FOR THOSE LOOKING to keep tabs on their health, there has never been more choice on the market for wearable fitness trackers, and those after the latest gadget to do the job, the Microsoft Band and the FitBit Charge HR, both announced just this week, are perhaps the two devices that have caught the eyes of potential buyers.
We have pitted the two devices head to head on paper, to see which one comes out on top in terms of specifications.
Microsoft Band: Optical heart rate sensor, 3-axis accelerometer, gyrometer, ambient light sensor, skin temperature sensor, UV sensor, capacitive sensor, galvanic skin response.
FitBit Charge HR: Accelerometer, gyrometer, always-on heart-rate sensor.
When it comes to integrated sensors, both wearable devices tout the standard activity sensors for keeping track of calories burned while running, walking, climbing, swimming, etc, as well as sleep monitoring and heart rate monitoring.
But while the Charge HR boasts PurePulse, a feature that sees the band continually monitoring heart rate whether you're asleep or awake and funnelling the results into FitBit's app, the Microsoft Band features a UV sensor so it knows when your skin has had too much sun, a nice bonus for those who like to train outdoors and something lacking on the Charge HR.
Communications and features
Microsoft Band: As well as tracking biometrics, Redmond's Band wearable has a built-in timer, alarm clock and provides access to emails and calendar, all hooked up to Microsoft's Cortana voice command system to avoid having to fiddle with settings on the small screen.
FitBit Charge HR: A Caller ID function on the Charge HR helps users stay connected to incoming calls when paired with smartphone and the wristband vibrates and shows the caller's name or number when a smartphone is nearby.
In terms on keeping tabs on your communications, both devices hook up to a smartphone to make you aware of your most recent social notifications. However, the Microsoft Band seems to have an edge over the FitBit, with built in email and colander functions, all activated with optional Cortana voice command.
Microsoft Band: 1.4in TFT full colour display with 320x106 pixels resolution
FitBit Charge HR: Horizontal OLED display; size unknown
It goes without saying that the bigger and more colourful display on Microsoft's Band wearable will appeal to customers in the market for a next-gen wearable.
Microsoft Band: Works with Windows Phone 8.1 update with Bluetooth, iOS 7.1 and later and Android 4.3-4.4 phones, with Bluetooth.
FitBit Charge HR: Claims to work with most recent smartphones models that have Bluetooth compatibility.
Although we haven't yet had official confirmation from FitBit on which devices the Charge HR supports, the firm has said it will work with most, so it's likely that both wearables in our spec comparison will support the same devices.
Microsoft Band: Dual 100mAh rechargeable lithium-ion polymer batteries equating to around 48 hours of normal use, although Microsoft says advanced functionality like GPS use will impact battery performance.
FitBit Charge HR: FitBit claims the HR will have a battery life of up to 5 days.
Clearly, FitBit takes the biscuit in terms of battery life, and is definitely aimed at users wanting a wearable for purely fitness tracking as opposed to a variety of other novelty features.
Microsoft Band: Thermal plastic elastomer with adjustable fit clasp, weighs 60g, sweat and splash-resistant
FitBit Charge HR: uses a standard watch-like buckle instead of little snap-on prongs, for a snugger fit on a water-resistant, textured waterproof wristband design.
While the Microsoft Band is available in three different sizes depending on the thickness of users' wrists, FitBit's Charge HR has a standard watch-like buckle design for a snug fit. Both designs are unique in in their own ways, with each appealing to different users depending on their preferences.
Pricing and availability
FitBit's Charge HR will be available "broadly" in early 2015 for £120, while Microsoft hasn't yet announced any UK availability for the Band.
However is available in the US now for £200, which translates to around £125.
For those after a wearable fitness tracker, the decision between a Microsoft Band or a FitBit Charge HR is a close one to call.
While the Microsoft Band trumps the Charge HR in most categories - including display and features - buyers should also bear in mind that they may be let down in terms of battery life, something that is trumped by the FitBit Charge HR which touts more than double the battery life than the Band. µ