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The new Microsoft Band has a curved screen, fancy metal accents

Sean Buckley, @seaniccus
October 6, 2015
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Remember that awkward, blocky-looking fitness bracelet/smartwatch Microsoft made last year: the Band? It's back, but this time it actually looks pretty nice. A more comfortable, curved screen? Classy metal accents? New sensors, app functionality and fitness-tracking features? Yes, yes and yes. The new Band looks like a real product, not the uncomfortable, weird thing we reviewed last year.

Gallery: Microsoft Band 2015 | 9 Photos

The new Band has all the fitness features as the original wearable (GPS, a heart rate monitor, sleep and calorie tracking, guided workout notifications, etc.), but adds in new tricks like a barometer (for tracking altitude), golf swing tracking, deeper Cortana integration and the ability to sort out your body's VO2 max, the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use during exercise.

Yes, the new Band is still very much a high-end fitness tracker, but Microsoft isn't slacking on the smartwatch elements, either. New partnerships with companies like Starbucks, Uber, Facebook, Runkeeper and Lose It promise to make the new wearable far more useful than the previous generation.

Oh, and that new, curved display? It's covered in Gorilla Glass 3, and optimized for better touch response, according to Microsoft. All in all, it seems like a solid update to a product that felt a little prototype-y the first time around -- but we'll let you know for sure once we get it on our own wrists. As for you? You'll see the new Band in stores on October 30th, starting at $249.

Get all the news from today's Microsoft event right here.

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