New Microsoft Band update adds music controls, activity reminders

Vu Anh Nguyen

Microsoft Band 2

If you have been on the fence about getting the new Microsoft Band (which will be referred to as the Band 2 here onwards, for simplicity’s sake,) then the newest update, announced on the Windows blog today, might just push you over. The update introduces several new features much requested by users, while adding many improvements.
First of all, the elephant in the room: music controls. That’s right, you can finally control music with the Band 2 using the touch screen. Any music app on your phone will connect with the Band 2 through Bluetooth (although Microsoft’s new partner, Spotify, is recommended), and functionalities include displaying song titles, pause and play, skipping forward and backward, and adjusting the volume.

Music control on the new Band. From the Windows blog.
Music control on the new Band. From the Windows blog.

A new type of reminder has also been added: similar to what Garmin has on their Vivofit devices, the Band 2 can now tells you to get up your lazy behind and move around after a prolonged period of stillness, at the time and days of your choice. You can also set a kind of ‘quiet hours’ for when you don’t want to be reminded, like during sleep time.
“Get up and move” – Sincerely, Microsoft Band.

Another addition is an improved Exercise Tiles that makes it easier to track duration, calorie burn, and heartrate. Last but not least, a new ‘What’s New’ Tile will now appear when new updates available for your Band 2.
Overall, these are all great improvements that fulfills some of the biggest requests from users ever since the first Microsoft Band. These included functionalities now bring the Band 2 ever closer to smartwatch territory while still being a great fitness device, and it will be interesting to see whether its positioning in the market will change in the future.