The first Nike Fuelband caused quite a stir when it was released and was one of the first fitness tracking devices around. You could wear it constantly and not just slip it on and off when you were planning on going for a jog or to the gym. Now on the market is the second iteration of the product, the Nike Fuelband SE, but this time around it’s competing with the likes of the FitBit Force and Jawbone UP.
In terms of the looks of the FuelBand SE, not much has changed apart from a few new colour options to choose from. It’s a given that this does make it look more appealing to all audiences and you won’t just be wearing the same subtle black band as everyone else. If you decide on a colour version, don’t be fooled into thinking that the whole device will be that colour, only the two un-screwable panels, Nike+ tick and a tiny section on the outside will have the splash of colour.
3 different sizes are available: small, medium/large and extra large, although all versions do come with a spacer that you can insert/remove to change the size a little. The spacers are easy enough to add and remove and really do work quite well in adjusting the size of the band to get the perfect fit. If you’re not sure which of the sizes to get there is also a small sizing guide on the box which you can measure up to. We would recommend opting for the smaller one and then increasing the size with the spacers included.
The clip of the wristband hides the USB which plugs into you computer to charge or upload information. This design keeps it hidden out of the way until it is needed and keeps the band looking modern and stylish. The LED’s that light up when the button on the front is pressed are surprisingly bright and stand out even in bright daylight. Once you reach your goal just sit down and watch your display as it lights up with an array of pleasing colours.
The Nike Fuelband SE is still not waterproof, although the water resistance of the device has been improved. If you’re doing the washing up or going for a shower then you’ll be just fine keeping it on your wrist, but if you’re off for a swim, you’ll have to remove it. This is mainly due to the USB connector being exposed under the clip.
Although the device itself is comfortable to wear about, if you’re typing/writing then it really does get quite annoying. When testing I wore the device on my left wrist (I’m left handed) and it got to the point where I actually had to change the wrist I was wearing it on. In future additions it would be nice to see the bulk of the device reduced to avoid said circumstances and allow the wearer to actually lay their wrist flat.
Packed into the little wristband is a 3-axis accelerometer which helps to track all of the feedback you see on the screen including fuel points, calories burned and daily steps. If you haven’t heard of them before Nike Fuel is Nike’s universal way of measuring all kinds of activity. It helps to turn getting fit into a game a doesn’t matter what activity you’re doing, it all counts towards your Nike Fuel score. You can then share this on Facebook and try to beat friends or also try and beat yesterdays Nike Fuel count.
Thankfully with new hardware also comes new software – although you can get these features on the old Fuelband with an update. One of these features is Sessions, and probably considered the biggest ‘new’ change. Unlike the old device Sessions allows you to tell your FuelBand SE everything you are doing so it can then reward you for doing this. It already recognizes lots of activities from paint-balling to table tennis, but if yours isn’t included then don’t worry, you can add it in. Once you start the activity and more people join Nike begins to understand it and will give you the necessary Fuel points. There are two simple ways to start Sessions, you can either access it from the iOS app or press and hold the button on your device for 3 seconds.
Once the session is over you can review the progress including FPM (Fuel points per minute), time elapsed and total Fuel points. This has to be done on the app though as there is currently no way to view this information on the SE itself. Although not necessarily clear you can also track your sleep through the Sessions feature similar to the Fitbit and Jawbone devices, although it’s not quite on par with these.
The next new noteworthy feature is called ‘Win the Hour’. With the saying ‘sitting is the new smoking’ going around Nike have attempted to change this. Every hour you will get a scroll notification across your SE device which is supposed to make you want to get up and move around. To win the hour you must move for at least five consecutive minutes, which can be quite hard if you’re at a desk job. But anyway we like this feature and think it’s a nice little addition and will hopefully get more people moving around!
A major improvement of the Fuelband SE is the battery life. If you’re equipped with the old version you’ll know that you’re lucky to get 2 days of battery life. This time around we managed an amazing 7/8 days on one full charge without having to recharge the device. This is a huge improvement and one that has been taken very well by the public. You still charge the device through the USB port and you also get the included adapter which Nike suggests you use.
In terms of tracking activities Nike has supposedly improved the algorithms which detects ‘real’ activities and movement. This is in an effort to stop the Fuelband adding Nike Fuel for example if you were eating or just simply waving your arms around while sitting down. We took our device to the gym to see if it would continue to work as it does when your walking or running. We tested it on the stationary bike machine with the Sessions feature which we knew worked on a real bike after previously testing it. Unfortunately this didn’t work and it didn’t register anything on the device. It was also clear that when eating Nike Fuel points were actually still being added and therefore is clear you can still cheat the system. This leaves us thinking if the the SE is actually any more accurate than it’s predecessor.
Overall the Nike+ Fuelband SE is a huge leap in the right direction when you compare it to the original model. The battery life has improved hugely lasting an impressive 4 more days than it did before. If you use the sessions feature on a regular basis then you will definitely benefit from the latest model, if not then you maybe left in the dark about what Nike have actually done to the wristband.
If you have the first edition of the device we’re not sure that we would recommend dishing out the £129.99 price tag for the new model, after all Nike has bought some, if not most of the updates to the original device. In future versions we would like to the a bit of bulk stripped from the device so it’s not obstructing tasks such as typing or writing. We’d also like to see the addition of new hardware with the inclusion of heart rate monitor.
Compared to the other models on the market Nike’s second take on the fitness tracker has fallen a little bit behind but still makes a great product/fitness tracker. Nonetheless the Fuelband is definitely the best looking on the market and none even come close in terms of aesthetics. If you would like to purchase the Nike+ Fuelband SE then you can do so over at the Nike Store using the link below:Order from Amazon