Microsoft Band 2 review

Curves and sensors in all the right places

Microsoft Band 2

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The days of selective compatibility seem to be over. Certain Android Wear smartwatches can be used with iPhones. Albeit in a limited capacity, but nevertheless, you can still use them together.

The same can be said for the Microsoft Band 2. You can still use it with Android and iOS devices but it works best with Windows 8.1 (and soon Windows 10 Mobile) phones.

I was hoping the virtual keyboard or Cortana would somehow magically be available on my Samsung Galaxy Edge or iPhone 6S, but alas, the compatibility only goes so far.

Aside from those features, you can still get notifications, alerts and even Google Maps directions right on your wrist.

The other compatibility feature, or rather integration, I would have liked is the new Band with Xbox One and Windows 10. With all the fuss over the new operating system, I thought Microsoft would somehow have incorporated its wearable into that mix.

Battery life

I was able to get a full two and half days out of my Microsoft Band 2 – and that's with everything (except always-on watch mode) turned on. I did keep the heart rate monitor running and used the rotate-on clock. The wearable finally gave out after I used it to track my sleep, as it promptly died in the morning after I woke up. Annoyingly, it made me reset the time and date upon charging.

Microsoft Band 2

Microsoft states 48 hours is the average you'd get without the GPS on constantly and on various power saving modes, like sparse notification alerts and not activating the always-on clock face.

It's the same amount of time you get with the first Band, but I was able to get a bit extra. I doubt the results will be the same the next time I use the Band 2 if I go for a long run, use Guided Workouts and turn on sleep tracking, because it all depends on usage.

Microsoft Band 2

As mentioned before, the charge port is now part of the clasp, as opposed to its former spot behind the display body. The magnetic charger fits snugly and is less of a hassle than the former cord, where the Band had to sit a certain way so that the charger wouldn't fall off.

Charge time is pretty quick, taking about 35 minutes, a marked improvement from its previous hour and a half for a full charge.

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.