Microsoft Band

Microsoft has a reputation for making software you can download to your computer as a tool to write text and create spreadsheets. They’ve got a “geeky” image, but the brand is world-renowned. Not for heart rate monitors, though.

The Microsoft Band Heart Rate Monitor is a bit unexpected. Not bad-looking, it performs well, although not to the point that Microsoft is competing with Polar and Garmin. Track calories and heart rate during the day and when you sleep including resting and peak heart rate.

Microsoft Band

How to Operate

Using the Microsoft Band is simple: turn on the device, read what’s happening right now (i.e. how fast your heart is pumping), and read statistics from the day regarding ongoing performance since you climbed stairs to work or ran to catch the bus.

Light Sensor

At Microsoft, they opted for a light sensor in order to catch changes in the flow of blood through veins in your wrist. The sensor is located behind the clasp where a green light glows. If this goes out, your device is no longer operational.

Alternatively, use the screen to check that your pulse is being monitored by dragging something called a “Me Tile” to the symbol for “HR Monitor” and read what it has to say. Your battery might need charging or the sensor might be in the “off” position.

Screen Shot

Your display also features a status bar where digital numbers, letters, and icons appear. It’s like a tiny computer on your wrist. The Band works automatically, detecting when you have started to move, such as when you get on your bicycle to start pedaling.

Turn it off to preserve the life of your battery when you don’t want to know how hard your heart works as you clean the bathtub. Note, however, that caloric readings are more accurate when you have the heart rate monitor turned on.

App

View personal details using the Microsoft Health App, viewed on a Smartphone or an online feature. Microsoft has updated their Heart Rate Band so the app will have been changed if you are currently using their original Microsoft Band HR Monitor. The app is compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.

Microsoft Band Heart Rate Monitor 2

Microsoft Band 2

Kudos to Microsoft for improving on the looks and performance of their original. Band 2 is sleeker and more attractive than Band 1. Its screen is curved to match the ergonomic shape and is bright, though not necessarily excellent in the glare of full sunlight.

Brightness is adjustable. Don’t wear this if you plan on getting very wet: it’s for dry-weather activities not involving a swimming or even a splashing component. There are a few third-party apps available for the Band too.

Easy-read tiles are button or touch-controlled on this intuitive display when you’re sitting still, although when you’re moving it’s not so easy. The Band even tells you to get up if you’ve been sedentary for a long time.

Microsoft Band
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Todd Stohrdahl

Todd Stohrdahl keeps a close eye on fitness topics and will never turn down an opportunity to play competitive sports. He's a fierce competitor and brings his "hustle and muscle" mentality to our editorial team.