Microsoft Stuffs An 11th Sensor Inside Curvy Second Gen Fitness Band, Available October 30 For $250

Microsoft made a bigger splash during its hardware event today than Shaquille O'Neal doing a cannonball in a kiddie pool. It unveiled new phones with fancy Windows 10 features, an updated Surface tablet, its first true laptop (not a 2-in-1), and a curvaceous fitness band, the last of which gains a curved display and yet another sensor.

Picking up where the original left off, the new Microsoft Band is sleeker and more comfortable. It's also a little bit tougher, as it now boasts a curved, touchscreen color AMOLED display protected with Gorilla Glass 3. This change in design addresses the most common complaint of the original, which is that it felt too rigid and a bit awkward with its flat display.

Microsoft Band

The new Band gains an additional sensor, a barometer, bringing the total number to 11 (it retains all the sensors found in the original). With the barometer, the second gen wearable can track elevation, which can be useful if you're climbing steps or getting your workout by hiking in the mountains. Like the curved display, this was an oft-requested feature by Band owners.

Microsoft also touted the Band's ability to estimate VO2 max, which refers to the maximum volume of oxygen used during exercise. According to Microsoft, it's the primary indicator of cardiovascular fitness, though traditionally it's been cumbersome to measure. The new Band estimates VO2 max based on heart rate information, which allows users to track increases in VO2 max as they improve their fitness level and wellness goals.

One of the nice things Microsoft did with its Band is make it compatible with a range of devices -- obviously Microsoft would prefer if you paired the Band with a Windows Phone, but it also works with iOS and Android, earning the Redmond outfit a fist bump.

Most everything else about the Microsoft Band is as you remember it from the original, including the ability to track your sleep quality and calories burned, read emails, fire off text messages, and so forth.

The second generation Microsoft Band will ship on October 30 for $250. Pre-orders will be begin shortly.