Microsoft Band review

Can this sensor-filled fitness tracker really do it all?

Microsoft Band

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Time and again, Microsoft has been known to throw curveballs, or enter markets prematurely - Microsoft Tablet PC, anyone? - and it's rarely been good for the company.

The Microsoft Band didn't necessarily release prematurely, but there's definitely work to be done. None of this is to suggest that the tracker won't be excellent one day, but this is what you should know before hitting up the Microsoft Store.

Microsoft Band

We like

The battery life isn't spectacular, but for something running a lot of programs, lasting a full two days, or nearly so, isn't too shabby. The fitness-centric ecosystem is also so intensive, you probably wouldn't need any other fitness tracker after the Microsoft Band.

It's also been a really comfy device to wear - it has practically become an extension I don't even notice anymore.

The GPS function also helps the band be a little more independent and helps it feel untethered even though it's not.

We dislike

I really wish the Microsoft Health app was as good as it claimed to be. I was looking forward to a device that could send me motivational messages or tips straight from the tracker. A variety of apps is also sorely missing from the band.

Having Cortana and quick replies on iOS or Android would have been really neat too, but the appeal of cross-platform has been slightly squashed because of the Windows Phone favoritism. That said, this is also likely because the CPU inside the Band likely isn't capable of running Cortana on its own.

Also, for how jam packed the band is for active types, I'm really surprised it's not waterproof.

Final verdict

There is so much potential here it's killing me. I love the Microsoft Band, but it's breaking my heart knowing it can do so much more.

It seems as if Microsoft thought cramming fitness, fitness and some more fitness would make the band a feasible tracker. It's not a bad idea, but it would be nice to do something with all that data. I can see the Microsoft Band reaching Jawbone UP24 levels of awesome once the Health app really gets going.

The company has struck a fine balance between fitness and functionality, but I'd like to see it executed better, and I feel like Microsoft can definitely be 100% amazing - heck, it's practically 80% there in my book.

For now, the price is a little too high a price to pay for a fitness tracker. That's especially knowing you can find a device among the hordes of other trackers out there that is, dare I say, just as good as the Microsoft Band in a lot of ways.

With more improvements to Microsoft's Health platform, the Band could easily become one of the strongest contenders on the market. There's promise inside, Microsoft just needs to make it happen.

Original review written by Lily Prasuethsut

Cameron Faulkner

Cameron is a writer at The Verge, focused on reviews, deals coverage, and news. He wrote for magazines and websites such as The Verge, TechRadar, Practical Photoshop, Polygon, Eater and Al Bawaba.