Back in February 2012, Nike released the Nike+ FuelBand. It was a simple Bluetooth wristband that would track its users physical movement, as well as motivate and inspire them to become more active. Fast forward 18 months and we now have the Nike+ FuelBand SE. The changes are minor, but the end goal is still the same, inspire and motivate its users to become more active.
At first glance, there aren’t many differences between the FuelBand and FuelBand SE. It’s the same thermoplastic elastomer and polypropylene body, it still clasps together with its USB clip , and it still does just about the same thing. It’s like the iPhone 5 to iPhone 5S jump, from the outside you may not notice anything different, but gaze beyond looks and you may be quiet satisfied.
Upon opening your FuelBand SE, you’ll find the FuelBand itself (with an 8mm link), a link sizing tool, an additional 16mm link, and a USB cord. The extra link allows you to slightly customize the band’s size, but not much since there’s only an 8mm difference between the two sizes. If you need more sizing changes, look at one of the three different FuelBand sizes. Before you can use your FuelBand, it must be connected to a computer with the Nike Connect software installed, and programmed to your specifications like sex, height, weight, as well as which arm you plan to use for the band. Once your specifications are set you can set your personal goal, as well as tie your FuelBand to a Nike+ account so you can save and track your progress.
After you’ve created your Nike+ account and charged your FuelBand, simply pop it out of the USB port and slap it on your wrist. Once it’s on, you’re done configuring the device and need only to charge it when low. So what does the FuelBand track? Thanks to its 3 axis accelerometer, the FuelBand SE tracks NikeFuel earned, Hours Won, Calories Burnt, Steps Taken, and Time of Day.
NikeFuel is Nike’s way of measuring your activities based on your specifications, the exact process isn’t public, so we’ll just trust the mad scientists at Nike. Think of it as gamerscore that’s rewarded to you based on how active you are, and resets every day so you can set goals to beat. The FuelBand also allows you to “win” an hour by staying active for five consecutive minutes. The other aspects are the FuelBand are self explanatory, the amount of calories burnt are based on your specifications and activity, and steps taken are the amount of steps you’ve taken.
To activate the FuelBand, simply tap on the only button on the device. It’ll show whatever the last displayed mode was, or you can tap the button again while the screen is active to swap between the modes. After every single press, you’ll see the result for that mode, as well as a strip of little LEDs under the result that will show you your overall progress for the day based on your NikeFuel goal. Double-tap the button and you’ll be presented with the time without the NikeFuel progress.
What if you want more than simple tracking? Luckily there’s a mode for that as well! If you click and hold the button, you’ll initiate a Nike+ Session. During a Nike+ Session, the FuelBand will not only monitor NikeFuel, but it’ll also display the elapsed time of your session as well as NikeFuel per Minute. This way you can setup mini goals based on certain activities versus overall daily goals. The elapsed time also makes it easy to ensure you’re active for 5 consecutive minutes so you can win that hour.
Since the FuelBand is Bluetooth 4.0, there are a heap of functions available on your mobile device or PC. On iOS, the new Nike+ FuelBand app allows you to track your daily progress, as well as view your activity over time so you can compare certain days of the week. The app also keeps averages down, so if say you work out every Tuesday, you can get motivational alerts about how last Tuesday was your most active Tuesday. Did you happen to start a Nike+ Session? All your session progress will be saved to the Nike+ app for easy viewing too, so you always have your progress available. Another neat feature about the app is the social addition. Simply connect your Facebook or Twitter account, and you’ll be able to friend anyone in your social media circles that have also connected one of their Nike+ devices.
We did sadly run into a few issues with the application side of the unit. The information always displayed correctly on our FuelBand, but on more than one occasion we were unable to connect our FuelBand to our iOS device. The only thing we could do to resolve the issue was manually close the iOS app, but upon restarting we’d have missing statistics from days prior. The only way to get those back up was to plug-in our FuelBand to our PC, then load the Nike+ software to get all the information uploaded to our Nike.com profile, which the iOS application updates from.