Microsoft is competing head to head with other IT giants including Apple and Google by launching its own fitness wearable on Thursday, October 30.
Called Microsoft Band, it is one of the initial steps to a more comprehensive health data analysis, similar to what Apple is doing with Apple Health and Apple Watch. Thus, when you wear the device and use the app, it stores data online for better aggregation. Cross health platforms are also expected to come around very soon.
Microsoft's first wearable allows you to access e-mails and calendars, as well as see call notifications. As a fitness tracker, it monitors physical movements, sleep, calories burned, and heart rate.
The design of the band is simple: it's mostly made of rubber with a 1.4-inch display. To view, press the icons, which you can scroll from left to right. It has a screen resolution of 320 x 106.
Microsoft Band, nevertheless, has its own distinctive features. For example, it comes with a barcode that you can use to buy a coffee from Starbucks. It also lets you receive Facebook alerts.
The band also has more than eight sensors and a GPS, which means you can now do away with a phone to correctly track the distance covered when you're running or walking. You can also download workout sets from recognized gyms like Gold's to serve as your guide.
According to Microsoft, the band is available for only $199, which gives it a significant advantage in terms of price against Apple Watch priced at $349. It also runs even with an iPhone 6 via a Bluetooth.
As Microsoft gives everyone a peek of its new fitness device, tech pundits already have experienced it firsthand with mostly positive reviews. The Verge, for example, have slightly criticized its physical design but calls the software solid.