I received my Nike+ FuelBand SE in the pink foil color on Thursday night. The FuelBand came with an extension piece which I was excited to find. My wrist is extremely small; I usually have trouble with bracelets, but I was surprised to find that the size small fit me perfectly. However, if I am a size small, I imagine that the average person would definitely need a larger size or use the extension piece.
I immediately put on the FuelBand before even fully charging it and was excited to take out the trash so I can start accumulating some fuel and steps! The set-up for the FuelBand was pretty easy since I already had a Nike+ account. The set-up quickly went through which wrist I would be wearing the FuelBand on and what my fuel goal would be. I set it to 4,000 NikeFuel for no other reason except that Nike said that about 11% of women achieve this goal daily (so far, I’m not even close to being in the top 11%!). I also downloaded the FuelBand app from the App Store so I can track my progress on the phone. Since then, I’ve had almost three full days of wearing the FuelBand. As a part of this review, I think it is important to understand the activities I’ve done since wearing it.
Friday – regular day at the office, no exercise except for my walk to and from work
Saturday – short run in the morning with both FuelBand and Nike+ SportWatch GPS on, early Thanksgiving dinner cooking for most of the afternoon
Sunday – lazy day at home and a cardio barre class
- Tracks steps – I’ll never really know how accurate the algorithm is but it is interesting to see how many steps I take on different days.
- Calories burned – NikeFuel is such an arbitrary measurement, so it is nice to include a calorie burned count. This is extremely useful for me because I never realized how many calories I burn on a rest day (apparently it is around 500 calories).
- Tracking sessions – I used this feature for the first time tonight at barre class. I was able to set my FuelBand to track my barre class straight from the device itself and afterwards, I was able to see my activity level and tag the activity. However, I am not quite sure how accurate tracking of physical activity is if it doesn’t require too much arm movement.
- Charging and syncing – The FuelBand is extremely easy to charge, it plugs straight into my laptop’s USB port and syncs wirelessly via Bluetooth to the FuelBand app on my phone.
- Encourages activity – Every hour that you do not have more than five minutes straight of activity, the FuelBand encourages you to start moving by flashing “Go Cindy!” on it or it sends you a message through the app on the phone (this is a preference you need to set).
- Ease of use – The FuelBand only has one button that you press to scroll between time, fuel, calories, and steps. To start and end a session, you just need to double click.
- Nike+ website interface – I have to say that I am pretty tied to Nike at this point. Between my GPS watch and now the FuelBand, all my data sits with Nike. Their website interface is also very user friendly that makes it easy to stay with them.
- It’s addicting – I guess this can be a pro or a con, but I already have the mentality that if I am not able to track my activity on the FuelBand then I am wasting energy! I know this is crazy talk, but of course you’d prefer to get credit for your efforts than not!
- Flakiness of syncing with the FuelBand app – The FuelBand and the app are not always in sync. Throughout a given day, I probably lose connection with the app at least four to five times and that’s just out of the times I go into the app (so, say 40-50% of the time).
- Battery life – It actually appears that the battery life on the FuelBand is pretty good. I fully charged it on Friday morning before leaving for work and on Saturday night before bed, I still had around 75% of battery life remaining. However, when I woke up this morning, after not wearing it all night and leaving the clasp open (which I assumed should save battery since it means I don’t have it on), the FuelBand was dead. I am not sure how it went from 75% to 0% that fast. This seems to be consistent with my Nike+ SportWatch as well when sometimes overnight the watch battery drains even though there was no activity on it. I’ve learned my lesson that I will just need to charge it each night regardless of how much battery is left.
- Inconsistencies when battery drains – All day the data on the FuelBand and the app were incorrect since it was still carrying over the information from the day before even though the time was correct. The data was correct on the Nike+ website though and we read that the FuelBand will reset itself the following midnight after the battery drains.
- Double counting fuel? – I don’t know if it is 100% double counting my fuel when I use the GPS watch and the FuelBand but I am pretty convinced it is. When I log into Nike+ now, I have one profile but two devices – running watch and FuelBand. The fuel on the watch screen is accurate to what I “burned” while wearing my watch and so is that for the FuelBand. However, for my overall Nike+ profile, it shows the sum of the two devices. As I think about it further, I guess it makes sense that each of the devices receives credit for the activity I performed but I don’t think it is an accurate overall representation to double count the fuel.
- Wearing it to sleep? – I tried wearing the FuelBand to sleep on the first night I received it. We thought it would be interesting to see if I am a quiet sleeper or not. I set a session through the phone but that crashed pretty quickly and lost the session. Also, I found that when I moved my arm in the middle of the night the FuelBand would be in the way. Since then I haven’t worn it to bed again.
- Size of the FuelBand – It took over a year thinking about the product before I decided that I really wanted one. Had it not been a birthday present, there is a good chance I may not have given in quite yet. I was always hesitant about wearing such a large band on my wrist (granted large is relative and my running watch is actually much larger). On a normal day, I usually wear a nice watch and bracelets, so the FuelBand really adds to the bulk on my wrist. At work this Friday, I ended up wearing my nice watch on the left wrist and the FuelBand on the right wrist but didn’t wear any bracelets. I’ll have to play with this and see how I’ll pair the FuelBand with other wrist accessories. When I workout though I don’t have a problem with wearing my Nike+ SportWatch on the left wrist and FuelBand on the right since I don’t have any other jewelry on.
- Different FuelBand styles – Okay, I realize it wouldn’t be called a FuelBand if it wasn’t a band, but when Nike announced that it was creating a new version of the FuelBand, I was really hoping that it would be like the Fitbit where there is a band or a device that you can easily place in your pant pocket or clip to some other article of clothing. We purchased a Fitbit for my dad over the summer and it is pretty neat because he can just easily tuck it away in his pocket without realizing it’s there. If it weren’t for my Nike watch and my preference for keeping all of my data with Nike, I may have just purchased the Fitbit. Darn you Nike, I’m stuck with you at least for the foreseeable future.
Josh told me that all great reviewers give their reviews “stars.” I know he is just messing me with, but I am not very good at blocking his sarcastic comments out. So, I give the Nike+ FuelBand SE 3.5 out of 5 stars! Now am I great a reviewer? 😉
P.S. If there is one improvement I could request from Nike in addition to the size of the band is the ability to track food consumed through the app and website. I used to be a big calorie counter and used websites including MyFoodDiary.com and MyFitnessPal.com and would love it if everything was integrated into one site!