Nike Fuel Band does it Live Up to the Hype?It feels like the fitness tracking market couldn’t possibly fit any more devices, but Nike is hoping to prove that that is not the case. The new Nike Fuel Band hopes to prove itself the best of the bunch for fitness tracking, and boasts some nice features that mean that it just might be. And if the pre-sale numbers are anything to go by, then this device should sell millions. (The Fuelband sold out in just 8 minutes. So does the device live up to it’s prerelease hype? Read on to find out what the reviewers think.
The Nike Fuel Band is a small rubbery band that you wear on your wrist. On the top is a matrix of 100 LED’s, which act as the display for the device. Most of the LEDs are light blue, but there is a band of colored ones along the top of the device, used for indicating how close you are to matching your daily goal.
While the device might look like it is rubber all the way through, at its core is a metal frame designed to be durable. This gives the device a nice feel. As said The Verge’s Bryan Bishop: “the band feels more like a good watch than a gadget.”
The Nike Fuel Band forgoes traditional metrics for burning calories and replaces it with its own: Nike Fuel. It is designed to be a unified measure of all your physical activity throughout the day. Most people seem to see this as an interesting, bold, and possibly brilliant idea, but one that athletes may not appreciate. As said The Verge’s Bryan Bishop you’re left with “a product that’s probably not that interesting for hard-core athletes or the exercise-obsessed, no matter how many times LeBron James appears in the commercial.”
Others felt that the metric actually does provide a real advantage to athletes. said Casey Chan of Gizmodo:
"It's a clever idea! As balancing the differences of various activities (sprint, jog, etc) can provide the token to improve overall fitness since you're gunning for the same goal, in this case, a Nikefuel benchmark. Nike believes that life is a sport, every human is an athlete and everything you do should be measured. I'm definitely interested in seeing how much Nikefuel I gain for surfing the internet."
But the Nike Fuel Band does have problems with anything not based on large arm motions. As said Mark Hatchman of PCMag.com, "Nike claims that any aerobic movement—dancing, walking, skipping rope, boxing—is tracked using the three-dimensional accelerometer and converted into its own arbitrary "fuel" metric. (It's doubtful, however, that the band can measure resistance, or activity where the wrist is stationary, such as a pushup or bicycle riding. With the FitBit, such activities must be manually entered.) It's water-resistant, but not waterproof, so don't try swimming."
The Verge’s Bryan Bishop said :
“...the fact that the device keys off arm motion does lead to some activities being rewarded more heavily than others. 10 jumping jacks will get you 10 Fuel points, but 10 tough minutes on an elliptical — with consistent, steady hand motion — produced just 150 Fuel points. Riding a stationary bike, with hands locked to the steering grips, resulted in no Fuel earned whatsoever. Nike admits that the FuelBand also doesn’t play nice with resistance-based activities like yoga or weight lifting, but to be fair this type of variance is going to be an issue with any wrist-mounted device.”
The Fuel Band isn’t cheap, at $149.99. And because of the limited release, there are Ebay auctions for the device that are ~$300.00. And the Fuel Band doesn’t do many of the things that its competitors can do. Said Bryan Bishop again:
“The FuelBand doesn’t monitor your sleeping patterns or serve as an alarm, two of the cooler functions of the Up bracelet, and it doesn’t provide GPS functionality like a full-featured sports watch. At $149, there are also quite a few cheaper options out there on the market.”Right now, there is a web app and an iOS app, which the Fuel Band can sync to via bluetooth. The device can stay charged for 4 days, which is fairly long for a device like this.
ConclusionReviews seems to be mostly positive, summed up best by Robert Cheng of Cnet:
“It feels like a quality product, and could potentially be a worthy competitor to what's out in the market right now--as long as you're willing to buy into Nike's Fuel concept.”