Microsoft announced the first version of their Microsoft Band – a combination of fitness device and smartwatch – back in October 2014. As a first iteration, it had a number of issues; for one thing, it was uncomfortable to wear.
Fast forward to October 2015, and Microsoft announced the second generation: the Microsoft Band 2. The design appeared to be much improved, so much so that I decided I would treat myself to one for Christmas. I bought it from Amazon UK, since Microsoft do not sell it in the Netherlands.
Since then I’ve been wearing it for 22 hours each day (it monitors my sleep patterns as well as monitoring my activities during my waking hours). I like it a lot. As well as tracking my workouts in the gym, it monitors my walking and biking activities, and will alert me to incoming emails, as well as acting as my wristwatch/stopwatch/timer. All the activity results are also uploaded into the Microsoft Health web site, where I can track progress (or otherwise) over time.
So the idea is brilliant, but, 3 months on, I became aware today of a fatal flaw in the design. I noticed that the rubber strap is developing a split about 1.5cms away from the display. There’s an internal metal lug extending from the display into the rubber band, and the split is developing where the end of the lug is.
Researching online reveals that this is a common issue. Many people are experiencing the same thing. And Microsoft often seems to refuse replacement of the Band under warranty. They don’t accept it is a design issue.
I’ve sent an email into Amazon UK asking if they will replace what in my view is a clearly defective product, but I don’t hold out much hope. Black gaffer tape, here I come…
Once again Microsoft overpromises and under-delivers…
Addendum 21 March 2016: Well, I’m pleasantly surprised. Amazon responded to my email in less than 24 hours, and confirmed that if I return the Band, they will give me a refund.
I had said in my email that I have the Medium size band, and the Band is at its tightest position for a comfortable fit on my wrist. It seems to me that this might be the design flaw – perhaps the Small size band would not put the same stress on the rubber strap. The Amazon representative (Andrew) picked up on this, and arranged for a refund, rather than a replacement, and suggested that I order a Small size Band. So I’ve ordered this in the expectation that the refund will come through as promised.
Addendum 2, 31 March 2016: Well, Amazon has delivered on their promise. I’ve just had an email informing me that a full refund has been credited to my card account. I had rather expected the “trying to get blood out of a stone” treatment that is so prevalent these days, but contacts with Amazon customer service (in my case) have been speedy, polite, and delivered results. My flabber has been gasted.