Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Nike+ FuelBand: Futuristic Pedometer or Just Another Device to Make You Feel Lazy?

The Nike FuelBand might just be the coolest new product in the realm of self monitoring and fitness tracking – but with a U.S. release date of February 22nd, any device flaws remain to be seen. I’m biased because my Fitbit (pedometer, calorie counter, and sleep tracker) took center stage this year. Personally, with a price tag of $149, I’m unlikely to make the switch to Nike’s product simply for a few cool perks, but for anyone interested in investing in a fitness device for the first time, the FuelBand looks like a good place to start.

The defining characteristic of the FuelBand (and perhaps the most polarizing) is the use of the Nike-specific metric. The band takes into account movement and oxygen consumption to calculate a fitness score, or “Nike Fuel Points”, for the user. Instead of a traditional pedometer that tracks step count, the FuelBand has a set daily goal of 750 points. Beyond FuelBand owners, this value is virtually meaningless. The FuelBand does offer step and calorie count, but one critic described these features as almost an “afterthought” – the real selling point after all is fuel.

There are several products currently on the market that track movement, steps, weight loss, etc. but the Nike FuelBand seems to do a good job capturing the most desirable characteristics and combining them into an unobtrusive, wearable device. Step count, calories, fuel, and a clock are all instantly viewable on the surface of the band and all data can be uploaded via bluetooth onto a computer, iphone, or other mobile device. The Nike Fuel app will be available the day of the FuelBand release.
In all - seems like a pretty cool product, but for $149 it’s costlier than your average pedometer. The slogan is motivational - "LIFE IS A SPORT. MAKE IT COUNT" - but for a non-athlete or regular office worker who squeezes in a 30-minute run on a good day, the Nike FuelBand probably won't get much of a workout.

I’m sticking with my Fitbit…for now!

2 comments:

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