Microsoft Band 2 Gains Music Controls, Digital ‘Coach’ To Bake Your Inner Couch Potato

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Microsoft announced its second generation fitness wearable at a blockbuster event in early October that also saw the reveal of the Surface Pro 4 and the innovative Surface Book. While the Microsoft Band isn’t billed as a full-fledged smartwatch, it does come with a wealth of smart- and fitness-related features that are sure to please just about anyone that maintains an active lifestyle.

The second generation Microsoft Band received its first major update on Friday, which adds music controls and activity reminders. With this update, any app that you use on your smartphone (Windows Phone, iOS and Android are supported) to playback music can be controlled using the Microsoft Band via Bluetooth. You’ll have access to the song title along with onscreen controls to adjust the volume and play/pause and skip forward/backward.

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And in move that is similar to the Apple Watch’s nagging notifications that remind you to stand up and walk around every hour, the Microsoft Band will now prompt you to get off your rear-end and start moving. To add insult to injury, the wearable will even display a snail icon to mock your sluggish behavior. The alerts can be modified so that you don’t receive activity alert while you’re driving (which can be distracting) or while you’re actually trying to grab some sleep at night (which can be infuriating).

The Exercise Tile has also been beefed up to allow you to track your heart rate and calorie burn during exercises and a “What’s New” tile will automatically display on your Microsoft Band when the folks in Redmond release a new update for your device.

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The Microsoft Band retails for $249.99, features a curved AMOLED display, Gorilla Glass 3, and a total of 11 sensors (it gained a barometer not found on the first generation fitness tracker). If you don’t need that 11th sensor and don’t mind a chunkier design, the first generation Microsoft Band has been available for a little as $79.99 in recent months.