Well first off a huge thanks to the O2 community team (@Toby @Anonymous) for being able to Try the Tech (Microsoft Lumia 640 & Microsoft Band) Having been an on/off fan of Window Mobile since its old days, it is always interesting to return to an old favourite.
I have also watched, with interest, the developments at Microsoft’s recent announcements, with particular interest in the Band 2. Having read varying reviews on the band 1 I held off purchase, as various reviews cited battery concerns along with comfort when worn day in day out, well here’s my chance to try it for myself.
The Microsoft Band comes in quite a small and compact box with just the band, charging cable and a quick start guide, the quick start guide shows you most of the basic ‘need to know before you begin’ items such as how to charge, buttons, quick application overview, and how to wear the band. On the side of the box is a sizing guide, this is flaky at best. When Microsoft originally launched the band it was available in 3 sizes (small, medium, large) and users could print a sizing guide online, wrap it round their wrist and it would advise which size you required. Based on the online guide I would need a small, based on the markings on the box I would need a large (you get the picture here…) the one sent from O2 was a medium, and low and behold, it fits perfectly. Charging the band is quite straight forward, just connect the magnetic charger to the elements behind the screen and into a USB charger and away you go.
Unboxing the Lumia 640 was a joy in itself, so neatly presented, I had an orange 640 (be warned it’s quite a loud orange, so certainly noticeable when out, but it’s nice… in an orange kind of way…). Also in the box is a mains charger. Of note is that there are neither headphones nor a data transfer USB cable in the box. Headphones I can understand as a lot of users use their own since phone headphones are usually a little on the cheap side, however since a number of users listed to their own music and videos on their phones the lack of data USB was a bit of a shame (luckily I have spares, and they are easy and cheap to acquire).
The Lumia 640 carries a 5 inch display at 720 X 1280 resolution, with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of built in memory (with around 6 GB for the user), there is an added bonus in that unlike a number of competitor phones the handset does support MicroSD cards up to 128GB. All of this is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad code CPU at 1200MHz
There are 2 physical hardware buttons on the phone down the right hand side, these are power and volume rocker, sadly the camera button is missing on this device which was one of Microsoft’s trademarks in the original Lumia ranges.
The phone has a user replaceable battery (rated at 2500 mAh) which is a feature a lot of power users will certainly appreciate , along with user changeable back covers (anyone remember the old Nokia’s (3310, etc) which made these cool). Removing the cover reveals the MicroSD slot and the Micro SIM card slot.
The band carries a 0.43 X 1.30 inch display with 64MB of internal memory; there are again 2 physical buttons, a power button, and an action button. It is powered by an ARM processing unit, and carries a number of sensors to monitor your day to day activities including heartrate, UV senor, GPS and accelerometer.
[Wearing the Band]
Now, this part is interesting, the manual advises the band can be worn with the screen above the wrist, just like a wristband, or underneath the wrist, neither of which are that comfortable, and for the first day (I’ve only had in 0.5 days at the time of writing this section) I have tried it both ways with neither being any more comfortable than the other, my only concerns with wearing it screen down is the increased risk of marking the screen (for example when worn whilst typing, the screen is usually in contact with the desk at times), and marks are already visible on the display (the unit had these when sent to me, but its easily to see how this happens), I think Microsoft should have included a screen protector on this just to help.
The band has some semi-circular shoulders on the inside of the band on either side of the screen which should wrap around the corners of your wrist; these however, are a set size and are not user adjustable, so for me I found that the band had a tendency to dig in at the point where the bone in your wrist is.
Sizing the band on your wrist is done via a small clip on the underside of the band, there are 2 tabs which when squeezed together allow the band to be opened, closed and used to adjust the size, there are a number of settings (smaller areas where the band clips in) along with wrist strap, and once clipped in to the one required by the user is appears very solid, there is little movement in the connection, and I doubt this would come loose even with the most vigorous of exercise routines.
[Setting up – Band]
The setup is easy enough on the band, during the course of the review I will be testing it out on Android, and iPhone as well as the 640, but for now I will mainly focus on the 640. For Android & iOS Right from the off in the health application you'll have to sign up for a Microsoft account if you don't already have one. Since most people will have one (even if it was just for a Hotmail account) this isn’t too much effort; on the Lumia 640 since you will already have signed in to your MS account this is already present and this step is skipped over. Microsoft sync all the health data from the application to the Cloud, so your data can easily be accessed across all platforms.
It takes only a few minutes for the band to sync and pair up with your phone over Bluetooth. I had no issues across Windows, iOS or Android.
The band provides on-screen prompts for Bluetooth connection such as what the device ID is, and the Bluetooth passcodes once connected.
[Setting up – Lumia 640]
Setting up the 640 is an easy affair, once powered on you are asked to set-up your Wi-Fi (if available), along with varying accounts, you must have a Microsoft Account (it does give you the option of creating one if you don’t already), you are also asked to set up the location, date, and time. If you are an existing Windows Phone user you are then presented with any backed up phones you have used to use as a restore (messages, calls, contacts, etc) or you can start a new one (NB: This option is not presented if no previous Windows Phones are registered to your Microsoft Account).
From here the phone will install a few applications and re-start. Now you’re ready to go…
The rest of the review I will write over the coming days but will be a mixture of a review and an online use diary (since I find real-world use better than just a technical review, so I’ll try and do an mixture of both, but please bear with me, this is my first tech review for the O2 forum…)….
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