I charge my devices like a Boy Scout. Anytime I'm not using a device, like my smartphone or Surface Pro 3, I have it plugged in to charge so the battery is always at 100% should I need to grab and go quickly. And, if I'm traveling in the car, the devices are tethered to power there. Doing this, I can assure myself that I have enough juice.
But, the Microsoft Band introduces a kink in this mentality. It's meant to be worn on your wrist constantly to keep track of your fitness lifestyle. It offers the ability to measure a multitude of activities, heart rate, and even sleep. So, obviously, having the Microsoft Band constantly chained to a power source defeats the actual purpose of it.
The first thing to do is learn the band's power capabilities and reserves. Here's what I've found in my testing:
While I was sick and bedridden with the flu last week, the band was used in Watch mode, tracked my sleep, monitored my heart rate, and provided alerts from my smartphone. The battery lasted 3 days without a charge.
A single day that contained a 3 mile run, Watch mode, step tracing, heart rate monitoring, and sleep tracking, the band's battery was at 40% the next morning.
My first day feeling stronger after the flu, I took a 10 mile run with GPS (about an hour and 15 minutes) starting with the battery at 100% and when I returned the band's battery had been depleted to 60%. I keep alerts on constantly, so I was notified from Twitter, Facebook, email, and text messages throughout the run.
Yesterday morning, I charged the band to 100% and then last night, I went to bed and tracked my sleep, with the band's battery sitting at 90%. I also took a 3 mile run during the day. This morning I participate in one guided workout and the band's battery sits at 70%.
This should at least give you a good idea of the Microsoft Band's battery longevity, but you should take the time to set your own baselines and concoct your own
As you can see from my examples, the Microsoft Band packs a good battery. Microsoft has done well in this area. But, even so, with my Boy Scout power mentality, I still can't get comfortable enough with not having enough juice when I might need it. So, I've concocted my own charging plan.
I went ahead and purchased the Microsoft Band Charging Stand and have it sitting on my desk next to my keyboard. After I wake and run through my morning rituals (having the first cup of coffee, preparing for my work day, and exercising), I slap the band into the stand while I work through the previous night's emails and kick off the day with my first article.
Obviously, the Band Stand is not a necessary accessory, but it does make it easier to quickly start charging and it also displays the clock in easy view while working. The Microsoft Band Charging Stand is a 3D printed accessory that costs $15 and can be ordered from Shapeways: Microsoft Band Charging Stand. Delivery is quick. I received mine in 3 days after ordering. On its own, I've found the stand to be stable, though I've heard from others who are worried about stability and have purchased a separate Stand Weight. The add-on weight is $30 on its own.
I charge the Microsoft Band to 100%, yank it from the stand, and wear it until the next morning. This has worked out great so far. The band charges quick. This morning, 70% to 100% took about an hour. Obviously, I keep monitoring the battery throughout the day and offer a charge if needed, but so far it's not been an issue. Should I have the time and energy to take a long run I'll probably give it a bump-charge during a shower, just to satisfy my Boy Scout quirk.
One little quirk I should note about the band's charging display. I don't think I've ever seen the band display a 90% charge. By that, I mean, it doesn't seem to accurately show incremental charging values while it's juicing-up. It goes from 80% directly to 100% almost in a blink, without showing anything in between. Just something to be aware of, particularly if you're tapping your fingers on the desk waiting to see a full charge so you can slap it back on your wrist. You might see it show 80% while charging, look away for a minute, glance back and it's at a full 100%. This happens to me constantly. Of course, there's that old "a watched pot never boils" adage.
If you're worried about the capabilities of the Microsoft Band's battery, don't be. From my experiences it's phenomenal. But, like any battery-powered gadget, you do have to have a charging plan. Don't get lulled into a false sense of security just because the band's battery keeps pumping along.
There are other fitness wearables on the market with batteries that last a lot longer. My wife has the Fitbit Flex which lasts about 5 days on a single charge, but she's jealous of the Microsoft Band's other capabilities and would joyously dump her band for mine in a minute. I guess I know what her next gift will be. If you're really concerned about battery life for longer runs such as a marathon, you might want to invest in a portable charger. These provide additional battery life and are small enough to shove in a runner's backpack without any additional bulk or weight. I have a few of these and won't travel without one.
What's your experiences with the Microsoft Band battery, and do you already have a charging plan?