Hands-on: Nike FuelBand review

Not due out in the UK until April, Pocket-lint has spent the morning with the Nike FuelBand to get a chance to experience the new fitness accessory before we tuck into the gadget for a full review.

The concept is simple. You wear a digital electronic band that looks like one of those yellow Lance Armstrong charity bands, but instead of it just showing others that you support a cause, it monitors your movement allowing you to quantify your exercise by earning fuel.

The band itself is fairly simple and ordinary looking (it is black) from the outside with the display hidden from sight until you press the button.

Pressing that button reveals a clear display and it will tell you the amount of fuel you've earned so far, the calories you've burnt, the steps you've taken, and even the time if you want to wear it like your watch.

It also tells you how far you've got towards your daily goal, something you can set to push yourself further, and as you are probably expecting, the whole system resets the counter at the end of every day so you get to do it all over again.

With Bluetooth onboard owners will be able to sync it to their iPhone or iPod on the go, ditching the need to connect it to a computer to retrieve or monitor your stats, and the Band is charged via USB - the dongle is built into the design.

Nike, wanting to put us through our paces, got us doing two exercises to test the FuelBand - one exercise driven, the other more fun.

First up was cardio tennis, where the emphasis on the tennis very much takes a back seat and you find yourself running around a tennis court for 30 minutes trying to catch your breath. A couple of minutes in and we had forgotten we were wearing the band and just got on with the sport at hand.

After the session, and we jumped in the shower. Thankfully the FuelBand is waterproof. Nike doesn't recommend you go swimming in it, but it is fine for the shower after practice or if you get caught in the rain.

A 30-minute tennis session saw us earn 700 Fuel points and get a third of the way to completing our very easy goal of 2000 fuel points per day (when we plan to review the Nike FuelBand we will aim higher).

Tennis finished, we headed to the bar - where else - to see how our performance rated when it came to making cocktails - random we know.

Thirty minutes later and all that shaking and mixing has earned us another 500 fuel points - the Whisky Sours we made tasted amazing - and, adding in general movement, now up to around 1500 fuel points. This is easy.

What does that mean exactly? Not much in the grander scale of things, but even in the small group of journalists who were testing out the new Fuel Band from Nike we started to see a competitive edge come through.

Nike says that the concept of "Fuel" is so that everyone can measure themselves against each other fairly without having to factor in weight or height. After all says Nike, if you are racing an Olympic athlete you are still putting in the same effort even if they are just better than you.

The key to the FuelBand's success will be how it encourages you to race against your friends and motivate you to walk or exercise more and it will be really interesting to see when we have longer to play with it whether that mentally of trying to do more, or stay ahead of your friends, kicks in.

One of the ways that is going to work is the ability to share your performance on Facebook, but it doesn't look like you will be able to create a leaderboard to pit yourself against your mates just yet.

The Nike FuelBand is due out in the UK in April. It costs £139.99. Pocket-lint will be bringing you a full review of the Nike FuelBand once we've had some time to use it across a wider gamut of activities. 

- Now read our full Nike+ FuelBand review



>