When you’re charging from a computer, the band launches the Nike+ website which displays how many goals you’ve hit, showing what the last seven days’ activity amounted to and how you compare to other people in your age group. The site is comprehensive, showing exactly when each day your exercise spiked. And it colour-codes how well you’ve been doing, from red through to green.
Prepare to be patronised...
This is the other detail on the bracelet. Press the button to reveal your NikeFuel gauge and on the top edge of the band a row of coloured lights appear, ranging from red through amber to green. One green light flickers tantalisingly faraway on the right to show you just how much busier you need to be to reach today’s goal.
There’s also an iPhone app which pairs with the Fuelband using Bluetooth and keeps your data in sync. It also has a series of colourful and mildly entertaining animations, where a cartoon figure helps you celebrate as you reach a milestone such as your longest streak or a total of 50,000 NikeFuel units.
This is where the Fuelband really scores: goals reached feel like triumphs and keep spurring you on. Touch the band at the right moment, when you’ve reached your target and the display shows a flashing “GOAL”. It becomes addictive – you don’t want to disappoint the Fuelband by not reaching your score tomorrow.
Indeed, a fitness monitor is there to change your behaviour, but it can make you do things its way. I was brought up not to walk around with my hands jammed in my pockets. And now I make sure I don’t – because the Fuelband doesn’t rate smaller movements as highly as jauntily swinging arms.
This gadget is one of many. The Fitbit that clips to your belt is less intrusive, but forget to transfer it to your shorts at the gym and those steps go uncounted. The Jawbone Up has a handy vibration feature which means you can use it as a very effective alarm to shake you awake in the morning. But the absence of a screen is a shame and the connection of the Up to your phone from a 3.5mm jack is a little clunky.
In an increasingly crowded market, the Nike+ FuelBand stands out because of its neat design, clear display and convenient size. It would have been good if it could monitor your sleep, as Jawbone Up and Fitbit can, or wake you with a gentle vibration, but the main benefits are enough. It can quickly become addictive, so if you’re near your target as the day wanes, you find yourself going for a walk just to see the GOAL screen light up. Which is no bad thing. ®
More Gadget Reviews
for all budgets
Re: Jesus f***ing H Christ
"What the hell is wrong with just getting out there and DOING EXERCISE?"
Actually, as well as being a grumpy, mean spirited little shit you are also just plain wrong. EVERYONE uses goal/reward based incentives for excercise from the very best elite althletes right down to your couch potatoe who has finally realised that shooting pain across the chest is probably a sign they should move a bit more. Do you think Bradley Wiggens just looks out of the window of a morning and thinks to himself "You know what, I fancy a bit of a bike ride today"? Of course not. He has training plans, mileage and wattage targets and, ultimately, his reward was a brightly coloured jumper but that is not a million miles removed from a flashing green light or a "Goal reached" message on an OLED display.
There is NO WAY I could do the training I do without targets to meet - both short and long term. And trying to suggest that people are in some way doing something wrong or naughty just because they want to incentivise themselves towards a healthier lifestyle is perverse in the extreme.
Do those rewards/incentives have to involve spending £140 on a fancy bangle? No. Is there anything wrong with spending £140 on a fancy bangle (if you can afford it)? Absolutely not.
Re: Jesus f***ing H Christ
Chances are, if someone is a "weak willed, tech dependent pathetically undisciplined numpty..." then they won't own one of these. But for those that do excercise, is there anything wrong with using tech to measure your energy expenditure and spur you on to greater achievements? I think having little achievements etc helps turn excercise into a game and make it more fun. I can't see any way that is a bad thing.
Also a troll icon for you, you miserable git
Is this a joke?
£139 for what is little more than a pedometer?
Or can it do GPS, which means it could track cycling & running like a Garmin can?
A review should really spell this stuff out.
Re: Stop cycling, start watching the gymnastics instead
I've just been watching some internet-enabled video content and my Nike Fuelband says I've just swum the Atlantic.
Re: Jesus f***ing H Christ
Hark at you Mr Motivator. It should occur to you that, yes, some people do need help in terms of getting out the door to do something, especially if coming from a position of general unfit or unhealthy lifestyle (hint, people work longer hours, spend more time at their desks than at any point in history).
Exercise from this starting point gives *very* little short-term reward. It's probably about 4 weeks of exercise before you see any improvement, both in terms of weight loss or the exercise becoming any easier. That in itself is hard to get over and at any point in that 4 weeks it's all too easy to give up.
If gimmicks or gadgets help people get over that hurdle, then great. Where do you draw the line of this gadget, or £100 pair of trainers with air bubbles, or £50 per month gym memberships, or a raquet that's not made of wood and catgut?