A review of the Nike FuelBand
By Aidan Mouellic, Staff Writer
We don’t move enough. Whether it’s due to work, school, or addiction to modern technology, a large proportion of the average North American’s day is spent stationary. A side effect of immobility that we all are too familiar with is obesity—the less we move, the fatter we get as a population.
The key to weight loss is motivation and if the size of our collective waistlines isn’t motivating us enough, perhaps making movement an all-day game will keep people motivated to alter their lifestyle.
This is what Nike hopes the FuelBand does for its users. The Nike FuelBand is a device worn on your wrist that measures steps, calorie expenditure, time, and Nike’s proprietary NikeFuel, which is a standardized measurement of one’s activity level. For everything you do, the FuelBand measures your movement and gives you a NikeFuel score. The point of the game is to get as many NikeFuel points as you need in order to reach the goal you set for the day.
The FuelBand itself oozes cool. Its rubberized construction and hidden LED display are very futuristic and the one-button operation is a breeze to use. Keeping track of your NikeFuel progress is easy with the sliding LED scale which lights up from red to green depending on how many NikeFuel points you have won during the day. When you reach your goal, the FuelBand lights ups and a cute graphic appears to congratulate you.
I purchased my FuelBand at the Apple Store and have been wearing it every day now for over a month and I’ve been thoroughly impressed with it. As someone who is trying to lose weight and who doesn’t move enough, I bought the FuelBand in hopes that it would motivate me to move and also show me some data I was interested in. The band has proved highly effective in that regard.
Your Fuel points update in real-time (and they reset at midnight), which allows you to know exactly how far away you are from your goal. A few times this scenario has played out at 11 p.m.: I’m watching Pawn Stars reruns and I see that I only need a few hundred more points. Before having a FuelBand I would just continue watching TV; now I get up and go for a short jog or neighbourhood walk in order to meet my daily goal.
A neat feature of the band is that the clasp to attach and remove the band has a USB plug built in which allows you to upload your data onto the Nike+ website. On the Nike+ site, you can almost overdose on data. There are attractive graphs that show how active you are during the days, weeks, or months that you use your FuelBand. You can also compete against other NikeFuel users to see who can get the most Fuel points. What I like the most is how you’re rewarded when you meet your goals or reach a milestone, such as 50,000 Fuel Points (my daily average is around 3,000) or having a long streak where you reach your daily goals regularly. The virtual high-fives satisfy the human desire for recognition of hard work.
So far I’m a big fan of the FuelBand, but it’s not perfect. The price of $150 turns many people away from reaping the benefits of this motivation tool and not a lot of retailers stock it either. Also, the way that NikeFuel is measured leaves many forms of exercise ignored. The FuelBand measures wrist movement and calculates the movement into Fuel points and steps taken. Sports such as cycling (where your wrist is mostly stationary) don’t get picked up very well by the FuelBand. The FuelBand is also only water-resistant: it’s okay for wearing in the shower, but swimming with it will likely damage it. For more information about the Nike FuelBand check out Nike.com or visit your nearest Apple store.