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jdelapena

November 3rd 2013 8:39 pm

Early Look at the Fuelband SE

So I've been lucky enough to get my hands on the new Fuelband SE before official release and have been using its features over the past couple of days. I figured I'd start a discussion for anyone who might have questions about the product or are thinking about getting it/upgrading. I'll try to answer them to the best of my ability and knowledge.

A little relevant background to its use: Prior to the SE, I've used the original Fuelband daily for over 600 days. My regular activity outside of the day-to-day consists of weight training with occasional short running or some cardio machine for warm-up. I am an Android smartphone user, but I do have an iPad 3. I only sync either Fuelband via the PC and rarely ever use the iOS app.

Feel free to ask away! I'll have a review for it like I did for the original once I get a good handle on it.

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13 replies
frankspin

This is going to be hard to answer but is this one any more durable? We had 3 of them break over 18-months and I refuse to drop more money or get another replacement just to have it break again.
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jdelapena

Good question, frankspin. They advertised that the SE as being more durable this time around. I just had my original Fuelband replaced a day after I started using the SE (coincidentally great timing), so I've been able to see how my 600 day one and this new one compares to the SE.

From what I can tell, flexibility when you're opening the band up seems sturdier on the SE. Button pressing feels pretty much the same. The most significant difference I've noticed is the clasp. With the SE, the clasp is more difficult to both open and close. This makes it less likely to randomly open during regular use.

Overall, I feel that the SE is more durable in respects to a more sturdy flexibility and stronger clasp. Unfortunately, it would take a bit more time of use with both of them to see if the durability elsewhere has improved.
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frankspin

I should have clarified by break I didn't mean the physical band. The devices would just stop syncing and no matter what kind of troubleshooting tricks Nike offered helped.
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jdelapena

Ah, sorry. Well that one is definitely hard to answer. So far, I've had no problems with syncing, but I've always synced through the PC, rarely through the iOS app. The USB connection looks exactly the same. I haven't tried Bluetooth syncing because the updated app isn't out until the 6th.

Then again, I never had syncing issues with the old Fuelband. I would like to think that the upgraded Bluetooth should have improvements to syncing. Sorry I'm not much help to answer that though.
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nitehawk

As a gadget nerd holding out for a watch-like connected device, debating between this, the Fitbit Force and the future of this category, what are the major and minor daily annoyances with this product? With a laptop or tablet minor annoyances may not matter as much, but when you actually wear something, I feel these can really dampen the experience. I have a Lumoback belt that I've been looking to sell for exactly this same reason.

On the plus side, what are the smalls things that you really like about this? For example, the inactivity alarm, do you like being told to get up every hour or so? Is the time adjustable? Is the vibration obvious to wear co-workers look at you funny?
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jdelapena

This one took me a bit to think about. Let's see, I'll make a list for this:
Annoyances
  • Double tapping for time is nice, but now I can't just leave the display on "Time" to press the button once to immediately view the time. Those w/ the old Fuelband will understand this more. This is a little thing I had to adjust to really, but overall, it's more functional in terms of everything else the device displays.
  • When I'm typing or writing, the band will rub against whatever surface I'm resting my wrist on. It rarely ever affects what I'm doing, but occasionally I'll become aware of it when I'm typing on my laptop. It's not so much the hindrance that bothers me, but the eventual wear-and-tear on the outside of the band due to the friction.
  • No HR, O2 sat, RR, etc are taken into account when estimating calories/activity. Since it's all based on wrist movement, accuracy comes into question. However, this is forgivable since it would end up being consistent with continued use. If accurately tracking your activity, calorie burn, or distance ran is really, really important to you, this may not be what you want.
  • "Sleep tracking" is just another Session. You might be able to see when you moved more during your beauty rest, but all it really tells you is how long you've slept for. Good if you want to keep a record of the amount of sleep you do, but otherwise it doesn't offer much information. I would have liked more.
  • No Android app. Having to sync data by taking off the band every night and plugging it into a PC can be annoying and takes away from the seamlessness of wearable technology. I would have preferred to only take off the band for recharging.
  • Nike is pretty upright about preventing 3rd party apps from accessing data or the NikeFuel API. It would be nice to have more options to keep track of data other than just the NIke+ site. I know LoseIt offers syncing, but it does it in a strange way imo.
  • After adjusting the intensity of a Session, you only gain the appropriate number of Fuel points, but the amount of calories burned does not increase.
I love using the Fuelband to track my activity and the new features so far are great, but here are a few little things that I've come to really like:
  • Separate graphs for Sessions like weight training or running. In addition the ideally more accurate Fuel gain based on intensity.
  • Seeing the Fuel per Minute during a Session gives me a sort of goal to push for. I tend to lazy around between sets at the gym, but seeing the FPM go down when I do gets me going.
  • I'm very happy with the form factor and I'm glad they didn't change it. People are always surprised when I check the time on it, thinking it was a simple Livestrong-like silicon band.
  • The new automated "move reminders" on the band are fun and make the Fuelband more attractive, imo.
  • Even if I stop using it religiously to track activity (which I ended up doing for a few months w/ the original one), it's still practical as a modern looking watch.
  • The way text appears on the LED when you press the button comes through faster compared to the original.
  • Gamefication (or whatever the term is). I love how Fuel acts like a score board, making my life into a sort of video game. To add to this, the social aspects add competition and there's the occasional Nike missions that come around.
To answer the last part of your question, the movement reminders are nice and non-intrusive. You might get a few eyes noticing the LED light up, and I honestly miss it most of the day because of what I'm doing, but it hasn't been a bother yet. The time for the reminders is adjustable between a range of hours, so you can set it from 9am - 5pm.

There's no vibration alarm on the Fuelband SE. The Fitbit and the Up have those, but I personally do not find it a necessary factor for tracking my activity.

I hope that answers your questions, but since you are on edge about deciding whether to buy a gadget now or wait, let me know if there's anything more specific about the SE that you wanted addressed.
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nitehawk

Wow thank for you so much for the heavily detailed response!
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daiig

isn't SE supposed to background sync? seems to keep a constant BT to my 5s but only syncing when the app is a foreground task
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jdelapena

Yeah, there have been a number of issues I've observed so far, most of them through the iOS app. Syncing has been a gigantic issue. I've resorted to syncing through the computer every night.

Luckily though, Nike seems to be paying attention to all the feedback they've been getting. They just released an update to the app and it seems like they intend to work hard on fixing the issues. Here's to that.
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iestynx

I've had mine for a week now and love it. The only issues I've found is that there are some bugs in the iPhone app that makes yesterdays score appear in todays section, but it's a quick fix of closing the app in multitasking and restarting.
I just wish all my friends had one. My son really wants one, but he's 5 and he would probably beat me every day with the amount he constantly runs around.
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jdelapena

The iOS app gives me problems as well. I've resorted to only syncing online. Friends is an issue of mine as well. I'm really eager to try out groups, but have no one to really group with.
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rcr23

I got mine stuck on the FPM setting. I'm not sure how I got it there in the first place, and now I'm not sure how to go back and check the regular stuff like FuelPoints, Steps, etc. Can you help me, please? I can't find anything online in the forums
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jdelapena

Sounds like you're stuck in a Session. You normally start this by holding the button for a few seconds until Start pops up and then tap the button again. This is where you see FPM, Elaps, etc.

To end this, hold the button for about 3 seconds until End pops up, then let go and press the button again. This will get you back to the normal flow of the Fuelband.

Hope that helps. It's for tagging specific activity Sessions that you can tag online or on the iOs app.
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