The Nike+ FuelBand has become a bit of a love-it-or-hate-it case among the big-brand fitness trackers – and we can see why.
The wristband uses a built-in accelerometer to measure movement in the brand’s NikeFuel unit. An LED display operated by a single, subtle button lets you cycle through time, NikeFuel, calories and steps, with a line of coloured lights showing the progress towards your daily fuel goal.
You can also set basic activity sessions on the band’s – fairly limited – built-in menu. Sessions let you track the time elapsed and the NikeFuel earned, as well as a fuel per minute average.
The related app offers more detailed analysis including daily and monthly breakdowns, a range of NikeFuel related stats, goals and achievements as well as the option to customise goals and sessions and social sharing.
Synching the band to smart phones requires Bluetooth 4.0, which means it won’t work on anything below iPhone 4S. The app runs on iOS 6.1 and above, iPod touch 5th generation and above and Android devices using Jelly Bean 4.3 and above. The band charges and connects to computers via USB 2.0.
We’re not convinced by the FuelBand’s accuracy as the NikeFuel earned seems to depend largely on how much you wave your arm while walking or running – or indeed while sitting on the sofa. This also limits its use for more stationary forms of exercise – think push-ups or abs – where you may end up with very little tracking depending on the movement.
Unlike some of its competitors the FuelBand offers no heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking or GPS info and is water resistant rather than fully waterproof.
Design-wise it certainly sits at the more stylish end of the fitness wristband spectrum, but the black rubbery material is a bit of a dust and dirt magnet. The band is available in three sizes which can be further adjusted with removable links and a sizing tool, but we still found it a bit too rigid and bulky to be worn comfortably all day.
As the name suggests, the FuelBand is primarily aimed at counting NikeFuel. Unless you’re using NikeFuel across the brand’s range of – pretty awesome – workout apps and to share your achievements with the Nike+ community, this somewhat random unit isn’t much use in measuring activity or level of fitness.
This makes the FuelBand more of a gadget for Nike fans or recovering couch potatoes who appreciate the motivation provided by a clear daily goal and the social sharing options, but for us it didn’t tick all the boxes for an all-round useful fitness tracker.
2/5: WE’RE NOT CONVINCED
Images courtesy of Nike