Nike+ FuelBand Review

by April 12, 2012


by Abe Schwadron | @abe_squad

The idea behind the Nike+ FuelBand is simple—to measure, track and compare your athletic movements over days, weeks and months. The FuelBand is an adjustable, lightweight wristband that keeps track of four metrics: time, calories, steps and NikeFuel, which Nike describes as “the ultimate measure of your athletic activity.” Not only that, but it can double as a futuristic-looking watch, all at the click of just one button.

A couple weeks back, Nike sent over a FuelBand for a test-drive, and I jumped at the chance to try it out for myself. At first clutch, the FuelBand is strikingly sleek, and exceedingly easy to set up—after all, there’s only one button. Once charged (by literally plugging it into my computer), I punched in a few of my specs at Nike+ Online, chose a daily goal of 3,000 units of Nike Fuel (what Nike called a “healthy, medium” level of activity) and snapped it on. And then, it began. I started racking up Nike Fuel like crazy…not. My day started out behind a desk, doing the normal duties of a SLAM staffer to help keep the site running.

With my Fuel coming in slow—and I knew it was, since I kept checking every five seconds—I decided I had to get going. A 20-minute walk later and I was in business, having racked up a couple hundred units of Fuel. Game on, Mr. FuelBand.

But I was most excited to test out the FuelBand during our weekly SLAM pickup basketball run—I figured that would be the quickest way to reaching my goal. First thing’s first, let’s talk feel. I’m used to wearing something on my wrist during games, be it Livestrong wristbands or just some rubber bands, so the lightweight Fuelband didn’t feel too bulky or heavy. It didn’t affect my shot either (insert broke jumpshot joke here). And hey, Kevin Durant wore a Fuelband in Orlando during the 3-point Shootout at All-Star Weekend, so if it doesn’t affect the NBA’s youngest scoring champ ever, why would it bother me?

About midway through the pickup run, I reached my Fuel goal. How did I know? When you top your daily total, the LED lights perk up, bounce around and create a mini-fireworks show on your wrist alerting you that you’ve accomplished a day’s worth of work. I made sure to hit the button every few minutes, just to see the word “GOAL” in big letters, and flash my wrist around at whoever was within eye-shot.

Beyond the style and practical advantages on a day-to-day basis, the best part of the FuelBand is its online application. Plug in your FuelBand to a computer, or hook yourself up with the iPhone app, and you can look back at what you’ve done over a week or a month’s time—with all the stats you could imagine. Not only does Nike break down your Fuel production by time of day, day of the week and weeks over months, but you can track your total distance covered, total active time on an average day and see just how you’re expending your energy.

Ever wonder what your personal production chart would look like for that Tuesday that you spent on the couch eating Doritos versus the Saturday morning you played three hours of playground ball?

Wonder no more. See one day of big-time activity and you’ll hate yourself for each day you don’t reach that mark again. Trust me, I know from experience. All the screenshots above are from my personal log of FuelBand usage—so make fun of my sleeping habits or lack of exercise all you want, just know I looked extremely trendy for eight precious days before I had to begrudgingly hand my test band back to the good folks at The Swoosh.

The Nike+ FuelBand retails for $149.00 and is available at NikeTown and