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Nike Fuel Band

The Nike Fuel band measures your everyday activity and turns in into Nike Fuel. It means that each day counts for something!
There has been a huge rise in fitness tracking applications over the last year, with the technology being implemented in many ways. All of it is aimed at encouraging users to be more active, by making their daily activity a number which can be compared to other numbers!

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Nike's entrant into the market looks fantastic, uses their unique Nike Fuel, builds on their Nike+ community and is also a watch. What is not to love? Lets have a look and see what it is all about.
In the box you get: Nike+ FuelBand, 2 size links, link adjustment tool, USB charging cable, charging stand and the getting started manual.

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Taking the band out of the box, it feels really well made and sturdy. The band weighs in around 35 grams, and its circumference ranges from 147mm to 197mm, depending on the size of the unit you have bought.

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The first thing you will want to do is make sure that the band fits well and the great thing with the FuelBand is that it is ships with two link, 8mm and 16mm. These can be inserted or removed to make sure you have a perfect fit. It is really easy to change the links, so you will be setup in no time

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Once this has been done, it is time to set the device up. To do this, insert the Fuel Band into a spare USB port and after doing so you are the taken to the Nike website where you set up your FuelBand. It will ask you to install the Nike+ Connect software,and there is a mac and windows version of the software available. This is the same software which you may use to connect your Nike+ Sportwatch, or Nike SportBand.
Install the software, and you are taken to the second page, where you custom fit the FuelBand.

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The third step is to set your daily goal. This number can be changed using the Nike+ Connect software later, however, it gives you an idea of what level to set your goal at.

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The third step is to join Nike+ to set up an account. If you are ready a member of Nike+ then simply log in the way you normally do and as you know, you can either log in via Facebook or twitter.

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Setting up an account is very easy and it only requires a minimum amount of information, so do not feel like you are giving to much information, unlike some websites that do this from the get go and it puts a lot of new time fitness users off.

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Once this is done, the band needs to fully charge and you are ready to go earning NikeFuel.

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So What is Nike Fuel? NikeFuel is a new medium Nike created to track your day to day activity. It is a number which is worked out based on the amount of movement you make. NikeFuel is calculated the same for everyone, no matter your age, gender or sport of choice. How does the band work? The Nike+ FuelBand has a built in 3 axes sport tested accelerometer, which measure your motion all day long. It takes these movements and turns them into NikeFuel points. The FuelBand not only earns NikeFuel points, but it can tell you how far you have gone, the amount of steps you have taken and the calories you have burnt and the time, so effectible acting as also a very clever watch.
Taking into account that the FuelBand does not use GPS data it does come across as fairly accurate at tracking the activity you are doing. Once you have put the FuelBand on, as long as it fits well, you will hardly notice that it is there recording your every movement. You will want to make sure the FuelBand is as flush as possible for two reasons, one so that you do not notice it, secondly because the less unintended movement the FuelBand has, the more accurate the recording for your day will be. There is one button on the FuelBand, and pressing it will do two things; firstly, a set of 20 Colour LED’s will light up, depending on how close you are to your Daily Goal. The LEDs range from Red to Green and provide you with an instant update of how you are doing compared to your target. The second thing the button does is enables you to cycle through unto 4 pieces of information, via the 100 white LED lights in the middle of the screen: NikeFuel earned, steps taken, calories burnt and of course the time. It is possible to take steps taken and calories out of the data cycle via the Nike+ Connect software. The FuelBand will adjust its brightness level using an ambient sensor, which means that it is always easy to read the data on the device. One really great feature of the FuelBand is the time function that it has as it can be worn day to day and in my case I even wear it to bed so I can see just how restless I am during my sleep, though saying that it would be great to have the current date feature, I could see that this would just require a firmware update, I assume that it would be feasible for Nike to add in at a future time.
So what is the battery life like? The Nike+ FuelBand has two lithium polymer batteries (this will mean nothing except to the geekiest of battery fans), but in real terms it means the FuelBand should last for four or five days. In my first week of owning my Nike+ FuelBand I would be pressing the fuel button every hour to see how much I had earned and this would obviously drain the battery and only give me about three days of use, so once you are used to how it all works then you will find that this is certainly a charge once a week device. Charging is done via a USB port using your computer or if you have a USB power point you can use this to and it only takes just over an hour to charge from empty. When you connect your FuelBand to your computer you will launch the Nike connect software and from here you will also see the version number and charging status situated on the bottom left of the screen.

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Earlier I spoke of being able to sync your FuelBand via an app. Nike currently only got an iPhone app, however I am sure they are working on apps for other handsets. The app allows you to sync the band and also interact with friends and view your stats in more detail. Syncing is performed via Bluetooth, so this needs to be turned on, on both the iPhone and Nike+ FuelBand, so the first task is to pair the FuelBand and the iPhone, this has to be done in the setting area of the iPhone. The app will provide a walkthrough of this process, and it is very easy to follow to turn Bluetooth on the FuelBand, holding down the button until you see a Bluetooth symbol, it is as easy as that. Once the two devices are paired, you can sync the FuelBand with the iPhone at any time, by holding down the button on the FuelBand until sync is displayed on the FuelBand. Each time you sync the memory will be cleared on the FuelBand. I am not sure how many days it can store, but the FuelBand will give you a warning when you used 80% of the memory.

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Did you think that your performance would go unnoticed, of course not. With Nike, the harder you work the more trophies you will receive but also this means that on your next performance you will need to work that bit harder to get another trophy and as you will find out, they are trophies with a difference.

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You can log into your account online and see your FuelBand activity in more detail. The top bar allows your to navigate between different areas. The number on the left side is your NikeFuel total.

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After syncing you will see a summery since your last visit and be met with a warm welcome.

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Here you can see the amount of active days you have had since your last sync, the amount of Fuel earned and if you have got any new achievements, the number of these will be displayed here.

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Pressing continue brings you to an overview of your current day. As you can see, I have been very inactive today, not earning many NikeFuel points at all. On the right hand side gives you details of the day itself, the amount of calories burnt, distance traveled, steps taken and active time.

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Navigating to a day where I was more active, you can see what it a completed day looks like. It will also show you your spark, this is when you were most active during the day. In addition to seeing your best spark of the day you can also record how well you did, how did you actually feel in your own words and then if you want you can share your performance with either Facebook and or Twitter.

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As your progress in time you will be able to see how you have done, not just in day view but also in either week, month or year view.

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Overall the Nike+ FuelBand is a fun product with a few interesting benefits, the website and iPhone app are both good, the analysis you can get during the course of a day is useful, and it makes competing and challenging friends very simple. The idea behind the FuelBand is to get make people be more active, by providing a number of ways of motivating them. I have certainly found that I have looked at the band during the day, realised that I have not done enough and made an effort to be more active. Obviously the tracking will not be 100% accurate, but because Nike have gone down the route of using NikeFuel, they have created a new median which is based on any movement, and I think that makes it a lot easier to compare scores with other users and get more out of it. It still tracks your steps, calories and distance, but as I have argued, these should be seen as guides and not definitive results from the day.
Overall I really like the Nike+ FuelBand, and certainly think there are benefits over and above just using it as a daily tracker to get you more active. The Nike+ FuelBand is not cheap, it will cost £129. However, the product looks good and does have a lot of uses, it is just a lot of money and this will probably put a lot of people off. It is currently only available to buy from NikeTown, NikeFuel Online and Apple stores.