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January 2, 2010 / elodie kaye

Nike Sportband Review Part One

Instead of running yesterday, I did the next best thing, which is to buy gear and dream of running. A couple of days ago, I somehow misplaced the do-hickey that attaches my Polar thingamabob to my shoelaces. I’m usually really good about keeping track of my whatchamacallits, so I’ve been mourning it ever since. I got no satisfaction from Polar about replacing that doo-dad so I went out and bought another gadget.

I’ve been tempted by the Nike+ system ever since it came out, but never plunked down my money. (That’s roughly 5 years of resistance.) At first it was because I had already bought one of the classic iPods and didn’t need a nano, and then it was because I really preferred my tiny iPod shuffle. I still do. However last summer, Nike produced what is essentially a thumb drive on a bracelet that will collect the signal from the shoe transmitter. Having lost that Polar do-hickey, I was in a vulnerable condition and was finally parted with my money.

I wish I could put it on my favourite things list, because I really want to like it. It’s simple, and satisfies the minimalist in me. Although I love data, and always want more of it, I also have periods when I just want to run without thinking, without analysing and without having any particular goal. Usually, I feel this way when my running is in the toilet. Looking at the data evokes a sense of despair, which I try to avoid confronting when it’s 9*F and blowing snow outside.

The Nike Sportband would fit perfectly with my current mood. At the moment, I try to log runs without looking at the data at all. I just leave it collecting until I feel ready for judgment day. Well, I haven’t taken it for a run yet, but the Sportband already feels clumsy and temperamental. The software is horribly, tragically bad. The setup was confusing, required installing other components, and poorly documented.

In an attempt to make it seem simple, Nike describes the steps with stick-figure drawings only. No words. A picture is worth a thousand words, but they skipped the drawing of the runner wading through molasses as they try to sync the Sportband. I don’t know how well the software works if you use an iPod instead but if it’s anything like this, it’s an embarrassment to Apple.


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