10 Features That Make Microsoft Band 2 a Strong Wearable Option

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2015-11-05
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    10 Features That Make Microsoft Band 2 a Strong Wearable Option
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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?
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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
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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.
 

The Microsoft Band 2 is a major redesign of the original Microsoft Band health and fitness wearable device. Microsoft responded to criticism about the bulky design of the first model by delivering a successor with a sleeker profile and a curved display. The Microsoft Band 2 is part of the company's broader initiative to be a "mobile-first" company that takes advantage of emerging technologies and rapidly growing new markets, such as fitness and health. But it goes beyond that. Perhaps, the introduction of the Band 2 indicates that although Apple Watch may be the most popular wearable on the market, companies like Microsoft that have the cash to invest in new-product development can actually deliver experiences that are comparable to the market leader. Microsoft is counting on the new design and a wealth of features, including 11 sensors, such as a new barometer that enables a variety of health monitoring capabilities. This slide show will highlight some of the more interesting features in the Microsoft Band 2 that could make it a strong seller, especially during the holiday season.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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