Microsoft Band Is More Than Just a Fitness Band

24 Dec

The Microsoft Band goes far beyond a standard fitness gadget. The technology continues to gain attention for smartphone-like features following its debut last month, including phone call and text message alerts. Let’s take a deeper look at what sets Microsoft’s option apart from the loads of other fitness bands on the market: 

Vibrating Display

When receiving a phone call, text message or voicemail, the band vibrates and displays an alert with the name or number of the person making contact. When receiving an SMS message, the message is also displayed. In the case of long text messages, the beginning of the message is presented and the user must navigate to the ‘Messaging tile’ to retrieve the entire message. Dismiss any alert or reply using the band’s text message function; and if interested in setting up replies, use the Quick Responses interface in the smartphone’s Microsoft Health app. Different sets of responses are available for calls and text messages, meaning “separate visits” are necessary for configuring each.

View at Any Time

Microsoft Band allows users to view text messages at any time by tapping the Messaging tile, which will display a message overlay if the user hasn’t read one or more messages. Tap the Call tile to view recent calls and voicemails, with the same message overlay appearing for unseen calls and messages. Scrolling left or right makes it easy to switch between available calls. 

Enabled Tiles 

The band’s Call and Messaging must be enabled on the smartphone to receive call and SMS notifications. Phones on ‘do not disturb’ or sleep monitoring will restrict notifications on the band.

Additional Features

In addition to the many features mentioned above, Microsoft Band also allows users to see Facebook updates, emails, calendar appointments, Twitter mentions, Skype instant messages and more.

Wrap-Up

All data syncs with Microsoft’s Health app, available for Windows Phone, iOS and Android platforms. The Health app currently does not sync with other Microsoft health platforms, such as Healthvault, but that is likely to change. And while fitness bands are arguably inconvenient for exercise as one cannot see it while working out, most of the fitness-related tracking and information from this band is delivered to the wearer via vibration. The band may be as “comfortable as anything else you put on your wrist,” but it’s the additional communication features that really make the Microsoft Band stand out from the rest.

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