Nike FuelBand SE evaluate: extra social options, for much longer battery life
Nike’s new FuelBand is now out, and following a couple of weeks of operating in parks, strolling round exhibition halls and the occasional all-out train session, nicely, I am fairly drained. Fortuitously, I solely wanted to cost Nike’s new wearable as soon as in my first eight days of use. Certainly, that is the primary profit to Nike’s Second Version (SE) FuelBand: because of an power-environment friendly Bluetooth Low Power (LE) radio, it guarantees a lot-improved battery life over its predecessor. In relation to the bodily hardware, nevertheless, its look has barely modified since 2012, save for 3 new shade choices (and a highfalutin’ Rose Gold one). Its health-monitoring capabilities have not modified both, though Nike has promised enhancements in accuracy and a greater capacity to sense if you’re trying to recreation the FuelBand.
Beneath the matte black floor, nevertheless, there’s been extra progress: Nike+, the FuelBand’s companion app, is friendlier than ever, with the power to group your buddies into separate classes. There are additionally new hourly reminders to remain lively all through the day and a Periods function to watch exercise in a set timeframe. Greater than ever, although, Nike’s discovering itself in a crowded wearables market. Although it was one of many early victors, has it accomplished sufficient to take care of its lead? Seize your water bottle and we’ll stroll you thru it.
- Respectable battery life
- Modern design
- Connects to your Fb associates listing
- Nonetheless no Android app
- Not geared towards health buffs
- Pointless sleep monitoring function
The FuelBand SE does not supply any earth-shattering modifications from its predecessor, however its design, longer battery life and enhanced social options guarantee it continues to be a strong selection amongst health trackers.
The FuelBand SE weighs, feels and appears virtually equivalent to the 2012 version. Nike is aware of the present design is strong — so why mess with it? In contrast to rival health trackers, it isn’t a versatile rubbery watchband. It is extra like a bracelet — sort of just like the Fitbit Pressure, simply extra rugged. It simply hangs higher, however then once more, that is a reasonably subjective level. Definitely, it is good to not have one thing continually wrapped round your wrist as you sweat. The FuelBand SE additionally homes the identical one hundred-dot LED show as the unique, although it whizzes by means of readouts and choices quicker than its predecessor. It additionally routinely adjusts brightness relying on ambient mild. This, coupled with Nike’s selection of a dot LED interface, stays a stroke of genius. Given the matte end of the band, there isn’t any reflectivity, which means I might learn the display in full daylight with none points.
These projected numbers on a tender-end floor nonetheless look cool too — particularly when the FuelBand splashes out some colour if you attain your Gasoline aim. It is nonetheless a dialog starter every time somebody notices the fireworks going off in your wrist. I simply want Nike had adopted Fitbit’s instance and expanded on what the band might show. On the fitting/left of the show (relying on which hand you employ) there’s the only button that handles all of your navigation wants. Swipe by way of that to see your Gasoline complete and clock. Gasoline is Nike’s personal train metric — it isn’t energy or a pedometer, though you possibly can add these to your FuelBand by means of both the online interface or iOS app.
We’ll dive into the larger function additions later, however the brand new ‘band can now show the time via a easy double-button press. Does not sound like an enormous deal, proper? Nevertheless, on the older band, you needed to laboriously scroll via your Gasoline and calorie totals to verify the time, making it an utter waste of, nicely, time. It is a easy enchancment that is made utilizing Nike’s mannequin instead of different smartwatches (and even actual watches) rather more viable.
The USB enter that connects and costs the band additionally acts because the clasp, snapping into place with a satisfying “click on.” Like its predecessor, which I have been utilizing for a yr, there is no danger of it coming unfastened, though the metallic hyperlink (which now has a black coating slightly than plain metallic) is extra susceptible to scrapes on account of its place on the base of the band. There are additional hyperlinks within the field, and Nike additionally sells the system in three sizes: small, medium/giant and x-giant. Because it occurs, the larger two have a much bigger constructed-in battery (70mAh vs. 50mAh), which suggests it ought to last more, though we have solely examined the massive measurement. It is a aid to see that Nike’s solved our largest concern with the unique: the truth that you needed to cost it each two or three days. With comparatively sedentary use, the brand new mannequin requires a recharge about as soon as every week. Having stated that, should you’re continually operating marathons and logging periods, you possibly can anticipate fewer days on a cost — from my time with it, round three days.“Go Mat”
When it comes to sheer performance, the 2 largest modifications to the FuelBand are the Periods and Hours options, though it is value nothing that each of those can be enabled on the older mannequin by way of an replace. The Hours function stays elective, however as soon as it is on, it’s going to mechanically nag you earlier than the top of every hour to go away your desk and do one thing to assist increase your Gasoline complete. It isn’t an enormous problem: That you must decide up 5 Gasoline factors each minute, for 5 minutes, to “Win the Hour.”
Profitable the hour feels like sports activities company blather, however when it is coming from a wearable dedicated to getting you shifting extra, it is a common sense function. You’ll be able to set it up via your PC (when plugged in) or by means of the FuelBand app. Both means, you will additionally get to decide on which hours it’s going to scrutinize. Nevertheless, should you’re not wanting (and I’ve missed it even when typing, with my wrist in full view), then that is not a lot of a reminder. A mild vibration, or perhaps a delicate sound, would’ve been appreciated. In the event you’re utilizing an iPhone with it (and it is sensible to) you’ll be able to ship the reminder as a notification to your telephone, providing a extra eye-catching nudge to motion.
The second new function, Periods, is activated by holding onto the band’s bodily button, which can flash “begin” onto the LED dot show. One other faucet will ship the band into a 3-second countdown. Nike is not too particular on what the Session perform accomplishes. Is it merely a method so as to add “dividers” between exercise and non-exercise? Perhaps. From my time sporting the band, I did not discover it any extra correct once I launched into Session mode earlier than a jog.
Since Periods can circle off particular exercise and supply up a Gasoline-per-minute gauge of how onerous you’ve got been working, it means you possibly can higher examine your efforts towards associates throughout totally different disciplines — at the least that is Nike’s tackle it. Periods might be assigned to a selected exercise, which means evaluating an hour-lengthy shuttle run session towards, say, your buddy’s 30-minute boxing session is made a bit clearer. It evens the enjoying area, if solely a bit of.
There are nonetheless some drawbacks: As a result of the band is water resistant, there is no swimming choice, and we’re unsure the way it’s capable of correctly measure a fitness center exercise. What is the distinction between somebody lugging weights round and somebody simply lifting their water bottle? My largest grievance with Periods is the tendency to overlook that I used to be logging an exercise — the FuelBand does not promote it clearly sufficient. There is a delicate dot that beats away within the prime-proper nook of the band’s show, however that is all, which means that prolonged operating session may inadvertently embrace your bathe and half-hour sitting on the sofa.
You’ll be able to even assign a session as “sleep.” Generally, our critiques workforce has been fairly important of the restricted sleep-cycle detection provided on rival merchandise, however the likes of Up and Fitbit are nonetheless much more succesful than the FuelBand on this regard. Did you could have a stressed night time and toss and switch? It’d decide that up. Or not. It is exhausting to discern something significant from line graphs like this:
The brand new FuelBand’s software program consists of the power to separate your folks listing into particular teams; now you possibly can see the way you price towards fellow weekend warriors, or that basically lazy relative, individually. Nike+ can peruse your Fb profile for attainable rivals, in addition to your tackle guide. We might like to see the gadget get its hooks into different social networks too, however the Fb integration nonetheless places Nike’s wearable forward of the competitors.
Having stated that, there are many readers on the market who won’t need to share the ins and outs of precisely how a lot train they’re doing. Don’t be concerned: The aggressive facet is an elective one, nevertheless it’s one we might nonetheless advocate using. Nike combines this with a raft of trophies that look extra like they need to be in-recreation achievement trophies, and gives up slightly blurb of how a lot you are going to have to maneuver to earn them. These are separated throughout totally different classes, together with excessive-depth periods or “profitable the hour” with extra common exercise.
You will discover all these options in Nike’s just lately up to date FuelBand app. It is a far-ranging replace that reorganizes a lot of the app. Alongside a readout on your day by day exercise (which additionally compares your present Gasoline rely towards the typical on your demographic), there is a pop-out menu within the prime-proper nook that opens up entry to your profile and everything of your FuelBand historical past. Right here, you possibly can see how you’ve got fared over the previous week, month and even yr.
The app additionally calculates your day by day common, and compares your exercise towards earlier performances. Now you can browse (and provoke) these new Periods and examine exertions towards your folks and teams, in addition to customise your FuelBand settings (lastly!) by means of the smartphone interface. I say “smartphone,” however I imply “iPhone” as a result of Nike nonetheless does not have an Android FuelBand app, which is much more baffling now than when the unique got here out. When you can accomplish most of what we have outlined by plugging the band into your PC and syncing on-line, the system works so a lot better when complemented by a cellular app. For those who’ve received an Android telephone, you are not getting the complete FuelBand expertise.The competitors
So far as choices go, we have by no means had it so good. Within the final month, we have put Adidas’ $399 miCoach Sensible Run watch to the check, together with the Fitbit Drive ($one hundred thirty). The Sensible Run provides up much more than Nike’s FuelBand SE, together with GPS and a coronary heart fee monitor. Nevertheless, you are paying a few hundred dollars extra for these options and you will be charging the health watch with virtually alarming regularity.
In the meantime, Fitbit’s choices and Jawbone’s new Up24 ($one hundred fifty) have much more overlap, with regard to options and costs. The Pressure presents up extra info on a brilliant OLED show, together with barely extra complete sleep monitoring and even a meals diary. Nonetheless, it does not actually do social stuff, which means should you like competitors, the FuelBand SE continues to be the higher selection. It is also value noting that these rival wearables are very happy to work together with your Android smartphone.
The Up24 is as aesthetically pleasing because the FuelBand and has even adopted a number of the similar options, together with cheerleading help. You even have the choice to arrange challenges, though (and this may be stated for almost all of health trackers) Nike’s easy Gasoline-based mostly objectives nonetheless make it some of the accessible health trackers. Conversely, it is actually not designed for extra religious athletes — Nike’s obtained its personal watch for that.
The brand new FuelBand has one other rival, nevertheless, and it is one which arrived on the similar time: the Nike+ Transfer app. You will want an iPhone 5s (nicely, the movement coprocessor inside it), however it largely transforms your telephone into one thing similar to the FuelBand. It makes use of the identical social options and Gasoline metric and in addition provides some geotagging. Nike reckons it is a gateway app that’ll coax you into shopping for a FuelBand , which provides denser metrics and deeper performance. Nonetheless, when you’re simply trying to see how lively you’ve got been (and are prepared to hold your iPhone 5s round as you do it), it is a real looking (and free) choice.Wrap-up
The FuelBand SE’s biggest enchancment is its battery life, though the brand new software program options add much more methods to watch how lively you’re — and hopefully enhance. Almost two years after the primary FuelBand appeared, Nike’s social options nonetheless make it a simple gadget to advocate. Nevertheless, your mileage will range relying on what number of of your buddies are already utilizing Nike+ and the way deeply you are trying to monitor train. At this level, there are such a lot of health-monitoring merchandise that the best choice for you won’t essentially be one of the best one in your good friend. The FuelBand SE excels at getting not-essentially sporty varieties to pay extra consideration to what they do (or what they ought to do), and it seems to be stylish whereas it does it. Different units supply extra info and extra options, and certainly, it is a disgrace Nike did not push the boundaries slightly extra there. So, if the previous FuelBand did not fairly do sufficient to warrant the $one hundred fifty price ticket, the SE is unlikely to vary your opinion.
Edgar Alvarez contributed to this evaluation.
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- Key specs
- <a href=”http://www.engadget.com/merchandise/nike/nike-plus/fuelband-se/” title=”Nike Nike+ FuelBand SE critiques” goal=”_blank”> Critiques • 2 </a>
- Sort Watch-type
- Monitoring metrics Movement / steps, Energy
- Show Sure
- Introduced 2013-10-15