The Microsoft Band is Microsoft’s contribution to the wearables market. It is a cross-platform Bluetooth device that works on Windows Phone 8.1 update, iOS 7.1 and 8, and Android 4.3-4.4 devices. It has a full-color touch display and will track your sleep patterns, number of steps taken, calories burned, and heart rate and has watch functions such as stop watch, timers and alarms that will all function without having to pair with a phone. Although it is not necessary to pair the Microsoft Band with a phone, there is more functionality when paired. Pairing allows it to provide you with activity mapping (using GPS and app), to alert you to text messages that you can respond to with standard responses or dismiss, and to alert you to incoming phone calls. It also has guided workouts and access to Cortana (the Windows phone personal assistant) which allows you to take voice notes, set reminders, send voice texts, and combat Covenant hordes (okay, not that last part). The Microsoft Band even has a UV sensor to help you determine when sunblock is necessary. It will work for about two days on a single charge (one hour workout and eight hours sleep tracking per day) and will fully recharge using the provided USB charging cable in only one and a half hours. The band sells for $199.99 and comes in three sizes: small, medium, and large (see the sizing guide). It is sold out online, but you may be able to find the Microsoft Band in a Microsoft store near you. Please visit www.microsoftstore.com for more information.
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