December update: All the Microsoft Band v2 Enhancements

Both Rod and Rich are doing hands-on testing of Microsoft's latest iteration of its fitness wearable. Here's everything they've discovered so far, from the unboxing experience to pairing the Band with an Android phone and the Microsoft Health app to the ways you can optimize the experience of collecting data on how you exercise or sleep. Take a tour through the gallery or look at the breakdown of what they've done below.

HOW MICROSOFT IMPROVED THE BAND IN THIS MOST RECENT VERSION

Band v2 sports a larger screen that is bright, readable, and curved. The Band v2’s straps are thinner (but wider) than v1 and is much more comfortable to wear. Band v2’s screen is made from Corning Gorilla Glass 3, and the band's clasp feels more durable. However, the band's battery life has actually become worse, and it's not waterproof at all.

The “Rotate On” option causes the clock to remain off until you rotate your wrist toward your face. At least that’s the idea, though you can get the clock to display with pretty much any quick wrist rotation.

And now, with an Alarm function contained within the Sleep tile, you can set your wake-up alarm as part of the Sleep monitoring process. 

HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF THIS FITNESS DEVICE

On the Band v1, it was hard to get the time to display while you were using the device to track your distance, pace, and duration during a run. On the Band v2, it's much easier to include the time on your main display or in the drawer. Here's how: Band v2 Enhancements: Clock Display During Activity

Band v2 offers a neat new completion bar for activities, and that bar gives you the ability to quickly glance to see how close (or how far) you are to completing a mile (or kilometer – depending on your chosen distance unit preference).

The new Barometer sensor can actually identify when you change the incline level of your treadmill. Being able to monitor and record elevation changes for the treadmill means you’ll get more accurate readings for the efforts you put in during long winter months when its bitterly cold outside. And now the Microsoft Band attempts to estimate your overall V02 Max using its built in sensors

Once the December update dropped, the Band got on-screen music controls, activity reminders and the ability to set distinct categories for different types of exercises on the tiles. And when you reach a goal for calories or steps, the old boring notification tile has been replaced with a happier, more exciting tile.

And now iOS and Android users can pair their Microsoft Band v2 with the Lose It! app and install a special Band v2 tile.


BUT THERE ARE SOME BUGS

The Kcal to mile calculation is off, and the real-time run pace monitor doesn't work. Also, have we mentioned the battery life?

There are another three bugs in the December update, mostly having to do with pairing with other peripherals.

Finally, while the update history promises “The ability to share customer guided workouts via email,” that feature is missing in action.

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