Nike Fuelband Fitness Tracker Review 2018
updated December 1, 2018
As the owner of the world’s most powerful sporting brand, Nike weren’t going to stay out of the lucrative fitness tracker market for very long. Their entry into the market, in fact, came early. In 2011, amid a whole lot of hoop la they launched the Nike + Fuel Band. Of course, FitBit had already come out with it’s various activity tracker variants, but it was the FuelBand, backed by the advertising powerful of the sporting giant, that really got people interested in fitness bands.
Nike’s fuel points system was it’s unique selling point and many people were attracted to it. For the first time, you were able to gain activity credit for movement as opposed purely for steps. While the product wasn’t as intuitive or reliable as some of the lesser known players such as JawBone or Garmin, it was the brand that people knew and trusted. Unfortunately the original Fuelband proved to be somewhat unreliable and went through a number of upgrades until the Nike FuelBand SE 2 came out as a replacement product. Released towards the end of 2013, the SE 2 added Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. The battery life was also improved.
Nike paired with Apple for the Fuelband. For the first few years of it’s existence, it was only compatible with Apple technology. However, the competition were gathering pace with their technological advancements, leaving Nike in their wake. When they did release a version that was usable with Android Smartphones in July, 2014, they were already an outstripped company in the fitness tracker market.
When Apple were set to release the Apple Watch in April, 2015, there was speculation that the device would be a compilation product between the two companies. But it wasn’t to be. Nike have since distanced themselves from the fitness tracker market. The Nike FuelBand is still being produced but the full power of the Nike marketing machine is not behind the product.
In this article, we will provide in-depth reviews of the Nike Fuelband First Generation and the FuelBand SE.
The Nike FuelBand is about an inch in width. It has a rubberized feel, which is comfortable and easy to wear. It is very light weight, so that you won’t even notice that you are wearing it. The band has over 100 LED lights to show you different stats and information that the band is tracking. Along the bottom are 20 color LED lights to show you your daily progress toward your goal. When green lights come up, you know that you have reached your goal for the day. All text information and numbers on the screen will be within the framework of the white LED lights.
The FuelBand also has an ambient light sensor. If you’re in a dark room it will bump up the brightness so you can see it. If you are out in the sunlight, it will dim down so you can read everything clearly. The device is water resistant, allowing you to wash the dishes and shower with it on your wrist. It is not water proof, so you cannot go swimming with it on.
Nike have gone the extra mile to make sure that the FuelBand is going to provide a comfort fit for everybody. They offer three standard sizes; small, medium and large. Each size also comes with two extenders (an 8mm and a 16 mm) which you can add to the strap until you get the custom fit that best suits you.
In the box that comes with the device, you get a USB charging cable and a charging stand. You connect the cable with the stand, so you can sit the tracker in an upright position to charge it. Nike claim that the FuelBand will give you four days of use, but most people are actually reporting five days, which is a bonus.
Inside the band is a 3-axis accelerometer. This will track all of your motions, including running, moving, walking, jogging, jumping up and down or playing basketball. All of that motion will then be calculated into what is called Nike Fuel. This is basically a standard points system used to assess your movement activity.
The application that pairs with the FuelBand is the Nike Fuel app. When you first download and open up the app, you are going to have to sync your band to the app. This works over Bluetooth so no connection is required. Simply hold down the button on the band for a few seconds and the sync will begin. When it is done, you will see on your Smartphone or laptop all of your progress for that day. You will see with a very clear circular progress monitor how close you are to your daily goal. It will also keep track of your calories, your steps, and your distance traveled. On the activity tab, you’ll be able to see more detail as far as what time of the day you were more active, or what times you need to move more. It also has a historical profile, so you can see your best day, your best week or your best month. There are also some cool trophies and reward animations.
While the Nike FuelBand is not going to make you get in shape or lose weight, it is going to help you to keep track of your daily progress to keep you inspired and motivated. It will provide you with a daily goal that is based on more than simply the steps that you take. It would be nice if the Nike FuelBand were a little bit smaller.
The nearest competitor to the Nike FuelBand is the JawBone Up. We believe that the FuelBand is a better buy because it provides you with a lot more information on the band. The FuelBand also has a better iOS application. However, the JawBone Up has a better social aspect to it.
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The Nike FuelBand SE comes in two different sizes; small and medium / large. It is available in yellow, pink, crimson and black. The splash colors are the most defining feature of the Fuelband over the first generation product which was only available in black or white. It has the same LED lighting system as found in the first generation product. It will display, fuel, calories, hours, and the current time.
The clipping system for securing the strap to your wrist is the same as on the original FuelBand. You simply press a button to unlock, slide closed to firmly shut and it will remain safely on your wrist. As with the original band, you get a couple of extra clip on parts to allow you to customize the strap size to your wrist dimensions.
So, does the Nike FuelBand track sleep? Yes, but not in a great amount of detail. It will tell you how long you’ve been asleep but will not be able to provide you with a detailed breakdown of your overnight activity.
The app that pairs with the Nike Fuelband SE has an impressive number of tabs to allow you get to specific data and analysis of your activity. You can now set very specific goals that will allow you to track and monitor your progress toward their attainment. A cool new software feature is Sessions. This allows you to start and set end points for specific exercises and activities. Previously, the FuelBand just offered a daily line graph of how you were expending Nike fuel points. Now, you can actually ear mark your jog and gym session. This allows you to reflect on how hard it went.
The FuelBand gives you social contact capability, so that you connect with people on your iPhone and your FaceBook page, allowing you to identify people to challenge. You can also set up new separate groups, so you can compare training notes. Another motivating feature allows you to win hours. Every hour that you are active for at least 5 minutes, wins that hour for you.
The Nike FuelBand is up against a lot more competition than when it first came out in 2012. We have seen impressive offerings like the FitBit Force and JawBone’s UP 24. While Nike’s sleep tracker is probably the worst of the three, the Fuelband is the best at getting users to compete, both with themselves and with friends and family. The FuelBand is also very easy to understand and to set up. We recommend the FuelBand SE for people who need extra motivation to keep them on track and who are not after detailed sleep analysis.
My name is Jim Roose. I'm a former competitive power lifter and gym owner. I've bought millions of dollars of fitness equipment over the last 20 years. This site is my way of giving back to the fitness community that's done so much for me. Every article on here is carefully researched and written by me. Leave a comment if you have any questions.