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Microsoft Band first look

Microsoft band
28 Apr 2015

Heart rate monitor, UV sensor, gyrometer, GPS tracker all rolled into one watch sized package from Microsoft. It even tells the time.

Little-known Washington–based tech firm Microsoft has come out with a fitness-focused smartwatch called the Band. But in a slight break with convention, Microsoft has prioritised the needs of cyclists as much as the average gym junkie. The Band has 10 sensors to analyse all variety of fitness indicators, including an optical heartrate monitor, UV sensor, gyrometer (measures movement) and most importantly, a GPS module.

Unlike any fitness sensor we’ve seen so far, the Band does not work like an odometer to measure exertion, but will track a rider’s movement like a Garmin, even when not synced up with a phone. With the use of the Microsoft health app, the Band will map where you have cycled, making it an economical alternative to a full GPS cycling computer.

During the ride it can be programmed to vibrate and generate split speed and heartrate data, as well as flashing details of calls or texts you receive while riding. But it’s off the bike where the Band really shines, with enough tech to map your recovery and sleep as well as integrating with calorie counting apps to offer reams of dietary data. A watch telling us when to eat, sleep and stamp on the pedals may be terrifying, but if it means beating your mates in the signpost sprints, who cares? For all these features it’s actually quite reasonably priced too at £169.

There are lots of obvious concerns with such a device, battery life being the big one (and privacy worries), but we’re keen to give it a go. They’ve recently announced a link up with Strava too for easy syncing. Could this spell the end of the dedicated bike computer? We’re going to put it to the test and find out so look out for a full review soon.



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