It’s been few weeks since the release of the Nike+ Fuelband and, until last week, I had been unable to get my hands on one. This is probably the first fitness related gadget I have ever bought and, besides the super geek-esque Back to the Future style LED’s on it, I was excited to have something that would motivate me to get back in shape. I’ve had the FUEL for a week now and have worn it almost every day during my routine activities. Unfortunately I have not been able to take a jog or “officially” work out with it yet, but, between work and my daily routine, I was still was able to hit my “fuel goal”. Here is a week in review of the $150 Nike+ Fuelband.
Setup and Install
I’m not much for un-boxing mostly because if the package is good enough to keep my gadget safe during delivery, I really don’t care what it looks like. I already spent the money buying the item in question so I really don’t care if it comes in a flashy box or plain white cardboard. It is what is inside that matter to me and so long as I receive it in new condition that’s all that really matters to me. Nike seems to agree with my approach since they kept it pretty simple. The box is minimal and inside they included the band, two size extensions, extension tool, USB cable and small dock connector. The USB connector is built into the band so you really don’t need anything additional to plug it in so long as you have room next to your computer’s USB port. There is no software included in the box. Instead, the quick setup guide provides a link so you can download the software. After a quick download and installation the band started up and immediately did a firmware update. Then the setup process began. It only took about 5 minutes to set up the Fuelband and was pretty much an effortless installation. After a night of charging up I was ready to start using my new Fuelband.
The band reminds me of a silicon or rubber LiveStrong or Breast Cancer wristband except very rigid. The rubberized strap has a stainless steel clasp and hard rubber exterior. The matte finish band is smooth to the touch and does not snag on clothing or skin. After a day of wearing it I did not really notice it was there. And if I did notice it it basically felt like I was wearing a watch. Nike claims the band is water-resistant and can be worn in the shower or in the rain, but warns it should not be worn while swimming. It would have been nice for those that do swim as part of their fitness regiment if they COULD wear it but that’s not really a deal breaker in my opinion since we all know how unwise it is to take gadgets in the water. There is one single button on the band to display the different settings, and the button can be held if you want to activate airplane mode and turn off the bluetooth radio. Overall the design is simple to operate which is great for something that is used on the go.
How does it work?
The Fuelband has one job and one job only. It is there to motivate you to get off your butt and it does so by having you “earn Fuel”. During the initial setup the device asks you to enter your age, height and weight. The software uses this information to calculate calories and setup your initial fuel goals. Throughout the day the built-in 3 axis sensor calculates “Fuel” based on your movement and activity and keeps track for you until it is connected and able to offload the data on to your phone (iOS only) or computer. I do not have an iOS device so I am limited for now to syncing with my computer when I want to see the results of the day. Any time you press the button you can flip through the brilliantly displayed settings to see Fuel earned, calories expended, steps taken, and, of course, the time. Once you hit your “Fuel” goal for the day the full spectrum of lights illuminates with the word GOAL and the band gives you the exact amount you have achieved.
This LED display is probably one of the coolest things I’ve seen on a wearable device and it just might have something to do with why I bought it in the first place. This device is purely about motivation and I have to admit that, after a week wearing it, that it is 100% what I expected. Plus, I can’t imagine a day wearing it anymore that I won’t be anxious to reach my daily goal. In other words, the band is about motivation and, at least in my case, it works.
Most of the time I find that supporting software is lacking in products like this. I am happy to be able to say that, in this case, Nike did nothing short of a super job. I find the software simple to use and understand. Moreover, it is also rather appealing TO use. As a result I very much look forward to checking my results each day on the colorful charts, graphs, and animations the software provides. The colors are aesthetically appealing and the charts and graphs are all setup automatically. All you need to do is plug the device in and you are good to go. From there you can easily see when the greatest amount of Fuel was gained during the day and you can also easily set, track, and maintain your goals. All it takes is to simply plug in your band. The Nike+ software automatically launches, uploads the data, and opens up the dashboard. I absolutely love the way Nike setup the site and makes it dead simple to see the results.
Nike+ Home Screen. Easy to see the quick overview of how your progress is shaping up.
Weekly Dashboard. See detailed information about the last week of activity
Daily Breakdown. See the exact time of your peak Fuel earning day.
Monthly Review. Check out how you are doing for the entire month. You can see where I missed a day on Saturday. My Fuelband didn’t fit in with my wedding party tuxedo.
After a good week’s use of both the Fuelband itself and the accompanying software I absolutely love this device. I find myself thinking about fitness more which, I hope, will translate into me living a more active lifestyle. I would say that Nike 100% succeeded in achieving their goal of motivating people to get off the couch and get more active. The price tag certainly is not cheap, but with such a futuristic looking gadget combined with the motivating factor of achieving your goal I find it to be worth every penny. If you are worried about losing your “Uber-Gamer living in Mom’s basement” status no need to worry. The display on the watch is enough to dazzle everyone around you into thinking you bought it as an ultimate geek wristband. The software is simple and informative, and completes the total package of the ultimate motivational tool for living a more active lifestyle. If you were looking for an excuse to get in shape and don’t have the drive you need then I recommend you pick one of these up ASAP. Nike still has some medium and small bands left in stock direct from the Nike online store for $150. It’s a shame it took so long for stock to replenish, I see that they are still selling as high as $250 on eBay and private Amazon sales. This is hands down one of the best gadgets I have ever owned.
- Availability: Now
- MSRP: $150
- Where to Buy: Nike B&M Stores, Nike Store Online
- Basic but Amazingly cool LED display
- Durability of construction, Water Resistance
- Very simple to set up and use
- Well designed software
- Price (well worth it)
- Continuous time display to be used more like a watch