Software: Effective, but Over-Simplified

The iPhone app is available for free on iTunes, and utilizes a colorful and straight-forward interface to display your data:

  • The Home Screen displays a simple ring showing how much of your daily Nike Fuel goal you have achieved (following the standardized gradient of red to orange to green). Underneath, the other statistics (calories, steps, distance) are displayed in small text. You also have the opportunity to rate your day (via text and a smiley face scale) and/or post your information to Facebook or Twitter.
  • The next category of the app is dedicated to viewing the historical activity, by day/week/month/year
  • The third tab (“Friends”) allows you to view the number of Nike Fuel earned by your friends on FaceBook, either that day or that week. The last tab allows you to view your achievements and trophies.

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One innovative yet gimmicky feature both the app and website introduce are trophies. You earn trophies by completing certain milestones (eg Best Day/Week/Month, Longest Streak, 25k Fuel Earned). When you achieve these milestones, there are lively animations of an cartoon character celebrating your achievement. While completely meaningless, they are still satisfying to watch and provide an unexpected sense of accomplishment. The animations are a bit repetitive, and I would imagine the novelty will likely soon fade, but they were appreciated nonetheless.

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If you would prefer to not use the app, Nike offers NikePlus.com, a website portal for NikePlus products (of which the FuelBand belongs) to track and display their information. It essentially duplicates all the features of the app, although the larger resolution of a webpage allows for more information to be displayed at once.

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While the overall design quality of the app and website was quite impressive, it did not allow a lot of specific details on a minute by minute basis for close data collection. For example, all of the activity graphs utilize simplified X axis that prevent the user from navigating to a specific time of day (the closest you can get is the hour). Since the Y axis of all the graphs are measured via Nike Fuel, you are unable to get an exact breakdown of how many steps/calories/miles you walked at various times of day.

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Price:

  • $149 (very limited availability)

Likes:

  •  Bluetooth Wireless Syncing is easy
  • LED Screen is beautiful
  • Fun and simple to use

Dislikes:

  • No sleep or meal tracking
  • Over-simplified data collection

Conclusion: Simplification is a Great Thing–For Most

  • By design, the Nike FuelBand is hip and sexy. It sets itself apart from its competitors by offering a dazzlingly beautiful display of LED lights and intuitive wireless syncing via Bluetooth
  • While the $149 asking price looms large, the biggest decision is whether or not you buy into Nike Fuel, the over-simplified currency of activity created by Nike
  • Be warned what the FuelBand is not; it is not a sleep tracker, it is not a weight loss tool (in that it does not provide food tracking), it is not incredibly detailed in collecting data, and it is not even entirely accurate when it comes to counting steps and measuring distance traveled. However, the FuelBand is incredibly hip, straightforward, and addictive; all while promoting an active lifestyle
  • I found myself turning from a skeptic into a believer, as I gradually began checking my FuelBand more frequently, making sure I was on pace to hit my goal of 3,000 Fuel. There were several days where I would run around the block or do jumping jacks in my room at 11:30PM in order to reach my target before midnight. When I broke a streak after several days reaching my target, I was genuinely disappointed. Whereas the other activity monitors continued to simply “monitor” my activity, the FuelBand actually motivated me to do more as I strove each day to reach the green finish line on its Fuel gauge
  • If you are looking for a trendy, fashionable, and exciting new gadget to encourage you to be more active in a general sense, the Nike FuelBand is perfect for you. However, if you’re looking for a feature-rich fitness tracker that focuses more on accurate data collection and sleep/meal tracking, then look forward to our reviews in the coming weeks of the Fitbit Ultra and the Jawbone UP

iTunes Link