In last November I wrote a review about Arccos Golf (innovation partner of Callaway Golf; the original concept/idea is from Callaway Golf) and Game Golf, where I shared my doubts about their future potentials, namely they are monofunctional and pricey (Arccos Golf: 400 USD!! vs 199 USD (Game Golf).
Now the joint product of TaylorMade and Microsoft is showing us the perspective where golf wearables can develop and grow. Microsoft Golf Tile (the official product name) brings new meaning to Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health.
The Microsoft Band is priced at $200 (It is available for £169 in the UK); adding the Golf Tile is free of charge.
Microsoft Golf Tile is not really a smartwatch neither a fitness tracker, but rather something in between. To understand this, I will detail it in the following.
To utilize the golf feature of Microsoft Golf Tile, you have to sync your golf course (currently only available for US and UK golf courses) from the Microsoft Health app to the Microsoft Band. It can even tell the difference between a practice swing and a proper shot (you can manually change the recorded score with simple swipes too).
Furthermore the golf features include also distance (GPS yardage) to the pin (front, middle and back of the green) and scorecard keeping. What it will not be able to show if my golf ball is in the hole or not.
The Microsoft Health will provide the user lots of interesting stats like calories burned and heart rate data. I don't know how crucial to know such health information, but for those who vacillate between golf and fitness programs or obsessed with their blood pressure and other health stats this feature can give a push toward golf where he can complete two tasks in one: fitness + golf.
In the coming weeks TaylorMade will launch myRoundPro. It will be a standalone analytics platform that can be used in conjunction with the Microsoft Golf Tile and Microsoft Health. TaylorMade will provide detailed analysis of our golf game in such as strokes gained, proximity to the hole, etc (quite similar what PGA Tour players get during their competition).
At this point I will ask TaylorMade and Microsoft, would not be more useful to come up with a smartwatch instead of a band? It would be more comfortable. It would display information much better. Thus in real-time we could see myRoundPro's analysis better etc. I could imagine this wearable rather with Apple Watch (Microsoft Health mobile app is compatible with iOS) since golfers use mainly iPhones and other Apple products. It is more beneficial from brand image perspective.
At the same time, I am not sure if they could develop with Apple a cheaper similar wearable. Indeed it would be more expensive.
Here is my list of pros and cons about Microsoft Golf Tile:
- works also with iOS and Android,
- lots of data thanks to the 10 sensors,
- Microsoft Health – is available also on iOS and Android (4.3 or higher with Bluetooth 4.0)
- Microsoft Health is only available on Microsoft Band,
- Battery life: 2 days only (why not at least a week???)
- Hardware is poorly designed and uncomfortable (e.g. disturbing in typing, longer than an ordinary sized wrist; I have to rotate my arm to see the information.
- Microsoft Golf Tile can alert you to incoming calls, emails, texts, Facebook messages or Twitter mentions, BUT these notifications aren't really sync with your phone.
- Isn't waterproof or water resistant —> don't play in rain shower
- Accuracy of golf related data is questionable
In case of Microsoft Golf Tile we can say, those who grasp all, lose all. Microsoft tried to come up with a feature rich wearable, instead of focusing on the most important elements and features.