Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Gear Review: Nike Plus Sportband
Inspired/duped by SS's kitchen-themed "gear" review this afternoon, I thought I'd offer a REAL piece of gear review and poach most of his readership in the process. Also, he never does that Blazing Saddles bit that he references in his post, and I've known him for ten years. Some people just have a blog persona to uphold I suppose. I try to keep it real here at Lollipops and Crisps.
As I blogged about recently, I have been using the Nike Plus Sportband with my new Nike Moto 7's for nearly a month, and feel confident in writing a review of it. As you can see above, it is a stylish, dare I say, SEXY gadget. You simply put the little sensor in your shoe compartment and hold down the sync button when you are ready to run. After a moment, the band will prompt you to walk a couple steps (in order to establish the bluetooth connection with the shoe sensor) and will ask you to press the button again once more, and you're off! The most important step in using the Sportband is to make sure that you calibrate it with a few runs of "known" distances at your normal running pace so it can properly calculate your stride. I only had to do it once (it was nearly perfect right out of the box), and ever since it's been pretty much dead-on. In addition to simply measuring distance and current pace, there is also a "Calories Burned" screen you can toggle through, which may or may not be a gimmick. I did however tell Nike my age and weight when I set up the whole thing, so who knows! This precious data is a double edged sword for the mathematically inclined. First, it turns out that my runs aren't NEARLY as long as had thought they were (oopsie!), BUT I burn way more calories per mile than I thought, and frankly, that's more important. I'll spare you any more number crunching and get deeper into the nitty gritty.
I love that the sportband can be paused instantly with a press of a button and started again just as easily. I love that it has a separate button to toggle through all of your stats and that when you end your run it cycles through them and makes you feel like a trackstar. I love that you simply pop the chip out of the sportband and plug it into your USB port and it uploads your run information into the Nikeplus website. I have noticed that it measures downhill distances as longer than their uphill equivalent, but I suppose it's because my pace is different and because I calibrated it in New Hampshire (which is VERY hilly!). In either case, it isn't a significant difference, just curious. Maybe I should try recalibrating it. While the band itself is pretty awesome, by far the best part of the whole Nike Plus experience is using the Nike Plus website.
I've never been one for gimmickry, but just LOOK at that lil' guy! So adorable. Please, no snarky quips about how my eyes are usually more crazed or that he should be wearing hipster jeans. This is my Mini, and he is in the middle of a little jig that he does when I upload a run. You can also see some other panels that track my pace, my weekly distance and some goals I've set for myself. It is all personalized and updated whenever you upload a new run. It tells me my fastest mile, my fastest 5k, and I can join groups and compete against other runners. I can upload my favorite running routes and see ones that other people have added around my area. You can even use the "coach" setting to help you train. The website itself is very neat and clean, with a tabbed dashboard to help you navigate. It's a really neat sense of community, and a great way to stay motivated. I especially like the "My Runs" panel that crunches all the numbers for me. (see below). Disregard the first few runs (I was calibrating it) and the tiny run from yesterday (it was raining and I turned around because it was my BIRTHDAY).
All in all, I can't imagine running without the Sportband and the Nike Plus website now. I hate to say it, but I am completely enamored with the little thing. It makes running fun and gives you something tangible to point to for all those days you didn't "feel like it". There's a sense of accomplishment and progress ingrained in this experience that's hard to maintain on your own. I still don't like running in the rain though, I don't care how user friendly your website is.