80
7.0
final rating

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Criteria Comments Rating
  • Durability Overall build quality is great. It feels like it is meant to take some wear and tear. great!
  • Portability No comments great!
  • Ease of use The FuelBand is extremely easy to use, but you may run into an issue setting it up. good
  • Design and form factor A simple band with a great display. great!
Detailed review
I have had my Nike+ FuelBand for over a week now and overall I like it, but your enjoyment will depend on how much you care about the accuracy of the metrics it tracks.

The FuelBand comes in simple packaging that allows you to get at it very quickly with the band on one side and the accessories on the other.

The setup for the most part is straightforward. You simply go to the link provided by Nike, download the setup software, plug the FuelBand into your computer with the provided USB cable (or directly, if you wish) and follow the instructions. There was already a firmware update available when I first connected; it was downloaded and updated without issue. However, I did run into a problem after this point that initially prevented me from completely the setup. I had started it on my MacBook Air, but when the Nike software would direct me to a website to complete the setup it would not take me to the actual portion I needed to go. I ended up having to complete the setup on my PC where I encountered no further issues. Since then I am still able to use the FuelBand with my Macbook. I am not completely sure what the issue was, but it was annoying.

The band itself is great. It seems well built and feels like it can take a lot of wear and tear. You are able to physically adjust the length of the band regardless of which size you get with two included pieces, one of which was already on my FuelBand when it first arrived. It is pretty easy to remove the adjustable links, but I did have an issue putting the main link back in; I pretty much had to force it in a couple times before it would lock in place. I have not had a problem with it coming back out and my initial fears have regarding the issue have since dissipated.

The display itself is great though it is difficult to read in direct sunlight. You are able to view the time, steps taken for that day, estimated calories burned, and Fuel - Nike's own metric - that you have earned as well as where you stand in relation to your daily goal; the goal is selected during the setup. In the event that you reach your goal you are treated to a GOAL animation, which varies from day to day.

Battery life has been decent for me. It usually lasts about a week before I need to charge it with an average of 5 days of use and at least 1 day where I do not wear it. The band has an airplane mode, which I leave it in except for when I choose to sync it with my iPhone.

Syncing is extremely easy. You can do it either on a computer with the Nike software installed by plugging your FuelBand in or wirelessly via your iPhone and the Nike+ FuelBand app. You can view the stats through this app as well as online via the NikePlus website. The website and app both provide some additional metrics that the FuelBand does not display such as distance traveled and the amount of time that you are active on a given day. You do earn trophies for your activity, but they are based on just Fuel points; in contrast with the Fitbit you earn badges for the various metrics that it keeps track of. You can share your achievements via Facebook or Twitter. You are also supposed to be able to compare your stats with your Facebook friends, but I have not been able to play with it as I guess my friends are just not that sporty.

There are two items that the FuelBand tracks I am not entirely happy about. It is pretty much a given that this (or any fitness gadget) is not meant to be a totally accurate measure of your activity, but in the case of the FuelBand I think it tends to register more activity than it is supposed to. I have a Fitbit (which I have had since January of this year) and I have been wearing both on a daily basis. While I do not expect the number of steps between to two gadgets to be exact, I did not expect them to be off by a couple thousand steps or more either. It has to do with the fact the that the FuelBand is on your wrist and it will register steps even when you are not actually walking (e.g., swinging your arm will get it to register steps). The Fitbit is meant to be worn near your waist, so it is not going to register the false positives the FuelBand does. The other item is in regards to calories burned. The FuelBand only gives you a number based on your activity. The Fitbit will give you an over-all estimate of the number of calories burned (which includes your activity plus an estimate as to what your body burns at rest). I wish the FuelBand was more like the Fitbit in that regard.

With that said I still think the Nike+ FuelBand is an enjoyable product. If you are not to particular about the way it tracks activity or are looking for a fun way to keep track of it the FuelBand is definitely worth a look.
review history
2012-05-05
Updated detailed review