22/01/2016 5:45 AM AEDT | Updated 28/09/2016 9:56 PM AEST

Smart Bands: Somewhere Between A Smartwatch And A Fitness Tracker


Gone are the days of walking across the room to read a text message. Smart watches can be thanked for saving you those few extra steps while also er, tracking your incompetence when it comes to meeting that 10,000 steps a day.

But it’s smart bands that you’re about to see a lot more of -- a hybrid wearable that falls somewhere between a smartwatch and a fitness tracker. Basically, it will notify you of texts, emails and calendar alerts while also doing the fitness stuff.

Microsoft is the latest company to release such a wearable -- with their “Band 2” hitting stores on Thursday. It offers an LCD touch screen and compatibility across iOS, Android and Windows devices via the Microsoft Health app.

This is the tech giant’s second fitness band product, with the first only having been made available to those in the U.S. and UK.

It has external play controls for music as well as the ability to track heart rate, distance, speed and sleep but perhaps the most impressive inclusion is its UV monitor AKA your fail-safe guide to knowing when to slip, slop, slap. The band will analyse a sample of the UV level and display a reading (Extreme, Very High, High, Medium, Low, or None) from there, you can set it to alert you when to apply more sunscreen.

Those that like getting up and going for a run without having to cart your phone with you will enjoy its inbuilt GPS.

But if it’s circuit training you prefer, the guided workouts are especially handy (as in, the screen display will direct you through each movement, counting down the number of reps).