Microsoft Band 2: First impressions of Microsoft's latest wearable

As an owner of the original Band, I always felt (like many) that the device was more of a proof of concept and not a real product. While it had a ton of technology built into it, it wasn't very attractive or durable, suffering from a number of complaints. Regardless the device was an unexpected success. When Microsoft announced the Band 2, it addressed many, if not all of my complaints. Here are my first impressions of the device.

I'll admit it, the original Band wasn't the most comfortable wearable I have ever owned. The awkward battery placement and somewhat boxy design are gone in the latest generation, and the difference was immediately noticeable. The elastomer for the band portion of the device is now thinner and more flexible, which follows the curve of my wrist much more gracefully. I also found that it made taking the band on and off easier as well. The previous band was so rigid that I always felt like I was pulling it apart when putting it on.

The design is far improved as well. There is a lot less plastic and more stainless steel. The Band 2 definitely feels more premium then its predecessor, though I haven't decided if this justifies the $50 price tag increase. While I largely like the new design, the new clasp looks huge, especially on my skinny wrist. While people with larger wrists who buy the medium or large size band might be okay with this, people with smaller wrists may not appreciate this. I do worry about the choice in metal on the clasp and trim though, on my Band I have already began to notice small scratches.

While the original Band's screen was prone to scratching, the new one is coated in Gorilla Glass 3, which should keep this to a minimum. Microsoft didn't feel the need to include a screen protector with the device this time around - a good sign I suppose. Also on the topic of durability, the charging port is now on the inside of the clasp. This should help keep dirt and other grime out of it. On more than one occasion I had to exchange my original band due to corrosion of the charging port, making this a much needed design change even if it means your charging cables from the original band are incompatible.

The band adds a digital barometer for measuring elevation. As a student who climbs many stair in a single day, I always wanted to visualize this data, so I will definitely be testing out just how accurate this new capability is. Microsoft has also moved around some sensors with the UV sensor now on the outside of the clasp. This allows it to periodically measure sun rays, a welcomed feature addition for a person such as myself who lives in Texas and gets easily sunburned.

So far I'm very impressed with the Band 2 and have few complaints. I'll be evaluating it over the next few weeks. If you have any questions about the device, leave a comment or reach out to me on Twitter @CamdenKrupala.

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