Living With Nike+ FuelBand


Almost two months ago a friend of mine gave me a Nike FuelBand as he hadn’t been particularly impressed with it. Given the opportunity to get a piece of tech I’d often thought about buying, for free, meant I jumped at the chance. At the time when I showed off the Nike FuelBand on various social networks I had a number of friends ask for my review, and so after spending some quality time with the device and attached services, here it is.

First I think it’s important for me to outline why I didn’t buy one. It came down to the cost and being skeptical about what it measures. You see the Nike FuelBand doesn’t look like that much and none of the ads, not even the making of video, convinced me it is worth the money. However I have to say after living with the device I can see that it is worth the price especially if you are an active person. It hasn’t however changed my skepticism about what it measures, let me elaborate…


£130 – that’s expensive for a wrist band that has some cool LED effects built in. It is clearly however more than just that. The tech built into the FuelBand seems very sophisticated and then taking into account the back end web service for Nike Fuel, the mobile app (iOS only, sorry Android and Windows Phone) and the desktop app, this seems quite a reasonable cost when compared to other devices.

Motivation – Behavior Changing

When I first set up the Nike FuelBand I instantly found myself motivated to reach my daily Fuel target (Nike Fuel is Nike’s own metric for measuring how active you are). Now I have set mine at a reasonable level (2,000 daily fuel) that I can reach through my usual daily activity and exercise regime. However I know aiming for higher fuel targets should be the order of the day and I know in the near future I’ll bump this up to 3,000.

It is a really simple motivational tool, got 500 Nike Fuel to reach at the end of the day? Then go for a quick jog or extended walk. Why not do some air boxing or star jumps? By giving you a target to reach and clearly measuring and showing you that measure in a simple way the wearer is compelled to do that little bit more to reach the goal.

I have heard some people say “why not just wave the device around?” and if that is your attitude then this isn’t the device or service for you as you’re only cheating yourself by doing that. Being disciplined is also an important factor.

Activity – The Limitations

Now we come down to why I didn’t buy one before I received the one I am currently wearing. My exercise regime consists of cycling, body weight and free weight exercises. In other words exercises that mean my arm is still or moving very little. Unfortunately my favourite exercises cannot be measured effectively with Nike FuelBand or any of the other current crop of Nike Fuel products.

If you are someone who plays an active sport, a lot of cardio in the gym, goes running, for long walks etc then this device is for you. You need to be fully active for the FuelBand to be able to measure your activity. I imagine that the big wigs at Nike are looking for ways to measure these other types of activity so that they can roll out Nike Fuel to even more sports and lifestyles.

What I have found personally interesting however is just being able to see through the graphs that it makes, the times when I am most active. It’s quite fun being able to see when I was walking across London to a meeting, or how more recently how incredibly active I was at Gamescom. More amusing is seeing the sharp spike in the evening when I was dancing at a club. Shame I didn’t have it for Glastonbury!

Final Verdict

It’s a great device. You must be 100% clear on whether it will be able to measure your activity effectively however. The real winner here is Nike Fuel as I think having their own metric that is being built into all these different products is a very smart move. From the looks of it, one year on, Nike are readying a new FuelBand and further extensions to the Nike+ family.

The below video is the making of the FuelBand. It’s worth a watch.

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