Wearable Fitness Tech: Microsoft Band 2 blows away competition

When Microsoft introduced its first wearable fitness technology, expertly titled the Microsoft Band, it was almost laughable. Yes, the company put a great deal of awesome features into it, but wearing the atrociously blocky band was awkward and uncomfortable, to say the least. But the company’s second edition, the Microsoft Band 2, is so advanced, it’s set the bar a million times higher for competitors.

If you ever modeled the first Microsoft Band, the newest version will absolutely floor you. In fact, it’s almost like alien technology compared to everything else on the market. Not only is it jam-packed with more features than any other wearable fitness band, it’s incredibly comfortable to wear, easy to use and—most amazing of all—you don’t have to bring your smartphone with you on a run, although it has a bit more functionality if you do.

Microsoft Band 2 Wearable Fitness Technology

The Microsoft Band 2 comes loaded with features. In fact, it’s got 11 sensors in all, each designed to perform different quality tasks. These include an optical heart rate sensor, 3-axis accelerometer/gyro sensor, gyrometer, GPS, ambient light sensor, skin temperature sensor, UV light sensor, capacitive sensor, galvanic skin response, a microphone, and the newest addition, a barometer.

We’ll look at some of the more unique and highly appreciated features of the Microsoft Band 2, but first, the thing everyone is probably wondering… what’s this going to cost me?

This wonderful little wrist accessory will set you back USD $249 (CAD $329).

Top Features of the Microsoft Band 2

GPS Antenna: The GPS antenna is great, and not something you’ll find in any other wearable fitness band outside of a smartwatch. It displays your whereabouts on a map so you don’t have to have your phone on you while working out. The GPS can take a minute to find the nearest satellite, so turn it on before you head out for your morning jog.

UV Light Sensor: Afraid of getting sunburn? Not anymore. The Microsoft Band 2 not only detects the strength of UV rays, it tells you when you should wear a hat and sunglasses, when it’s time to reapply sunblock, and what SPF is best to use for the current conditions.

Data Access: Again, you won’t need your phone to access all of the data the band tracks. However, more detailed analysis is sent to your phone for viewing at your convenience. The data can also be shared with other fitness apps, like MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal, Strava, and many, many more.

Easy Clasp: Putting the band on is incredibly easy. It only takes one hand (a thumb and finger, really) to lock the clasp, and can be easily adjusted to fit your wrist afterwards without risk of the clasp coming undone.

Mimics a Smartwatch: With this neat little gadget, you won’t need a smartwatch. It does just about everything a traditional smartwatch does (that you actually need, anyway). You can take calls and messages, read notifications, check your email, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, weather, calendar and set alarms. Some of these functions do require having your phone handy, which leads us to…

Universal Compatibility: Unlike Apple, Microsoft has always been open to universal compatibility in its designs. That means the Band 2 will work with any smartphone operating system, including Windows Phone, Android and Apple iPhone.

Workout Guides: The Microsoft Health app has lots of free workouts, and they can all be set up on the Band 2. When you’re ready, turn the workout on and it will guide you through every step, counting reps and vibrating when it’s time to move on to the next exercise. It tracks heart rate and calories burned, of course, then when you’re done, gives you an estimated time for muscle recovery.

Painless Touch Screen: Everything you need from the Band 2 is available with a tap or swipe of the finger. The touch screen is precise, and allows users to set up easy-access apps, in whatever order they wish, using the Microsoft Band 2 app on their smartphone.

Golf, Anyone? If you like golf, there’s yet another reason you’ll love this wearable fitness tech. Microsoft partnered with TaylorMade, so you can easily find a nearby golf game anytime your wish. And of course the Band 2 tracks everything you do on the course, including strokes, steps, and various skills.

What the Microsoft Band 2 Doesn’t Have

Not much to say here except that it’s not waterproof, and the number of available apps are somewhat limited, meaning you can’t play Words with Friends on it.

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