Nike FuelBand SE Review
Priced at $100, the Nike FuelBand SE is Nike’s latest entry into the fitness tracking market. It features Bluetooth 4.0 for continuous syncing and is water-resistant – which means you can easily wear it in the shower.
The SE was designed to be a modest improvement over the original Nike FuelBand. But how does it stack up against competitors like the FitBit and Jawbone UP24? Find out today in our Nike FuelBand SE review.
What is the Nike FuelBand SE?
The Nike FuelBand SE is a wearable fitness tracker which fits comfortably around your wrist. It keeps track of your physical movement throughout the day and aims to turn that data into useful information about your health.
Nike describes the FuelBand SE as “the device that tracks your activity life with NikeFuel – a universal way to measure movement for all kinds of activities.”
NikeFuel is the “currency” you earn from working out while wearing your Nike FuelBand SE. You earn different amounts of NikeFuel depending on where you’re running, playing sports, or even dancing at a club.
The FuelBand itself features a simple LED light display. There’s no “screen”, so to speak, although the FuelBand conveys information using dozens of multicolored LED indicators.
The “SE”, by the way, stands for “Second Edition”, because it’s designed to be an improvement over the original FuelBand.
— Bluetooth 4.0 support, letting you sync with iPhone and Android continuously during use.
— Water resistant, but not waterproof. You can wear it in the shower, but you can’t submerge it.
— Flashing LED indicators
— Better battery life than the original FuelBand (70mAh vs 50mAh). Most users report needing to charge it every 5 to 7 days, which is a huge improvement over the original’s sub-3 day battery life.
— New Sessions features let you separate certain activities into different Sessions, making it easier for Nike to track what you’re doing when you’re moving around. However, you’ll still need to tell Nike exactly which activity you’re performing.
— Hours feature, which will force the lights to flash if you’ve stayed sedentary for over an hour. To turn off the lights, simply get up and walk around for a few minutes.
— Sleek black exterior which fits comfortably around your wrist.
Most fitness trackers let you compete against friends and family. The Nike FuelBand SE is no exception.
Anyone – including non-FuelBand users – can download and use the Nike+ apps for Android and iPhone.
However, the Nike FuelBand comes with its own app called Nike+ FuelBand. After downloading the app, you can create or join a group and share your progress with each other.
If you’ve created a group, you’ll find that the interface looks very similar to Facebook: you can post on your group’s wall asking if anyone wants to go for a run later today, for example.
You can also view your fitness progress throughout the day and the week and see which one of your friends is the most active. Nike tracks all of its activity using NikeFuel. If you care about virtual points, then hitting the top of your groups’ leaderboard every day for NikeFuel can be an addictive process.
Works with Android and iPhone
When the Nike FuelBand SE was first released, it didn’t work with Android. Fortunately, Nike eventually released an Android app. When you read reviews for the Nike FuelBand SE online, you’ll see some reviews mention that it doesn’t work with Android: that’s no longer the case.
The Nike FuelBand SE will work with the iPhone 4S and all newer devices as well as Android 4.3 or later.
Nike claims that the device is optimized especially for certain phones, including major flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S3, S4, and S5, the HTC One, Nexus 5, and Moto X.
The Nike+ FuelBand app looks good on any device. Your fitness data is displayed in the form of colorful graphs and charts, and you can easily break down your NikeFuel into different categories: see how much NikeFuel you’ve burned (or earned?) while playing tennis, for example, or see your NikeFuel totals over the course of the entire week.
How to Buy the Nike FuelBand SE
The Nike FuelBand SE is priced at $99.99 from official Nike retailers, down from an original retail price of $150. It’s available in four different color combinations, including:
The outside color is always black, and the second color listed is seen on the inside of the band. When you’re wearing it, people will only see the black exterior.
Nike FuelBand SE Versus Other Fitness Trackers
The Nike FuelBand SE has some important differences between itself and other fuel trackers, including:
— No silent vibrating sleep alarm. Many other fitness trackers offer this functionality, and some will even wake you up during the optimum moment in your sleep cycle.
— Water-resistant to sweat, rain, and showering, but not submersible.
— Nike can track your sleep cycles, including the amount you toss and turn in the night. However, most users report that these sleep cycles aren’t nearly as in-depth as other fitness trackers. The Jawbone UP24 and UP3, for example, will describe your exact REM cycles: the FuelBand simply shows a small line graph explaining when you moved and when you stayed still.
— The FuelBand looks classy on your wrist – it’s a sleek black wearable that fits more comfortably than most of its competitors. You’re not going to feel out of place wearing this anywhere you go (as long as you’re not going in the water).
— The FuelBand might be more socially friendly than other fitness trackers. If your friends are already using the Nike FuelBand and other fitness trackers, then competing against them in a group can be a fun way to motivate you to workout.
— There’s no altimeter, which means it can’t track stair climbing.
— No heart rate sensor or skin temperature sensor.
— Does not auto-detect physical activities: you need to tell it what you’re doing.
— Poor sleep cycle tracking compared to other fitness trackers like the Jawbone UP24.
Who Should Use the Nike FuelBand SE?
Ultimately, the social features might make or break your FuelBand experience: the FuelBand doesn’t have many other unique advantages over other similarly-priced fitness trackers. But if all of your friends are already addicted to earning NikeFuel, then joining a Nike+ group with them can be entertaining.
The Nike FuelBand SE also looks classy and feels comfortable. Many people recommend it not for serious athletes, but for average users who want to be motivated to work harder during the day. The original price was $150, but Nike has since dropped that price to $100. The original price was a bit too expensive for the value you got, but $100 is just about right for the Nike FuelBand SE.