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Nike Fuelband SE review

Riyad Emeran
7 Jul 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
89
inc VAT

A great price and the display is handy to have, but you can't use it swimming and the app's not the best

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Specifications

Pedometer: Yes, Heart-rate monitor: No, Display: Yes (LED), Battery life: Four days

The original Nike FuelBand wasn’t the first activity tracker; it wasn’t even the first wrist-based activity tracker. But what Nike achieved with the FuelBand was desirability. Put simply, Nike made activity trackers cool, and really the likes of Fitbit, Jawbone, Withings and Garmin should be grateful for that. The Nike FuelBand SE that we’re looking at today is the second generation device, and Nike listened to its existing users, adding some key features that were missing from the original. At its heart, though, the FuelBand SE sits on your wrist and measures how active you are throughout the day – simple.

Nike Fuelband SE hardware and sizes

The Nike FuelBand SE comes in Small, Medium, Large and X-Large sizes, but in our experience, the Medium should be fine for most users. The reason being that it ships with two extension links in the box, so it should accommodate a wide variety of wrist sizes.

You’ll also find a USB cable in the box, but this is purely for convenience since, unlike the majority of activity trackers, the FuelBand SE doesn’t use a proprietary cable for charging. In fact it doesn’t need to use a cable at all.

Whoever designed the FuelBand should be congratulated, because integrating a USB plug into the band itself was pure genius. Simply unclip the band and the USB plug is revealed, then you can just plug it into a computer or USB charger. The FuelBand SE is good for around four days of use before it needs charging – that’s far from class leading, but good enough not to be frustrating.

Nike Fuelband SE Nike Fuel

Most activity trackers are, in essence, pedometers – they measure the number of steps you take each day. Modern devices like the FuelBand SE are a bit more clever than that, utilising state-of-the-art accelerometers and complex algorithms to measure your every movement.

The FuelBand SE will still tell you how many steps you’ve taken and estimate the number of calories you’ve burned, but its primary measurement is Nike Fuel. So what is Nike Fuel? On one hand it’s an arbitrary measurement that’s designed to keep users within the Nike+ ecosystem, but on the other, it’s a potentially more relevant measurement than steps.

You see the FuelBand SE is clever enough to measure activities other than walking, such as cycling or running, so assigning Nike Fuel points to your day, rather than just counting steps makes sense. And, you’ve still got a step count to fall back on if you want to compare to someone using a different activity tracker.

Nike Fuelband SE Daily Fuel

One measurement that the FuelBand SE doesn’t give you is an estimate of distance walked, which seems odd at first, since most other trackers provide this information. However, when you also consider that without an accurate measurement of your stride length, that estimate will be far from accurate.

Nike Fuelband SE display

The FuelBand SE has a single button on its surface, but unlike the original device, you don’t need to press this to sync with the app on your phone. Because the FuelBand SE uses the latest low-power Bluetooth 4.0 standard, it will automatically sync with your phone whenever you open the app.

That button will bring the LED display to life. This is one of the FuelBand SE’s killer features, since so many activity trackers have no display at all, or something pretty basic at best. The display is made up of 100 tiny LEDs, which tell you all about your activity without the need to get your phone out of your pocket.

Nike Fuelband SE range

Those LEDs will display Fuel points, hours won (more on that later), calories burned, steps and time of day. The latter is particularly useful, since you can use the FuelBand SE as a watch, and a quick double press of the button will display the time of day no matter where you are in the cycle of data.

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