Microsoft Band of the test, the ambitious and interoperable bracelet

Introduction

We can say that the group Satya Nadella has chosen the path of discretion for the announcement of the Microsoft Band. While other groups give in the show, Microsoft sent a simple statement. This microsoft band could have gone unnoticed, but fortunately we have been able to try during CES. It is a truffle wristband sensors, one of the most comprehensive data collection machinery, which is compatible Android, iOS and Windows Phone.

The bracelet, which is focused on the wrist, is a fitness tracker with OLED touch screen of 1.4 inch (320 x 106 pixels) on one side and a heart rate monitor on the other. Like other trackers, it can count steps, monitor the quality of sleep, calculate exposure to ultraviolet (rather new features and views mainly on Netatmo June), measure your workouts, or your excursions.

In total, the sensor list is impressive: heart rate sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, GPS, light sensor, skin temperature sensor, UV sensor, or the opportunity to know the “galvanic skin response (GSR) “(also known as galvanic skin response name RED).

The bracelet also offers, as a so-called smart watch, notifications and alerts via a slight vibration.

Through a series of gestures on the touch screen, you move through the provision of familiar tiles, the same as on the different versions of Windows operating system. You also have two buttons to unlock the screen or run a training program (or recording of sleep activity).

Reloading the Microsoft Band is made with a magnetic charging adapter. Note that the synchronization is performed only by Bluetooth 4.1. For the more classic features, ARM Cortex M4 for the CPU and two lithium-ion batteries of 100 mAh.

Loyal measures?

During my test of the Microsoft Band, I carried alongside a Fitbit Flex to compare how the devices were following the number of steps and sleep quality. The Flex has recorded on average 1500 steps per day, and measured a better sleep.

Obviously, these differences are to be expected, each company has its own formula. Finally, the most important measure for fitness tracker is consistency. The ultimate goal is to change its behavior, it is important that measures for the same device are mutually consistent.

Heart rate, given valuable

You can choose the bracelet measures your pulse at regular intervals, however, the autonomy will be greatly impacted. Allow about 1 day instead of 2 to 3 days without this function (constantly) enabled. Nevertheless, it’s worth it: you will be able to know the progress of your heart rate throughout the day, depending on your activities.

During my sleep, my pulse easily lost 50 beats per minute, then my average recorded was over 120 beats per minute. During sports meetings, this is a valuable indicator for regulating the speed or intensity of activity. The integrated GPS allows to provide as good as dedicated watches like the Garmin Forerunner 15 or the Polar M400.

Notifications on all platforms

This is a major Microsoft Band forces: it is compatible with all major mobile platforms: Android, iOS and Windows Phone. Even better, it not only transmits notifications “calls, SMS and emails,” he is able to recover notifications of applications installed on the device. On Xperia Z3, I received my notifications WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and eLaptopComputer.com. I wonder if the bracelet was also not perceived as “Android Wear” by Android device, it appeared several times that “Sony SmartWatch 3” is it synchronized. Microsoft should go further, by providing an SDK for developers in the coming days.

Microsoft Health, the complete synchronization application but bugged

On iOS, Windows Phone and Android, Microsoft Health app lets you set your Microsoft Band, access your data, manage your notifications or launch library “sessions of sport” (if you do not want to go to the gym, there are programs to have perfect abs), which allow you to follow a comprehensive program based on your level, all synchronized with your bracelet.

Although this application is comprehensive, taking a single interface on all platforms, it has significant shortcomings. For example, the synchronization time of your bracelet and your mobile device, crashes and irregular power consumption and important data. On my Sony Xperia Z3, the impact on the battery was large, the Health app was the consumer.

Poor ergonomics that causes discomfort

The size and orientation of the screen strap make it difficult to port and even more difficult to read notifications on your wrist. Should we turn the screen down or up? I quickly opted for the down screen, which has a disadvantage and an advantage. It is more obvious and logical to read its notifications by lifting his wrist, away from prying eyes. Nevertheless, it is easier to scratch the screen by rubbing it on a table without realizing it. Moreover, the screen is sensitive to scratches, it does not seem to have been treated by Gorilla Glass (I advise you to put a screen protection provided free by Microsoft in its Microsoft Store).

The screen displays data only horizontally, which can display only a small line of text. In case of alarm, you can scroll the text with your finger, but you quickly feel stupid for multiple scans pout read the equivalent of one or two sentences.

The screen orientation can also be a problem. It would have been smart to allow to choose the orientation of the screen horizontally or vertically, as on the Galaxy Gear Fit.

Microsoft Band is not waterproof or water resistant, you must remove it in the shower or in the pool. It’s really strange to have to take off his bracelet, while it is supposed to follow the “activity”. Besides, it is one of the few bracelets that is not “waterproof”. Shame.

Finally, it is uncomfortable, whatever its position. With its thickness and rigidity, it is really uncomfortable to wear. When I see the Gear Fit with its curved screen and flexible bracelet, it really was thought to be worn. Microsoft Band is more like a prototype on which a maximum of sensors are stuck without thinking “ergonomics”. It’s just crazy … Fortunately, there are three sizes: small, medium and large for all wrist thicknesses.

So, it is recommended or not?

Final Score 7/10

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5

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Microsoft has done a tremendous job for his first bracelet, very complete. For 149 dollars (about 125 euros), I nevertheless advise you to wait. Indeed, the Microsoft Band is a first iteration with an Android application that consumes too much, too long synchronizations, no water resistance not to mention the discomfort generated by poor ergonomics.

Yet I have never seen a bracelet so complete and compatible with all major mobile platforms. Microsoft has good ideas, and he must now integrate all the feedback from its users to get a second model, more aesthetic and less buggy. The competition is fierce, it will probably not too long.

Ulrich Rozier

January 29, 2015

Good points

many sensors

Multi-platform

complete software part

Negative points

poor ergonomics

long synchronization

A little too much bugs …

Price and availability

There ”s no offers at the moment

7

Microsoft

Band

Read the test product

And thank you for Geeks Com for the loan product you will find their test in a few days. I also shared with many carriers at the show in Las Vegas, they were delighted with monitoring the comprehensive activity but they also criticized the ergonomics of the bracelet.