Microsoft has announced the second-generation Band health and fitness tracker. Designed to be more comfortable than its predecessor, the new wearable claims it can help to improve your golf game and estimate how much oxygen you can breathe each minute.
Both of these new features are unique to Band 2, Microsoft says, and the new design promises to make the wearable more comfortable. This will come as welcome news to customers – and reviewers like us – unhappy with the rigid and squared shape of the first Band. The new model has a curved screen with an attractive metal trim, and is claimed to not be rigid in any direction.
The big new update for Band 2 is golf analysis. Using some of its 11 sensors, it recognises the full range of golf swings – including practices and air shots – and knows which to include in your score and which to ignore.
Its inbuilt GPS chip recognises when you are at a golf course and knows which hole you are stood at; it can then tell you the distance to the hole, helping you decide which club to use.
While out on the course, the Band 2 keeps an eye on your heart rate and – new for this model –records elevation change. At the end of your round, the Band 2 automatically produces a score card, which is then uploaded to the cloud and sent to your Windows phone, PC and Surface tablet for analysis.
VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen a human can breathe in during a single minute during exhaustive exercise. By using the heart-rate monitor and applying this data to a Microsoft algorithm, the Band 2 estimates your VO2 max, something not done by any other fitness tracker.
The Band 2 will cost $249 (£165) when it goes on sale in the US later in October; pre-orders open today (6 October). Microsoft said the Band 2 will be coming to the UK and Canada soon after but did not say exactly when.