Microsoft Band
Microsoft Bands are displayed during the grand opening of a flagship Microsoft Corp. retail store in New York, October 26, 2015. Reuters/Lucas Jackson

Microsoft has launched Band 2 in Australian markets and it is now available through JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and Rebel Sports at a recommended retail price of $379.99. It was previously available only in its Sydney-based flagship store and on Microsoft website. Microsoft, through its Band 2, has targeted giants such as Apple, Samsung and Fitbit in the fitness and smart-watch segment. Band 2 is a mix of smartphone notifications and fitness tracking features.

Microsoft says its convergence is “stickier” than the “generic” competition, writes

“If you look at the market today, there are two pretty clear segments — you’ve got the activity tracker market and you have the smartwatch side with productivity and connectivity,” said Microsoft Band product manager Adam Pollington. "The Microsoft Band sits in a new sub-segment of smart bands.

Pollington added that the Microsoft Band will allow users to take control of their health in a more personalised way and it will serve as a personal trainer and personal assistant on the wrists of the users.

Microsoft Band 2 has been made available in three sizes – small, medium and large. For wrists between circumferences 143mm and 168mm, the small is a preferred option, while those with wrist sizes between 162mm and 188mm should go for the medium size. Wrists larger than 180mm and up to 206mm will have to select the large one.

The Microsoft Band 2 has 11 sensors, which include GPS to track cycling, a galvanic skin response sensor to measure stress, a heart-rate sensor to track exertion, a UV sensor to suggest if one needs sunscreen and a barometer for elevation. The UV sensor is particularly important for all Australians due to the rampant skin cancer cases in Australia.

The Microsoft Band 2 connects to Google Android, Apple iPhone, and Windows Phones. It delivers notifications to the rectangular touch screen from incoming calls, tweets and SMS messages.