1. Tim Stone's Avatar
    For months we've been hearing about waiting for Mobil World to learn about all of the new wearables, smart phones, and tablets. Now that it has come and gone, I'm unimpressed, especially in the wearable category.

    I've had my Band since it was "a surprise" offered by Microsoft. I've also tried a lot of other wearable devices, and looked closely at all of them. In the past week I've looked at everything in the "coming attractions" from Mobil World. Overall it would appear there will be new devices, a few new twists, but when it comes to the total feature set, nothing compares to the band. Everything else represents compromises.

    My band is a hybrid of both a fitness tracker, and smart interactions with my phone ( of any type ). It has also held up well, and seems fairly accurate. While some people complain about the fit, I've worn it daily all these months, and I've grown quite comfortable with it's fit. I love the notifications I've elected to receive and appreciate the readable display. I' charge it every other day while working at my desk so I don't miss any step counts or other activity.

    Every time I get coffee at Starbucks, and use it, people ask about it and are amazed at all it can do. Of course I'm not a work out addict, but for my use, it does a great job.

    I love tech, and all of the other devices grab my attention. However, when I toss them up on a feature comparison spreadsheet, they all are missing something. The Band seems to have the best overall set and most versatility. Even the promised Apple Watch falls short. It may not even make it through a full day without recharging, and it would appear the feature set in the fitness area is missing key elements.

    Finally, a comment about support. I'm close to a Microsoft Store. I had a problem with my first band, went into the store, and came out a few minutes later with a replacement. I've also had some questions which were quickly resolved online by a chat with support. Microsoft is right there to support this product. However, when you look at the comments of users seeking help from other companies, the story is quite different. They report repeated arrogance by the "customer service" people, and their investments become throw away products because they simply can't get help. I know posting negative comments is common, but these are from people who want to be supportive and need some assistance.

    My point is that, over time, my Band has been a good investment, and I've really appreciated it. I see nothing in the current or upcoming products by any company that provide a better overall product for me. Why do I share this perspective ? Because the reviewers of wearables won't. They will try the Band for an hour, and then complain about the fit, or size, never really discussing how well it works for many of us who will love the rich feature set.

    And that's how I see it !
    gadgetrants likes this.
    03-05-2015 11:25 AM
  2. Mike Majeski's Avatar
    Agreed! My GF has been looking for a new fitness tracker and the band remains at the top of her list. I told her to wait for MWC to pass (she isn't as tied to the Microsoft ecosystem as I am) and it seems everything released doesn't have the full suite of capabilities the band has, or if it does, it costs hundreds of dollars more.
    03-05-2015 11:51 AM
  3. gadgetrants's Avatar
    Great post.

    I love tech, and all of the other devices grab my attention. However, when I toss them up on a feature comparison spreadsheet, they all are missing something. The Band seems to have the best overall set and most versatility.
    Since I really love my HTC One (M7) my ears twitched a bit when I heard the announcement of the Grip. But two things stuck out to me as strange right away...first, how much the Grip resembles the Band, and second (deal-breaker), that it doesn't have onboard HRM. Go Band.

    ​-Matt
    03-05-2015 12:29 PM
  4. Tim Stone's Avatar
    It's usually expected that Mobil World announcements include shipping dates which are often days or weeks away. In this case, most of the new products are "coming this year" and have very limited software capabilities. Also, they are limited to one OS.

    There just wasn't anything I saw as really promising ... but that's OK. In time a few will make it to market and survive, and they will hopefully improve over time.
    03-05-2015 12:55 PM
  5. Nate Silver's Avatar
    The more time I spend with the Band, the more I appreciate it. I have tried a few trackers, including Samsung Gear Fit, Garmin Vivosmart, Fitbit Surge, Mio Fuse, and Basis Peak. Some I had good experiences with, some not so much. Some are very good in one particular feature, but not so great in others, some not so great at anything. So far, the Band has given me the best day-to-day, 23/7 experience. Does it do everything I want it too? No. But it does most everything pretty well, and manages to do it in an unobtrusive manner, requiring very little intervention on my part to make it work. The dashboard still needs some work, and I dearly wish it supported my Ant+ sensors (bike speed, bike cadence, and foot pod).

    The Band's optical HR isn't as good as my Mio Fuse, but it does virtually everything else better than the Fuse, which is really designed for workouts, and not all day wear. Additionally, the Fuse is extremely conservative when it comes to counting steps, which is intentional. They feel many trackers over-count, which I agree with, but I think they took it too far. The Mio Go app is improving, but still pretty bare-bones.

    The Basis Peak is pretty nice too, but doesn't recognize anything other than cardio-based exercise (walk, run, bike), and it is a very, very closed system which allows no flexibility as to input from the user. Its all automatic, and that's that. You can't start or end an activity, the Peak decides when you've started or finished, and decides what it was you were doing. Spinning? Sorry, you weren't doing anything. Core and Body weight exercise? Sorry, you weren't doing anything. It tracks your heart rate, but that's all. For all it knows, you're having a cardiac episode while sitting still in a chair. The automatic sleep tracking seems to work pretty well, and is quite detailed. Much more convenient than having to remember to start and end sleep time. But, for an in bed reader like me, it overestimates my sleep time, giving me credit for the time I spend reading......and there's no way to go in and edit it. All in all though, I do like the Peak.

    The Gear Fit only lasted a month or so, then froze up, never to run again. Looked good, though.

    The Surge had lots of promise, but it turned out to be mostly sizzle and very little steak. HR during many exercises inconsistent or just plain 'off', and GPS hit or miss. Marketed as a 'Fitness Super Watch'?

    The Vivosmart is a nice device, but without optical HR, and the Band meets or exceeds most everything else it does (excepting some limited Ant+ support). The upcoming Garmin VivoActive is interesting, but it doesn't appear to support anything other than cardio either......excepting Golf?? What's up with that? No provision I can see for weights, HITT, Core, etc. And, you still need a chest strap or another device like the Mio to provide HR capability.

    For hard-core training, I don't think any tracker can hold a candle to the real "Super" watches, like the Garmin 920, Fenix, etc. But for day-to-day use, I haven't found anything that exceeds the Band. I still use the Fuse paired with smartphone apps like Endomondo or IpBike for best accuracy during exercise, but the Band lives on my wrist all the time (and currently the Peak too, while I try to make my mind up about it)

    And of course, if you live with a Windows Phone, there isn't anything else that even comes close. None of my other trackers excepting the Surge (not too bad WP support) and the Fuse (will pair with WP for heart rate tracking when using an app like Endomondo) support WP at all.

    After that long ramble (sorry), I'll attempt to get on topic by saying that I didn't see anything coming out of Mobile World that changes any of this.
    03-05-2015 07:05 PM
  6. Tim Stone's Avatar
    Nice analysis Nate. I bought my wife a Fitbit Charge HR because of the band, smaller size, and fit. It's OK ... but I did put a screen protector on it before she started using it. She had a Garmin previously that fell off and disappeared. The band was hard to snap into place solidly, and I believe its common for them to fall off.

    I considered a Surge but user reports are not good. I tried some others but returned them. The Band is the only one with staying power for me.
    03-05-2015 07:30 PM
  7. anon(5445874)'s Avatar
    I agree. Everything else just doesn't make the cut. Some of them do too little and others try to do some things that smart watches shouldn't do. I do have a few small issues like battery life, which isn't really an issue. If a MS Band 2 comes out, it'll surly be unstoppable.
    03-05-2015 07:37 PM
  8. driedl's Avatar
    This thread is a great idea. I really like my band but was excited to see what would debut at MWC that might draw me away. Nothing came close. I do miss my Moto 360 (which I returned to pay for a VivoSmart which ultimately gave way to the Band) and will get another Android Wear device at some point but, for activity and fitness tracking, nothing comes close to the Band. I very much hope that Microsoft sticks with it and releases a Band 2 this year.
    03-06-2015 09:25 AM
  9. mkg3's Avatar
    ......I have tried a few trackers, including Samsung Gear Fit, Garmin Vivosmart, Fitbit Surge, Mio Fuse, and Basis Peak. Some I had good experiences with, some not so much. Some are very good in one particular feature, but not so great in others, some not so great at anything. So far, the Band has given me the best day-to-day, 23/7 experience......
    You're either a professional reviewer or really early adopter of latest gadgets.

    Will you be reviewing Apple Watch? :)
    03-06-2015 06:17 PM
  10. Tim Stone's Avatar
    My experiences were not as broad as Nate, but only because my research turned me away from some of those devices.

    From my perspective, these wearables are really for fun. I enjoy the info they do provide, albeit that may be off some on the measurements.

    I'd think about the Apple Watch, but so far what I've read tells me I wouldn't invest in one. They have to be charged every day, and have you seen anything recently on sleep monitoring ? According to a report today, apps using it have to be timed to only use a few seconds to handle their work. It reminds me of the very early PC days when we had to fit everything into less than 1 MB of RAM and use floppy disks.
    03-06-2015 06:32 PM
  11. Nate Silver's Avatar
    You're either a professional reviewer or really early adopter of latest gadgets.

    Will you be reviewing Apple Watch? :)
    No, I just have a tendency to dive into things head-long, and really overdo it! When you can combine tech toys and fitness.....well, I have trouble resisting. And, I keep looking for that one device that can do it all.

    Apple watch? Nah, I've never bought an Apple product in my life. Windows and Android though? That's a horse of a different color!
    03-06-2015 06:35 PM
  12. kenjancef's Avatar
    They have to be charged every day,
    I charge my Band every day... When I get up, I throw it on the charger for about an hour, as I get my house/kid under control and hop in the shower. Wouldn't be much of a difference if it were the Apple Watch. But I'll be staying with the Band for a while...

    I really am curious about how the Watch will do, and what it will do. Will it be for me? Will it make me ditch the Band? Maybe, maybe not. But I love the curiosity.

    And as far a s a Version 2 of the Band, what can really be different? I hear just as many good/bad complaints about the fit, so I'm sure no one will be happy. The sensors are all there, so for me, it seems like any future changes would be software/firmware. Maybe Microsoft is pulling an "Apple"... Waiting to see what the Watch is going to do before they really get into any changes/updates.

    Or I could just be talking out of my ****... Which happes with regularity...
    gadgetrants likes this.
    03-06-2015 08:24 PM
  13. gadgetrants's Avatar
    Several times here I've drawn an analogy between the evolution of cell phones in the last 5 years and where I think devices like the Band will go. If that analogy has any merit, then I think we will indeed see some very interesting hardware improvements in the Band, given that MS is in fact working on Band 2.0 (if not then I guess I eat some crow). Either way, I'd be happy to put $10 on the following predictions:

    (1) WHY OH WHY the soft bezel??? Seems to me this was intentional to make us lust after the new-and-improved bezel in the next generation, which won't scratch by simply looking at it!

    (2) Thinner and sleeker. I also think the 2nd gen will be much more svelte, and (hopefully) allow basic office work like typing without being so cumbersome.

    (3) Larger on-board memory, longer battery life.

    (4) Improved HR sensing.

    (5) Improved button layout, screen touch sensitivity, display resolution, etc.

    Of course the OG thread enumerating users' wishlists and ideal features is a great place to look too, but I tried here to pinpoint the kinds of incremental improvements that might typically show up in a device that costs $200. I've been right about my Android predictions once or twice (wrong more often than not, I'm sure!) but hey it doesn't hurt to throw out a guess or two.

    -Matt
    willgill likes this.
    03-06-2015 08:45 PM
  14. willgill's Avatar
    The only thing I would add to the above list is ability to add additional sensors via ANT+ or Bluetooth LE.
    ... And maybe water proof it.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337 using Tapatalk
    03-08-2015 10:02 AM
  15. Nate Silver's Avatar
    The only thing I would add to the above list is ability to add additional sensors via ANT+ or Bluetooth LE.
    ... And maybe water proof it.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337 using Tapatalk
    That would be fantastic! Then I could use my bike's speed and cadence sensors and my foot pod with my Band. Sadly, I'd be quite surprised if it happens.
    03-08-2015 05:20 PM
  16. DroidUser42's Avatar
    Sadly, I'd be quite surprised if it happens.
    I wouldn't. I might be surprised at how quick it comes, but not that it comes.

    Everyone is trying to carve out a ecosystem where they're top dog. But in the PC world, what company is the one that invited everyone to the party? Microsoft.

    I suspect the real product is MS Health and MS HealthVault. As such, they're less interested in protecting hardware turf then to get as many as possible connected to their system. And we're seeing signs of that with the Band as it supports multiple phone platforms.

    Now, given the Band's limitations, I'm not sure as we'd see this function come to the Band, but perhaps it might come to MS Health.
    03-09-2015 03:05 PM

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