CHALLENGE ACCEPTED: Microsoft Band vs. The Garmin Forerunner 610

So I was reading through coverage of the Band on Ars Technica and of course I was pumped when I saw an opportunity to compare the Band with the vaunted Garmin Forerunner 610. I’m very satisfied with Band in every area… except for accurate HR readings while exercising.

Let me be clear; the Band did provide good heart readings and they were consistent for whatever they were measuring; I just have no idea what that was. Eventually I’ll do some research and probably discover that it’s monitoring a subset vs. the entire array that the 610 measures. While the differences are significant the representative curves, once they are averaged and smoothed out, are similar enough to satisfy me. See for yourself.

Microsoft Band Screenshot
Microsoft Band App Screenshot
Readings from Garmin 610 (via Garmin Connect)
Readings from Garmin 610 (via Garmin Connect)

I wish I could have taken some pics of the Band and the 610 while I was out for my brisk walk… but it was dark out and I would have been “that guy”.  😉

So, the final verdict is that the Band is perfect (for me) for just about everything except knowing my *exact* heart rate while exercising. In fact, it’s great for anyone who is into any level of fitness and doesn’t need highly granular data tracking. If you need highly accurate HR readings to compare against exact elevation or pace markers then you’re going to want to stick with your existing solution.

For everyone else? This thing is great. It syncs *immediately* with your phone over BT4.0, so no need for a computers and pesky dongles.


CHALLENGE ACCEPTED: Microsoft Band vs. The Garmin Forerunner 610

6 thoughts on “CHALLENGE ACCEPTED: Microsoft Band vs. The Garmin Forerunner 610

    1. Normally I’d agree with you. In this case I am “very sure” though. Why? Let’s just say that 1). zombies would be happy to find me in the desert, and 2). That’s not an abnormal reading for me when starting an exercise session. The really telling part is how it settles down after several minutes; that’s actually my normal profile regardless of what exercise I’m doing. Cheers!

      1. Yea, but 225 is very high. Too much.

        Anyway, I think that the band is showing you a “smoothed” graph while the Garmin one is just plotting raw data. Is it possible to extract the data from the Band as it is? For example in a CSV format or plain-text or something else?

        Thank you!

      2. Unfortunately, that value isn’t too high for me for short periods. Medical history corroborates that. If we knew each other better I’d tell you the story of how I found that out.

        Yes, the Band curve is showing smoothed out averages and the Garmin is showing individual data readings at specific points in time.

        As far as I’m aware there is no official way to extract the data… but nothing says a hobby hardware hacker couldn’t. For example here’s a guy that has figured out how to get into the internals…

        … but from what I understand the Band eventually syncs with Microsoft HealthVault so you *should* be able to either access it directly from there or cobble together an app to do it.

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