Three years earlier…
Over three years ago, Microsoft launched what was the best wearable on the market—the Microsoft Band 2. The more attractive successor to the also excellent, though admittedly cumbersome Microsoft Band, the Band 2 was an inspiring fusion of fitness and activity tracking, smartwatch functionality, and ecosystem compatibility that few have been able to match. And all packaged in an attractive and sleek, albeit somewhat fragile design.
And now, after more than three years and two replacement bands, my final Microsoft Band 2 has died. It wasn’t wholly unexpected given the fragile rubber strap had developed the usual cracks (any Band 2 owner will know exactly what I’m talking about) but, as with previous bands, I’d managed to patch it up with some well-placed Sugru, and lots of care when charging. Another sign its time was short was Microsoft’s decision to pull all but basic security support from the Band app meaning it was unusable with my main phone due to its inability to run on Android 9.0.
Despite knowing its days were numbered, it still came as a crushing blow when it finally gave up the ghost and because of Microsoft’s retreat from the smartwatch/fitness tracker market, I am now having to switch to the aesthetically and functionally inferior Fitbit Versa (review to come).
For all its fragility, the Band 2 had by far the most accurate pedometer of any fitness tracker I’ve used, as well as the most detailed and accurate sleep tracker. The heart rate monitor was great irrespective of whether it was worn on the outside of inside of the wrist, and while the UV sensor wasn’t always the most useful sensor, it certainly came in handy during the UK’s heatwave this summer.
All-in-all, the Band 2 was basically the perfect device for me—it was sleek, it was stylish, it had all the functionality I needed, and it was accurate. Yes, it was slightly too big and the rubber on the band was far too fragile, but when it worked, it was great, and it is genuinely one of my favourite ever tech purchases.
I’ll make do with other devices and manufacturers from now on, but I dearly wish Microsoft would get back in the game with a Band 3. Ideally one with a slightly more robust build quality, but one that keeps the inventiveness, accuracy, and technological excellence of the Band and Band 2 alive and well.