I only just got done the review on the Microsoft Band 2, and there were a couple of shortcomings that I was hoping the new Band model would address. Today Microsoft has addressed some of those issues with an update. This brings quite a bit more to the Band, and addresses some of the key issues I had with the device.

First up, you can now control music playback right on the Band. This was something that needed to be there, and it’s great to see that it has been added. Music playback is pretty common when exercising, or even when you are using the Band as just a smartwatch, so while this is a small feature, it should be well received. It works with any of the smartphone platforms, so you don't need a Windows Phone to use this function either. The lack of integration with the smartphone was one of the sore points in the review, so I am glad this is addressed.

Second, and another issue I had with the Band, was that it didn’t do much with the vast amounts of data it collects. Yes, you can look at all of the data yourself in Microsoft Health, but I wanted the Band to be more proactive with that data. The Band can now notify you during the day if you haven’t been active for a while, which is something that Apple got right with their Apple Watch. Once again, it’s a small change, but a good one, especially at the demographic that the Band targets.

The Band has an Exercise tile, which is a generic catch-all for workouts that involve activity but not things like step counting or GPS. There is more customization now and you can select popular options within the tile to track specific activities, like yoga, or weightlifting. If you are into something else, you can also name your own activities and add them in.

Finally, the Band now has a “What’s New” tile, which will notify you when there are updates for your Band available. It will point out the new features and functionality that are available.

Altogether, these seem like four small points, but in total, this is a great update to the Band. It specifically addresses several of the issues I had with it during review, and it’s great to see software updates coming to improve functionality.

Source: Microsoft


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  • TesseractOrion - Thursday, December 10, 2015 - link

    I'm guessing this only applies to Band 2? Got an original Band, I suppose that's obsolete now :-(

    PS Who's idea was it to have 'Golf' as a 'sports' activity?! Why not Darts or Petanque or Snooker LOL?
  • extide - Thursday, December 10, 2015 - link

    Hey, if you are actually walkin the course, and not driving a cart, 18 holes can be a decent about of moving around. Even walking a 9 is a fair bit of walking, especially if it's hot.
  • tarqsharq - Thursday, December 10, 2015 - link

    Also, walking with a 10-20 pound bag on your shoulders (assuming you don't have a handcart) adds a bit more work to it as well.
  • xthetenth - Friday, December 11, 2015 - link

    Oh man, 10-20. It's crazy how much things change when the person who's going to carry the bag packs it. I was in much better shape when I was caddying, except for my feet.
  • xthetenth - Friday, December 11, 2015 - link

    Some of Windows Phone's greatest strengths are in business, so there's some synergy there. Also golfers can blow preposterous sums on gadgetry, so that can drive sales on its own.
  • Murloc - Friday, December 11, 2015 - link

    you can easily break a sweat by lugging stuff around for hours.

    Doing that fairly often or doing nothing makes a big difference for an office worker.
  • TesseractOrion - Saturday, December 12, 2015 - link

    Yeah true, was just kidding with you golfers ;-) But still wish there were more 'sports' listed on the Band...
  • Samus - Saturday, December 12, 2015 - link

    If you want something that'll continue to be supported for 4-5 years, Apple is the only company that does it.

    Most Android OEM partners drop their products from support after 2 years, and many don't ever update their devices at all. The saving grace is the ROM community, but that is far from mainstream with Cyanogen being the only consumer-friendly update option for Joe Average. Most people who buy Android phones with discontinued updates continue using them with security exploits, bugs that were never fixed, or features that could have been added from future models, but weren't.

    Microsoft is notorious for dropping product support quickly as of recent. I don't blame them, but they ditched Windows RT support entirely and it was only a 2 year old OS (it did get a cosmetic update a few months ago...) and Windows Phone 7/7.5/7.8 devices were a mess, many never getting updates at all, and almost none getting updated to WP8. WP8 devices weren't much better, as almost none of the launch devices received 8.1 GDR1. Some of this came down to manufactures (thanks again, HTC) but Microsoft was pretty well criticized for not even updating many of their own WP8 Lumia products when many were entirely capable of running WP8.1. The real salt on the wound is the only devices guaranteed to update to Windows Phone 10 are WP8.1 devices. If you're still on WP8, Microsoft has no upgrade path for you, and many of those phones are less than 2 years old.


    As I said, I'm not an Apple Fanboy, but I tell people all the time. The most important feature of any gadget is support, because you can have the hottest shit on the block with the most advanced technology and its worthless if there is no future support from a manufacturer.
  • dsraa - Saturday, December 12, 2015 - link

    Wow...you couldn't be more wrong....

    Microsoft has tried to be smart, I agree it went out on a limb with Windows RT, but it did cut the cord at the right time as it was really a OS that was not well recieved. They are trying with the Winphone OS, and it is easy and very possible to do a upgrade from winphone 8 to winphone 8.1 and then to 10.
    I did it on a nokia 810. And if you looked at their phone support list for Windows 10 mobile, it includes all the Windows phone 8 models, not just the latest nokia 930, 830, 735 etc.
  • nikon133 - Sunday, December 13, 2015 - link

    Well... yes and no.

    To my knowledge, only recent Win Phones that will not get W10 update are the lowest low-end phones... models with 4GB of storage, if memory serves? Two reasons I don't see this as a problem:

    These phones are, price wise, competing with feature phones. People who buy these phones are rarely enthusiasts. Don't think that many will care what OS they run, as long as phone is functional... and these phones will remain as functional as they are right now.

    Which brings us to 2nd, more important reason: forcing update on phone not capable to handle it is stupid and counter-productive. Exactly what Apple did by pushing iOS6 on iPhone 3Gs. I was pretty sure it isn't the best idea, but after iTunes nagging at me to upgrade, I finally did... got nothing of iOS6 new exciting features, but instead only crippled my 3Gs performance. Yeah it was already 4 years old, but it was working fine with iOS5, my smart-phone-requirements were quite basic, and battery was holding well... I could of used it another year easily. And of course, there was no legit way to reverse OS, so installing 6 was pretty much Gotcha! and I replaced my phone with new device shortly. I'm not saying that this was my main reason not to go for new iPhone - I was already curious about Win Phone - but it did alienate Apple for me a bit, as I found this approach a bit unfair; basically a way to push users with modest requirements to upgrade faster than they would, really.

    So... if MS is not pushing W10 on phones too resource-limited to get good experience out of it, I'd say kudos to MS. Even if some of them are less than 2 years old, I'm sure they will work a bit longer as they are just fine, get over 2 years threshold and be replaced with new devices. With W10. And without annoying their owners with unacceptable performance.

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