Active wear giant Nike has turned to wearable tech with its second generation of pedometers. The Nike+FuelBand SE is a stylish, but tough, rubberized bracelet designed to track your activity throughout the day. Like a typical pedometer, it counts steps, calories and the distance you’ve traveled. The FuelBand contains a tri-axis accelerometer found in higher-end pedometers to track running and walking steps. Unfortunately, there’s no altimeter to track how many flights of stairs you’ve climbed.
When you activate your FuelBand digital pedometer and its accompanying app, enter your height, weight and age to calculate your calories more accurately. While you’re moving, the FuelBand tracks your workout intensity through the app so you can see how hard you worked. And like many other activity trackers, the Nike+FuelBand SE measures your sleep quality and syncs it to your iOS device. Within the app, you can check how long and deeply you slept, as well as how many times you woke up.
The FuelBand’s key feature is FuelPoints, Nike’s system used to measure movement. The FuelBand SE and its accompanying app use FuelPoints to set daily goals and motivate you with trophies and milestones. The FuelBand uses the tri-axis accelerometer inside the bracelet to track your motion. From there, it uses algorithms to calculate your oxygen intake based on your correlating motion. The FuelPoints system produces inconsistent measurements. Instead of reaching your goal through calories or steps, the FuelBand SE measures your progress with algorithms based on activity. It calculates your points through movement and estimates your oxygen intake from there. This means you may get 500 points for simply walking to the store but 700 from a full work out session.
For now, the FuelBand only syncs to iOS devices via Bluetooth 4.0. The app itself is chock full of motivating features like “Win the Hour” challenges throughout the day. This highly social app lets you create group goals with friends or teammates so you can reach them together. When it comes to exercise, friendly competition can go a long way. The app features a leaderboard, so you can see where you stand among your friends. The app provides an hour-to-hour look at your day with averages and comparisons to previous days and weeks, and appealing and legible graphs.
The hard rubber bracelet is durable and can take a beating from all types of activities, such as skateboarding or football. The bright digital LED display and single button make it easy to see your immediate progress, steps and calories at a glance. The Nike+FuelBand comes three sizes: S (5.79 inches), M/L (6.77 inches) and XL (7.76 inches). But just in case, it comes with extra links for a specialized fit. Though you can’t swim or surf with the FuelBand, it is water-resistant and can run for about 10 days on a single charge.
We love the look of the Nike+FuelBand SE, but as a running pedometer, it has room for improvement. From what we’ve seen, FuelPoints are less about accuracy and more about motivation. That said, anything that gets you up and active is definitely a good thing. We like the LED display and the eye-catching design, but we’d like to see an app available for Android and an altimeter in this pedometer.