Hands On With Microsoft’s New Fitness Wearable, The Band

Dropping out of left field like a foul fly ball from the Kansas City Royals this week, the Microsoft Band was a surprise. Part fitness band, part computer, part mobile Twitter and stock-checking smartgadget, the Band is a mix of things.

And it pretty much works. It’s still a bit clunky, as you might expect from first-generation hardware, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the Band.


Most importantly, it doesn’t do just one thing. If it were a fitness-only device, I wouldn’t use it. If it only had a few lightweight apps, I wouldn’t use it. If it were just a sleep tracker, or a heart-rate monitor, I wouldn’t use it. But with those features combined, it does enough to fit into my daily flow.

That’s to say that wearing something on your wrist is annoying. Having something else to keep charge is annoying. And having one more damn screen in your life is annoying. So, any device that wants to take up that spot has to more than balance out the debits that it will make on your arms and psyche.

Part of the new Microsoft Health platform, Band is a capable and fun device. For $200 it does quite a lot. Once more apps are available for the gadget, and the hardware reaches its second generation, the company could have a pretty popular little doodad on its wrists.