Nike is notorious for partnering with big brand names for producing wearables. After the huge popularity of its fitness band, the Nike+ Sportwatch appeals to seasoned runners and those with a high interest in fitness and athletic performance.
Designed and manufactured in collaboration with TomTom, this smartwatch has it all. But can it compete with peers such as Garmin Forerunner or the Fitbit? Read our Nike+ Sportwatch review to find it out.
Nike never claimed the Nike+ Sportwatch is the offspring of the FuelBand – the two have little in common, after all. Yet, the success of the FuelBand has likely inspired the brand to come up with another wearable.
Like its predecessor, the Sportwatch doesn’t burst with features. It has a simple functionality that focuses exclusively on one thing alone. This timepiece was built with runners in mind, and it won’t bring too many benefits to other athletes.
That said, it does bring a breath of fresh air compared to the FuelBand – albeit there is no cute guy dancing for you when reaching a daily goal.
If you buy a Nike+ Sportwatch and expect to find a feature-crammed gadget, chances are you’ll be more than disappointed. Nike stays true to its tradition of not making overly functional devices.
This could seem counterproductive in today’s world, but it’s actually a good thing, because the watch does what it’s supposed to do while remaining very easy to use.
The gadget is made in collaboration with sat nav heavyweight name TomTom. It obviously is GPS-enabled, and you can rest assured the GPS is highly accurate.
Needless to say, the Sportwatch uses the GPS function to track your speed, pace, distance, and burnt calories.
Connecting with your mobile devices, it allows you to share your session details online, either with your friends or with your virtual training community.
A thing that makes it stand out from the crowd is the smart shoe pod that goes into the Nike+-ready shoe sole and records your metrics on those instances when the GPS signal fails. If you don’t own a pair of such fancy sneakers, and don’t plan to buy one, the tracker can also be fastened to your running shoe laces with a small carrier you can buy from the brand.
This simple feature gains some points for Nike+ over Garmin’s Forerunner 410, which doesn’t track too much when satellite signal is unavailable.
Brands rarely regard the aesthetic factor when building sports watches. Yet, Nike managed to make this wearable more attractive than others.
Its lines are inspired by the Apple Watch, albeit in a very rudimentary manner. The result is a sports watch with smoother lines and a hint of aesthetic appeal.
It’s not beautiful, but you can wear it with casual attire, too, without feeling like you’ve just left the gym.
The display is large enough to easily spot the time and metrics at a glance, but don’t expect fancy colours or AMOLED features. You’ll get a robust watch, though, that can withstand elements run after run and season after season.
Did I say this is a sports watch for runners? Of course I did. So, don’t expect other fancy fitness tracking features. What you will get is the possibility to set up laps or interval workouts based on time or distance.
One big knock against the Nike+ is that you can’t change its training settings on the fly, but will have to connect it to a computer for the purpose. This is a huge negative, especially for athletes looking to do speedwork ladders and other similar workouts.
At least you’ll get a big high-five on the screen and the possibility to see your training metrics directly on the watch when the session’s over, in true Nike style.
Nike+ Sportwatch Advantages
- Very easy to use GPS-enabled sports watch. Majorly designed for runners, although a recent firmware update added a cycling mode, too.
- NikePlus website awaits you with a lively community of avid runners – the perfect place for finding daily motivation.
- The smartwatch motivates you as well, by displaying a virtual high-five each time you reach your training goals.
- A selection of bands and fairly fashionable design enhance value for money.
- Very easy to configure and use straight out of the box.
- The TomTom technology ensures accurate tracking of your speed, pace, and distance. A shoe pod takes over the GPS function when satellite signal is unavailable.
- Nike+ Sportwatch is completely waterproof and suitable to use in all weather conditions.
Nike+ Sportwatch Disadvantages
- No fitness tracking features apart from running and cycling.
- Pretty basic design with grey, monochromatic screen and limited information displayed.
- You have to connect the smartwatch to a laptop or PC for any changes you want to make.
Nike didn’t intend to wow users with a super-smart watch when it launched the Sportwatch. It didn’t even try to address a wider pool of athletes.
The Nike+ is the running watch par excellence, competing with names like Garmin Forerunner, but without focusing on taking shares of market from the advanced multisport watches like the Polar.
What Nike wanted to do – and actually did – was to create a watch capable to gain users through its simple functionality. It delivers almost everything a runner needs at a low price point.
We must admit that in a world full of smartwatches, this was a smart strategy. Nike+ Sportwatch does its job well, is simple, cheap, and works for most runners. No doubt, a running watch to try if you want reliability at an affordable price.
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