Tags: health, microsoft, microsoft band, reviews, satire, terrorism
The Microsoft Band, aka Microsoft Health Band, was a rather late entry into the latest fad of wearable fitness logging bands like FitBit, Jawbone and Garmin’s Vivofit. Along with the usual array of step tracking, sleep analysis, and calorie burning statistics, the device provide multiple modes fitness tracking (running, biking, weight lifting, etc.), while also allowing users to interface with the text messages without pulling out their phone, set alarms and even use it as a basic wristwatch with a date.
Me, I’m not in bad shape by any means — especially for my age. I clearly get plenty of exercise just going about my usual day, stay a healthy size and don’t put on much weight during the winter months despite eating like several horses. I wanted something to check my heart rate on a regular basis to give me some idea of bio-feedback when I’m under stress, and hopefully have something a little more functional, overall, that could help me gain some insight on my daily routines. Unfortunately, this did not happen. This thing is made for inactive people who need electronic stimulation to make them get off the couch, and possibly to help lazy gamers compete against each other like exercise is a game. The problem is, I can hear the many Sheldon Coopers of the world saying, “You mean I have to run to beat you at this game? How archaic!”
The first problem with this band is that is horribly restricts movement. I chose the medium size band, because moving up to size large made me feel as if I were trying to fill Lou Ferigno’s gym shorts — at my height, size and build, it’s simply not going to happen. Still, the band set bulkily on my wrist, with sensors above and below, and absolutely nothing could make it comfortable. A short, brisk walk to the car, and I began to realize just how heavy this band actually was — in fact, it was heavier than the eco-drive Seiko Sport 5 I usually wear. When I was battling ninja terrorists shortly thereafter, I found my balance to be horrible afflicted by the extra weight. In addition, I couldn’t throw a solid punch, because twisting my wrist in order to uppercut my opponent’s sharp jawline was inhibited by the inflexible girth of the band. It added an additional six minutes to the fight time, so many observers got bored and left.
The band interfaces with the Microsoft Health application (available for Windows, Android and iPhone) and connects to your phone by Bluetooth. Unfortunately, this brings us to the second problem — the Bluetooth interferes with the GPS signal to an unusable degree. Imagine, you’ve just landed in Prague and as you sit behind the wheel of your BMW 710iL rushing to the location where separatists intend to set off a dirty bomb, you find that now your GPS isn’t functioning because the Bluetooth signal interferes with the GPS radio on your phone. You drive three miles past your destination because your GPS has absolutely no idea you are, and when it finally catches up, you attempt to make a high-speed U-turn, only to find that the band, once again, inhibits the wrist movement you need to turn the steering wheel quickly. Instead of speeding back to your destination, you end up in a ditch.
The third problem is that this thing is large and awkward. It’s about as subtle as an ISIL Soldier at a Draw Muhammad! Festival, drawing the ire and disdain of everyone who sees it. Including me as I was wearing it. And if your intended destination was to save someone from the ISIL Soldier at the Draw Muhammad Festival, your GPS tracker and flimsy wrist might have you, instead, sipping a latte with melon syrup and listening to a short man named Vin discuss which manicurist he likes best because your car’s in a ditch and you’re waiting for a damn tow truck… And I’m sorry, but I just don’t need that!
Seriously. Don’t let the terrorists win. Do not buy the Microsoft Band.