I’m With The Band

Today is the one-week mark of my usage of the Microsoft Band.  It has been on my wanted list for quite some time, and with the recent price drop, I made my move.  This coincides with my recent reawakening in exercise from my trip out west, climbing mountains and whatnot.  I regret I didn’t have the Band then, but you have to start somewhere.

At this point, I’ve used the majority of the Band’s features, including Sleep Tracking, Running (hiking and walking in my case), Workouts, and Guided Workouts.  Next month, I plan to buy a bike trainer stand so I can ride my bike indoors and I’ll make use of the Bike feature then.  I’m not sure if I’ll ever use the Golf feature.

To get grievances out of the way first, there’s a lot of reviews out there that say the Band is big and uncomfortable.  The biggest part for the reviewers is that it’s unfashionable.  I will agree.  However, I think the utility of the device outweighs its appearance.  As far as uncomfortable, that’s a personal thing.  To me, it’s noticeable, but the strap is quickly adjustable for any wrist swells throughout the day.  It’s not a deal breaker.

Does it work?  Yes, and very well.  If the question is does it work for tracking activity?  Yes.  Does it work as a motivation tool? Yes, again.  Does it work as a smartwatch?  That’s difficult to answer because everyone has a different idea of what a smartwatch should do.  The Band is a capable notification center on your wrist and if using a Windows Phone, a simple response device.

The data collection abilities of the Band are impressive, but it would be all for nothing if the software displaying and analyzing the data was poor.  Fortunately, the Band’s mobile application and corresponding website are extremely impressive as well.  I hope Microsoft works with FitBit to allow their devices to log activity into the Microsoft Health dashboard because I believe the insights are great.  And, it would allow me to consider a FitBit Charge HR as a next device.  I’ll have to wait until the Band 2 comes out to see.

After only a week, I have become more aware of my activity.  The argument that the Band is noticeable on your wrist actually works in its favor here.  I am consistent in my walking on work breaks.  I’ve been very annoyed that the constant rain showers here are keeping me from the trails.  I started a Guided Workout using weights that will hopefully improve my chest definition and found the experience to be superior to any prior exercise attempts.  Having someone (or something) say, “Now do this.”  “Rest now.”  “Now do this.” is so much better than having a piece of paper and saying to yourself, “What do I do next?”  It seems like a small difference, but it isn’t.  Self-guided workouts leave you unaccountable; you can stop anytime.  Even having a device guide you is more motivating.  Obviously a personal trainer would be the epitome, but the band is less than $200.

I feel the Band purchase was money well spent.  To be honest, I was kind of at a do-or-die point in my life and I guess I decided to give it one more try to reverse the decline I’ve been in for the last couple of years.

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