Nike+ Fuelband: price £129
It’s the time of year when resolutions hang over us like a dark cloud, and motivation can be hard to find. So, the latest activity monitor from Nike seems like the perfect buy for any beginner.
Activity monitors such as the Nike Fuelband aren’t really supposed to compete with GPS running watches, heart rate monitors or cycling computers in terms of accuracy. Instead it can be used for any sport to motivate people to improve their lifestyle and keep active.
In traditional Nike style, the packaging is elegant and impressive; on a black background the Fuelband glows angelically. Inside, the design is stylish and simple - so frustratingly simple that I can’t figure out how to charge it and end up going for a run while it sits in the box.
Once charged, the Nike setup is easy, especially if you already have a Nike app. But the fun bit is customising the band, specifying your height, weight and, rather curiously, which wrist you wear it on. Next you set your goal, either a ‘normal’, ‘active’ or ‘high energy’ day (I chose normal). After the setup shows you what the band can do, it tells you inspirationally that ‘the game is on. Go for your first daily goal.’
As well as displaying your calories, steps or time at the push of a button, it also shows your ‘NikeFuel’. This is basically your personal activity number, bearing in mind the calories you’ve burnt and your calorie burn needs. Since NikeFuel is calculated the same way for everyone you’re encouraged to share, compare and collaborate with friends. ‘What's your NikeFuel number today?’ you can ask.
The display is clear and the red, yellow and green activity markers make it look an exciting gadget. It’s slightly bulky to wear, especially if you have delicate wrists like me. However it fits comfortably under a shirt so is easily disguised for work.
In terms of accuracy I counted my steps almost everywhere I walked for a day. (Much to the dismay of my friends, who were stuck shepherding me around silently while I counted). The Fuelband's step count wasn’t perfect but it was close every time. However since there is not a heart rate monitor I’m not sure how accurate the calorie count could be.
Overall, it’s an impressive motivator for general fitness; on the days I don’t run it certainly made me walk a few extra laps around the block to meet my daily goals and will definitely spark anyone with a competitive spirit.