I’ve been using the Nike+ FuelBand for a few weeks now and my review of the device has changed considerably over that time. At first I was taken with the simplicity (set it and forget it), then I was aggravated by it’s inaccuracy, but now I wholeheartedly recommend it as a motivator to get active.
The FuelBand is a well designed matte black bracelet with a single button. When you press the button the band lights up retro-style with a hidden LED display that shows your fuel progress, calories, steps and the time. It’s a bit thicker than a LiveStrong band and is pleasantly weighted. It connects to your Mac via a USB cord (included) or syncs to your iPhone via Bluetooth.
The band tracks your activity through an accelerometer, then some fancy algorithms translate your every move into NikeFuel. What is NikeFuel? It’s Nike’s fabricated unit of measurement to sum up your activity level for the day. You set a goal (mine is 3000 Fuel Points), and try to hit it every day.
Does it work? Yes, but the way its sensors measure intensity, length and style of your movement is not always accurate. Though it is consistent, and that’s what makes it work in my opinion.
I get most of my exercise from running, hitting the gym and my weekly Kung Fu class. I use the Nike+ Running app with my iPhone when I run, and I’ve got it calibrated to be pretty accurate. So I was disappointed when I compared the running app distance with what the FuelBand counted during my first few runs. The FuelBand was off by a mile on a 6 mile run! But I’m happy to report that Nike has now connected all it’s Nike+ apps with Fuel, so that you get the proper credit when using more accurate sensors. There are just some activities the FuelBand isn’t great at measuring, like yoga, weightlifting and unfortunately my Kung Fu class. Use the stationary bike a bunch? Then this is probably not for you.
But even with it’s faults I still recommend it to anyone who wants to be more fit. Why? Because it’s consistent. You’re comparing your relative activity level each day, no matter how you move. That’s why fuel points is so brilliant.
It’s also a fantastic constant reminder to get off your butt. It’s like having a fitness angel on your wrist, you’ll be politely reminded to take the extra step. After all, you want to hit your goals. You don’t want to disappoint the Fuelband. It notices your laziness, and it displays it for you with beautiful info-graphics on the iPhone & desktop app.