
  • The Band just got exciting again!
  • They put this buy no basic multimedia controls? Lol. Live the ideas but lets get more practical features in first. It's like WP all over again. I'll take it but I don't see myself using this like ever because you can only do it on the active notification, you can't read through your messages then reply. The. Again you'd probably just take out your phone at this point, lol.
  • I am using it. Oh my god, this is so much easier to deal with! I actually enjoy it. How strange.