With Microsoft officially discontinuing their Health products and the Microsoft Band….hold on a minute this seems like the opening I wrote only not to long ago for my article on the Vector. A bleak outlook at a company going under or closing services only to rant on how it was a flawed by perfect product. This really seems exactly like that.
The reason why it seems exactly like that isn’t because I wrote this article the same day as the Vector article and just decided to schedule it for a week later, no it is because like everyone we go through phases and try out products based on what ever fad we find ourselves in. Suddenly find yourself at Bunnings or Ikea a lot more then usual? You must of just watched The Block. How about all those new foods which you can’t pronounce suddenly at the dinner table? Sounds like someone has been watching Master Chief.
Now when it comes to health kicks it probably is because not to long hand The Biggest Looser was on TV for a period of time. Even if you didn’t watch these shows, you applied the subliminal messages projected to society and participated in the latest consumer fad.
During these various fads I have myself decided I wanted a fitness band one to many times. I have decided that smart watches and fitness bands are still pointless and will not be tricked. However, in the ones I did try, perfection as a fitness device could only be achieved by Microsoft.
Like the Zune the problem with the Microsoft Band is it came from a time which Microsoft had to much going on, and a lot of these other devices had the appearance of side projects and no coherent backing behind the brand. They also got killed off way to quickly in my opinion, but at the end of the day didn’t really fit what Microsoft ultimately does in computing.
The application was very similar to running applications at the time, and with the GPS integration from the phone could log a path you ran on a map. The app worked well, except for the time I decided to walk 10km to Byron Bay from out near the highway where my brother was having his wedding. For some reason it decided to break once I got to my destination and when I reloaded the application it didn’t save any of the information. Which if there was ever a walk, I wanted to keep for wankery reasons to share with everyone the hard work I did, that was it.
The device also had that weird flaky oxidisation the material the band was made from, in the generation one device I had. Ironically however it only occurred on mine after I stopped using it.
But despite this, if I was to compare to the Fitbit Flex which I owned before it, the Microsoft Band was a more solid device. The Fitbit had the problem of feeling a bit cheap with the band itself, I guess the flex is one of the lower end models, but still that aside the app offering at the time wasn’t as detailed as say the Band was for what I wanted.
I did however buy another Fitbit after not using the Band for some time, and opted for one of the more smart watch style devices. Which in the end I found myself just not using. It was in that awkward place between slightly more useful and fitness device which didn’t seem to have a purpose for what I was trying to do.
In the end the Microsoft Band was one of the better traditional fitness devices I have used, and it is a shame the application itself is gone because I would probably still use it today for any time I wanted fitness information from bush walks or random 10km walks.
The second Microsoft Band I didn’t purchase; however, it refined the device to take away the sharp edges the band had when sitting on the wrist. So, they did try to fit some of the complaints with the original device.
I could also probably go on about how there was emerging smart watches at the time of the Microsoft Band which the market was looking towards instead of more traditional devices especially ones which needed to find its way into mindshare. However, that somewhat devalues the fact that for me the Microsoft Band was the one, it was the fitness device which somehow when I did use it, I used the most out of all the other fitness devices I’ve purchased. It was the one which clicked to me the most as a consumer and the one which I wanted to have on me.
I feel like at some point I will venture into this market again, maybe towards Google Wear or one of the Samsung watches to get myself into the mindset of smart watches.