Earlier today, Apple shocked absolutely no one when it finally shared release date details for the Apple Watch. The company is describing the device as the most personal thing it’s ever created. At its core, the Apple Watch is a companion, a way of extending your iPhone experience outside of your pocket and onto your wrist. It’s an interesting philosophy for sure.
The Microsoft Band is Microsoft’s take on fitness and wearables. Like the Apple Watch, its meant to be a constant companion, a way to stay abreast of the latest messages without pulling out your smartphone. Both devices come preloaded with tons of fitness apps and options too. Here’s how the newly announced Apple Watch compares to the Microsoft Band.
Apple Watch vs Microsoft Band – Design
They both go on your wrists and allow you to do things that a normal watch never could. That being said, the Apple Watch and the Microsoft Band are really different. These differences are immediately noticeable. Just look at both of them.
The core of the Apple Watch is a machined aluminum rectangle with curbed edges. The exact specifications, like weight and display size specifically depend on the version that users pick up. For example, versions for smaller wrists have a 1.32-inch display. Apple Watches for bigger wrists have 1.5-inch displays. The cheapest version — and probably the one most users will pick up — is Apple Watch Sport. It comes in silver and space gray with a sport wristband in either White, Black, Blue Green or Pink. There are leather and stainless still band options for the mid-range Apple Watch, which starts at $549.99. Even more options come with the $10,000 Apple Watch Edition.
The Apple Watch is a wearable built for style and function. The Microsoft Band is everything but. Really, the device is as nondescript as a wearable can be. There’s only one color: black. Microsoft opted to keep the style simple. It has a rectangular display instead of a square or circular one. This screen measures 33mm x 11mm. That’s all the usable space users get. It is a touch screen display though.
Apple Watch vs Microsoft Band – Internals & Apps
The differences in these two devices is even more noticeable when you get to down their internals. The Microsoft Band boasts an optical heart rate sensor, accelerometer and gyroscope, gyrometer, GPS, ambient light sensor, skin temperature sensor, UV sensor, capacitive sensor, galvanic skin response monitor and microphone. All of these sensors are so the Microsoft Band can monitor fitness activity. The GPS sensor, for example lets users track their run without necessarily having to carry around their smartphone. Bluetooth 4.0 is how the Microsoft Band communicates with iOS, Android and Windows Phones with the Microsoft Health app. There are apps for running, sleep tracking, guided work outs and heart rate monitoring. There are some productivity features like Email, weather, notifications, timer, stopwatch, caller ID, Twitter, Facebook Messenger and Calendar. Gold’s Gym and Runkeeper are among Microsoft’s fitness app partners.
The Apple Watch doesn’t just dabble in being a full-on wearable computer like the Microsoft Band. The only sensors it has are an accelerometer, gyroscope, heart rate sensor and barometer. In connects with iPhones using Bluetooth 4.0 and also has built-in Wi-Fi. There’s a touch screen, but also a crown that lets users navigate the interface. It’s charged with a wire connection-less plug that simply snaps into place.
Interchangeable faces are just one of the many software features the Apple Watch boasts. Users can add any data to their watch face that they want. Health and Fitness apps allow it to also keep track of user’s workouts, monitor how long users have sat and comes complete with an activity guide of its own. In addition to that, any app developer can create an app for Apple Watch, something that’s not necessarily true of the Microsoft Band. Target, Nike+ and MLB already have apps coming for the Apple Watch. So does CNN, NPR and even car maker BMW. The built-in NFC system allows iPhone 5s users to use the Apple Pay service without upgrading to an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus.
You can send a drawing to a friend or message someone nearby with an Apple Watch. Monitoring messaging is possible to. The Apple Watch’s most impressive feature might just be its ability to let wearers take phone calls directly from their wrist.
Apple Watch vs Microsoft Band – Conclusion
It’s not really a case of the Apple Watch clearly being better than the Microsoft Band. Which you should buy depends on what kind of experience you’re looking for. The Microsoft Band is first a fitness band. Sure, you can check your calendar or pay for something at Starbucks with it, but really it’s meant as a companion to a workout. It gets 48 hours of battery life, and it only costs $199 too, making it an obvious choice for entry-level buyers on iPhone, Android and Windows Phone.
The Apple Watch is a wrist-computer and its 18 hours of battery life prove it. That being said, what users are getting for $349 isn’t like anything we’ve seen before. It’s a computer, a tiny computer that users can customize to their heart’s content. If that’s sounds like a watch you’d buy, your choice is obvious: go with the Apple Watch. Potential buyers will be able to try the Apple Watch on April 10th at an Apple Store.