Apple Watch + Microsoft Band. Quick review

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by MH01, Aug 16, 2015.

  1. MH01, Aug 16, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2015

    MH01 macrumors G4

    MH01

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #1
    Hey guys,

    No doubt people will read the title and wonder why someone would bother to own a AW + fitness tracker.

    I have the AW with a link bracelet and over the last week I have used it in the Gym + riding a bike to compare how it performs against a fitness tracker.

    I can see how the AW is useful for people with its activity tracker etc, my number one concern was the HR monitor so I could track my calorie intact and activity during the day.

    So I used it along with the Mircosoft Band during three two hour sessions in the gym and three 7KM bike rides.

    The AW failed badly as a HR monitor in my case, I took an extra link off the band so it was very tight, though that did not help. At times it has trouble getting a lock during a work out, and more often than not, after a heavy set of weights it told me my HR was 50 something.....just plain impossible. My HR in the gym is usually around 100, and when doing sets, can climb towards 140-150. After a two hour work out the AW is got the HR and calories burned wrong by about 50% compared to the Microsoft band, kind of useless. And a two hour work out and a 7KM bike ride will me about 40% battery life.

    I found that it was more accurate on the bike ride than the gym work out.

    So in my case I have turned off all the activity tracking on the AW, cause frankly its just so way off, it will very person to person.

    Having the activity tracking off, I now get excellent battery life out of the Apple watch on a daily basis, and the Microsoft band which is frankly an excellent fitness tracker, has the notification turned off, extending its battery.

    In my case I have the best compromise between what the Apple watch does best, notification and apps, and Microsoft band which does the fitness tracking.

    Another guy in my gym who has one, struggled with the HR also, and after seeing how the Microsoft band performed while working out, he also got one. The positioning of the Microsoft bands HR monitor, probably gives it an advantage in getting accurate readings, though it too has spikes now and than.

    Be interested how others are going with the AW and HR monitor?
     
  2. gsmornot macrumors 68030

    gsmornot

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2014
    #2
    I only have one other monitor to compare with, a Garmin 500 bike computer with a chest strap. I have worn both around the house and on bike rides. They match within 2-3 bpm every time I look. I find my watch to be very good and the logs show regular readings. The estimated calories at the end of a ride don't match exactly though everything else basically does. The difference is normally that Garmin shows I burned more calories.
     
  3. MH01 thread starter macrumors G4

    MH01

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #3
    That is very acceptable. In my case I would have the MSB showing 140 bmp, and the Apple watch 58 bmp, given my age, and having just done a set of weights, completely impossible to be in the 50s. Good to see that it really does work for others.
     
  4. originalmagneto macrumors member

    originalmagneto

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2015
    Location:
    Slovakia
    #4
    The AW is bad at tracking HR during strength workout, that's a well known fact. Has to do with skin contractions etc. So I use a Polar HR tracker (chest band) connected to the watch during gym workouts and all is fine. No need to shell out money for a MS surface band ;)
     
  5. MH01 thread starter macrumors G4

    MH01

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #5
    The MS band is actually an excellent fitness accessory, having a good battery life, GPS and sleep tracking, it's only off my wrist to recharge. I could not wear a chest band 24/7. I find the AW and MS band compliment each other very well due to their pros/cons in my opinion
     
  6. Jim L macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2011
    Location:
    The Piedmont, NC
    #6
    I'm on my second Apple watch. The first one seemed to have a defective HR sensor. This one is better but still less than perfect. I frequently get readings of 50-60 BPM during cardio workouts. Ridiculous! Even after tightening to the point that it is uncomfortable it can be way off. I think Apple really failed at making this thing a heart rate monitor.

    I did try a Microsoft band. I tried the medium but should have gotten the small as a fairer test. It really was a good fitness tracker. HR was accurate all the time, at rest or in motion. The other features are very limited though and I didn't want the notifications. The main reason I returned it was that it was such a clunky, bulky piece of plastic. The screen was attractive but trying to read things horizontally is awkward.

    I wished the Apple watch did the HR monitoring as well as the Microsoft band, but I just didn't want to have 2 watches to switch back and forth. There are many times I don't want to wear any watch at all.
     
  7. BlueMoon63 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2015
    #7
    image.png image.png image.png
    I must be the lucky one because the Apple Watch heart monitor has been close to perfection. I lift weights 5-6 times per week and rarely do I lose my heart rate. Occasionally when I do heavy weights with a severe wrist bend, I lose the pulse for about 20 seconds but that rarely happens.

    I use the sport band one notch tighter and a half inch higher up my wrist than normal. Here is my last two weight lifting sessions - each being an hour. You can see when I lose the heart rate. The sport band or a canvas band is almost a must to keep it steady.

    I also included my golf outing from Tuesday that was image.png image.png image.png a little over two hours and it was super humid and I needed the tighter notch because I was sweating so bad.
     
  8. BlueMoon63, Aug 17, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2015

    BlueMoon63 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2015
    #8
    Tomorrow I am golfing with Apple Watch on my left wrist and a borrowed Fitbit On my right to compare.

    I also wear my AW to bed every night and in three months, I have not a single instance of the heart rate not being measured every ten minutes.
     
  9. T-Will macrumors 6502a

    T-Will

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2008
    #9
  10. MH01 thread starter macrumors G4

    MH01

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #10
    Thanks for the post, that is my experience with the AW, the HR is just completely wrong. If only it was close to what it should be, ill be okay, but is so far out, I need the MS band to get accurate results. I do have access to another AW so might try that today.
     
  11. Rogifan macrumors P6

    Rogifan

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2011
    #11
    Really? It hurts my eyes.
     
  12. MH01 thread starter macrumors G4

    MH01

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #12
    Those graphs and results are inline with what my MS band is reporting, my Apple watch is giving me about 1/2, the HR almost never goes over 100, and an hour workout is about 200-300 calories burned while the MS band is about twice that.

    Btw, what app is that? Very nice summary of your fitness tracking.
     
  13. T-Will macrumors 6502a

    T-Will

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2008
    #13
    The colors aren't ideal, but the data is more clearly presented when compared to Health.app.
     
  14. MH01 thread starter macrumors G4

    MH01

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #14
    Okay Got my friends AW watch so I can test it in the Gym today. Just to eliminate possible issue with the first one.
     
  15. BlueMoon63, Aug 17, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2015

    BlueMoon63 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2015
    #15
    Exercise Pulse by the same guy who does sleep pulse. Basically, he reads your workout app on the watch for the time of your workout and then graphs your heart rate during that window from the heart rate collected 12 times a minute in the health data app.

    Maybe I am truly just lucky but with the sport band and one notch tighter and a little further up the wrist, it works great. I golf for over two hours in the heat and it rarely fails to measure my heart rate continuously. You would think all the swinging of a golf club might make it fail but it doesn't.

    Agree that the colors aren't great and it might be the beta version of the iPhone 9 I am using and not being able to change colors. Not sure though. Haven't tried. The colors don't look so bad on your phone and it is so much easier to read than the health app - and better because it know the exact window to graph.
     
  16. iBlazed macrumors 68000

    iBlazed

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Location:
    New Jersey, United States
    #16
    Hmm..I've had pretty good luck with my heart rate monitor on the watch. Always been very accurate. Maybe because I wear it on the more snug side?
     
  17. MH01 thread starter macrumors G4

    MH01

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #17
    Just tried another AW, and roughly the same results, sadly way off, frankly it just does not work on my wrist. Not too worried as the MS BAND can handle the fitness stuff. Good to see others getting great results.
     
  18. iBlazed macrumors 68000

    iBlazed

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Location:
    New Jersey, United States
    #18
    As a matter of fact, my results are so accurate that when I went to the doctor today the nurse used my watch to mark down my heart rate reading on the chart. :D
     
  19. originalmagneto macrumors member

    originalmagneto

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2015
    Location:
    Slovakia
    #19
    Well, I only wear the HR chest band when working out in the gym. That is the only instance where the HR tracking on the watch seems to have problems. So no need to wear the chest band 24/7, the watch works flawlessly 95% of the time. MS band is too expensive and too little benefit I think.
     
  20. MH01 thread starter macrumors G4

    MH01

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #20
    That is fair enough. Though I had a MS Band before the AW so it works well together.

    I tried the AW cycling, and also had bad results . I just accept its not going to measure my HR accurately.

    Though with the chest strap, you need to have your phone with you right ?
     
  21. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #21
    I've owned the MS band, not a bad product but I think OP, a dedicated work out device will exceed the AW in this test. I like the AW, but my Fitbit Surge is better at run tracking (thanks to its built in app). I think the AW is an overall better product because it does more.

    As for the MS Band, I hated how it felt on my wrist, its not a comfortable watch by a long shot
     
  22. MH01 thread starter macrumors G4

    MH01

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #22
    I wish it was a test to compare the two, the AW is so inaccurate for me, I've decided to keep the MS band, I was going to replace it. If the AW was close to accurate for the MS band, I'd replace it without a thought. Aside from fitness, the AW is a much better product.

    I agree the MS band may not be comfortable for some people, I do not mind it being a big guy.
     
  23. nicho macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    #23
    i have the wahoo tickr and it connects directly to the watch by bluetooth. no phone needed.
     
  24. BlueMoon63 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2015
    #24
    I promise you that the Apple Watch HR is accurate ... At least for me. I've had it drop to 54 and say measuring or it displays the last value it had and measuring but I can't get it to fail more than a few times in an hour or two workout. So I am shocked when others have problems but I completely believe everyone. Wear your watch to bed one night and then check the data collected which should be every 10 minutes or so. If that doesn't work, I would send the back.

    But also check on tightness and location. Do you have thick arms by your wrist? Do you use a sport band or some other band that slides easy? Canvas bands work better than the sport band when you really sweat.

    I wish I could help because I am so impressed with the accuracy and how rare it is for me to lose the pulse. I've uploaded proof to show. :-(
     
  25. ivandr macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    #25
    Reading your several posts on this thread, it seems you've given up on the watch as far as fitness/HR tracking goes. I know its a bit much to be told to buy something else to make your $1k+ watch work, but I really can't recommend the sport band strongly enough.

    I have a link bracelet that I wear daily, however I swap it out for a sport band every time I go and work out/run/bike. I do this because the watch really is better at reading your pulse when tight around your arm... tighter than I'm comfortable adjusting my link bracelet (worried the stress from arm expansion/contraction could bust a connection along the band). As someone else said further up, the heartrate reading is much more consistent/accurate when you attach the watch about 1-1.5 inches above where you typically wear a watch (I attach mine about 1" above the bump on my wrist from the ulnar bone). Attaching it this high up means you need to tighten the watch fairly tight because it will just slip down your arm as soon as you get sweaty... which is why the sport band is really almost a 'necessity' for tracking workouts with the apple watch.
     

Share This Page