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65 Engadget Score
It has some redeeming qualities, but you could still do better.
65

It has some redeeming qualities, but you could still do better.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Engadget Review

If Microsoft Health ever lives up to its ambitious goals, it could be game-changing. But right now, the Microsoft Band is the only device available for it. And the Band seems more like a prototype than a consumer device. It's bulky, uncomfortable and has disappointing battery life. You could get a comfortable fitness tracker for less, or a capable smartwatch for a few bucks more.

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Pros
  • Works on iOS, Android and Windows Phone
  • Lots of data, thanks to a raft of sensors
  • App has a clean design and shows promise
  • Connects to Cortana on Windows Phone
  • Guided workouts are extremely helpful
Cons
  • Hardware is uncomfortable and poorly designed
  • Microsoft Health is mostly promise
  • Smartwatch-like battery life
  • Does too many things, many of them poorly
  • Seriously, the Band is really uncomfortable
65 Engadget Score
It has some redeeming qualities, but you could still do better.
65

It has some redeeming qualities, but you could still do better.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Scores

Engadget

65
 

User Reviews

70
Yvonne
Personally I'm a ride and die fan for this watch.....easy to use....the hardest...read more
40
siepod
Purchased the band upon initial release, and like many was excited. As with...read more
90
ALEXSWLI
Full Disclosure--I do work for Microsoft. But I'm not a loyalist for personal...read more
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Score Breakdown

 
85
Average user Score
 
70
Yvonne
11.13.19
Personally I'm a ride and die fan for this watch.....easy to use....the hardest issue that I found to be very, very irritating was the design of the band!....it literally fell apart---is there a band that can be interchangable?
 
40
siepod
09.29.15
Purchased the band upon initial release, and like many was excited. As with other Microsoft products, you would expect something of good quality and neat technical features. Initially, I was not overly disappointed. Although the band itself felt a little cheap (given the hefty day 1 UK price tag), the features were what you would expect from such a device and setting up and using was also a relatively painless product.Further testing revealed the GPS can be a little sketchy at times, as is the case with the pedometer which can overestimate both steps and distances by some way when pushed further (the irony being that measuring the same activity via both the pedometer and accurate GPS would give you two fairly different results).After a few months use, the battery charging point seemed to become a little more intermittent, despite following all the correct care procedures within the documentation accompanying the device. However, after less than 6 months, while out on a bike ride, the device snapped. Further investigation shows the band had clearly worn away at the join between the clasp and the band itself.Not an issue I thought, I would just send it in for warranty repair. And then the fun began. Despite acknowledging the fact the band had failed and the device had ended up planted on the road as a result (remember, this is a band sold for activities such as running, cycling etc), after a wait of over 2 weeks I received my device back in the same state, with a note telling me due to the damage the warranty was now void, and the device would not be repaired.Rather comically, the note failed to even register the fact that the device was damaged as a result of the strap breaking. After contacting support, I was told my case would be reviewed. I then received another response telling me due to the damage my warranty was void. Again, a complete failure to grasp the concept that the device WAS damaged, because it fell to the ground when the device snapped.Still not happy with the response, I attempted to appeal again, only to be replied by the same person, who now made reference to a battery being detached (which is not and never has been the case), and upon further review the decision still remained. The long (and short of it) is the device has failed during normal daily use. Perhaps the device itself was one of a bad batch, a fault in the material or some other reason, but the point blank refusal by Microsoft to even acknowledge the damage is caused by the device falling to the floor, and the whole chicken/egg scenario of this, has left me with a device rendered useless, with the warranty voided after less than 6 months normal use, and a long battle on my hand.Having used other products in the past, and knowing of other people who have received excellent support from other companies such as Fitbit with similar products, I would suggest avoiding this product altogether if you want to use it to track activity. If you want something to check messages, e-mails etc, buy a smart watch, if you want something to track activity, buy a Garmin, Pebble, Fitbit, Jawbone or one of the other devices.
 
90
ALEXSWLI
08.21.15
Full Disclosure--I do work for Microsoft. But I'm not a loyalist for personal purchases. I, for example, uses the iPhone.In terms of use, I use it as a smart watch during the day so that I don't have to fish my phone out of the pocket for every text and notification. I can also quickly check the caller ID to decide whether to take a call. To that end, the watch works extremely well.I can't claim to know how well it works as a fitness tracker since I do my training without the band. Nor do I use the Starbucks app. I occasionally use the weather app which works fine.At night, I use it to track sleep. It is also my silent vibration alarm clock. I have no complaint at all in that regard. I have been sleep with the band on my wrist for nearly four months. I think it is perfectly comfortable. But we all have different wrist sizes and shapes. My only advice is to make sure that you try it at a store before buying or at least take the measurement so that you get the right size and prepare to return it if it does not work.What I don't like about the band is the mobile apps. The app tracks my sleep night after night. But it is only capable of giving me sleep data for individual night. Yes, there is a lot of data for individual night. But it is incapable of giving me a statistical analysis as to whether I'm trending towards a more full night sleep or if I'm sleeping less, or whether I'm going to bed at the same time consistently. I'm looking at the opportunity to use the data the band is capable of providing to improve my personal life. Yet the app locks up the data. The only way I can analyze the data is to look up the data night by night and punch it into a spreadsheet on my own. This is the biggest problem I have with the band. Fellows, please improve the apps.
 
90
steveharris17
08.20.15
As mentioned by others I have felt compelled to write this review following the raft of inaccurate reviews from so called experts. The complaint from a lot of professional reviewers is that the band is terribly uncomfortable. If you look through the reviews from those who actually have one though you see the opposite. Mainly people say they don't notice they have it on. What is going on then? I'd hazard a guess it relates to the difference between paying money to buy a product (which leads you to try an work out how best to use it) and being given a product to review where you have no such vested interest. Yes when I first tried on my band it seemed uncomfortable. So I tried different places on my arm, turning it round to face inwards or adjusting the strap tightness. As others have found with a little fiddling around I had a way of wearing it that suited me and by day two, I didn't notice I had it on. I guess many of those who don't find it comfortable either haven't tried to optimise the best position for them or have purchased the wrong sized band.The second issue for the Band, is that because it has smart watch like features (such as text notifications) it sometimes get judged as a smart watch. In reality it’s a fantastic fitness tracker with some added smart watch features that assist you in your daily life. It’s not really a smart watch and should be judged as such. If you primary interest is picking up texts from your phone or looking cool with your mates, go get an Apple watch (so long as you are not worried about the accuracy of any fitness data you are generating). If you actually want an accurate and useable fitness tracker that has some nice added features that save you having to get your phone out quite so often then the band might be just what you need.Getting off my soapbox and on to my actual review. I have had the Band for about 3 months now. And though it’s not perfect I do think it’s a great piece of Kit. I use it primarily to track my sleep, my cycle rides to work, my runs and my heart rate. It’s great that it has GPS and so long as you wait for the GPS to lock before you start your run then it works brilliantly. I’d say most days it does this within 30 seconds though on occasion I have had to wait longer. I found the heart rate monitoring to be good but t it only works during bike rides if you reverse the band so that the face is down and the heart rate monitor is up (took me a few days to work that one out). Incidentally from what I know about optical heart rate measurements you need to make sure that the device is not fitted too tight as this generates inaccuracies in the data. Heart rate measurement during movement is tricky for any of the current technologies but the Band seems to do a good job as best I can tell based on how hard I perceive I have worked versus the measured values. Static values compared to measurements I took on a blood pressure meter were accurate. I love the continuous heart rate measuring feature that allows you to track your heat rate through the night. The band detects when you are asleep based on your movements. It of course cannot tell if you are lying very still but awake for long periods, but seems to do a good job of telling me when I was asleep and I find this a very useful feature for trying to encourage me to sleep more. You can set an alarm on the band to wake you up at a set time and it does this with a discrete buzz that seems a gentle way to wake up and which doesn’t disturb your partner. Finally in terms of features the text notification is useful, not least as you can quickly check whether you need to respond or not without getting your phone out.In terms of battery life some have complained it doesn’t last as long as they would like. Personally I think the key factor is whether you fit the amount of time needed for charging into your daily routine. I take it off to go in the shower and then put it on charge, I then put it back on again when I am dressed around 30 min’s later. This seems enough charge time to support my needs which are usually continuous heart rate measurements, sleep tracking, receiving texts and two 25 min bike rides with GPS on. The magnetic charging clasp is brilliant and I wish my phone charged in the same way rather than the hideously flimsy Micro-USB solution most phones now have.So after so many positives what could be better? Well first up the screen is easy to scratch (don’t use it whilst gardening is my tip!) Second I would love it to be waterproof. Not so much so I can shower in but more as it would allow me to track swimming which would be brilliant. My final wish might seem churlish after I have so extensively praised the function of the Band but I would love it to be slightly less understated. No-one notices you are wearing it which might be what you are after, but for something that is inherently so amazing I would love more people to ask me about it!
 
90
scb62
06.21.15
The best in its category. We highly recommend it. - Engadget
 
90
grfit
05.25.15
have had MS band since around Xmas 2014 time--little awkward first getting used to it but by day 2 don't even really notice it;a bit short on battery life but for me functional battery life here is wo the watch function is about 2 days (20 hrs or so) but use it to count steps, cals, also usually put in 40 min to 1 hour of workout 5 d/week and about 1 1/2 to 2 hours of pickup soccer; also I use it to track texts, calls, e mails as a screener; never use it to track my sleep as I usually turn it off then and recharge every other day; fully depleted it would take about 1 1/2 hours chargingwish I could wash this as opposed to just wiping it dry; I have accidentally showered with it and seemed to do OK wo problemsmain issue now is clasp is loose so it has to go back to MS for repair/replacement--overall rating 88/100wish list--waterproof to about 2 to 5 meters for those who like to swim; longer battery life, better clasp mechanism
 
80
sabity
05.04.15
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws. - Engadget
 
50
BlakThundar
05.01.15
I bought this on a whim when it first came out in the Fall. I was hoping this could do all the fitness tracking of my Jawbone (it can) and that it could provide me with all the notifications I would want ( it mostly can, but I still have to pull out my phone). I was basically hoping that this could keep me from buying an Apple Watch. When I saw it in person I thought "oh, this is a unique design and doesn't feel terrible on the wrist," when I first bought it. But over time, I realized A) it's an eye-sore and B) good grief this thing is uncomfortable worn loose or tight. I think this stems from the fact that it's the same width & thickness all the way around and that it has very little give/bend to it. At times, Bluetooth syncing has been a real pain. I give Microsoft props for trying a design to differentiate itself from the market and having the device work on iOS, Android, and Windows. However, it's really difficult to want to wear a device this uncomfortable day in and day out. I am interested to see where 3rd party app developers take this thing as the SDK has just been released. I hope Microsoft can take the lessons learned from this device and make something so comfortable you forget you're wearing it AND can actually answer calls and respond to notifications without digging one's phone out of pocket. Currently, if you own an iPhone and are trying to decide between this and the Apple Watch, I'd say spend the extra on the Watch because it will do everything you want and you can forget you're wearing it until you get a nice little haptic vibration.
 
90
oktane
03.12.15
The best in its category. We highly recommend it. - Engadget
 
70
13xforever
03.07.15
The good: MS Band looks good, performs fine and is in a constant improvement state on all sides of things (watch firmware, smartphone apps, desktop app, Health service, etc.). The battery life is actually better than I was expecting (up to 4 days on a full charge). Microsoft is listening to the feedback and very open to the 3rd parties.The bad: it's bulkiness is at the level where it is being distracting sometimes. The support for international usage is non-existent at this time (it is limited to US for a very good reason): you can't read anything but Latin being the most prominent issue. You can't store and process the data locally on your phone or desktop, you HAVE to use Microsoft Health web service. Integration with 3rd party apps is very limited at this time (but the SDK preview is starting to roll out, so there's hope). The hardware itself is not very future-proof and quite modest already.Overall, I feel that MS Band is indeed the best smart watch / fitness tracker you can get the band for the buck out there right now. It has its share of problems, and it is a prototype first and a product second (that's part of the reason you can't get it easily). If you accept that you're getting a playground model that will be phased out pretty quickly for a much better model in a year or two, you might consider to get it right now. You'll get a device that you can tinker with, to see the evolution of the software and services around it in real time, you will be able to influence it via a direct feedback.But if you just want a device that will just work, and will be unnoticable most of the time, just wait for a Mk. II in a year or two, you'll get a much better deal then.