Nike+ Fuelband full review

Fitness gadgets are all the rage these days, but you'd be forgiven if you've never heard of Fitbit. It's a different story with Nike, but the Fuelband is still a rarely seen gadget.

Effectively, the Fitbit One and Nike+ Fuelband are wearable computers which track your activity and tell you how well you're doing. With a big helping of motivation, their main aim is to help you get fitter.

Nike+ Fuelband vs Fitbit One comparison review: Design

The Fuelband is arguably the simpler of the two. You clip it round your wrist and forget about it. There are three different sizes, each of which comes with two removable links to get the perfect fit. It's not flexible, and somewhat bulky, but you do forget you're wearing it most of the time.

Nike Fuelband

The Fuelband is waterproof, so your sweaty runs (and post-workout showers) won't destroy it. Nike doesn't recommend swimming with it though.

A button cycles through the various functions, starting with Fuel, Nike's own measurement of activity. There's also calories and steps, which can both be disabled, and time - so the Fuelband is a watch, too. The display has a fantastic wow factor, since it's not visible at all until you press the button. A coloured row of lights builds up through the day as you progress towards your 'Fuel' goal.

There are three different colours: black, black ice and white ice.

Fitbit One

The Fitbit One is quite different. It's absolutely miniscule, and virtually weightless, yet still has a nice OLED display which shows steps, calories, distance, time and a slightly odd flower which tells grows as you become more active. It also shows how many floors you've climbed.

The One also tracks your sleep by monitoring movement while you're in bed. For this, you have to remove it from its rubber belt clip and insert it into the pocket on the wrist band that's included in the box. It also has a silent alarm, and will vibrate to gently wake you up.

It's available in black or burgundy. The black model has a blue display, while the burgundy one has a pink display.

No doubt then, the Fitbit One wins on features - the Nike Fuelband lacks an altimeter and doesn't even tell you how far you've walked or run (that information is only available in the app or on the website).

Nike+ Fuelband vs Fitbit One comparison review: Mobile apps

Both gadgets have built-in Bluetooth and can sync wirelessly with iOS devices with Bluetooth 4 (that's the iPad 3 and 4, iPad mini, iPhone 4S and 5).

Fitbit One iOS app

Fuelband iOS app There's no Android app for the Fuelband, though, and while there is for the Fitbit, there's no wireless syncing yet.
If you do have a supported iOS device, both devices are much simpler to use. The Fitbit will sync automatically - with the Fuelband, you just hold the button for a couple of seconds until SYNC appears on the display.

Nike+ Fuelband vs Fitbit One comparison review: Data

Once you start using Fitbit's companion app and the website, you quickly become overwhelmed by data. As well as all the data shown on the One itself, there's a myriad of graphs showing everything from activity to sleep and calories burned.

Fitbit website daily overview

You can also manually enter other activities besides walking or running, such as swimming and cycling - calories are estimated for you. You can also track your weight - either manually or by using Fitbit's Aria Wi-Fi scales, and enter all the food and drink you consume.

Fitbit has partnered with quite a few other services, so if already use an app such as MyFitnessPal, you can use that expansive food database instead of Fitbit's own by linking your Fitbit account.

Fitbit website food log

By contrast, the data provided by the Fuelband seems a bit basic. However, both the app and website are much prettier, and don't overwhelm you as much.

Nike NikePlus website Fuelband

With both, you can see your activity on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. It's also possible to set a variety of goals, but the default for Fitbit is 10,000 steps per day.

Fitbit set goal

With the Fuelband, you're aiming to hit a certain 'Fuel' goal, which you set yourself. As the day progresses, the bar of coloured LEDs builds up so you can see at a glance how much more exercise you need to do.

You can use the app or website to update your goal for the following day, but you can't cheat and reduce it for the current day. You'll work out a sensible goal to set after wearing the Fuelband for a few days.

Next page: Motivation and accuracy

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