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Microsoft Band 2 for golfers

by Fellwalker on ‎18-08-2016 18:23 (2,830 Views)

I tested a Band 1 for Try the Tech, and found it a little uncomfortable.

 

When the Microsoft Band 2 was released, I thought long and hard before buying - I haven't worn a watch for 3 years now.  The idea of a dedicated golf watch that did very little else but that and tell the time seemed a waste.

 

The Band 2 is very comfortable to wear whilst out and about.  It a sod to wear while writing this review - just too thick.  At a golf match last weekend, a fellow competitor asked me what it was that I was wearing, tried it on and was amazed by how comforatble it was.

 

You cannot get away from the thickness of the band, but it now curves to your wrist rather than the band 1  which had flat sections.

 

2016-08-18 18.03.22.jpg2016-08-18 18.03.28.jpg

You can hopefully see from tehse photos how after 10 months, there is a little wear on the rubber of the band.  Also quite a bit of suncream gets onto it when playing golf!  Even in the UK.

2016-08-18 18.03.33.jpg2016-08-18 18.03.42.jpg

 

The software is much the same.  The sensors are much the same except that a UV sensor has been added - though it cannot be accessed whilst using the golf app!

 

Pretty much everything is the same as my previous review of the Band 1, which you can read up on to see screen shots.  The screens look the same.

 

SO what is better?

1. Comfort.

2. Screen - a bit bigger

3. The walk app.  Though I am not sure how useful it actually is. It is a tracker rather than a leader, but then I've not tried hard to use it more.

 

What is worse?

1. THE SCREEN IS NOT VERY BRIGHT.

2. The battery life is a day or maybe a day and a half when used for golf or run or walk tracking.

 

How is it for golf?

WELL...

  • The GPS appears to sleep so that it needs time to find the distance to the hole.  When one of my pet hates is slow golf, that is not really how I like to play.  Today, it could not find itself on our second hole!
  • The band still only tracks MOST of your swings.  It is not very good at recording when you have putted, or taken a short swing.  However, you can check it every shot and if it did not register, give the display a quick swipe right to left.
  • The Android app doesn't show the actual shot locations like the Microsoft phone did.  I have to go to the TaylorMade web site to see that.
  • TaylorMade have mapped all of the golf courses which you sync to the band using the Microsoft Health app.  THey've done an OK job of the ones I have played, and those have all been available. Except, of course, my own club which has a winter course that is different; one of hte holes that gets waterlogged is swapped for a spare (7th out, 11th in) so that the band gets very confused.  I asked for this to be fixed back in October last year, and after chasing I've finally had an answer from a real person saying that they do the updates in batches.  I hope they do it in the enxt 2 months else we're back to winter course with the band ignoring the new 11th.  If you use winter greens, I guess no app will cover that .

Would I recommend you spend hard earned money on it?

  • To be honest, I'm not sure.  My initial impression was that it was excellent, but an update half way through my ownership of it led to the GPS being switched off when not actively in use, and that slowed down the distance acquisition.  Prior to that, I would have been happy to recommend it.  Now I am less happy to recommend it.  THe updates are not something you can avoid.

I do also use the text notifications, twitter notifications and advice of incoming phone calls by checking the band to see whether to get my phone out.  I have even typed replies to texts on the band! 

 

When wearing the band and paired to my phone, I can set the phone to "smart lock" which means it only needs a swipe to open. It works on bluetooth proximity, so were I to drop the phone or leave it behind, teh phone would go back to needing a code to unlock it.

Comments
by jonsie
on ‎19-08-2016 12:10

Nice review @Fellwalker. Shame the update was more of a step backward but hopefully the gps problem will be addressed on the next update.

by Fellwalker
on ‎22-08-2016 12:28

@jonsie I hope so. I've added it to the Windows 10 feedback, and voted for other similar threads!

by Head of Community
on ‎24-08-2016 08:21

@Fellwalker, a fantastic review. Glad to hear its more comfortable than the one.

by Fellwalker
on ‎09-11-2016 17:42

The bad and the good continues:

 

The strap split open - it is hollow

20160917-P1090576.jpg

 

The frustrating:

I filled in the form on the Microsoft web site and put in that it had been damaged - they wanted £150.

 

The good:

I rang Microsoft, who said 'Ah, that option is for damage you have created.  This is covered.'  I had to send it off (pre-paid label) and they sent me a brand new band.

 

More bad:

It is now officially winter according to my golf club.  That means one hole is taken out of use, and a spare hole in a different part of the course is added.  So all of the hole numbers in the middle of the course change.

Despite asking TaylorMade (who supply the app for the band) 13 months ago to add the winter course, they have not.  So over winter, the band is nowhere near as useful.

 

TaylorMade appear to have abandoned the app.  I reported a couple of incorrect green locations, and three incorrect tee locations, but nothing has changed in the last 12 months.  2 months ago they promised to get round to it, but nothing has changed.

 

Sadly, I am finding that changes made to the band firmware designed to save battery life have resulted in it now taking an appreciable time to get a distance to the green.  Whenever I want to know, I have to press a button, and a status bar appears and shrinks as it gets a GPS lock, before showing Front / Middle / Back distances.  The problem is, that first lock is often not so good on a tree lined course, and a second press gets a more accurate distance. BUT it takes time.  And golf is slow enough due to players emulating the professionals routines and 5 hour rounds (or more).

 

So at present I am trying to decide whether to sell it and rely on a smartphone app. I have finally found one that is legal - the one I had used (and paid for) before the band "updated and improved" their app by adding the elevation difference to the green on the main screen, making it illegal for competition use, but they don't care, they won't fix it. Most of the apps in the Android store have something illegal in them - whether it be elevation, slope of green, details of what club would suit the distance...

For the time being, the watch is back in its box, and I am just using the phone app.

 

Microsoft has removed the band from their store, so it can only be bought from retailers or second hand.  It would appear that they are not going to introduce a Band 3 any time soon, if at all.  They wanted it to run Windows 10, but couldn't get it to do so .

 

The band is still great for step counting, running tracking (I don't run, but do use it for walking), notifications - texts, emails, twitter, etc. , sleep tracking, heartbeat tracking and more.  But I wanted it primarily for the golf... Cry

by Cleoriff
on ‎09-11-2016 23:57

Thats a real disappointment @Fellwalker...so really for your personal use the band is no longer fit for purpose?

by jonsie
on ‎10-11-2016 02:38

Sorry it is now not much use to you now, maybe selling it is your best option. Frustrating given that it cannot do the job you bought it for Smiley Sad

by gmarkj
‎10-11-2016 07:44 - edited ‎10-11-2016 07:44

One of the worse things is to invest in something like this which then gets dropped from updates/support. 

Sorry bud.

Have you looked at any of the Garmin devies?

Quick google brings up two interesting lists of trackers that have various amounts of detail on them:

1 - http://activitytrackerworld.com/golf-gps-review-best-golf-watches/

2 - http://www.wareable.com/golf/best-golf-wearables-gps-watches-and-swing-analysers

 

Should add - I have never golfed in my life, so no experience with any of these!!

by Fellwalker
on ‎10-11-2016 11:30
@gmarkj thanks for those links, they're new to me. I've seen a few comparisons on tech sites and running sites. Golf. Sites only ever focus on the golf and not the other features.
@Cleoriff thanks. Both the band (GPS saver) and the app (unwanted feature) have disappointed. Neither are fit for my purpose any more.
@jonsie yep, it's on Gumtree and will soon go on ebay or even Facebook if I can work that out (and trust them not to fill my timeline with watches).
by Head of Community
on ‎10-11-2016 12:05

Sorry to hear its not shaping up long-term @Fellwalker. Do let us know when/if you find a good alternative. 

by Fellwalker
on ‎10-11-2016 13:56
@Toby will do
by Fellwalker
on ‎10-11-2016 14:00
BTW the app I found that is compliant (and had Durham City Golf Club summer AND winter courses) is SkyDroid.
by jonsie
on ‎10-11-2016 14:26

That's good Smiley Happy