Microsoft’s Band was one of the most surprising wearables of last year, mostly due to the fact that it was actually pretty useful. Today, Microsoft’s unveiled its successor, which shares its name but carries a price tag that’s a little bit higher.
The new Microsoft Band sports the same square icon interface and scrollable menu as the original, but that’s pretty much the only thing the two have in common. Unlike the first Band, the new version features a curved display, sleeker battery, and less bulk all around.
As an owner of the first Band, I can safely say that these design changes are welcome, and desperately needed. The original device felt a bit like having a handcuff on your wrist, and its rigid plastic and flat, chunky display housing wasn’t doing it any favors in the comfort department.
The new Band has an increased focus on activity tracking, including new sensors to measure elevation changes and calculate your VO2Max, which is a fitness measurement used by athletes to determine the maximum amount of oxygen their body consumes.
Unfortunately for your wallet, the new look and added functionality comes at a cost. A cost of about $50, in fact, as the new Band is priced at $249, which is a bump of $50 from the cost of the original.