Nice Idea – Bad Execution

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.

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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.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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3 Responses to Nice Idea – Bad Execution

  1. Gennaro says:

    I’m not the greatest fan of Amazon, but more often than not their customer service is excellent! A few weeks ago I didn’t receive an order from amazon.it. According to tracking the parcel had been delivered and signed by the porter of our building (with full name), but the porter told me he had never sen it. The same courier knows the porter and was carrying another parcel for someobdy else in the building, so we assume he delivered one parcel and signed for both. The situation can look a bit dodgy but Amazon gave me a full refund without any problem at all. On another occasion, many years ago I had ordered some books to be delivered in Italy by amazon.co.uk. After more than a month the books had not arrived, so I notified Amazon and they sent them again straight away. A couple days after that, the original “lost” parcel arrived. I told Amazon, they replied they had already sent the replacement and suggested I give the extra books to a local library.

  2. Pingback: Strike 2… | Geoff Coupe's Blog

  3. Pingback: Microsoft Band – Time for Plan B | Geoff Coupe's Blog

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