Thanks to the new Barometer sensor in Band v2, Microsoft’s wearable can now detect elevation and effort. The Barometer, located at the very top of Band v2, is intended to help make activity tracking more accurate overall.
One unexpected capability of this, is Band v2’s ability to identify treadmill incline. As I noted HERE, this unintended feature is not hugely accurate yet, but could potentially be with a simple software update.
By itself, the new sensor is not a selling point, but coupled with the already existing capabilities from the sensors, the Barometer provides a lot in the way of activity accuracy. And, that’s the primary intent, however Microsoft embedded a new “floors” component in Band v2’s quick stats to give an example of its capabilities.
Band v2 will record your elevated steps and combine them into a flights of stairs. These are not separate from your normal, daily walking steps, just extracted out to show those steps that it believed required more effort.
Generally speaking, Band v2 counts 8 to 10 more difficult steps as a single flight of stairs. This calculation varies depending on the effort and changes in elevation. So, you could purposely take the stairwell in your office building for extra exercise, and depending on the number of stairs between floors it could record more or less than you expected.
Additionally, since Band v2 "floors" is tied to your step count anyway, and it attempts to separate normal steps from more difficult steps, they all accumulate into your total step count for the day. For example, I took a 10.14 mile run in rural Ohio which includes some pretty significant hills. Because of the changes in elevation, Band v2 recorded that I had completed 49 floors and almost 16,000 total steps.
I expect this sensor to get more accurate over time and open up additional fitness tracking capabilities.
Microsoft Band v2 on Amazon.com: Microsoft Band 2