It seems like fitness trackers have become a rather common thing these days, and with so many different options on the market it is hard to tell which is really the best. Nike has been around the fitness world for quite some time and their first generation Nike Fuelband was extremely popular and brought some great things to the wearable space. Late last year Nike announced a successor to the Fuelband — the Fuelband SE — which built upon the existing advantages of the original Fuelband.
From the use of Bluetooth 4.0 to always keep the device connected, to new features like Sessions and Hours Won — Nike has once again created a product that will be enjoyed by a wide variety of users. Let's take a look at the full breakdown of the Fuelband SE to see how it stacks up to the competition and what makes it stand out.
When looking at the Fuelband SE there is not a whole lot that sets it apart from the competition. The device wraps the wrist in a pretty standard bracelet like design, and there is a clasp on the bottom that locks it in place. Inside the clasp is the USB port that allows you to sync and charge the Fuelband through your computer without requiring any additional accessories. On the top of the band is the display as well as the single button that allows you to navigate the menus. Pressing the button once will move through the menus, pressing and holding will allow you to access Sessions, battery indicator and toggle the Bluetooth connections.
The band itself comes in three sizes — small, medium/large, and extra large — and each of these gives you the option to make the band a bit smaller or larger. Nike includes spacers with each band so that you can make it a little bit bigger or a little smaller depending on the fit that you prefer.
When it comes to the Fuelband devices Nike has done something that other fitness companies have yet to do. They implemented another system to keep you motivated beyond just displaying how many steps you took. The basis behind the Fuelband is to collect Nike Fuel points, and these are gained by moving and being active. When setting up the band you set a goal for yourself, whether it be 1,000 or 5,000 Fuel Points for the day, and you then have to be active enough to hit that goal for the day. To keep track of your Fuel quickly and easily, Nike has built in a series of LED lights that progress from red to green as you get closer to your goal for the day. Once the goal has been hit for the day an on screen animation will begin to play which will then turn into the word "GOAL" to let you know you have reached the goal point for that day.
The basis behind the Fuelband is to collect Nike Fuel points, and these are gained by moving and being active
This year Nike introduced some new features which are extremely beneficial and easy to use.
First up is Sessions. The point behind Sessions is pretty simple, you start a session as a timer to be able to view specific results from a set activity. Say you are going out for a run and want to see the stats on your run, simply pressing and holding the button on the band until the word Start appears, then you press again and a timer will count down from 3.
From here the session will count the Fuel earned during that time frame and will break down the Fuel earned per minute during the activity, the duration of the activity and then how many total points were earned. Whether you want to track your sleep, runs, or any other activity it can be done with just a few simple button presses. Each session can be tagged so that you keep track of how much you are earning for each different type of activity.
In addition to Sessions, Nike has added Hours Won to the mix for monitoring with the Fuelband SE. In order to "win" an hour all you have to do is get up and be active -- run, jog, jump around -- for 5 minutes that hour and that's it. The Fuelband SE will keep track of how many hours you were able to win during the day and to keep you motivated to move more the band will illuminate once an hour showing "Go (name)" to let you know that it is time to get up and move around.
On the original Fuelband syncing required you to launch the application and then press and hold the button on the Fuelband until it said it was ready to sync. Nike has now added support for Bluetooth 4.0 so it is always connected through a low energy connection so all you have to do is launch the application and then pull down to sync.
At this point Nike has opted to only support mobile sync of the Nike Fuelband line with iOS devices, but if you don't have an iOS device and wish to still make use of the band you are able to sync through your computer. Luckily since Nike has focused all their attention to just one platform they have been able to develop a great application that gives you all the information that you need right at your fingertips.
When you launch the application each time you will be greeted by the main screen which shows you how many Fuel points you have earned for the day (after syncing) front and center, and at the bottom you can scroll through some other options. On the bottom you can see how many days you have hit your goal in a row, or your streak, see how you compare to friends and also capture the moment. Capturing the moment allows you to take a picture or tag a location so you can have something to remember the time by a little better.
At this point Nike has opted to only support mobile sync of the Nike Fuelband line with iOS devices, but if you don't have an iOS device and wish to still make use of the band you are able to sync through your computer
From the left slides out another menu which gives a more detailed breakdown. From here you can access your profile to see how you have done overall, view your activities, sessions, trophies, friends and groups. Tapping on any of these will bring you into a more detailed screen to show the information in that category. At the top of this screen is a symbol that looks like the Fuelband and tapping this will allow for the daily goal to be changed, and right next to that is a messages icon which will show you any invites you have as well as any trophies or milestones that you reach.
Down the bottom is quick access to the settings to allow you to change social settings, notification settings and more and there is a quick link to the Nike site and a support menu. On the right hand side of the application there is a time clock icon which will allow you to begin a Session from the application instead of on the band itself. Starting it through the application will allow you to set location, add friends and get cheers as well.
Getting yourself back in shape is a difficult thing to do and you are going to need something to keep you motivated. Nike has done an excellent job with their Fuel points system to allow users to get even more excited about than just seeing how many steps they have took. Activity levels vary by each user, and the Fuelband SE best allows you to keep motivated and feel good about what you are doing beyond just taking steps.
While the band may have some flaws, like the lack of sleep tracking and the fact that it isn't fully waterproof, as a whole it is a great addition to anyone looking to get themselves in better shape. Making use of Sessions, and hours won the motivation is there throughout the day, and the battery lasting 4 - 7 days gives you peace of mind that your band won't die in the middle of your activity or have to be charged daily.
If you are looking for a fitness band to help you get back on the right track, the Nike Fuelband SE is a great option and comes in priced right around the rest of the devices out there. Priced at $149 there is certainly a lot of value behind the Fuelband SE, and very few cons to weigh it down.