10 Features That Make Microsoft Band 2 a Strong Wearable Option

10 Features That Make Microsoft Band 2 a Strong Wearable Option
This Is a Health-Tracker First
You Can Set Goals and Follow Guided Workouts
Cortana Finds Her Way to Microsoft Band 2
Look at Email, Calendar and More
A Good Option for Golf … or Traveling
There Are Lots of Sensors Inside the Band 2
The Battery Life Is Surprisingly Long
There's Full Cross-Platform Support
A Wearable That Shouldn't Get Too Wet?
A Look at Pricing and Availability
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10 Features That Make Microsoft Band 2 a Strong Wearable Option

Microsoft's Band 2 offers a new design and a wealth of features—including 11 sensors, such as a barometer that enables health monitoring capabilities.

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This Is a Health-Tracker First

It's important to point out that the Microsoft Band 2 is a fitness tracker before it's anything else. Sure, the device can tell time and perform a bunch of other tricks, but its core function is to monitor heart rate, see how well users sleep and ultimately make people healthier. This is not a smartwatch trying to be a health tracker.

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You Can Set Goals and Follow Guided Workouts

One of the nice things about the Microsoft Band 2 is that it's smart. The technology allows users to set goals for their fitness and activity and then responds by providing guided workouts to help them achieve those goals. The intelligence built into the Microsoft Band 2 is something that several competing devices lack.

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Cortana Finds Her Way to Microsoft Band 2

Cortana has quickly become a core component in Microsoft's software platforms. Therefore, the company has bundled Cortana support with Microsoft Band 2. Users can talk to Cortana and have her perform actions directly from the Band 2. For instance, Cortana will take voice-dictated notes, set reminders and more. It's a neat feature.

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Look at Email, Calendar and More

Although Microsoft is pitching the Band 2 as a fitness tracker, it can do much more. In fact, users will be alerted when they receive email messages or have to attend a meeting. The device will also provide alerts when users are receiving calls. Microsoft has even baked in social updates, so users can quickly glance at the Band 2's display to see social network notifications.

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A Good Option for Golf … or Traveling

The Microsoft Band 2 comes with full support for GPS, which means it can provide a range of neat tricks. Those traveling will be able to immediately find out where they are and how to get around. Microsoft is also placing some emphasis on the device's golf feature, which helps users determine how far away a pin is. From mapping to even golfing, the GPS feature built into the Band 2 has users covered.

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There Are Lots of Sensors Inside the Band 2

In total, the Band 2 includes 11 sensors, including the aforementioned GPS component. In addition, users will find an ultraviolet light monitor, an ambient light sensor to help with sleep-tracking and a barometer. Since this is an activity-focused device, Microsoft has also bundled a gyrometer and accelerometer in the Band 2. Few devices can match the number of sensors built into the Band 2, which all come together to deliver a well-rounded experience.

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The Battery Life Is Surprisingly Long

Battery life in the Microsoft Band 2 is impressive. During so-called "normal use," users should expect to get 48 hours out of a single charge, according to Microsoft. Better yet, the device will be fully charged in just 1.5 hours. Most users, in other words, shouldn't have too much trouble getting their full usage out of the Band 2 before it needs to be recharged.

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There's Full Cross-Platform Support

Although the old Microsoft may have been tempted to lock the Band 2 to its own platforms, CEO Satya Nadella's Microsoft isn't playing the same game. Customers who own an iOS, Android or Windows device can connect to Band 2 and get the features they want from the wearable.

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A Wearable That Shouldn't Get Too Wet?

In an odd twist, there is one, potentially major, caveat with the Band 2: It's not designed to get wet. In fact, Microsoft says that the device may be able to handle a splash here and there but should not be submerged in water. For a device that's designed for the active person who wants to get fit, not being water-friendly is a potentially major issue.

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A Look at Pricing and Availability

The Microsoft Band 2 is being offered for $250. While the device started shipping to customers on Oct. 30, as of this writing, it won’t ship until Nov. 20 to those who order it now. For a wearable, the Band 2 is in-line with some of the nicer options on the market, but still cheaper than some smartwatches that don't come with the same number of features. The Band 2, in other words, is a solid offering.

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