Nike+ Fuel Band Review
An In Depth Review of the Nike+ Fuelband
I was one of the lucky ones that received a medium Nike+ Fuelband on the release date of February 22! Well I shouldn't say I, after numerous unsuccessful attempts ordering online my girlfriend actually was able to get the order processed online in the first seconds during one of the many pre-ordering periods that Nike offered. She surprised me with the Fuelband, and I couldn't believe it was right there in front of me because I know how impossible these things are to get! Anyways, let's get to reviewing yet another revolutionary device developed by Nike intended to transform the way athletes train. We will first look at some of the key features and product specifications of the Fuelband itself to get you acquainted with this new Nike product, and then I will offer my own opinion on my Fuelband experience.
How it Works
Inside the 1.06 oz. (medium size) Fuelband sits a accelerometer that tracks your every movement that converts your activity into a Nike coined termed "NikeFuel." Essentially, the device records and displays (at the press of the button) fuel points, calories, steps, and time in that order for you to check at any point during the day. The device is then synced with either an iPhone simultaneously through Bluetooth or a computer by usb at the end of the day. With the iPhone sync, you can see more detailed data such as distance traveled and a neat graph that shows which times of day the user was most active. With your iPhone you can change a few different basic settings as well such as your daily fuel points goal. The daily fuel goal can be adjusted to your exact specifications depending how active you currently are or want to be. I personally set my daily goal at 3000 points and I have been able to hit that with moderate difficulty. The only figures Nike requests in order to accurately track fuel, calories burned, and steps taken is simply your height and weight.
Basically, this product is designed to allow you to continually track your activity day after day without even thinking about it. Your iPhone or computer keeps track of everything so you can track progress and see which days of the week you are generally less active. For the competitive types, it is a great device because you compete against yourself to become more and more active. If you do prefer to compare your Fuel to other people, Nike has an easy system for sharing your results through Facebook.
Choosing the Right Size Band
The Fuelband comes in three sizes small, medium, and large. The circumferences of the Fuelband are 5.79, 6.77, and 7.76 inches respectively. The Fuelband also comes with two adjustment links to give you an even closer fit. When I ordered mine, I simply measured around my wrist and the medium band was closest to that measurement. When I tried the Fuelband on, it fit nearly perfect and was not too snug. Just for fun, I used the included adjusting tool to take a link out and add a link. The adjusting of the band is very easy. When I took out a link the band was really tight fitting, so I wear my Fuelband without any adjustments.
Connecting the Fuelband to a Computer
The process to get the Fuelband set up and running to my exact specifications took a matter of minutes. I simply plugged in the Fuelband to my computer with the included usb cable and dock, and the Nike+ software immediately began installing. It first asked for my height and weight and then my initial daily fuel goal (which can be changed at any time). With the new software installed, you can make many minor setting changes to customize your Fuelband like which wrist you wear the band on and what units you would like the data displayed in. Overall, a really simply process considering I had never used or synced a Nike+ device previously.
Some Tech Specs and Pricing
- The readout of the band itself is powered by 20 colored LED lights that show your daily progress as you go from red to meeting your goal at green and 100 white LED lights that show fuel, calories, steps, and time. The brightness of these lights adjust automatically based on the light level of the surrounding environment.
- The Fuelband weighs in at just over an ounce, so it can be easy to forget you are wearing anything at all!
- The Nike Fuelband is water resistant not waterproof. This means you can rinse off wearing the Fuelband but should not wear it for water sports like swimming.
- The Fuelband uses Bluetooth technology to sync instantaneously between your iPhone and Fuelband. This is a cool feature because you can visually watch your fuel points change on your phone as you do some sort of movement.
- The Fuelband contains two lithium polymer batteries which provides the Fuelband with enough power to last four days on a single charge. I can attest to this since I often times forget to plug my band into the computer at night.
- The Fuelband can be plugged directly into a computer for syncing and charging, or the dock can be used.
- The box does not include a user manual. You must go to nikeplus.com/support for this information.
- The Fuelband costs $149.00, but prices were near $300.00 on eBay when Fuelbands were scarce.
My Fuelband Experience
Initially, the Fuelband itself doesn't look much different than your generic black livestrong band. However, when you press the little button on the top of the band, your friends and anyone else will be amazed at how the led lights all work together to produce an awesome visual effect. Quite honestly, I was pretty disappointed that there wasn't some setting to enable the band to always stay illuminated. I realize this would drain the battery extremely fast, but I would have liked to have the option to be able to have the time function always lit. Additionally, this was also a question many of my friends ask me after checking out the Fuelband, "You can't make it stay lit more than three seconds?" Unfortunately, no you can't unless you continue pressing the button. Now that I have had my Fuelband for over two months, I must say I am already somewhat bored with the band. Additionally, I am unconvinced that the tracking accelerometer is entirely accurate. For instance, the Fuelband seems to record fuel points for riding in a car for extended periods of time due to the motion of the car. Also, I have found that the Fuelband is highly inaccurate during biking because the hands are mostly stationary. Some people have claimed to wear the band on their ankle during biking, but that would require me to add links. It seems to Nike that a huge purpose for the band is to be able to compare Fuel points with friends through Facebook and other social networking sites. However, to my knowledge, none of my friends even have the Fuelband yet. As I look at some of the other Nike+ devices such as the Nike+ SportWatch powered by TomTom, it offers many more really cool functions and it costs only $20.00 more! Because I am a competitive college football player simply looking for a cool gadget to mess with, I really have enjoyed my Fuelband and its capabilities. However, I could definitely see some hardcore runners being thoroughly disappointed with the Nike Fuelband due to its limited functions as compared to other similarly priced Nike+ products.
I would greatly appreciate any comments from fellow Fuelband owners and/or further questions from those of you thinking about making a Fuelband purchase.