1. kenjancef's Avatar
    Note: This is my FIRST EVER review like this for ANYTHING, so PLEASE go easy on me...

    For reference, I have the 42mm Space Gray Watch with Black PLASTIC (flouroelastomer...) band

    Ok... so having the Band since January, and having the Watch since Friday, here are things I've experienced so far:

    Fit:
    I have to say, the Band wasn't so comfortable at first, most likely being that I hadn't worn a watch in at least 10 years, but even after a few days I got used to it very quickly, and I was happy with it. The only complaint about the fit is that since it's so square (or rectangle), it gets caught on sleeves a lot. And since the winter up here in New England was as bad as it could be, I was wearing long sleeves and coats a lot, so I was getting frustrated at how hard it was to get my sleeve back down over the Band.

    The Watch, so far, seems to be better in this regard, mostly since it is more rounded, and the band part is just a band, it doesn't house any of the electronics that the Band does. So if my sleeve gets pulled up, I can easily pull it down over the Watch. And it feels a bit better around the wrist for that reason.

    A side note: The Band is MUCH more easily adjusted than the Watch. Because the Watch uses a regular band with holes, of course there is a hole that fits too loose, but if you go to the next one it's too tight. The adjustment of the Band is much more customizable

    Use:
    The Band is very easy to use. It has more sensors than you probably would ever need, which is good, and I'm sure that Microsoft will someday enable them to their fullest potential. I was happy that it has a UV sensor, since I've had skin cancer twice (blame it on my wild youth...), so I am looking forward to using that as the weather gets warmer and I'm outdoors more. "Watch" mode worked well, and only one time did I ever see that I was close to draining the battery with it on. And speaking of battery, I have gotten generally pretty great use, only once going below 40% on a given day (but I would plug it in in the morning when I got up, and did my morning routine, so I'd leave the house with 80%). The programs on the Band worked as advertised, but I really didn't take advantage of too many of them in my daily use. Notifications worked fine, pairing it with my iPhone 6 Plus... I'm not one for too many notifications, so I turned most of them off. Also, the learning curve to operate the Band was very small, it didn't take long for me to get it going and start using.

    The Watch is a bit of a different story. There aren't as many sensors as the Band, including UV. The learning curve seems to be pretty huge... it's almost like wearing your iPhone on your wrist. There are so many settings and options that, even for me being an IT guy for 20 years and up on all things tech, got me pretty overwhelmed. There is so much you can turn on and off, and everything in between. I do have to say that the screen is beautiful. And from what I read in an article yesterday, the Watch Sport has the best display out of all 3 Watches because the Sapphire glass is too reflective. Whatever... it looks very nice, and even though customization is a little crazy, it works well. I can have a bunch of things showing on the display that I want to look at. So far battery life is pretty decent, I got through yesterday doing a 4 mile run in the morning, then using it as I would during the day, and ended the day with 51% left. The charger.... even though it's magnetic, it is MUCH weaker than the Band. On Saturday night I put the charger on the Watch, and when I got up the next morning somehow it popped off. The Band's charger gives you that "SNAP" and it's there. Notifications can get crazy, since if your iPhone is not active, ALL notifications that come into your iPhone get routed to the Watch. You can turn off all or some notifications.

    Thoughts:
    I really do like the Band, but I might end up staying with the Watch. The Band is AWFUL staying connected to my iPhone. I constantly have to try to get it connected multiple times a day. I end up having to turn off/on Bluetooth on my phone to get it back. I know it's really Apple's implementation of Bluetooth, but it is still VERY annoying. The Watch has so far stayed connected and never dropped, assuming it's because it's an Apple product, and it probably plays better with an Apple phone.

    Also... and I've seen that this matters more to some than others... is the phantom step counts while driving. I know that NONE of these devices are perfect, and counts can vary, but when I'm driving and I look at the Band and see my step count going up and up and up... that's a problem. So far the most I've seen the Watch's steps increase in the car was about 40 steps. I saw a 40 step increase in the band after about 10 seconds. And I don't think I should have to change my driving behavior just because of this... or should I not have to take it off in the car, as I've seen someone else suggest. I should be able to wear it and have it do it's thing, to adapt to my lifestyle, not to have me adapt to it.

    Another downer for the Band: GPS. I'm glad it's there, but I always have a hard time with it, having it lock in before ore even during a run. I am a freak when it comes to logging my runs, and I hate when something doesn't work. I do carry my iPhone with me when I run, so lack of a GPS in the Watch isn't a problem, although I wish they had it in there.

    I will miss the sleep monitoring and the UV sensor. I have sleep issues every once in a while, so it's nice to see what's going on there. And I already touched on the UV sensor. I am also liking where the Dashboard is going. Apple's Health app is very confusing, and as far as I know there is no way of seeing the data on the Web. The Dashboard is looking very nice, and I can see all of my data easily.

    I will still keep the Band, but for now I will use the Watch to see if it is "the next best thing". Maybe I can find a way to wear them both, or even just to use the Band for sleep monitoring. And believe me, I am not a "fanboy" of Apple. or Microsoft. I just want to use stuff that works. I'll use the Watch for a few months and see what happens...

    If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask. I'm sure I left out a ton of stuff, and I'll do my best to answer....
    04-28-2015 10:25 AM
  2. theefman's Avatar
    Good for you, assessed both products and chose what works for you. Not sure the fanboys here will like that though.....
    04-28-2015 10:49 AM
  3. worldspy99's Avatar
    Thanks for sharing. Very nicely written, I must say!
    04-28-2015 10:58 AM
  4. Therealeinn's Avatar
    I'm curious about the phantom steps during driving. I've had my Band since the beginning and at least have never noticed (could have happened, perhaps) phantom steps while I've driven. Have you gone for a walk or a run in "Run Mode" with GPS on and actually been tracked? I remember at the beginning, this was one of the hidden ways to calibrate the Band to your steps.
    04-28-2015 11:37 AM
  5. kenjancef's Avatar
    As far as the driving, I had seen someone mention it, so I checked, and it did the same for me.
    This winter was WAY too cold to run outside, but the first time I ran on a treadmill I ran at an 8:34 pace, but the band said it was 10:30 pace. So since then if I did a treadmill run I used the Exercise tile instead. I've run outside for the past 2-3 weeks now, but haven't done a treadmill to see if it is truly "calibrated".
    04-28-2015 12:47 PM
  6. gadgetrants's Avatar
    TROLL IN THE DUNGEON!!! LOL OH no wait, I forgot you're a good guy.

    Seriously, that's a great first review. I very much hope it isn't moved to the smartwatch area like the last discussion. It's a heartfelt, sincere, open-minded comparison of both devices and definitely adds to our knowledge. THANKS!

    ​-Matt
    04-28-2015 01:28 PM
  7. javaruck's Avatar
    Thanks for the great comparison. I was an early band adopter but quite honestly, I've been a bit dissapointed with it. The build quality is poor - I've had one replacement and the new units galvanic skin sensor is already bubbling off and making recharging a challenge and leaving a rash on my skin. I'm curious as to how the Apple Watch heart rate monitor performs. I'm looking at the new MS dashboard telling me I need to take a recovery day because of doing 2 strenuous workouts in the past 2 days. Sad thing is the 2 runs have been at a pretty easy pace but the bands heart rate monitor is skewed with bad data for the first 2 to 3 miles reporting a heart rate of 175 when I'm actually below 120. I'm to visit the Apple Store tonight to check out the watch. While the band looks better on paper, build quality and inaccurate readings have left me dissapointed.
    04-28-2015 05:58 PM
  8. kenjancef's Avatar
    Thanks for all of the replies. A few other notes:

    At least the Band works with all phones. I'm a bit bummed that most of the third-party apps are on Windows Phone, but at least the Band can be used with Android and Apple. The Watch can only be used with an iPhone. That leaves out a big millions of people.

    In having the Band since the beginning of January I have seen NO wear whatsoever. I've seen all the posts about the rubber pads falling off or disintegrating, but I thankfully have seen none of that, and I had worn the Band for at least 22-23 hours a day.

    Heartrate: I haven't seen any numbers that would be way off, but I don't really depend on that too much.

    It's just funny to hear people wanting to get the Watch without any clue on what they want to do with it. Those are the ones that buy it just because of the fruity logo. I am a runner, I try to do at least one half-marathon a year, and during the spring/summer/fall I can do almost 20 hours a week, so I need/want something that helps me keep track of all that. The Band and Watch do that. I also like to keep track of my data so I can see what progress I am making, for weight loss and exercise. For me, the logo on the device doesn't matter, what it does for me matters.

    I hope all of that rambling makes some kind of sense...

    So I'll try to report back in a few weeks to let you all know how things are going. And again, if anyone has any questions, feel free to ask, and I'll do my best.
    Dave47 and TechFreak1 like this.
    04-28-2015 08:41 PM
  9. DroidUser42's Avatar
    kenjancef, a question about the watch - how is the display just looking at the current time? Is it on all the time like Band's "watch mode"? Does it come on automatically when you go to look at it? Or do you have to push a button? (In which case the 70's would like their LED watch back...)
    04-28-2015 09:19 PM
  10. kenjancef's Avatar
    kenjancef, a question about the watch - how is the display just looking at the current time? Is it on all the time like Band's "watch mode"? Does it come on automatically when you go to look at it? Or do you have to push a button? (In which case the 70's would like their LED watch back...)
    Lol... I remember having a Casio LED watch in the late 70's, but I digress...

    There is a setting, called "Activate on Wrist Raise" that will turn the display on when flipping out your wrist to look at the watch, then when you put your arm down it turns off. It works ok, about 90% of the time, depending on the position of your arm before flipping it to look at it. Saves on battery that way. If the display doesn't turn on, you can tap the Crown dial (which is a button as well) and it wakes it up to show the clock face. From what I can see right now, there is no way to turn off the "Wrist Raise" setting, or at least I don't know how to yet... lol...
    04-28-2015 09:28 PM
  11. djeire84's Avatar
    Lol... I remember having a Casio LED watch in the late 70's, but I digress...

    There is a setting, called "Activate on Wrist Raise" that will turn the display on when flipping out your wrist to look at the watch, then when you put your arm down it turns off. It works ok, about 90% of the time, depending on the position of your arm before flipping it to look at it. Saves on battery that way. If the display doesn't turn on, you can tap the Crown dial (which is a button as well) and it wakes it up to show the clock face. From what I can see right now, there is no way to turn off the "Wrist Raise" setting, or at least I don't know how to yet... lol...

    Ha ha I had a casio baby g watch in the 90s I loved it. Was high tech stuff at that time. Long live the Casio!!!!
    04-28-2015 10:09 PM
  12. DroidUser42's Avatar
    Lol... I remember having a Casio LED watch in the late 70's, but I digress...
    Casio or TI?
    04-28-2015 10:52 PM
  13. realwarder's Avatar
    One key thing is the Apple watch is of course tied to an iPhone and is useless for Android and Windows users. That's fine as that is by design.

    The Band works with all watches, is a lot cheaper and more focused on fitness rather than flexibility. So both really target different markets and different uses.

    After a month I'd be curious to know how you find you really use the Apple watch. (No currently while playing with everything). I.e. do you genuinely use such a sophisticated watch for anything other than read and responding to notifications which I already use my Band for. Ultimately that will determine whether there is a market for supersmart watches..
    TechFreak1 likes this.
    04-29-2015 07:56 AM
  14. kenjancef's Avatar
    Casio or TI?
    I believe it was a Casio. And it was my brother's actually... but my first intro into "technology". I think I was about 9 or 10 years old... It was silver, and had one button, plus the recessed button to set the time and date. I can still picture those amazingly bright red LED's... lol..
    04-29-2015 09:06 AM
  15. kenjancef's Avatar
    One key thing is the Apple watch is of course tied to an iPhone and is useless for Android and Windows users. That's fine as that is by design.
    Yea, I touched on that. Saying it was good that the Band works with all phones and doesn't single-out any particular platform. Well... except maybe Blackberry... D'OH!

    After a month I'd be curious to know how you find you really use the Apple watch. (No currently while playing with everything). I.e. do you genuinely use such a sophisticated watch for anything other than read and responding to notifications which I already use my Band for. Ultimately that will determine whether there is a market for supersmart watches..
    I'm curious as well... lol... I wasn't using notifications much with the Band, primarily for fitness, sleep and UV sensor... So I'm not sure if I'll still use Notifications with the iPhone. And again, the Watch might be a better fit for me since I have an iPhone, but we will see. I'm not ready to decide yet...
    04-29-2015 09:10 AM
  16. Chinocop's Avatar
    04-29-2015 10:41 PM
  17. Asskickulater's Avatar
    Good job! Very nice unbiased review.. we need more of these..
    04-29-2015 10:43 PM
  18. Therealeinn's Avatar
    LOL. I want to believe that story is true.
    04-30-2015 11:33 AM
  19. kenjancef's Avatar
    Ok, so for the past day I did a VERY informal test, comparing both devices with counting phantom steps while driving...

    What I did was wear both devices on my left wrist, which is where I would wear them, and my driving habit is using my left hand on the wheel for more than 90% of my driving. The drive to work consists of:

    Less than 5 minutes on normal roads to get to highway

    Then highway driving for about 30 minutes, with max. MPH at 55, but I probably do about 65MPH

    Then backroads for about 10 minutes, with max MPH at 50, and not going over (cops are pretty aggressive..)

    Also, the route is the same going to/from home/work.

    I drive a 2005 Ford Escape AWD, and tires are good, suspension is good, not a lumpy ride.

    So here are my results:

    4/30/2015:
    From Home to Work:
    Apple: Started at 7,666 - Ended at 7,666 - Difference of 0
    MS: Started at 22 - Ended at 188 - Difference of 166

    From Work to Home:
    Apple: Started at 9,959 - ended at 9,972 - difference of 13
    MS: Started at 398 - ended at 538 - difference of 140

    5/1/2015:
    From Home to Wal-Mart on way to work:
    Apple: Started at 933 - Ended at 933 - Difference of 0
    MS: Started at 236 - Ended at 658 - Difference of 422

    After shopping for 10 minutes then heading to work:
    Apple: Started at 1,528 - Ended at 1,557 - Difference of 29
    MS: Started at 1,236 - Ended at 1,322 - Difference of 86

    Seems that Apple is better, but still counts the phantom steps....

    So I will be the first to admit that the driving steps weren't even close to how bad I thought it was. But still not sure why steps do get counted while driving. Is it the road? The massive potholes that arrived after this VERY crappy winter here in the Northeast? I dunno... But I apologize for posting a bigger difference than it was, even though it's only a day and a half of testing. I have a lot coming up in the next 3-4 days, so I won't have too much time to test more until next week. I am enclosing a pic of how I wore the devices, from this morning (sorry, the pic gets rotated for some reason... just tilt your head to the left and you're good...)

    And again, if anyone wants me to do any more comparisons, please let me know and I will do my best...
    Attached Thumbnails img_0246.jpg  
    05-01-2015 10:01 AM
  20. Therealeinn's Avatar
    That is a very good informal test, Kenjancef. Just curious, do you always wear your Band like you would a watch? I believe the official way that Microsoft wants you to wear it is facing inside. Would you mind doing another informal test like the one you posted with the Band facing the other way? I'm curious if that at all makes a difference.
    05-01-2015 10:47 AM
  21. kenjancef's Avatar
    That is a very good informal test, Kenjancef. Just curious, do you always wear your Band like you would a watch? I believe the official way that Microsoft wants you to wear it is facing inside. Would you mind doing another informal test like the one you posted with the Band facing the other way? I'm curious if that at all makes a difference.
    From Day 1 I've worn it with the display up, just a personal preference, not from anything I've seen or read. I probably won't be able to do much testing till next week, got family commitments from this afternoon until Late Sunday. But I'm up for the test. I'll do my best... :)
    05-01-2015 10:54 AM
  22. realwarder's Avatar
    That is a very good informal test, Kenjancef. Just curious, do you always wear your Band like you would a watch? I believe the official way that Microsoft wants you to wear it is facing inside. Would you mind doing another informal test like the one you posted with the Band facing the other way? I'm curious if that at all makes a difference.
    I wear mine down and get steps while driving.

    Was shocked on one long trip... vibrate. You've met your daily goal! Half way along an interstate.

    I guess it must be caused by my arm moving from a small steering wheel vibration or general car ride.

    I'm sure they could tune it out if they wanted.

    Edit:

    Does the Apple Watch serious write a massive battery state message on the display or is that configurable? Looks overkill to me and takes away from the pure watch look.
    05-01-2015 12:31 PM

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