Microsoft Band 2 – Is The Second Generation So Much Better?

My Microsoft Band 2 Review.

The future is here and you don’t even know. What did you think the future was as a kid? Flying cars, hoverboards, a phone attached to your wrist? Well for most of it, that’s slowly coming to reality. Not the hoverboard that doesn’t even leave the ground. I’m talking about the ingenious Microsoft Band.

From the globe-conquering company that brought you powerful word processors, the Xbox and even the game lover’s favorite series “Halo”, the amazing Microsoft Band 2 brings true meaning to technology.

Microsoft Band 2 Product Image

Microsoft Band 2 Product Image

The first Microsoft Band was announced on October 2014, and it soon became the fitness lover’s dream. All it took was a Bluetooth connection to integrate the capabilities of your phone with this smart wristband. Looking down at your wrist to check your messages became a breeze as it came with a 1.4-inch display. The Microsoft Band had a powerful battery allowing you have two whole days of uninterrupted usage. It even had what every Halo player wanted: An integrated personal assistant called Cortana who in the video games was an AI and the right-hand partner of the iconic Master Chief.

If you liked that, the Band also came with some built-in apps necessary for everyday life like the Calendar, Alarm, Facebook and so many more. The Microsoft Band works with Windows phones, IOS, and Android devices, making the Microsoft band a device that’s compatible with different phones.

MS Band 2 is your personal assistant and track your everyday activity.

MS Band 2 is your personal assistant and track your everyday activity.

Key Microsoft Band 2 Features

The Microsoft Band 2 comes with a wide range of features:

  • Optical Heart monitor: Have a heart condition? Need to keep it in check? The Microsoft Band 2 which is already strapped to your wrist gives you a highly accurate read. Heart rate sensors have also become an important tool for maximizing the effect of training.
  • Three-axis accelerometer: With a built-in sensor to measure speed, the gadget helps you get the best detail on how fast you’re going.
  • Microphone: What could be more futuristic than making a call by putting your wrist up to your mouth? I leave you to decide.
  • GPS: Lost in the badlands? Need to find the fastest running route to work? The Microsoft Band 2 has got you covered. It also gives you an accurate measurement on where you have walked, jogged or ran.
  • Skin temperature sensor: The wristband even comes with a built-in thermometer to give you the first signs of being under the weather without having to stick anything anywhere.

Design

The Microsoft Band 2 exercise gadget comes with an all-new look. It brought back pretty much the same aspects of the first Band but didn’t exactly make any of it particularly better.

With a smaller but more attractive screen, it had a larger market appeal. A lot of people expected so much more to happen in just a few months but Microsoft pretty much downplayed their ability to wow the people. It was pretty much dipping a piece of gold into a bucket of gold paint. It was still pretty much the same even if it did look shinier. What the people needed were diamonds stuck on it or fireworks anytime you looked at it.

Don’t get me wrong, though.

The Microsoft Band 2 does have some improvements over its predecessor. Yet it didn’t have that video chat app. It didn’t have that waterproof capability. It didn’t even have a camera if you thought that was a good idea. Most importantly, what people want to see is the fact that you don’t need your phone around when you need to take a walk or a run.

GPS functionality is king

GPS functionality is king

People really want convenience which wasn’t really found in the product.

This may all be well and true but you have to realize this is just the beginning. All this and more is definitely being thought of at the moment. They made a stable, more or less perfect phone. Why not a Smartwatch? Sure, you’re wondering now what makes the first band different from the second one. Well, let me walk you down on the differences and disappointing similarities (or repetitions) between the first and second generation Microsoft Bands.

The Difference Between Version One and Two

  1. With a more powerful battery, the new Microsoft Band 2 provides users with a longer amount of time to hit the gym, run the streets and take care of day to day fitness needs before plopping down at home looking for a charger.
  2. Both versions sadly have a low level of waterproof abilities and have to be protected in wet conditions. So that means no running, no showers and especially no pool diving. However, it can still manage to withstand a considerable amount of splashing, though. But take it off in the shower.
  3. The second generation device has a revamped look with a curved screen, thereby giving it an even sleeker look while it’s strapped on your wrist. You can be sure you’ll still look stylish in your sportswear.
  4. Luckily, the new Microsoft Band 2 still has the amazing personal assistant Cortana that would help keep you organized and manage your micro activities. However, Cortana is only available on Windows phones, so that’s a huge punch in the face for IOS and Android users.
  5. Along with the usual sensors such as the accelerometer, heart-rate sensor, skin temperature sensor, GPS and a few others, the new wearable comes with a built-in barometer that gives you a read on your given elevation.

In fact it comes with 11 sensors which are: Optical heart rate sensor, 3-axis accelerometer/gyro, Gyrometer, GPS, Ambient light sensor, Skin temperature sensor, UV sensor, Capacitive sensor, Galvanic skin response, Microphone, and Barometer.

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Product videos

Here is the official product video:

Also, check out the ‘Microsoft Band 2 First Look’ video from Times Never Wasted:

Other Accessories

This activity tracker comes only in black and it is not possible to change bands. But you can buy a screen protector so the display will last for a longer time. I would highly recommend it since you will probably bump into this and that all the time.

Fitness tracker for exercising

Fitness tracker for exercising

Final Conclusion

All in all, both activity trackers are amazing investments with a wide range of features and sensors. With the Microsoft Band 2 at an affordable price of $199, your wallet won’t even feel it.

I took the Microsoft Band on a test drive so I will just be putting down the specs on paper. I took the closest long distance landmark and used it to gauge myself. I went as far as 250 meters and I couldn’t help the surprise; I had never felt so connected on so many levels. My phone sat in the bottom of my pocket integrating my smart watch by only tapping the Bluetooth button. I got notifications right to my wrist from Facebook so I wasn’t missing anything.

I could gauge how far I should run at different time intervals with the Alarm app and even make one or two calls to my jogging partners to meet up to my location with both the GPS and call features of the Smartwatch.

Honestly, I felt more or less like a cyborg with how in-sync with technology I was. Done for the morning’s jog, I didn’t just feel refreshed and rejuvenated that I had done a satisfying workout; I also felt a deep sense of accomplishment, having owned such an innovative technology.

It was now only a few minutes before work started so after tossing it away for a few minutes and hopping in and out of the shower. It was back on my wrist. If you don’t mind, having just a colored bracelet on your arm, the Microsoft Band 2 is perfect for even the workplace. Now I can’t get a heart attack with it constantly checking my pulse.  This brings you back to its effectiveness as a safeguard for your health.

All in all, it’s a highly versatile device, a highly recommended watch for people of all lifestyles. Runners, basketball players, golfers, brain surgeons, mountain climbers need to get this activity tracker.

This is only a glimpse of what the future holds and even less on what Microsoft has to offer in a time not too far away.

Embrace the future. Embrace the Microsoft Band 2.

Pros and Cons

 Pros +  Cons –
  • Looks great
  • Curved color display
  • A lot of sensors like heart rate sensor and GPS
  • Smart notifications makes it a really smart fitness tracker
  • Only one color
  • Not exactly waterproof
  • Low battery life
Must read: Garmin fenix 3 for Multi-Sport athletes!

What’s In The Box

  • Microsoft Band 2 activity tracker
  • USB cable for charging
  • Quick start manuals

Where Can I Buy Microsoft Band 2?

Purchase Product

US: Purchase on Amazon.com.

Purchase Product

UK: Purchase on Amazon.co.uk.

Always click the button to check recent price and additional info. It may be on sale. If you are in or close to the USA click the top link to check recent price and additional info. If you are in or close to the United Kingdom, click the bottom link.

Remember to buy the right size since there are three sizes to choose from!

More Info or Questions

If you want more info before buying, check out the reviews from other users here. Like:

“Microsoft Got Their ”Geeky Cool” Band Right on the 2nd Try” By PositiveLogic

“BETTER Then the APPLE WATCH…” By denisa matamoros

“A nice little device that accompanies my journey into a healthier lifestyle.” By A. Utama

If you happen to have any other questions or comments on my Microsoft Band 2 review, do not hesitate to leave me a comment below!

Technical Specifications

Here are the most important, technical details:

General Design:
Type Wristband
Weight 0.13 punds, 58.9 g
Dimension -
Size 3 sizes (Large, Medium, Small) – Sizing guide
Materials Band is thermal plastic elastomer silicone vulcanite (TPSV)
Interaction Tapping the screen and an Action button. There is also a Power button.
Interface Curved full color display in 320 x 128 pixels resolution
Battery Type Rechargeable
Battery Life 48 hours (2 days) with normal use (fewer days if functions like GPS is on)
Charge Time 1.5 hours
Colors Black
Water-Resistant Dust and water resistant only
Water-Proof (depth) Not waterproof
Vibration Yes
Sensor 11 sensors including HR sensor, GPS, barometer and UV monitor
It Tracks:
Steps Taken Yes
Distance Yes
Activity time Yes
Calories Burned Yes
Sleep Duration and Quality Yes
Heart Rate Yes
UV Yes
24/7 (All day) Yes
Other features:
Time Yes
Silent Vibration Alarm Yes
Guided Workouts Yes
Smart Notification Yes
Music Control Yes
Connectivity:
Wirelss or USB Wireless and microUSB
Device Compatibility Windows, Android and iOS
Sync Method Bluetooth 4.0 (Low Energy)
Mobile App Microsoft Health App
Cortana support Yes with Windows phones
Maintenace & FAQ:
Manufacturer Microsoft
Manual (PDF) Design Guidelines PDF

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