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I spent the last week getting acclimated with Nike’s new Nike+ Fuelband, and for the most part it’s an amazingly stylish gadget that any physically fit geek would love to own.  I’m not one for exercising gimmicks like the shaker weight, or electrical pads that you strap onto your fat cells, but luckily the Nike+ Fuelband is neither of those two failed devices.  Nike has managed to create a simple yet elegant gadget that will motivate you to push yourself physically just by virtue of wearing it.  By strapping it on you essentially turn your daily activities into a game, which makes being active a much more enjoyable experience for geeks like myself.  Never did I imagine that I would be running up and down my stairs at 11:30 PM, but that’s exactly what the Nike+ Fuelband will make you do if you want to achieve your goals.  If this sounds like a device that you may be interested in then please head on down to read our full review complete with screenshots, pics, and videos.

 

Nike+ Fuelband

EB 8.5 out of 10 Buddhas

The Awesome: Style, Functionality/Ease of use, App/Web, Placebo effect

The Not so Awesome: Cumbersome Battery Management, Bluetooth Issues, Lacking Features

 

The Awesome

Style

I’ll be honest with you.  One of the main reasons that I was first drawn to the Nike+ Fuelband is that fact that it looks stylish as hell.  I was initially searching for some type of geeky watch to wear, and thought about just getting a Nano, but then I saw the Fuelband and quickly forgot about the new Nano’s clock faces.  I couldn’t help but appreciate its simplicity in design.  It looks similar to the Livestrong bands that used to grace athletes’ wrists, but it’s slightly slicker with an Apple-ish aluminum clasp, black color, and a little more girth.  It’s also not as bulky as a watch, so for those of you that have stayed away from wearing timepieces because of their size, it may just be the solution you’ve been looking for.

The Fuelband’s style even makes my hairy a*s arms look sexy

Outside of its simple rubber look the Fuelband also sports some fantastic LEDs that really amp up its style factor.  The lovely white and multicolored lights really set this band apart from other devices that can be worn on the wrist.  They provide a retro look that any geek will appreciate, and the built-in timepiece looks more unique than most watches on the market due to these awesome LEDs.  Even if you don’t want to use the Fuelband for its true purpose of staying fit, it’ll still look great as a wrist decoration, or a timepiece.

Functionality/Ease of Use

One of the best features of the Nike+ Fuelband is that it provides a whole bunch of functionality in a simple to use format.  The device is designed to record your Nike Fuel, calories burned, steps taken, and finally it also functions as a watch.  Each function that the band provides is essential in its role to make you more fit.  By wearing the device you are essentially capturing your total physical output for each day in your life, which can then be imported to the Nike+ website, and/or the Nike+ Fuelband mobile app for your records.  It allows you to ditch those crappy pedometers that you may have been wearing to measure your daily distance traveled, as well as providing a look into how many calories you burned each day, which is key for a health conscious individual.

Two of the four functions found within the Nike+ FuelBand

The best part about the Fuelband is the fact that coaxing all of this functionality out of it is as easy as a single button press.  One button controls everything on this gadget, which makes it very easy to use.  I would even imagine that a complete device-tard could get this thing functioning within 10 minutes of taking it out of its packaging.  There’s almost zero thought involved in configuring the Nike+ Fuelband, which is a key feature that will surely ensure its success.  The hardest thing that users will experience with this exercise bracelet is setting up its Bluetooth connection with an iOS device, and that’s about as hard as describing the color of the sky.  Trust me, you don’t have to be an Entertainment Buddha to figure Nike’s new toy out.

Nike+ Fuelband Video Review and Demo HD

App/Web

The software that interfaces with the Nike+ Fuelband is both elegant looking and informative.  The Nike+ website is a thing of beauty, and it provides an excellent medium for interacting with your Fuelband’s data.  All of your stats are uploaded to the website, as well as the app if you have an iOS device to help you keep track of your fitness progress.  Within both the site and the app you can track your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly progress towards your Nike Fuel goals.  I won’t even pretend to explain the science behind their “oxygen kinetics” algorithm, but that is what Nike uses in their Nike Fuel calculations, which is supposed to give every type of activity a standard measurement.  Basically, this should allow any type of athlete to earn fuel and then compare it to another athlete without feeling like the device measured their brand of sport differently.

Demo: Syncing the Nike+ Fuelband with its Mobile App (iOS) HD

These stats are beautifully organized on the website and app for the Fuelband, which provide a visual look at your process that anyone can easily decipher.  Both the web and app provide a fantastic way to keep tabs on your fitness goals without making it seem like a chore.  Their designs are perfect for quick access to your fitness output to help you stay on track, or to kick things into higher gear.  Both help to motivate you to get your sh*t together and quit being a sloth in life, and they complement the functionality of the Fuelband itself perfectly.

Nike+ Website

Nike+ FuelBand App

Placebo Effect

Probably the best reason to own a Nike+ Fuelband is for the fact that it’ll subconsciously make you more aware of being fit.  When wearing it I found myself breaking out into random acts of fitness in hopes of inching closer to my daily fuel goal.  I know the Fuelband itself will not make me lose weight, but by wearing it the things it makes me do will.  You have to appreciate that phenomena, so if you’ve been needing a new way to stay motivated with your fitness goals, then I’d recommend picking up a Nike+ Fuelband.

 

The Not so Awesome

Cumbersome Battery Management

Unfortunately, managing the battery of the Nike+ Fuelband isn’t as simple as I’d like.  Out of the box the only way to charge the Fuelband is to plug it into a computer.  It doesn’t come with any type of wall charger, so if you don’t have a USB charger from another device then you’re stuck with being tied to a computer for the charging of your Fuelband.

Only way to check the FuelBand’s battery life is by plugging it into a computer

 

I also found it odd that the only way to check the battery life of the Fuelband is to plug it into a computer.  There’s no way to monitor how much juice you have left with the single button that controls all of the Fuelband’s functions.  The gadget should last up to four days on a single charge, but without being able to check the battery status easily, you may find yourself running out of power when you need it most.  I hope that this is something Nike can address in a firmware update, because it would be very helpful to be able to keep tabs on my Fuelband’s battery life with a click of its button.

Bluetooth Issues

If you plan on using your Nike+ Fuelband with your iOS device then you better prepare for some Bluetooth syncing issues.  On more than one occasion I had to completely reset my Fuelband to get it to sync with my iPhone 4S and iPad 2.  It seems that if you don’t constantly keep the two devices synced there’s a good chance that the Fuelband will lose its connection altogether.  This gets very frustrating when you just want to do a quick sync with the app to upload your current workout stats after the gym.  Fixing the sync issue doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes, but the fact that it even needs to be done on a regular basis makes it a blemish on the Fuelband’s otherwise excellent record.

Lacking Features

Even with all of its great features the Nike+ Fuelband is still lacking a few that could make it even more awesome than it already is.  For starters there’s no heart beat monitor.  Many athletes such as runners are very concerned with their heart beat during exercise, so I found it surprising that the band didn’t include one.  On the other hand if it did I’m sure it would be more expensive than it already is, but maybe Nike should have made two versions of the Fuelband with one of them having the heart beat functionality for those higher end users.

It would have also been nice of Nike to include a basic stopwatch in the Fuelband.  Again, just like the heart beat monitor some athletes rely on a stopwatch to get through their workouts.  Considering that the band can already display time I don’t see why it can’t also be used as a stopwatch.  Just like the battery life management issue maybe this is something that Nike can address in a firmware update, but as of right now don’t bank on it replacing your runners watch just yet.

 

The Final Verdict

The Nike+ Fuelband is without a doubt the must have gadget for individuals who want to make exercising a bit more exciting.  It definitely manages to turn the sometimes mundane act of working out into a video game like experience.  The functions it provides are key to keeping tabs on your physical output everyday.  The best part about it, is the fact that all of its functions are extremely easy to use.  If you can press a button then you can use the Fuelband.  I’ve never used a device that has made me more subconsciously aware of being fit than the Fuelband.  Just by wearing it I find myself taking the extra step to help me reach my fitness goals each day.

Outside of some crummy battery management and Bluetooth issues the Fuelband is a high quality gadget.  I give it an EB 8.5 out of 10 Buddhas.  If you’re lucky enough to find one then I highly recommend picking it up for a cool 150 bones.  It’ll definitely motivate your dead as* to take your exercise regimen to the next level!  By the way check out a Nike promotional video for the FuelBand below, which stars some of our buddies from the Action Factory Stunt Team getting lit up by the FuelBand.  You’ve been wishing Nike would quit limiting the supply of Fuelbands…

NIKE Plus FuelBand Action Movie

 

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Tags : Geek FitnessImpressionsNike+ FuelbandTech Demo
Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of EntertainmentBuddha.com where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.