REVIEW: Nike Fuelband, Exercise Tracking Watch
The Nike Fuelband, a smart exercise tracker/fitness tracker, is gaining in popularity amongst exercise and technology enthusiasts eager to document and share their physical prowess via social media. However, the true motivation for purchasing the minimalist black bracelet should be simply that … motivation. For that is where the Nike Fuelband strength lies, in motivating its wearer to simply MOVE.
The Nike Fuelband is fashioned from black, smoke, or clear thermoplastic rubber and is water resistant, but not waterproof. The band employs a triaxial accelerometer to sense movement and tilt, which is its core technology. Data is displayed through 20 LEDs that turn from red to yellow to green as progression toward your predetermined daily goals is achieved. In addition, time, Fuel points, calories and steps taken are displayed through the innovative use of 100 white LEDs that are activated by pushing the band’s sole button. It wirelessly connects to your iPhone via Bluetooth and is powered by two lithium polymer batteries that are recharged by plugging the band into a USB port. The Nike Fuelband is compatible only with the iPhone and Nike has indicated that no Android app will be forthcoming in the near future. However, that seems to be a rather large market to be excluded from use so I assume Android compatibility will be achieved at some point in the future.
The Nike FuelBand tracks your daily movement and activity including running, walking, sports, dancing and dozens of everyday activities … including 16 oz curls at your local watering hole. It then employs Nike’s proprietary algorithms for quantifying exercise and awards the user Fuel points, Nike’s own exercise metric. Using this metric, an estimate of how many calories you burned can be calculated. However, all daily activity is included in the calculation and there is no way to break down the data by activity. This truly needs to be address before the Fuelband smart watch can be used as a serious method by which to measure athletic activity. The band then downloads data to your iPhone and to the Nike+ website which allows you to chart your progress and view which predetermined goals you have achieved. You can then share your physical achievements automatically on Twitter and Facebook, most assuredly to the chagrin of your friends at the pub as they hoist another brew … which ironically increases their daily Fuel point total as well.
Here is the skinny … the Nike Fuelband smart watch is not for hardcore athletes. It is far too inaccurate and lacks the necessary features at this point in its development. Where it does shine, is in its ability to function as a fairly effective motivational tool for tech and exercise enthusiasts who want to be able to compare their activity on a day-to-day basis … in short, it makes you want to move. And, that may, by itself, be worth the price of admission.