While on the site I did not cover it, Microsoft has come out with its own wearable, and announces its name in the race. While I have not had any hand-on time with the device, with numerous reports from different site, and observation of my own, the wearable seems to be one piece of work. But here is the real question, while it looks nice, is it being executed properly? And is Microsoft is heading in the right way with this band?
While there are some flaws in the band that will be mentioned later on, the one important thing when Microsoft announce this is that Windows Phone is finally having its own wearable. Think about it, really. We have come to a time when technology is moving into fashion territory. Who still remember Nokia’s smart-trouser, or Google Glass. So, it is vital for Microsoft to adapt, or it will die later on. You know how they say “better late than never”? Well, that is not the case, Microsoft chose the right time to jump in, the time when there are spaces for any OEMs to play around with the new concept, while standardized features necessary for a watch to be a watch. Now, some might suggest that Microsoft is a little late to the game, and that is a legitimate argument. After all, it has been more than 2 years since the first smartwatch for Apple comes out (Pebble), and it takes two years for Microsoft to realize that their own platform do not have any major accessory to go with their platform. However, considering the fact that the playing field of this new thing called smartwatch is brand new, Microsoft is in the perfect spot to learn from those who came before it. As I mentioned, they have a chance to make a difference in the field with this, and a perfect example would be its battery, with more than a day of usage. Things like that should be standardized for all high-end smartwatch for a long time ago.
For starter, let’s look at the design. The flat display designed to wear on the back of your wrist is just weird. I mean, while it is a sport band, chances are, you will wear it to work, school, and pretty much everywhere, and the fact that the company decided to design it that way makes really hard for you to do certain task without that band getting in the way. For example, typing or writing on the table. Michael Fisher from Pocketnow points that out in his first impression-video for Pocketnow, quoted: “it gets annoying in some situation” prefers to you wearing it while doing your daily activity.
Ok, let’s put the design aesthetic aside, since it is a subjective matter, there are little things about the band that just make it not worth getting. From the. Now, the watch itself is “It’s big and heavy and bulky,” (Paul Thurrot-Winsupersite), keep in mind that Microsoft design it to be a band. The simplest thing like wake up the watch by putting is up is not featured. For now, you have to press the physical button just to check the time, which is just a flaw in designing something that is supposed to display the time. WMPU reports that the band’s touch display doesn’t work well with sweaty hands, despite the fact that the band is fitness-focused. And while the watch has Cortana, reply text message via voice-dictation is nowhere to be found.
But give credit where credit is due, I praise Microsoft for trying its best to put Cortana on that little screen, created a solid software experience with a simplistic UI, and overall, a decent piece of hardware. In addition, two-day of battery life in normal usage beats what Google and Apple are offering right now, or even some Samsung’s Gear.
You can probably buy better thing with $200+ if you own an Android or iPhone. Let’s be honest here, with that money, you can put in another $50 and get a Pebble Steal, or even the first generation Pebble. If you are on Android, the LG G Watch R or the Moto 360 is more elegant to look at, pack with most of the sensor featured in the Microsoft Band, if not more. Even if you are on Windows Phone, if fitness tracking is important to you, the smaller Fitbit will serve you just fine.
On the other hand, if you are on Windows Phone and is looking for the closest thing to smartwatch, the Microsoft Band is not only the best choice, it’s your only option, well-play Microsoft.
What do you think? Are you planning to pick up one?