The Nike + Sportband is a compact watch and accelerometer that measures pace, distance, time, and calories for runners or walkers. Unlike most footpods, the Nike + footpod is designed to fit inside a running shoe. Nike shoes include a place in the arch of the left shoe to hold the footpod. You can use the footpod with other shoes, such as Saucony or New Balance, although those brands do not include a place for the footpod to fit and may affect the accuracy of the measures.
Features of the Nike+ Sportband
The watch itself is contained in a removable USB device that fits into a sleek wristband. The display toggles between the current time and a rotating display of running stats. It has two buttons, one to start and stop the timer and toggle between the two display modes and the other to rotate through the stats. After completing a run, the runner can remove the USB device, insert it into a MAC or PC computer and upload their stats to the Nike website.
On the Nike website, users can view and monitor the stats for their runs, track their progress, map their running routes and share them with other runners, connect with other Nike+ runners through Facebook and Twitter, view training programs and sign up for running challenges, and so on.
Although users can use the Nike + Sportband without any set up or calibration to get full use of the features, users need to download the Nike+ utility software on their computer, sign up for an account on the Nike + site, and set up their Sportband. To see the estimated calorie use, the runner must enter their weight and to get the most accurate measures, they need to calibrate the device by entering their time for a set distance while running at their normal running pace and while walking at their normal walking pace.
Limitations to the Nike+ Sportband
- It provides a limited selection of measures. For example, although it measures pace, the literature does not indicate whether it is average pace or current pace. It appears to measure current pace.
- The accuracy of the measures depends on the runners stride length. If they run at different paces during a run, for example, a short stride while going uphill and a long stride in a flat or downhill area, the sensor will not be accurate. The Nike + website suggests that runners buy several sensors and calibrate them for different paces – walking pace, trail pace, usual running pace, and so on. Unfortunately, only one sensor can be used at a time so a run that covers a variety of terrains and elevations will not be accurate.
- To calibrate the device, the runner must go out and record their run in an area where they can determine their exact distance, such as a track, and then connect the device to their computer to enter their calibration information. They cannot complete the calibration on the watch and then continue with an actual run.
- The device simply displays the runners current information. It cannot be configured to notify the runner if they surpass a set pace, distance, or time. It does not track intervals or include other useful training features. Neither the watch or the measures include any alarms.
The Nike+ Sportband is a good watch with accelerometer for tracking and displaying general running stats. The website also offers access to a running community where runners can get training tips and participate in other motivational activities, as well as connect with other runners. However, the Nike+ Sportband does not provide the level of accuracy or information that more serious runners often require.