Microsoft Band 2, the follow-up to the Apple Watch and Android Wear rival that Microsoft first revealed last year, is a secret no more. After weeks of rumors a leak this past weekend includes a picture of what the Microsoft Band 2 will actually look like.
We’ve heard about the Microsoft Band 2 for weeks now, but it wasn’t until this weekend that we actually got a look at the new Apple Watch rival from Microsoft. To be clear, the original Microsoft Band was part Apple Watch rival, part fitness band. It had tons of sensors to measure everything from sleep times to heart rate and golf swings. There are a few smartwatch like features, mainly email and notification tracking.
The new Microsoft Band 2 details we have this week come from Microsoft Insider, a Microsoft-focused news outlet that’s offered pretty accurate information in the past. According to the report, the Microsoft Band 2 is code-named “Envoy” and will be among the devices that Microsoft unveils at its October 6th event for devices specifically running Windows 10. That’s very interesting as reports indicate Microsoft Band 2 won’t include a version of Windows 10.
The Microsoft Band 2 pictured in the leaked photos has a more refined design than the original Microsoft Band. That being said, most of the device remains basically unchanged. The body of the Microsoft Band 2 is black and presumably made out of the same material that the Microsoft Band uses to keep down moisture. The skin sensor and clasp built into the Microsoft Band 2 are unchanged, but Microsoft has rounded out the clasp’s edges a bit. The Microsoft Band 2 has a widescreen display just as the original did, but with a curve so that it looks less like users have a widescreen display floating aimlessly on their arm.
Two buttons sit on the bottom edge of the Microsoft Band 2.
The key takeaway from these Microsoft Band 2 details and photo leaks is that hardware-wise, shoppers aren’t looking at a huge departure from what Microsoft offered last year. That’s slightly disappointing. Many hoped that Microsoft might decide to compete with the Apple Watch head to head, releasing a dedicated smartwatch with a bigger screen, dedicate apps and less of a focus on fitness. That absolutely doesn’t seem to be the case. If anything, all the major changes for the Microsoft Band 2 must be internal. Other than backgrounds, the Microsoft Band 2 shown in these photos makes no compromises for customization.
We still don’t know how much the Microsoft Band 2 will cost or exactly when it’ll go on sale. Theoretically, we could be looking at a price of $199. Microsoft has slashed the cost of last year’s model down to $149 already, leaving plenty of room for a new flagship fitness band. With an October 6th reveal, it’s possible that Microsoft will open Microsoft Band 2 pre-orders that same week and begin shipping the devices out to buyers in late October or early November. Microsoft announced the Microsoft Band during the last week of October last year.
The Microsoft Band 2 enters a very different landscape than the original did. The Apple Watch has become the gold-standard of wearables, with plenty of new apps and a significantly improved operating system in the form of WatchOS 2. Devices built with Android War, like the Moto 360, are compatible with iPhones, which they weren’t before. Cross-device compatibility was one of the big focuses of the original Microsoft Band. Microsoft’s Health app is available on all three major smartphone platforms.
Allegedly, Microsoft has plans to announce two new iPhone rivals and an updated Surface Pro 4 in addition to the Microsoft Band 2 at this event in October.