Reviewed: Nike+ FuelBand SE Activity Monitor Dec 12 2013

Pros:

  • Same good looking design.
  • Upgraded components.
  • Industry leading customer service, in-app customer service capabilities set the standard for the industry.
  • Idle alerts. 

Cons:

  • Is Nike backing off from sleep tracking?
  • The Henry Ford approach to color: whatever you like, as long as it’s black.
  • Still can’t download your own data. 

BMR reviewed the original Nike+ FuelBand back on Aug 15 2013 and it’s a treat to review the FuelBand SE and see what’s changed. Nike has continued its winning formula and made some notable, yet incremental changes such as adding an idle alert and always-on Bluetooth connectivity. Let’s take a look at how the FuelBand SE stacks up:

 Nike+ FuelBand SEPolar LoopJawbone UP
DATA & CONNECTIVITY5.52.55
FUNCTIONS557
PERSONALIZATION10711
SUPPORT957
TOTAL SCORE29.519.530

First thing out of the box it’s clear that the FuelBand SE build quality has been upgraded. The outer shell is firmer and the band itself seems to weigh more, although that could be due to the internal components. The same scrolling display remains in place, showing Nike+ Fuel level, steps, and the time (hurray!). The eye-catching LED progress strip returns and as a convenience, double tapping the band’s button shows the time immediately. Let’s take a look at some basic characteristics:

 Nike+ FuelBand SEPolar LoopJawbone UP
Review DateDec 12 2013Dec 6 2013Aug 15 2013
Product CategoryActivity MonitorActivity MonitorActivity Monitor
Form FactorWrist BandWrist BandWrist Band
SensorsMotionMotionMotion
On-Body/Body LocationWrist onlyWrist onlyWrist only
Algorithms by €??MotionX
MSRP$149$109.95$129.99

Nike states that there have been hardware and firmware upgrades and that some algorithm fine-tuning has occurred. Nike+ Fuel remains as a “universal number” although it can’t be directly translated into non-proprietary (non-branded) values. I’m skeptical of this approach, but fundamentally if people try to beat their Fuel numbers every day of the week, they will be active to an ever increasing degree – and that’s a very good thing indeed.

It’s impossible to ignore the FuelBand’s color choices because of they evoke Henry Ford – “any color you like, as long as it’s black”. There’s a design ethic that promotes slivers of color peeking out from a given object, which in the FuelBand SE’s case is on the inside of the band. Aside from the colored interior inserts however, it’s still a black band.

Let’s move on to Data & Connectivity.