I decided on laser tag with the Microsoft Band and Moto 360 for my first wearable IRL experience. I know, it's not exactly the great outdoors I mentioned above, but there's plenty of physical exertion involved, especially for someone as out of shape as myself.
A Microsoft Band and Moto 360 on each wrist seems silly but they were actually a good combo since neither can be used during water activities.
My day-to-day handset is an iPhone 5S, which can pair up to the Microsoft Band without issue. They're practically best friends at this point with the amount of testing I've done on the fitness tracker. The Moto 360, however, was a different story.
I realized I'd have to pack along my massive, not-pocket-friendly Samsung Galaxy Note 4 just for the 360. You see, the Moto 360 only works with Android devices like the Note 4, Galaxy S5, Nexus 6 and so forth.
This was already annoying since I would be running around shooting fools up and didn't want to be hampered by two phones. I brought along both the Note 4 and Moto 360 but ended up leaving both of them behind, opting for mobility rather than worrying about a giant phone falling out of my pocket in a dark room with lots of people running around.
With one wearable out for the count, I thought my experiment had failed before it even began. It wasn't really the Moto 360's fault: cross-platform compatibility would be nice, but the real problem for me is how some phones are like tablets in my small hands.
Still, the Moto 360 was already losing a war before the first shot was fired, and this time it was its own fault. The drive from my house to the laser tag arena took about an hour and in that time, the smartwatch's battery depleted down to 80% and counting despite being fully charged in the morning. I also only paired it to the Note 4 via Bluetooth beforehand. Motorola claims the Moto 360 battery life lasts about two days with average usage, but it was far from that, I found out.
Fortunately, the Microsoft Band was still at maximum capacity and working with a reasonably sized phone that fit in my jeans.
Once inside the cramped, black-lit room, I realized there wouldn't be much running around - we also weren't allowed to run. Rather, most of it was spent hiding from blood thirsty children hunting me down.
I couldn't feel a single phone vibration moving corner to corner, but I saw plenty of (distracting, life ending) text messages on the Band. Despite the flashes of light - which weren't bright enough to attract would-be enemies - the alerts were actually useful since they were texts from friends telling me they couldn't make it to laser tag.
I didn't have time to respond via my phone, but if I was equipped with a Windows Phone, Cortana probably could have helped dictate a quick reply. With my iPhone, I had to make do with ignoring the messages.
Round one, done
Since I didn't use the Moto 360, the experiment wasn't really complete. However, the reasons I decided not to bring this wearable into the laser tag arena speaks volumes for its practicality and daily usability.
Clearly, it's best for people with Android devices (which is obvious since that's the only OS it works with), and if you are able to charge it frequently. The Moto 360 is also a nicer looking smartwatch that fits better in the office than during physical activity.
The Microsoft Band remains a good fitness tracker that could be much more useful if it allowed wider compatibility, among other things.
It wasn't obtrusive and gave me notifications I was able to quickly read while hunting friends down with a laser tag gun in both hands. Very useful, indeed.
I also briskly walked around 4000 steps during both games which is only about 65-75 calories burned. Sadly, even including the hopping around, that's pretty much nothing.
The whole experience wasn't didn't provide earth-shattering revelations as I'd hoped but it was a fun test run. I think next time, I'll kick up the intensity levels to reveal more about the wearable adventure. Here's hoping I don't keel over.
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