Last week Microsoft unveiled their new smartwatch called Microsoft Band that will directly compete with Samsung’s Gear Fit and Apple’s new Apple Watch that isn’t even available yet and won’t be until the spring of 2015.
Microsoft Band is cross compatible and works with nearly any phone, including Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone. If you’re using Windows Phone 8.1, you can utilize Cortana as a digital assistant and get directions or sports updates.
Microsoft Band will let you retrieve your text messages right from your wrist, see incoming call and voicemail notifications, get calendar alerts, and preview e-mail activity.
Microsoft Band is made from a thermal plastic elastomer with an adjustable fit clasp. A heart rate monitor is imbedded behind the clasp.
The new wearable band is dust and splash resistant and comes with full color touch display that is bright and easy to read, even in direct sunlight.
It has built in GPS that measures the distance you’ve run and tracks your pace and route. If you are outside running without your phone, you can still obtain your pace and distance data. You can also time your laps around the track or set an alarm to wake you silently.
Battery life is 48 hours of normal use but GPS use will impact battery performance.
Maximum operating altitude is around 12,000 meters.
Microsoft Band is the first device powered by Microsoft Health, a cloud based service similar to Apple’s Healthkit, or Google’s Fit platform that has the ability to track calories burned, heart rate, and sleep quality.
Microsoft Band users can allow Microsoft Health to send their health findings to Health Vault for sharing with medical providers.
Microsoft is partnering with Gold’s Gym, MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper, MapMyFitness, and Starbucks. A Starbucks card can be loaded onto the wristband.
Microsoft Band syncs with MyFitnessPal to let you track your overall daily caloric intake and see how many of those calories you use.
The price of Microsoft Band is more affordable at $199.00 compared to $350.00 with the Apple Watch.