CNET First Look
The new Microsoft Band as fitness tracker: We wish it coached moreIt has sensors galore and many ways to track activities, but we wish Microsoft's newest version of its fitness band gave more feedback on the go.
[MUSIC] Microsoft fitness band is in it's second year and has a new design. And while it's ambitious, it's still not enough of what I need, especially for it's $250 dollar price. What do you need to get healthy? I need a lot. I need motivation, I need coaching, I need something to bug me all the time. Help me, Microsoft. [MUSIC] The new Band is a lot like Microsoft's old Band, which you can still get for as low as $125. It has the same two day battery life, tracks heart rate, steps, sleep, and can show phone notifications like a smart watch on its color screen. The new band is a bit comfier and has a curved, larger OLED display that's easier to touch. It also has a barometer for step counting and better heart rate sensors. But you still need to press side buttons to look at your stats unless your working out in a timed exercise. And it's still big, it's bigger then the Fitbit Charge HR or the Drawbone Up Three. It's not far off the size of an Apple Watch. It lasts 48 hours on a charge, but if you use GPS tracking, you're going to need to charge a lot sooner than that. Steps, calorie burn, heart rate, distance, sleep, stair climbing, the Microsoft band tracks just about everything you do and it syncs it with Microsoft's cloud based health app which has a decent phone app and a far better web dashboard. You can set goals and sync with a small collection of third party apps, like myfitnesspal, RunKeeper, and Strava. And you can also track a run, bike ride, or a day on the links with a golf tracker. You can also load in workouts. They give you buzzes and record your stats for each session but they don't do what I would like them to do which is to tell you how to do these workouts or encourage you to create a workout plan. Based on your needs. It doesn't do it well enough. You can check messages, to incoming phone calls. Look at the weather or your calendar. Use a special app to pay at Starbucks using a bar code. It's basically a Microsoft smart watch. Microsoft stores a lot of your data in the cloud, which is great and it draws some interesting observations in your behavior over time by comparing your statistics. To the norm in your age group much like Jawbone does. But it varies this data instead of giving you insight on your phone or your band. I want motivation and encouragement. I've worn the band for weeks and it never asked me if I wanted to try gym workouts or show me how to set that up. Microsoft has all the pieces in place to do some great things that help. But so far they're not all showing up in the Microsoft Band. If you're interested in everything I just said, you could try it out. You could also get last year's band at a steep discount and pretty much get all those features too. The Microsoft Band and its price is a little bit too much to ask and doesn't give enough for me in return. I'm Scott Stein at cnet. [MUSIC]