Good replacement for Band 2?

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I have gone through 3 Microsoft Band 2 since it was release and now that there will not be a version 3 of the Band. I would like to know what’s a good replacement when this one stop workings. I’m using it as a step and calorie counter but feel like my only option is the Apple Watch when my Band 2 kicks it.

Comments (11)

11 responses to “Good replacement for Band 2?”

  1. 5184

    I've been trying out the Fitbit Blaze since late December.  It's not a bad replacement for the Band.  Below are my thoughts.

    Excellent

    1. Cross platform.  Fitbit is doing a great job of supporting all mobile and desktop platforms, including Windows Phone.  This is much appreciated, at least by me.  I know I can invest in their products and have the freedom to change platforms without leaving my fitness tracker behind.

    2. SWAP BANDS and frame!  You can swap bands to fit your needs or replace a broken band!  I bought the XL Blaze and then bought L band on Amazon for dirt cheap.  Combined small XL buckle strap with larger strap from L set to get the perfect fit for both casual activities and serious workouts when I need to slide Blaze up arm.  I also picked up the black frame, which makes it look better.  And get this, there are aftermarket accessory bands at reasonable prices!

    3. Stopwatch/Timer.  I like it better than Band for some reason.  Maybe because you scroll vertically to set the time, which just seems easier.  I mostly use this when grilling.

    4. Exercises.  Good selection of exercise tracking and many are automatically detected.  But no golf, which might be a minus, if that's your thing.

    5. Battery life.  5 freaking days easily!  I am just amazed at this.  It is liberating.  I know the Band has more sensors, but I often wondered just how many of those were truly worth having.  I was getting about a day and 18 hours with my Band 2.  Never 2 days.

    Pretty Well

    1. Step counting.  A bit more generous than the Band, but overall not bad.  I do like the Fitbit step challenges.  They're fun to do with friends and family.  The Fitbit social challenges are so much better than Band due to much wider adoption of Fitbit devices.

    2. Calories.  Seems to be in line with Band.  Not exact, but decent.  Takes HR into account.

    3. Notifications.  You can get notifications from most apps, at least with iPhone.  This is coming to W10M soon now that GATT support has been added.  I don't own an Android phone so cannot comment there.

    4. Guided workouts.  This is not something I was interested in on the Band as I prefer doing my own workout routine, but Fitbit does provide this directly on the Blaze with FitStar integration.

    Moderately Well

    1. HR monitoring.  Fitbit's algorithm doesn't seem to be as good as the Band at tracking HR when the device is worn in the typical watch position.  I have to move it above wrist bone, toward elbow, to get it to accurately track.  I've compared with Polar strap to confirm.  Moving is annoying when you're just doing casual things like walking.  If HR is important to you, getting a good strap fit above the wrist is a must. 

    2. Sleep tracking.  Fitbit covers the basics--awake, sleep, restless--but doesn't track deep sleep like the Band does.  I think it is the lack of galvanic skin response sensor that makes this impossible for Fitbit.  I've read the nearly defunct Jawbone UP3 tracks sleep cycles without HR and it does have GSR sensor.  Sleep is a big one for me since I have sleep apnea and really try to work on improving my sleep.  I'm still trying to decide if I need to augment for this.

    3. Screen.  Screen is bright and colorful, but it is small.  Notification text is small and harder to read for my eyes.  This is clearly an area where Band's wide OLED display was just better.  The non-OLED display on the Blaze is a little washed out due to light leakage when looking at it from angles.  I notice this mostly at night.  Most other times, it is fine.

    4. GPS.  I've found the connected GPS to work very well and it gets going much faster than Band did.  It's also nice that tracking doesn't quickly drain the Blaze.  The fact that it is connected GPS isn't a big deal to me.  I always have my phone with me when tracking.  Lack of on-board GPS may be a big deal to others.

    Weak

    1. Haptic sensor.  It's just not very strong at all.  I haven't missed a notification yet, but I'm sure it will happen.  Notifications on the wrist are a key reason to have a wearable for me.

    2. Screen on during workouts.  Blaze does not keep the display on continuously during workouts.  You have to flip your wrist up for the display to come on.  That introduces a slight pause while waiting for the display to come on.  I find this annoying and would gladly give up some battery life to have the option to keep it on continuously.  I want to see my HR, time, etc. instantly when working out.  Apparently, the screen did stay on when Blaze first came out and Fitbit modified the behavior with a firmware update.  They have not yet brought that back as an option.

    3. Glanceable workout stats.  Blaze, due to screen size, does not present as much information on the screen during workouts.  I like seeing things like my HR, elapsed time, clock time, calories, distance, and pace at the same time, depending on workout.  With Blaze, you have to scroll through this info with a tap.  It also lacks customization on what you see at once on the main view.

    4. VO2.  Blaze doesn't currently estimate VO2, but Fitbit recently announced it is coming in the next firmware update.  This isn't a killer feature to me, but it is interesting to track.

    I loved my Band 2.  I'd continue using if I had a choice.  It had the right mix of features for me, was comfortable, and I could live with daily charging.  My strap broke, for the second time, so I sent in for repair/replacement.  It has been at the repair facility since Dec 1 and MS still refuses to give me a timeline on a repair or refund.  When Fitbit had their holiday sale, I decided to go ahead and try out the Blaze.  I'm about three weeks in.  Blaze isn't perfect, but it's about the next best thing for me.  Overall, I like it.

    Good luck with whatever fitness wearable you choose!

  2. 49

    Unpopular opinion: Apple watch is a good device, it's not perfect and the Band did a few things better but as an overall and well-supported product, it's a good option.

    • 661

      In reply to Brad Sams:

      but only for iPhone users - right? 

    • 5184

      In reply to Brad Sams:

      I've considered the Apple Watch to replace my Band, but the lack of sleep tracking and 10 hours of battery life killed it for me.  Lock in to Apple was also a concern, but I'm currently using an iPhone and don't see anything on the horizon to get me to switch to Android yet.  I just can't get past Google.

      I'm waiting to see if Apple can get the Watch battery life up and add sleep tracking.  If they can, I may eventually go this route.  They do look nice and I like that they are truly smart watches as compared to the Fitbit devices.

  3. 250

    My Band 2 is still working (well, my second Band 2, since Microsoft replaced the first one when the GPS rolled over and died as it approached the one-year mark), but it's bound to fail sometime. I have decided to look at the upper level offerings from Fitbit and Garmin when that day comes.

    I'm not opposed to Apple devices and actually have a couple that I use and like. I don't think I would go with the watch, but for basic step and calorie counting the watch is good enough and the ones I mentioned may seem like overkill. On the other hand, too much is always enough, so if you can beat the feature list of an Apple watch for about the same money, why not do it?

  4. 223

    I think Paul has recommended the FitBit Alta, which I'm considering when my Band can no longer be held together with electrical tape.

  5. 9963

    Paul suggests the fitbit alta as a better replacement, but the alta doesn't have any GPS functionality. If you use the GPS function you'll need to get a Garmin watch. 

  6. 1002

    I eliminated the Apple Watch as a fitness device because it is way more expensive than other comparable devices. I tried the Fitbit Charge 2 and Surge and did not like them for various reasons. I've chosen the Garmin VivoActive HR and have been using it now for 3 months. I find the heart rate monitor, step counter and GPS to be very accurate. The GPS was very accurate even in Malaysia and Australia. It works in water for swimming and you can customize the watch face as well as add "widgets" (small apps). Notifications have been working perfectly when paired with my Nexus 6P.

  7. 4210

    The Garmin Forerunner 235 is serving me pretty well right now... Various apps for phones are available (even a UWP W10M and W10 app). It essentially has the same features as the Band 2, links up to Strava, which Fitbit doesn't, and the battery lasts for over a week (I wear it almost all the time). Happy to give a more in-depth look, but it's serving me well. I've had it since the end of December.

  8. 4383

    I was a former Fitbit Charge HR user before I moved to the Band 2.  When my wrist strap failed this fall on the Band 2, I considered by options carefully and settled on the Fitbit Blaze.  The Blaze does a reasonable job of tracking steps, heart rate, elevation change, and sleep.  V02 Max is coming soon to the Blaze via a firmware update already announced.  It also provides notifications from the phone.  I get compliments on the "stylishness" of my Blaze that I never got with the Band 2.  

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