Those that read this column regularly know that I’m a fan of the Microsoft Band and have been wearing one on my wrist since the secretive launch of the 1st generation. Now on Band 2, I’ve personally found that the Microsoft’s foray into the fitness device world has produced one of the most consistently accurate devices available. That’s not to say it’s prefect by any means, or that it might absolutely be the best one available. But, I’m sure we’re all curious.
So, over the next few months, I’ll be comparing most of the fitness wearable offerings in a highly competitive face-off that has real repercussions. What I mean is that I’ll be taking two fitness wearables head-to-head (or wrist-to-wrist) and will stop wearing the loser and retain the winner as my mainstay. This should make it more interesting.
I like to be honest with my testing and reviews. When I talk to people about their choices in fitness devices they will sometimes provide a long list of reasons for their purchase in an effort to justify the disregard for common sense. I’m not that way. I’ll give you the honest pros and cons, often brutally. For example, as a first test I’m currently pitting the Fitbit Blaze against the Microsoft Band 2 and even after just 2 days I’m almost ready to give up due to some serious function gaps and annoyances.
Additionally, I categorize fitness wearables into two categories: pedestrian devices and athlete devices. Essentially, pedestrian devices are almost solely focused on step counts whereas an athlete device takes a holistic view of fitness, providing things like guided workouts, tracking of multiple activity types, sleep monitoring, and diet recording. There’s obviously room for both types of devices in the world. However, much of the consumer world will slap on a pedestrian device and believe they’d done enough – that just by wearing a step counter, their lives have been transformed. For some, that absolutely does ring true, but for many, these glorified step counters lead to the same health complacency as before. Pedestrian devices are a good first start, but to continue to improve, consumers need to eventually graduate to devices that match effort and actively encourage progression.
The Band 2 is much closer to an athlete device, so that’s where my focus will be throughout this comparison smack down. The device that wins out doesn’t have to be the most accurate, but needs to help set a good fit baseline and then provide enough data and actionable instructions to improve. The device that stays on my wrist will help me continue to improve and aid me in finding new ways to enhance my fitness abilities. In addition, the backend cloud service must provide integrations with the most popular services and offer detailed reporting.
So, stayed tuned. This should be an interesting ride. And, who knows? There’s a chance I may not be wearing Microsoft Band when the dust settles.