Reviewed by Michael Shane (Currently owns)
If you've read my colleague Bryan's review, then you know I'm intimately familiar with the FuelBand. What you probably don't know is that the majesty of our video was in fact a happy accident. I knew Bryan was scheduled to review the FuelBand, but that had nothing to do with my decision to stand in line for two hours outside of Nike on Mercer street. I'm a sucker for the retro LEDs and had been thinking of scratching my biometrics itch, so I decided to buy a FuelBand for myself.
I'm an active guy – I run 9 to 15 miles per week. I used Nike+ with an iPod nano years ago and enjoyed tracking my stats, but eventually fell off the wagon. It was a hassle to keep track of the pedometer and the receiver, and back in those days, we had to sync everything with wires.
I've found that if a device has one button, it's generally either phenomenal or a piece of crap. I never felt comfortable with the old Nike+ pedometer. It had one button, but I was never sure it was on. Or off. Trust is important when considering a biometric gadget because using something like the FuelBand is going to necessitate at least a little accommodation in the workflow of your life. Any gadget that asks for dedication must be trustworthy.
The FuelBand is an easy product to use, and it's reasonably accurate. If you're a serious runner and need to account for every heartbeat, the FuelBand isn't for you. Not yet, anyway. The build quality is first class, which is essential for a device that's going to go with me on runs, ski slopes, and into battles with my weekend LARP troupe. Just kidding.
When I'm out and about, bluetooth syncing via my iPhone is effortless. The website and iPhone app are both handsome and easy to use. I expect their usefulness to only increase as Nike unifies the Nike+ ecosystem and incorporates NikeFuel into more of its products.
NikeFuel will make or break this product for you. If you find it a compelling metric for quantifying your activity, then you'll love the FuelBand. If you want to break away from the minutia of worrying about calories, you'll love NikeFuel. You can still see how many steps you take and the calories you burn, but NikeFuel is front and center. It's never been this easy to get a sense of my activity during the day. If you've ever felt the compulsion to just get one more level up, or the desperate need to just get to that next save point, or you've ever just needed five more minutes Mom! ... then NikeFuel will be an effective motivator for you. You may even find yourself jogging a bit farther to hit your goal for the day.
And that's what matters most.
- Design 10
- Software 7
- Features 8
- Performance 8