The Verge Reviews the Nike+ FuelBand

Bryan Bishop reports for The Verge:

What’s fascinating about the FuelBand, however, is how deceptively fun it makes exercise. By decoupling physicality from any currently accepted empirical standard, the only baseline becomes your own performance, or that of your family and friends. The system also takes some phrases that are quite tainted for many people — words like calorie, or carb — and removes them from the picture entirely (striking the calories menu from the FuelBand entirely is just a checkbox away).

What you’re left with is a product that’s probably not that interesting for hard-core athletes or the exercise-obsessed, no matter how many times LeBron James appears in the commercial. Instead, the FuelBand is a device designed to simply make the idea of exercise and physical activity fun and rewarding.

The FuelBand sounds intriguing but I am disappointed at the lack of sleep tracking. Measuring exercise with the Jawbone UP provided a vague and potentially distorted metric for your activity, but the sleep tracking was phenomenal. Considering the ostensible death of the UP, I was hoping Nike might incorporate some of its better features, like sleep tracking, into the UP but, sadly, they have eschewed such functionality.

That said, the gamification and sociability of your activity appears to provide novel incentive for increased exercise. Integration into Path 2.1 looks phenomenal, albeit potentially hamstrung by the relatively small size of the budding social network.

Ultimately, if you are looking for something to measure your general fitness and activity in a pseudo-attractive package, it seems the Nike+ FuelBand may be the product for you. Having said that, if you're looking for something that performs beyond the bounds of your active moments, the FuelBand may not fit the bill. Failing with stationary cycling, weight lifting, sleep, and swimming, the FuelBand use-case is virtually limited to running, walking, and physical sports.

Although I found the UP compelling and the FuelBand promising, I'm not quite sure this product is for me.

Nike+ Fuelband Swipes at the Jawbone UP

During the course of CES, I was curious to see if any new health and fitness tracking devices might emerge in competition with the FitBit or the Jawbone UP. Nothing compelling caught my eye.

This morning, however, Nike has announced the Fuelband, a device that takes the initial Jawbone UP bracelet concept, and improves it in almost every way.

With Bluetooth sync, calorie tracking, better visualizations of your data, rewards for achieving goals, a full web interface, the Fuelband addresses virtually all of the criticisms of the Jawbone UP.

The only two gripes I have are the aesthetic appearance, which looks slightly more garish than the unassuming UP, and the cost, $150. I also cannot seem to find a definitive answer regarding its sleep tracking and alarm capabilities, or a lack thereof.

Although I love my Jawbone UP, I often wonder if I'm simply in love with the concept behind it. Keeping track of my activity and sleep, for me, is a great thing. No other device on the market has been able to competently compete with the UP's novel bracelet implementation, thus leaving me with one option.

The Fuelband changes that, and I'll certainly be looking into trying it out.