Nike + FuelBand SE

The original won the DL Editor's Choice for its attractive design, gorgeous LED lights and ease of use.

It is still the fitness tracker I wear every day. Having been in the Nike+ ecosystem since 2007, I want to accumulate more NikeFuel points. These points are Nike's standard measures of movement (think Xbox Gamer Points).

But the Nike+ FuelBand was never retailed here. Nor is its successor, the FuelBand SE. You can, however, buy it online from the United States.

It is available in four colours and two limited editions of rose gold and silver (version tested). It is better to try it for size before you buy it, or ensure that if you have chosen a wrong size, it can be returned or exchanged.

The FuelBand SE looks almost identical to the original. It has the same rubberised wristband with a built-in three-axis accelerometer. But there is no heart-rate monitor or vibration motor.

The design remains sleek and attractive with only a single button, a stainless steel clasp, and, on one side, a USB connector.

When you press the button, a line of 20 coloured LED lights encourages your progress from red to amber to green, as you become more active.

Above this line, an array of 100 white LED lights shows NikeFuel points earned, the time, calories burned, steps taken and Hours (I will come to that later), which you can scroll through with a push of the button. These LEDs seem much brighter than those on the original.

You can now also immediately display time by double clicking the button.

To set up the FuelBand SE on your Mac or PC, download and install the Nike+ Connect software.

Next, plug the FuelBand into a USB port on your computer, enter your vital statistics and set your daily goal of NikeFuel points.

You charge the device using a USB connector. Each full charge is good for about four days, according to the manual. But I used it for six days before it needed to be recharged.

You can sync it with your iOS device using a Nike+ FuelBand app (Android version available only on six selected devices) via Bluetooth to view the detailed statistics. Or link it to your computer via USB.

The biggest difference between the original and the successor is the inclusion of Hours and Sessions.

Hours challenges you to move for five minutes every hour. This is essentially a reminder. It will display "GO TREVOR" in my case. But as there is no vibration alert, you can easily miss it if you are busy.

Sessions is for monitoring and logging a variety of activities, from cycling to sleeping, to earn you NikeFuel points.

Hold down the button till Start appears. Press again to start. Wait for the 3sec timer to go off and you are good to go. Repeat to end the activity.

Nike may say the FuelBand SE has sleep-tracking capability, but what Sessions does is just to log sleeping time. It cannot differentiate between light and deep sleep, unlike the Jawbone Up24.

In addition, this device is only splashproof. You will not want to shower or swim with it.

The Nike+ FuelBand remains the most attractive and easy-to-use fitness tracker in the market with its elegant design, bright LED lights and strong Nike+ ecosystem. But it needs useful technology such as a heart-rate monitor and a sleep tracker.



Price: US$99 ($123) or US$149 (Rose Gold or Silver Limited Edition)

Material: Thermoplastic rubber with stainless steel clasp

Water resistance: Splash-resistant

Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0

Weight: 27g to 32g


Features: 3/5

Design: 5/5

Performance: 4/5

Value for money: 4/5

Battery life: 4/5

Overall: 4/5

This article was first published on July 30, 2014.
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