Nike+ FuelBand Review

Initial thoughts
Well, I’ve had my new Nike+ FuelBand for 4 days now, and so far… Eh… I’m not incredibly impressed.

Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t really anything wrong with it… But there’s really nothing right with it either.  As advertised, it’s very lightweight, I barely feel it when I’m wearing it, in-fact I often forget I even have it on.  It’s easy to use with the single button that cycles through the options to display time, calories, fuel and steps. Not to mention pretty good battery life, as I said, I’m on day 4 using it, and still on the original charge from the first time charging it.

The thing is, I’m just really not all that impressed.  The “fuel” element seems to be a pretty arbitrary number that accumulates at an undisclosed rate.  Heck, just by putting it on my wrist and walking down the hall to the living room, I earned 3 fuel points. As far as I can tell, there’s nothing in here that can sense the difference between a light swing of your arm (like when walking) or harder swing when playing say a raquette sport.

The Good
I like that I have some consistent way of tracking my daily activity.  Even with the arbitrary nature of the Fuel point system, I can still have a daily goal to meet or exceed my previous day’s Fuel allocation.

The tool itself (medium for me) is very light, comparable to a standard watch (maybe a little lighter) and really doesn’t get in the way or irritate. Since the band is slightly elliptical and doesn’t really have any moving parts or links, it does sometimes sit funny on my wrist.  From years of wearing a watch, I have a reflex to shake my wrist to readjust whatever is causing the feeling and I can’t help but wonder how the band is interpreting this activity.

Though I have not tested the water resistance of the band in the shower, it does seem like it should hold up to a little moisture from a shower or a steam, but that remains to be seen.

The Bad
One of the more annoying things with the Nike+ FuelBand is that there is no battery indicator on the band itself, or the iPhone application.  I’ve had this on my wrist for 4 days and don’t have a way of knowing if it’s at 10% battery or 50%.

Speaking of battery, for a divice with a few electrometers, a button, some tiny LED lights (usually off), and a radio transmitter (usually off), why the heck does it go through a battery in only 4 days?  Why didn’t they think to add a kinetic charger like many watches have?  For a device that was meant to be used while working out, this could have potentially extended the battery indefinitely.

The charging dongle for it is a little awkward, I didn’t see an obvious mark to show which side of the charger should face upward.  This is just asking for people to break it in the first 2 minutes of opening it.

The battery was not charged out of the box…. on the plus side it took only about an hour to charge via USB to my Windows based computer.

The firmware upgrade I had to do failed on the first attempt which didn’t impress much, but that very well could have been a Windows issue.

I was disappointed there wasn’t something in here to monitor pulse rate.

Final Thoughts
All-in-all, I can see this being motivating for a while to try to get me to do a little more each day.  The limitations above are real, but more annoying than really hindering the functionality of the product.

In the end this is really just a glorified pedometer with LEDs, water resistant skin, and a very expensive marketing campaign.  Not at all worth $150.  I would call it a much better value at $50 or maybe $75.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To use solvemedia you must get an API key from http://api.solvemedia.com/public/signup