Jan 112017

I bought my first pedometer decades ago. About 5 years ago, my brother and sister-in-law turned us on to Fitbit Zip, a smart pedometer that connects to one’s phone or computer.

A year ago, curiosity about my heart rate and sleep quality led me to explore fitness trackers, which do more than mere activity trackers. I selected the Microsoft Band 2, which had more sensors (and more data) than any other device at the time (even UV). As a second generation device with frequently updated software, it was the state of the art — briefly. I bought it despite the well-documented tendency for the rubber strap to split. Indications were that MS was working on a new strap and was very good about replacing damaged devices.

It’s silly to use a word like ‘love’ about a device, especially given the pace at which new technology obviates old. Still, I liked the Band’s design, interface, and data. I learned my resting heart rate (HR) during the day tends to be in the low 70s beats per minute (bpm). At night, HR drops to the low 50s. My greatest exertion comes during volleyball and vacuuming, both of which push me above 140 bpm. My fastest walking pace is 16 minutes per mile, though 18 is more comfortable. As for sleep, I average more than 8 hours per night, sometimes half of which is deep/restorative.

My Band wasn’t 5 months old when the strap split. I was please by how easy it was to set up a return online, with MS paying shipping. I was shocked when my Band was returned unrepaired with the claim that I had damaged it beyond warranty. Not true. I had to protest and find someone receptive at MS. I got a new Band but was without one for 3 weeks. I started paying attention to the other fitness trackers, just in case. And I gave up hope for a version 3 of the Band — Microsoft abandoned that market.

My replacement Band cracked within 3 months. I had seen reviews saying some people had received two or three replacements. However, MS refused to replace this one, despite earlier assurance that my warranty had been extended.

The short-term fix was electrical tape around the cracks, which blended nicely with the original black band. On Sunday, that wasn’t enough. My Band went from 98% charged to 0% in a blink and never took another charge. Dead.

Of course, I could live without a fitness tracker, but I like the information. My new tracker has to have GPS, as well as HR and sleep monitoring, along with the standard activity tracking (steps, miles, guestimated calories, calculated stairs). I’ve ordered a new Garmin vivosmart HR+. I’ll follow up after some experience.


 Posted by at 3:33 pm