On a recent trip to USA I got a nice offer for a Microsoft Band 2. I walked into a Microsoft Store and had a look at the Band 2. And it really blew me away regarding smartbands. The screen is really bright and sharp with nice colors thanks to the amoled screen. And the performance is very good. I like the responsiveness of the user interface. And it looks good too.
So, what actually made me buy this was the above AND it was at a discount to $175 which I think it is absolutely worth. But it also does have a nice optical heart rate monitor and is more or less alone having a UV sensor as well to measure UV in your environment. It will even notify you if you have been out in the sun for a given period of time.
I brought it home and had a play with it. It does work very well and I really enjoyed the nice build from it. And it was exiting to see my HR for a full day – even though it doesnt measure HR continously – it measures often enough to give you an idea for your day or night.
I also tried to take it for a trip in the woods and compare it to my Garmin Fenix 3 to see how it performed. It did well, but the sportwatch is clearly the winner here. Even though for the occational hiker this would do fine.
Display is a little bit better on the Fenix 3 in the sun which it handles without any issue.
I took it on two trips the time I owned the Band 2 and on one of the trips it measured a little bit shorter distance than the Fenix 3. And on the other it was the opposite. So not I dont have a cunclusion on which GPS performs better, but both are fine. The app gives a lot of nice info after your workout with lots of nice little details. So great work by Microsoft there!
(sorry about the Norwegian language there)
The sleep monitoring is great to giving you nice details on how your sleep was. I must say – here also Microsoft did a great job with presenting the results in the app.
(again sorry about the local language)
I wish Garmins app was that good presenting the results from sleep. Clicking the heart icon will display the heart rate measured while sleeping.
Notifications also works nice. I had a slight issue with emails not being notified even though activated in the app. I did some googling (as you do) and found a nice forum for the band at http://www.reddit.com. Even though reddit.com looks like 1990 I was deeply impressed with the respons to my post there. The one person in the world that I would most want to respond to my post was the developer in Microsoft responsible for the email notification function on the Band 2! … !!!!! That was really cool! I could like a company that puts me directly in touch with the developers! I am still blown away by that. And his respons helped me sort it (proved to be an issue in the new Samsung email app in Marshmellom 6.0.1 which was just released and I had installed before purchasing the band).
So there you have it. My experiences with the Microsoft Band 2. It is a mindblowingly long step ahead from the Band 1 which looked…beta.. There are three things that I did not like that much with it. Nothing is perfect, but everything is improving, right?
I found it a little bit bulky to wear. I could not decide wihchever way I wanted to wear it. With the screen on the inside our outside. Wearing it on the outside made the battery/UV sensor feel big when putting my hands on the table in front of my computer at work. And turning it around is getting into number two on my list. Even though the build quality and feel of this product is great – it is very sensitive to scratches. The screen is Gorillaglass 3 and was the only thing I did not make a scratch on during my -one week- ownership of this gadget. I was a bit sad to see how easy it got scratches. My Fenix 3 has been my everyday watch for a year and does not have a single scratch! The Band 2 got a few during just a week use and I used it VERY carefully knowing I was going to sell it. And the third thing is the same as with most smart wearables made in 2015 – battery life. It lasted only two days which is not bad but not great either (again Fenix 3 – 10 days with Bluetooth on!!).
All in all – great device if you can bear with the slightly bulky design. And it does support all the three mobile platforms (iOS, Android and Windows Phone obviously).
BTW: I just sold my Garmin Fenix 3 upgrading to the Fenix 3 HR. Might get into a small review of that one as well.