A year after the rather unexpected Microsoft Band, the company now brings forth the second generation of the device. The new Microsoft Band 2 contains several small, incremental changes alongside two major improvements.
The Band 2 now features a barometer sensor, which allows the device to keep track of elevation, which will help the device more accurately track how intense your workout is and give you a more honest shake at how many calories your burning.
One of the most common complaints with the original Band was the poor comfort ergonomics. Specifically, the flat-sided nature of the previous band made it very uncomfortable to wear for longer periods: obviously a deal-breaker for a device whose nature requires it to disappear during exercise. The new Band 2 promises to fix this problem with a new curved screen as well as softer, more round contact points between the device and the skin's surface.
Having only briefly tried on the previous Band, I can't speak too well to how it felt for long term wear, but I can say straight away the new Band 2 is much more comfortable to put on. While I can feel the device's presence when bending or contorting my wrist at extreme angles and brushing against the device, that's about the only time I really notice that I'm actually wearing the band. It's just plain comfortable now. While I do believe the device is a little heavier and thicker than it should be, I doubt it would pose any issue after an hour or so of getting used to the device's ergonomics.
And, plainly put, the device is just prettier. The new Band 2 looks much more premium, to the point where the original Band looks like cheap plastic by comparison. Furthermore, the touch screen is much better to use. While the new Band 2's screen is only marginally larger in terms of area, and actually thinner in width, it feels so much more airy to use than the previous Band. The perfect analogy to the difference would be like when the 16:9 aspect ratio Surface 1, 2, Pro 1, and Pro 2 screens to the new Surface 3's 3:2 aspect ratio screen. While dimensionally similar, it makes such a dramatic difference in usability that it feels like a whole different lineup of device.
Look forward to our more comprehensive reviews on the Microsoft Band 2. Don't forget to check out all the Microsoft Band coverage here at WinBeta.org, and let us know what you think of the new device.Further reading: Microsoft, Microsoft Band, Microsoft Band 2