In its second iteration, the Microsoft Band includes a barometer sensor in an effort to better track elevation changes. The feature is a great idea, but as I said when I originally covered the feature, it needs some serious tweaking.
I said then…
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.
I see this often after my runs where due to a quickened pace or incline – just an overall increase of difficulty – the Band will log multiple floors. For that reason, I don’t put a lot of faith in the floor count, nor do I use it for anything meaningful in my fitness regimen.
As many Band owners have found, the “floors” count is not completely accurate. Some have noticed that the floor count goes through the roof while just sitting in their desk chair. As some have reported, any type of barometric pressure change can trigger the Band 2 to increment the floor count. Take into account what time of year it is: It’s storm season which means the barometric pressure changes constantly. As a storm approaches and the weight of the air in the atmosphere increases, it can drive the Band’s barometer a little crazy. This is not unlike how a pending storm can make someone’s knee ache or cause headaches.
Other fitness wearables use both barometric pressure and arm motion to detect walking up stairs to ensure better accuracy. Here’s hoping that this gets tweaked in Band v3 or in a coming Band v2 firmware update.
In some cases, restarting the Band also resets the barometer enough to jar it back into better working order. You can try it if the floor count is driving you nuts.
Restarting Microsoft Band 2:
- Press and hold the power button and the action button the same time for about 3 seconds.
- When prompted, swipe left and choose “Yes” to the question: “Turn Power off?“
- Press the power button to restart your Band.