Having helped push performance monitoring tech into the mainstream with the globally adopted Nike+ shoe chips and subsequent iPhone and Android app, iconic sportswear giant Nike has turned its hand to more gadget filled fare, with the Nike+ FuelBand lining up as a wrist worn fitness tracker that offers overall performance details with little intrusion.
Far more than a simple revision of the classic pedometer, the Nike+ Fuelband offers detailed feedback from your daily activity, be it simply popping to the shops or heading out on a 10k run, breaking down your daily performances into a metric standard of the company’s own devising, Nike Fuel.
Nike+ FuelBand Design
Unlike many cumbersome fitness monitoring systems, the Nike+ FuelBand is in no way obtrusive, fitting comfortably around your wrist with the compact minimalist design lining up at a barely noticeable 0.6mm thick, and around 30g in weight.
Available in three sizes, Small, Medium/Large and X-Large, the Nike Fuelband is capable of fitting all manner of wrist sizes from a tiny 5.79-inches (147mm) in circumference up to a rather large 7.76-inches (197mm). What’s more, for those who are unsure as to which size band to plump for, each device comes with two size adjusting blocks that can quickly and easily be added and removed to personally tailor the perfect custom fit.
With a water resistant rubberised finish and currently available in two colour schemes, the standard Black Steel and the limited edition transparent ‘ICE’ offering, the Nike+ Fuelband, following a couple of weeks worth of constant wear has stood up well to the rigours of an active lifestyle. Showing no signs of wear, scuffs or knocks, the wrist mounted performance tracker is easily stylish enough to be worn without concern, replacing your standard watch with its futuristic LED display and comfortable construction.
As easy to navigate as it is to use, the Nike+ FuelBand design sees the Garmin Forerunner 410 rival play host to just a single physical button that can be pressed repeatedly to scroll through the device’s four menu options, ‘Fuel’, ‘Cals’ (calories burned), ‘Steps’, and ‘Time’, for quick, simple access to all manner of data metrics and performance details. With a comfortable metal clasp, the FuelBand’s locking mechanism hides the integrated USB connector and offers continued piece of mind against unwanted loosening.
Nike+ FuelBand Features
Allowing you to monitor all of your daily activities and fitness sessions, the wrist mounted Nike+ FuelBand boasts a 100 white LED display, with the performance tracker providing instant feedback on daily steps, calories burned and Fuel points earned, direct from your wrist.
Offering a universal currency for all Nike+ device users, the company’s new Nike Fuel system gives the Nike+ FuelBand a unique metric over its competitors, with the performance unit creating a level playing field for comparable data no matter what sporting activity takes your fancy.
Slightly confusing at first, the introduction of Nike Fuel is one which actually opens up new sporting rivalries with devices like the Nike+ FuelBand allowing users to compete through daily targets with friends, even if one prefers playing basketball whilst the other enjoys running and tennis.
Whilst a collection of 100 white LED lights ignite at the press of the rounded button to transform into a data providing display, a second strip of 20 coloured LEDs feature at the top of the device offering a scaled insight, ranging from red to green, into your progress on your daily Fuel targets. Although claimed to automatically adjust the screen’s brightness levels to suit your surroundings, in reality, the FuelBand’s display can be dazzlingly bright, at times to the point of distraction.
Although the Nike Fuel party piece is the FuelBand’s USP, for those keen on accessing more universally recognised data metrics, the device accurately displays a step count whilst a calories burned display shows by how much you’ve gone above the daily average.
Admittedly a useful tool that is sure to appeal to many of the more food and waistline weary users, the Nike+ FuelBand count could be more all encompassing, with a system like on the Fitbit Zip, which offers users a daily average count that is further accelerated by extensive exercise, a more preferably option for a performance monitor that is design to be a part of your everyday life.
Further bolstering the FuelBand’s credentials and adding to the system’s bag of tricks, the unit’s time menu ensures the Nike+ FuelBand can act as a watch replacement, not simply an addition, meaning your wrist real-estate can remain clutter free.
Nike+ FuelBand App and Software
Being a portable device, Nike has ensured that, unlike some of its competitors, the Nike+ FuelBand is not limited to syncing data only when in close proximity to your PC or MacBook Air. Whilst such services are still available, (the FuelBand comes boxed with a USB extension cable for PC based syncing and charging), thanks to the unit’s integrated Bluetooth technologies, the Nike+ FuelBand can be seamlessly synced with mobile devices whilst on the move.
Connecting to the iPhone 5 compatible application wirelessly, the Nike+ FuelBand app allows the fitness tracker to be synced with any portable Apple iDevice running iOS 5 or above, including the iPhone 4S and new 2012 iPod Touch. Simply download the free app and hold the FuelBand’s button for two seconds to pair your data.
Replicating the simplicity of the FuelBand itself, the Nike FuelBand app is a joy to use, offering detailed breakdowns of your daily goals with a selection of graphs showing your peaks and troughs of activity. Allowing you to compare your day’s results with performances from past weeks and months, the FuelBand app provides comprehensive feedback on how you stand in relation to your current targets.
Whilst the Nike FuelBand iPhone app provides ample metric breakdowns for those on the move, for users will higher demands and more detailed desires, the Nike desktop service ensures all requirements are addressed. Adding new comparatives, the desktop service lets you see how you match up against friends, the average of your age group or the Nike community as a whole.
Helping keep you motivated, the Nike FuelBand app and desktop service offer frequent achievements and incentives that, in practise, really do help encourage you to go above and beyond your usual efforts. Whilst achievements are awarded for obtaining milestone Fuel figures, hitting your daily target three days in a row will start a ‘Streak’. Obsessively addictive, having once started a streak, the compulsion to keep above your daily goals kicks in, forcing you to make the effort to carry on your fitness regime.
For those looking for additional motivation, and to brag to the world about their new found health kick, the Nike services allow you to post your daily achievements to Facebook and Twitter. Be warned, however, the frequency of these alerts can quickly become and irritant.