'Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me'
If you’ve been following along for very long, you know that I experienced my first Band 2 defect, the ripped strap, just a couple months ago. That required a full replacement of the Band. Fortunately, I was prepared and had a backup Band 2 at the time, allowing me not to miss recording my daily fitness routines. My replacement came and I got cocky. I figured, surely this new Band 2 wouldn’t crap-out on me before a Band 3 could release – so I gave my backup Band 2 to my wife and kept the new one for myself. You can see where this is heading, right? By gifting my wife her own Band 2 (she was still using Band 1), I gave up my backup Band 2.
So, as you can guess, my strategy of using Band 2 until Band 3 arrives was destroyed this weekend. I’m not saying this was the cause, but I got caught in a light rain and about an hour after my run, my Band 2 just shut down on its own, and then when I booted it back up (using the power button) the screen said that the battery had run out (but still had about 90%) and asked me to configure the time and date. After supplying the information, the Band would last just a short time before shutting off again. This particular issue is not new. It’s been reported about as much as the strap tearing problem.
Fortunately, I’ve been testing the Garmin vivoactive HR alongside the Band 2 recently so I can still track my fitness efforts. But, unfortunately Microsoft Health is a one-way partnership, meaning I can’t import activities produced by other services and devices, like Garmin’s Connect service, into the Health dashboard. So, until my Band 2 can be replaced, my Microsoft Health account will go dark and I’ll be relying solely on Garmin’s service (which, incidentally, isn’t that bad).
It’s actually pretty sad that a product requires that you have to have a backup device because the build quality is that bad. This is the second reported defect that I have personally experienced. That’s not a great ratio. Knowing that you have a defect time bomb attached to your wrist is frustrating.
As I’ve said before, Microsoft is not the only wearable maker with build quality issues. Garmin and Fitbit (the other devices I’ve tested so far) also have various problems in the customer report pipeline, including material quality for rips and tears. So, while the Band 2 issues are frustrating, there’s a good number of Garmin and Fitbit owners also feel your pain. Part of the problem is that we’re expecting these things to be as durable as we are, slapping them on our wrists and performing all sorts of crazy fitness stunts. But, in my case, I’ve been very careful all along the way to treat the Band 2 with kid gloves.
If anything, the single biggest improvement Microsoft could make in the Band 3 is consumer-proofing. Band 3 needs to be indestructible. If not, the next iteration of the Microsoft Band (if it comes) will be the last.