The Band competes in a tough field of opponents who have been at the game much longer than Under Armour and HTC. Despite their lack of experience, this rookie effort takes comparable trackers from the likes of Fitbit and Jawbone head-on in terms of features, a fetching design and the reliability of its tracking capabilities.
Compared to a wearable like the Jawbone UP2, the UA Band tracks steps and sleep just as well and the discreet, but informative PMOLED touch display removes the guesswork from the UP2's troublesome touchpad. The Band isn't as chic, nor does it offer IFTTT capabilities that are built into the UP2's app API, but it supports as many, if not more, third-party fitness tracking services. However, these positives come at the expense of, well, expense. The Band currently costs twice as much.
It can't be denied that the UA Band has an uncanny resemblance to Garmin's Vivosmart fitness tracker. They each rock a minimalistic design, built with a rectangular, touch-sensitive panel. As someone who digs the style that the Band puts forward, I also really like the Vivosmart's look. Fortunately for the Band, we hated the Vivosmart's battery charging cradle and the screen isn't as efficiently laid out. That said, UA's tracker is much more expensive.
Under Armour and HTC's debut fitness tracker is compatible out of the box with iOS 8 and works like a charm on iOS 9. If you're an Android user, it requires that your device is stocked with Android 4.4 or newer updates like Android 5.0 Lollipop or Android Marshmallow. The user experience on each app is exactly the same, so no one's getting the short end of the stick here.
Whichever mobile phone operating system you use, setting up the UA Band involves pairing it over Bluetooth, which can be done in the settings menu, or more easily through UA Record. And while not exactly cutting-edge, the UA Band is also able to display notifications for texts and calls on iOS and Android, so you don't have to yank your smartphone out every few minutes.
The 112mAh battery embedded into the UA Band is said to last up to five days before requiring a recharge. During my tests, which put the battery through over ten cycles, this tracker has no issue meeting the advertised battery life.
From what I could tell, having notifications funneled through the Band didn't make an noticeable impact on its battery performance. Plus, the screen is easy to read even on the lowest brightness level, so there's no reason to have it turned up.
The battery charges quickly via its included USB cable. From less than 10% battery capacity left, it filled back up in less than 40 minutes.