Besides the physical improvements of the Microsoft Band in version 2, there’s actually a bunch of small but valuable nuances you won't find unless you're using it as a fitness device. I’ll be digging into each of those as my testing continues.
Recently I talked about how Microsoft placed an Alarm inside the Sleep function and renamed the original to Reminder. I also eluded to a new Smart Alarm function as part of the Sleep tracking function.
The intent of the new Smart Alarm is to judge your wake state (using movement, heart rate, etc.) and wake you sometime within a half-hour of your preset alarm. By using the Smart Alarm function, you are supposed to wake refreshed and more alert. Whatever time you set for your alarm, Smart Alarm will start monitoring your wakefulness a half-hour prior. It will wake you sometime during that half-hour before your alarm is set to go off. If you're still deep asleep, it will wait and wake you at the set time.
I’ve been testing this function for the last 3 nights and not yet satisfied that it does what it proposes to do. But, I’ll keep testing. Here’s my stats so far:
As you can see from my data so far, Smart Alarm woke me only a few minutes early on Monday and Tuesday, but today it woke me a full 29 minutes before my set alarm. Monday was the only day I really felt good after waking up, but I believe the Sleep Efficiency number is the better indicator here.
While this function is new to the Microsoft Band, it’s not a new concept. There are many similar types of apps available for iOS and Android. But, most of those attempt to softly pull you into wakefulness with a gradually increasing alarm volume instead of detecting wake patterns.
Obviously, Smart Alarm can’t help you get more sleep – that’s up to you to set a proper bedtime – but it is supposed to help you wake at just the right moment so that you are more refreshed and your brain is less dull. We’ve all experienced being shocked from a deep sleep. It’s almost painful and a numb brain function can produce erratic results, make you groggy longer, cause you to forget important things and even be less safe driving to work. This function proposes to help to eliminate all that.
I can’t honestly say it’s working yet. Band v2 releasing the weekend of Daylight Saving Time put a wrench into proper testing, but I’ll continue testing to see if things improve and I experience substantial results.
Microsoft Band v2 on Amazon.com: Microsoft Band 2