05-23-2016 08:17 PM
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  1. SteveVII's Avatar
    Hi Everyone,
    I am a fitness geek who understands the value or accurately tracking heart rate. I was able to lose a ton of weight and get in great shape as a result of always wearing a polar chest strap at the gym over the years (and obviously eating well). I read about the Microsoft band late Wednesday, and ran over to the Microsoft store Thursday morning to make sure I got one. Trust me, I really want to like this thing. As of yet, the Band has been a failure for me when it comes to the heart rate.

    Questionable "Continuous Heart Rate Monitoring":
    I've read the threads on this forum and agree with both sides. I agree that there are different interpretations for "continuous", but also agree that Microsoft was misleading in regards to the Band's capabilities. I always said that if someone can figure out 24 hour heart rate tracking at the same granularity as the polar straps, then they will "win" in this market.

    This is what I assumed the Microsoft Band would do, and being able to do it with a 2 day battery life really got me excited. I was definitely disappointed to find that the optical sensor turns off when the band is not in use. If it would turn on every time I go from a standstill to walking, climbing up steps, etc, then it would be an amazing compromise. Based on what I've seen so far, the band does turn on even without activating it, however, it doesn't seem to be "smart" about turning on as of yet. If you read Microsoft's blog post below, one of the Band team members bragged how their heart rate spiked when he presented to Bill Gates. Based on the current functionality, that guy must have been scared for the entire meeting since the software only rolls up average heart rate for each hour :-).

    Still, I came to peace with this and accepted that there was a lot of value in what I would consider to be "sampling" my heart rate 24 hours a day. I imagined myself having a better understanding of my heart rate throughout the day, and when it came to hard workouts, I would be able to activate running or training mode to get true continuous heart rate monitoring and tracking. This leads me to my next point:

    Heart Rate During Running and Workout Modes Extremely Inaccurate:
    I've tested a few outdoor runs and brief at home lifting with dumbells, and the band seems to match up just ok compared to the Polar strap. I finally got a chance to take it to the gym today and I am disappointed to say that it failed on all levels.

    I did weight training (chest) and cardio (elliptical) while wearing my band, my polar bluetooth chest strap, and my gym buddy's Mio alpha watch. To make a long story short, the Mio and Polar were about 3-5bpms off when spot checking, whereas the band was about 15-40bpms off. When it came to weight training, the band never dropped below 100bpm. In fact, it often jumped to a higher bpm while resting in-between sets vs being in the middle of a set. I've used monitors long enough to know that my body typically settles at 85-90 bpm in-between sets, so it was a red flag that it didn't fall below 100 once.

    The band was even more inaccurate while doing my cardio. My chest strap was showing about 135-140 bpms while the band was sitting around 90. I confirmed the chest strap was accurate since the machine's heart icon lit up every time it sensed a beat, and it always matched up when manually checking my pulse. Additionally, I broke a pretty good sweat, which doesn't happen for me at 90ish BPMs. What concerned me the most during cardio was that the heart icon was solid on the band, indicating that it "locked in" the heart rate. I would be more understanding if it was inaccurate while acquiring, but being 30 BPMs off while locked-in really made me question the device's integrity. After about 20 minutes, I changed the tightness, location, turned it so the screen was on top, etc and saw the same results.

    Here is the comparison between the chest strap and band. I didn't gather aggregate information for the Mio... I only used it for spot-checking and it was almost always very in line with the strap. The chest strap was linked up to the app, Digifit.

    Weight Lifting:
    My HR never dropped below 100 on the band, whereas the other devices dropped to about 85-90 during my 90 second sets.
    Band Average BPM: 119
    Polar Average BPM: 102
    Band Calorie Burn: 426
    Polar calorie Burn: 315

    Cardio:
    Band Average BPM: 100
    Polar Average BPM: 129
    Band Calorie Burn: 189
    Polar Calorie Burn: 345

    Very Odd Support Call:
    This experience made me wonder if my Band is defective since another nice member on this forum mentioned to me that he has been a "beta tester" and he found that the band matched up well to chest straps when doing cardio and cross fit. I called support and told them about the discrepancies, and they acknowledged that it seemed a bit of from what they would expect. At that point, after a brief hold, representative shocked me with the below statements. I was so surprised, that I immediately opened a document and wrote them down word for word.

    "The Band is not a precise measurement of heart rate"
    "The heart rate is an estimate based off of biometric metrics you put in"
    "Intended to be more of an entry level for being "more fit and productive" type of device"
    "The other equipment that I tested with is a precise measurement tool. The band is more entry level."

    I expressed how disappointed I was to hear those statements as I felt Microsoft positioned this as a fitness-first device, and the blog post on Microsoft's website (Microsoft Band, the first wearable powered by Microsoft Health, keeps fitness and productivity insights a glance away | News Center) seemed to indicate what a challenge it was to get accurate heart rates for non-repetitive motions. The rep didn't really have much to say to me after expressing my disappointment. In short, I told them that I would like a replacement unit to make sure mine isn't defective and they agreed to send one. I will report updates after I get my new band, but just wanted to post my findings, and the concerning statements from Microsoft.

    I am curious to hear about anyone else's experience. Has it been accurate compared to chest straps, other wrist monitors? Do you think mine is defective, or is this really meant to be an "entry level" device?
    11-01-2014 06:19 PM
  2. sdrexler11791's Avatar
    I have spot checked it a few times since I purchased it yesterday by taking my own pulse. It has been very accurate. I played tennis with it this morning and my pulse went up to 160 and it recorded that accurately. Maybe it is the band fit on your arm? Hair? Closeness of capillaries to the skin surface?
    11-01-2014 06:40 PM
  3. smoledman's Avatar
    I have spot checked it a few times since I purchased it yesterday by taking my own pulse. It has been very accurate. I played tennis with it this morning and my pulse went up to 160 and it recorded that accurately. Maybe it is the band fit on your arm? Hair? Closeness of capillaries to the skin surface?
    If your pulse gets up to 160 playing tennis - go see a doctor.
    11-01-2014 06:52 PM
  4. smoledman's Avatar
    I am curious to hear about anyone else's experience. Has it been accurate compared to chest straps, other wrist monitors? Do you think mine is defective, or is this really meant to be an "entry level" device?
    MS sure isn't marketing it like an 'entry level' device. I'm really absolutely shocked to hear a MS support tech say that. I'm beginning to severely regret my impulse online order form Thursday evening and already planning to return it right away.
    11-01-2014 06:53 PM
  5. SteveVII's Avatar
    Yeah...there could be a handful of reasons why it isn't tracking properly. If it is truly due to hair, capillaries, etc., it's not ready for primetime.

    I am also shocked by their statements. Seriously read that news post I linked to in my original post... it makes you feel like it is the exact opposite! They talk about how it was fitness first and then they added the rest to make it a more practical device. Hopefully this post will lead to more quantitative comparisons. If it is matching up pretty well while in running/workout mode for the vast majority, maybe mine is just defective. I don't think that will be the case as I saw another post about discrepancies while rowing.
    11-01-2014 07:00 PM
  6. SteveVII's Avatar
    If your pulse gets up to 160 playing tennis - go see a doctor.
    It actually depends on age and how shape you are. When I was 27 and starting to lose weight, I could hold 165 for 30 minutes no problem. Now maintaining 160-165 means that I am going breathless.
    iSingBass and Alex Temple like this.
    11-01-2014 07:02 PM
  7. theefman's Avatar
    MS sure isn't marketing it like an 'entry level' device. I'm really absolutely shocked to hear a MS support tech say that. I'm beginning to severely regret my impulse online order form Thursday evening and already planning to return it right away.
    So you don't even have one and yet you complain as if you've been personally injured by using it? And since when have online techs been a reliable source of company strategy policy statements? Please do us all a favor and do return your device asap and stop whining about it all over the place.
    11-01-2014 07:11 PM
  8. SteveVII's Avatar
    So you don't even have one and yet you complain as if you've been personally injured by using it? And since when have online techs been a reliable source of company strategy policy statements? Please do us all a favor and do return your device asap and stop whining about it all over the place.
    Agreed about jumping the gun before the guy even tried it. Hell, he can pop it up on eBay for profit. This was a phone rep, not a online rep (not that it matters). What does matter is that there is confusion within Microsoft what the device is supposed to "be". This may be due to the stealth launch (which was cool), but it sure seems like it has resulted in a lack of documentation/information and a disconnect between employees.
    11-01-2014 07:16 PM
  9. Michael McCune's Avatar
    I had my first go at the gym today with it and I found that the heart rate was moving up and down during cardio than what I could track with the sensors on the elliptical and what I could tell from manually tracking it. My average during the workout on elliptical, my average was 132. Typically, the elliptical would put it around 125 - 135 depending on the day and effort, so I feel like it was a wash all around. When I was doing weights after the cardio work, I found the heart rate to be right in line with manual checks.
    Sam Sabri likes this.
    11-01-2014 07:24 PM
  10. sdrexler11791's Avatar
    I am a doctor. I'm on HBP meds which will make my heart rate go up. That was only after long hard points.
    920Walker and Alex Temple like this.
    11-01-2014 07:30 PM
  11. valadon's Avatar
    In my run this morning I had an average heart rate of 160 according to the band and 152 according to my chest strap. Yes I had a heart rate of 160 for 45 mins and didn't die! No doctor needed

    I am also a little worried about the accuracy of the heart rate monitor, but I am not a professional athlete and I don't know that I really need 100% HR accuracy. I think for me 8 BPM off is probably acceptable especially over the length of 45 mins. However that doesn't mean that it isn't going to drive me crazy!

    Also I would take everything that come out of a Microsoft techs mouth with a grain of salt. Having worked tech support in call centers before I can safely say they are probably less informed about the product than we are. The tech probably doesn't have access to much more than we can see on the Microsoft site, and was probably just saying what sounded good at the time.
    pallentx and Alex Temple like this.
    11-01-2014 07:30 PM
  12. smoledman's Avatar
    In my run this morning I had an average heart rate of 160 according to the band and 152 according to my chest strap. Yes I had a heart rate of 160 for 45 mins and didn't die! No doctor needed

    I am also a little worried about the accuracy of the heart rate monitor, but I am not a professional athlete and I don't know that I really need 100% HR accuracy. I think for me 8 BPM off is probably acceptable especially over the length of 45 mins. However that doesn't mean that it isn't going to drive me crazy!

    Also I would take everything that come out of a Microsoft techs mouth with a grain of salt. Having worked tech support in call centers before I can safely say they are probably less informed about the product than we are. The tech probably doesn't have access to much more than we can see on the Microsoft site, and was probably just saying what sounded good at the time.
    ​I understand from hardcore runners that the most accurate way to get HRM is a chest strap. No wrist device will ever be as good.
    11-01-2014 07:32 PM
  13. SteveVII's Avatar
    I just feel like inconsistent heart rates is not expected with this type of messaging on Microsoft's page:

    In the meantime, a few other optical heart rate devices for the wrist started hitting the market. “They were OK for running or walking, but wouldn’t work with non-repetitive motions, and would often take 30 to 60 seconds to recover." Alam said. “I knew we could improve on that by working with Microsoft Research. It would be a big challenge but we had to go for it.”

    The second thing they did was to improve heart rate tracking for non-repetitive motions. Many exercises, such as a push-up or a pull-up are much more erratic than the repetitive rhythm of running. Holmdahl said, “Desney and company were doing state-of-the-art work with heart rate in no time and were able to enable continuous monitoring for all sorts of fitness activities.”
    valadon and SammyD97 like this.
    11-01-2014 07:40 PM
  14. smoledman's Avatar
    I just feel like inconsistent heart rates is not expected with this type of messaging on Microsoft's page:

    In the meantime, a few other optical heart rate devices for the wrist started hitting the market. “They were OK for running or walking, but wouldn’t work with non-repetitive motions, and would often take 30 to 60 seconds to recover." Alam said. “I knew we could improve on that by working with Microsoft Research. It would be a big challenge but we had to go for it.”

    The second thing they did was to improve heart rate tracking for non-repetitive motions. Many exercises, such as a push-up or a pull-up are much more erratic than the repetitive rhythm of running. Holmdahl said, “Desney and company were doing state-of-the-art work with heart rate in no time and were able to enable continuous monitoring for all sorts of fitness activities.”
    ​You have to learn by now that MS never 'nails it' on v1. Wait until v3.
    colinkiama and DavidinCT like this.
    11-01-2014 07:47 PM
  15. ChumsFuture's Avatar
    I found it's very comparable to my chest strap but then again, I bought the cheapest chest strap available at the time. My strap spikes occasionally but I figure it's due to heavy sweat and movement (expanding my chest and such).
    11-01-2014 07:56 PM
  16. SteveVII's Avatar
    Can everyone post which activities they were performing when comparing? Maybe it is finicky in certain situations (motion from elliptical machine, weight lifting, etc.).
    11-01-2014 07:57 PM
  17. greyskytheory's Avatar
    I did a test of the Microsoft Band alongside my Suunto Ambit 1 during the same exact workout. You can see the actual screenshots of the data when you go to the thread. The Band is not that far off. My avg hr between both devices was almost identical. My max hr was the only big gap between the two, everything else was pretty close. I also have to agree that the Band is entry level. If you want a deep, durable fitness tracker of some sort you're better off with something from Suunto, Garmin etc. Something with a metal chassis that can be submerged in water etc. The Band is very very good at what it does which is tracking your activities daily including sleep. http://forums.windowscentral.com/mic...soft-band.html
    11-01-2014 09:23 PM
  18. Cartman's Avatar
    I burned 668 cals in 1 hr 12 mins with my #MicrosoftBand doing #P90X Back & Biceps + abs

    Here is what the band recorded for heart rate. I would say I attacked this particular workout at a moderate level.

    b1quyjqiyaa414n.jpg
    11-01-2014 09:50 PM
  19. jwpear's Avatar
    I got mine yesterday afternoon, charged it, and put it on in the evening. I noticed immediately that it seemed to be measuring my resting heart rate about 15-20 bpm lower than my Cardiosport strap.

    I took both the MS Band and Cardiosport strap to the gym this morning. Initially, it read about 20 bpm lower than the strap. The band didn't start reading close to the strap until I reached high intensity on the Spinner bike. That wasn't until I hit 160's. I was doing intervals of one minute sprints at high cadence and heavy resistance, then dropping back to moderate cadence and resistance. The band didn't seem to respond as rapidly to changes in my heart rate as the strap.

    After the bike, I moved on to my weight training. My heart rate dropped down to just above 100 according to the strap. The band stayed in the 120's. The strap picked up fluctuations as I moved through various intensity levels. The band really didn't move much at all, fluctuating a little between mid-120's and low 130's.

    Like others, I tried adjustments to the band, but it didn't change anything.

    I was hoping that I maybe I got a defective heart rate monitor. I'm anxious to hear if a replacement helps others.

    In summary, at high intensity, it seemed to be in line with the strap. At low and medium intensity, it seems to be off by 20 or so bpm. Unfortunately, there were times when it was off by more.
    11-01-2014 09:51 PM
  20. Joe920's Avatar
    I finally tried this on a bike ride, and I am not crazy about the performance. I compared with my busted FR305 which gives a very consistent readout once I'm going.

    The road was fairly smooth, but the MS band lost heart rate sync a lot (heart icon looks open). Sometimes it would stay open / out of sync for a minute or so. I couldn't find any position or band tightness that made it always work. Plus when exercising you really don't want to have to fiddle with the HRM.

    Could it be that it turns off the HRM occasionally to save battery? Right now sitting perfectly still (well, OK, typing) it manages to lose sync. Given that I bought it 80% as a workout device, I'm kind of on the fence whether I want to keep it. The bloom is off the rose, cheerleading mode: off.
    11-01-2014 09:56 PM
  21. several potatos's Avatar
    Wait for the first update before you return it
    11-01-2014 10:18 PM
  22. greyskytheory's Avatar
    I don't think it gives the read out on the band non stop during a workout. I noticed it would be way off compared to my Suunto but would eventually show a reading that was usually very close to what my Suunto displayed. It may be due to the fact I got the band a little loose fitting so I don't snap the bnd during dynamic movements. I will do more workouts and compare it with my Suunto to see if it is able to give consistent, accurate readings. Since I do not download my workout data from my Suunto to my compooter everyday, the Band seems to be able to track my daily routine and activities well enough to keep me satisfied.
    11-01-2014 10:18 PM
  23. Kram Devil's Avatar
    Hi There. What number did you call? Did you call answerdesk for assistance with this? As a previous support agent that handles MS technical support calls I can tell you right now that it was not MS that answered you but a partner callcenter that's probably located in India, Philippines, the U.S., there's even one in Latin America. MS does not have in-house tech support. When I worked as a tech for them I was always honest with the customers and did my best to resolve all issues since the primary reason I took a job as their tech was because I wanted to advocate microsoft products so much. My call time suffered but all issues resolved and my surveys are high. All the while my supervisors would be screaming at me to end the call. Unfortunately about 90% of my former colleagues are only concerned with getting you off the phone or chat in the least amount of time or palming you off to another agent to get their call times low as it's a metric for their stats. Partner support agents have no information on the band as of yet. If you want to get the official diagnosis on your device, I would suggest you go to a microsoft store for assistance, they're real microsoft employees. Chat and phone support is not handled directly by MS and might just fib you to get you off the phone quicker.
    11-02-2014 12:15 AM
  24. stephen_az's Avatar
    MS sure isn't marketing it like an 'entry level' device. I'm really absolutely shocked to hear a MS support tech say that. I'm beginning to severely regret my impulse online order form Thursday evening and already planning to return it right away.
    I wish I could say I am absolutely shocked that people treat second hand comments in an internet forum as if they were speaking directly to the CEO. Once again, anything said here is coming through the filter of another person and unless they are running a recorder it is not word for word. You also have no context for anything said. If you have concerns call up support. Three days on the market and people are believing claims on the internet instead of going to the source. Probably not a record but still impressive.

    I honestly think if someone came on here and said Microsoft support told them it works better tracking the heart rate of a bigfoot than a yeti, there would be a long thread on Microsoft yeti discrimination.....
    Last edited by stephen_az; 11-02-2014 at 12:33 AM.
    11-02-2014 12:23 AM
  25. stephen_az's Avatar
    If your pulse gets up to 160 playing tennis - go see a doctor.
    Perhaps you might want to do a search on "heart rate chart" before saying something so silly. Depending upon age, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a heart rate in that range during intensive aerobic activity.
    11-02-2014 12:26 AM
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