Unluckiest man on Gadget-Earth


I admit I have been moderately lucky with gadgets and tech gear through all my life. Taking good care of them seems to help.
I have only dropped a phone and I have only serviced a laptop (in the 90s) and a phone throughout all these years.

But there is always this exception. This single item for which you should not take a beating because you have a record to back you up.

Fitness bands

I am no fitness freak myself and since I am also on the cheap side I started with the cheapest band one can get from a known brand: the first version of the Xiaomi MiBand to check whether I had any use for such a device.

It turns out I did. It nagged to get off my ass more often, it encouraged me to get my daily quota of steps and I had an "excuse" for a nap when I showed my nagging partner that I had "only" slept 6 hours but they were of poor quality
It broke within a year-ish but that is not the gadget to call oneself unlucky (and I am not cheap enough to bother disputing Chinese warranty for 14 bucks).

That device "proved" I have a "use" for a fitness band. Note the profusion of quotes.
And then I laid my eyes on a much more expensive and feature-rich device. The Microsoft Band 2.

After much review reading I took advantage of a visit to London to get myself £200 worth of sensors and access to a nice mobile app and health portal.
Despite the awkward design (that bulgy battery) I have been a really happy user. My favorite features being the GPS tracking when cycling and, above all, the guided workouts.

Gone badly

Device #1. Three months in, I discovered the sturdy rubber band was splitting close to the screen. It turns out I was not the only one.

Device #2. Next device's band also split. Different place, though, this time closer to the clasp.

Device #3. Screen started acting weird with an horizontal white line. Stopped responding altogether.

Device #4. Galvanic Skin Response sensors cover fell off. This time I got a lot of attention from Customer Care as I got a nasty rash without the covers.

Device #5. Battery life shortened (could not register 5+ hours of exercise -snowboarding-) and stopped charging altogether.

I think I do not forget any other failing device.

An opportunity to excel

For (almost) each device -more on this later-, the process of repair/return was as painless as I have ever experienced:

  1. initiate a chat with a really pleasant support "technician" and explain the problem and provide return address information
  2. get a free return label from UPS
  3. pack the band and stick the return label
  4. schedule a pick up from UPS (or take it to a drop-center). I have done both, both in Denmark and Spain and works flawlessly
  5. wait around one week for a UPS delivery guy to hand over a new band ready to fail again

The process takes around 10 days and was repeated 4 times. Only four, as the band has been discontinued, that is, not manufactured any more.
That means that my last broken device can't be replaced as there is no more stock.
Which, in turn, means I will be receiving a refund for my device.

Hats off to Microsoft. They manufactured a device with terrific potential and horrific construction. I would have run away from any Microsoft hardware device given the dreadful result with this one.
Instead, I am relatively happy with Microsoft and totally disappointed with the device. And all that because of the outstanding customer service. On a device that was only sold in a handful (literal) of countries.

One year plus worth of devices, basically for free. No wonder Microsoft is shutting down the product line.

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