Once you make something a statistic, it becomes so much more fun! I’ll just list a few examples:
- Leveling up your Pokémon.
- Watching your stock portfolio grow.
- you get the point.
Nike+ is a service that lets you turn your workout quantifiable and verifiable! By tallying your running statistics (mileage, time, calories burnt) Nike+ effectively turns your exercise into a numbers game. Being able to see your progress makes running so much more enjoyable. Originally, this service was available on iPhone and its cousins as a GPS assisted application that paired with a Nike+ shoe sensor. But that was a long time ago. Lots of advancements have been made since I smashed my iPhone last year and lost access to Nike+. In between now and then, Nike has released a series of independent watch products that fulfill the same function as the original iPhone application. Sometime last year though they released something truly worth mentioning, the Nike+ Sportwatch GPS.
The package contents includes the watch, a Nike+ shoe sensor, and a USB extension cable.
The watch and its services require a computer to be of any real use at all. The watch connects via USB to your computer, which then uploads your running statistics to your Nike+ account. The interface is very nifty, and is physically protected by a plastic latch that also keeps the watch band secured.
Once the watch is connected to a computer, the Nike+ Connect application will automatically launch, provided it is installed. From the software program, all the watch settings can be accessed and firmware updates can be installed. This is the interface that allows your workout data to be transferred online.
That basically concludes the computer-related portion of the sport watch. Once the settings are tweaked, the watch is ready to be used. The watch comes with a Nike+ shoe sensor. If you have a Nike+ shoe, you can conveniently tuck the oval shaped sensor into a compartment under the innersole. Otherwise, you can buy a case for the sensor that attaches to the shoelaces of your running shoe. The watch communicates with the shoe sensor through some RF wizardry to calculate your pace as you run. Though the sensor itself is only required if GPS is unavailable. Detailed running information like mapping is comes from the GPS functionality of the watch. If the GPS function is available, the shoe sensor becomes completely redundant as all of the statistics can be derived via the satellite information.
Other than these features, the watch includes a nifty lap-counting function. Once enabled, a tap of the watch’s touch-sensitive face will count laps. If this functionality is disabled, a tap on the watch face turns on a backlight that illuminates the device.
I had a chance to test out the watch’s functionality both indoors and outdoors over the past two days. In the outdoor case, I disabled the shoe sensor and relied only on the GPS. It was a cloudy day so it took a few seconds to lock onto a GPS signal and determine my location. From then everything was smooth sailing. After my run I was very satisfied to see how accurate the run data was. The screenshot below shows how smoothly the watch was able to track my movements. Even small movements such as the curve of the sidewalk I was running on was recorded.
The statistics include distance, elevation, pace, among many others. These numbers are certainly useful in evaluating your performance.
On the second day, I ran on the indoor track at the gym. In this particular case, I only paired the watch with my shoe sensor. Everything went without a hitch, although I had some issues with the distance statistic. However, this may be because the gym only roughly estimates how far each lap around the track is.
As for battery life, seeing as the meter hasn’t gone down in two days of use, I’d say it’s more than adequate.
Overall I was very satisfied with how the watch functioned on my runs. Unfortunately, I did have a problem with the touch-sensitive watch face. The sensitivity of the touch interface is very inconsistent. Sometimes a light tap would activate the backlight and sometimes furiously tapping with multiple fingers would yield no results. I’m not the only one having sensitivity issues here, as the Nike+ support page on Facebook seems to have a couple other posts with regards to this particular issue.
I’d say I’m generally very happy with this purchase. At about $170 dollars, this watch is cheaper than its competitor, the Motoactiv watch, though it doesn’t come with the mp3 player functionality. My only gripe is that the touch screen on the Nike+ watch is ridiculously inconsistent, though I can live with this flaw.