Besides the physical improvements of the Microsoft Band in version 2, there’s actually a bunch of small but valuable nuances you won't find unless you're using it as a fitness device. I’ll be digging into each of those as my testing continues.
Band v1 contained the Sleep monitoring function and a separate tile for alarms. While Band v2 still offers both of these, they have been modified somewhat.
Inside the old Alarm and Timer tile, “alarm” has been renamed to “reminder.” Timer and Stopwatch still exist there, too. However, the biggest change is that Microsoft has moved the “alarm” function underneath the Sleep monitoring tile. And, this makes a huge amount of sense. In v1, you’d have to first set your alarm using the Alarm and Timer tile, and then jump back into the Sleep tile to initiate sleep monitoring – essentially a 2-step process.
Now, with an Alarm function contained within the Sleep tile, you can set your wake-up alarm as part of the Sleep monitoring process. Additionally, there’s a new “Smart Alarm” function. I’m still testing this new function and will report on it when I’m positive I have enough data to speak intelligently on if the function actually provides value. I’m working up a separate article on it. Essentially, the feature judges your wake state (movement, heart rate, etc.) and will wake you sometime within a half-hour of your preset alarm. By using the Smart Alarm function, you are supposed to wake refreshed and more alert.
I have tested this feature 2 days in a row, and both days it woke me just 2 minutes earlier than my alarm. Blame it on the recent time change, but I’ve yet to feel completely refreshed and alert using this feature. Stay tuned.
Microsoft Band v2 on Amazon.com: Microsoft Band 2