Nike Fuelband Review

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Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."

81 Comments to Nike Fuelband Review

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  4. guido morelli

    looks like a great product for schmucks who apparently don’t understand that you need to “move” to burn off calories. The need to exercise isn’t mentally engrained enough in their minds. fortunately, they can look at this gizmo and be reminded. i hope the gizmo also tells you to eat more veggies. That would be most helpful. Nike = scam.

  5. In the first place, your article started out with a “sucky” attitude, when talking about pedometers and overweight, old people. There are a lot of older people, who are really all about technology, so you didn’t need to go there. Based on more than 200 random reviews of this product, most of the reviews were NEGATIVE, so this product doesn’t even seem to be worth talking up, let alone buying.

    • gadgetreview

      It does charge from the computer and you should be able to plug it into any 5v wall charger that has a USB input.

  6. I found this not accurate at all. I left it on the table overnight and it registered 1000 fuel point. I set my goal to be 3000 and I was only doing minimal activities, driving to a place to eat lunch perhaps walking 1 flight of stairs, and I reached my goal at mid-day with 3000 fuel points. I don’t see how that’s “active” lifestyle. Anyone feel the same about that or is it just me?

    • Maybe your band was broken! I’ve had mine for a week and its been great! I really like it. I don’t wear it when I’m sleeping so I leave it on a table and when I wake up everything is in 0. It might not be 100% accurate but it motivates you! I would say it has been 85% accurate and that’s good for this kind of technology. I like being motivated to move during the day.

  7. I recently got one for my birthday…as I was always wearing an Omron pedometer, which was very accurate but not so great looking. This Fuel band is cool, looks great on, and it fun to use with the sync and messages, but is NOT accurate and there is no way to adjust it. I have been wearing the pedometer and the Fuel band simultaneously for a while to see how off it is…just during breakfast in the kitchen it can already be 300 steps off. At the end of a day it can be thousands of steps off, which of course makes the calorie counts off. At this point I feel it is recording about double what it should. I agree that for accuracy, you should take it off when you are just at work or in the house, because certain arm movements will record as multiple steps. Changing arms does not help all that much, as we use them both about the same other than writing. It still can be motivating but it should really be made to perform better through software if possible. Perhaps they will work on it with an update.

    • Well you ARE moving your arm. That’s gotta count for sone calories. This measures movement!!! I’ve been using mine and it is not that off! When I’m sitting down it doesn’t count anything unless I move my hand then it of course records a movement. But it never counts steps if I’m not walking. Lol i think your band was defective? Mine has worked perfectly fine…85-90% accuracy ;) and i love it

  8. You do know right that when you drive you move your legs as well? 50 steps dude .. you would have pressed on gas that many times, and you count the brakes and the fact that unless you intentionally do it there is always some movement of the legs right?

  9. Matt Burchette

    “But let’s be honest, they’re for middle aged, over weight women.”
    Really? Is that kind of misogyny even necessary in a gadget review? Seems like there’s plenty to say about the product without stooping to insulting generalizations about whole populations.

    • Its not misogyny just the social stigma that is attached to these devices rightly or wrongly. I will say though that the only 2 people I know who use pedometers are my mother and a female work colleague, both are in their 50s and both overweight.

  10. I have had the Nike Fuel Band for about 4 months now and it seems fairly accurate in that I have tested the step count against actual step counting and found it nearly 100% accurate (with regular steps over level ground) and compared it to other calorie counting monitors such as that of the EA Fitness 2 system (which uses three motion sensors and a heart rate monitor) and found the calorie count similar despite the Fuel Band not being able to measure things like push-ups. Sure it records some additional steps/activity from minor motion during sitting or driving but this is such a small portion of the overall measurements that it is really irrelevant. The people who say that it recorded some ridiculous amount of activity from nearly nothing are either mistaken or they had a flawed unit. Nike has updated the software/firmware several times since I bought mine so they are probably refining the algorithms to be more accurate as they get feedback.

  11. Excellent review…nice to see someone who didn’t drink the cool aid on this. If I purchase a product, it should do as advertised. I see people’s comments being so forgiving with the band’s inaccuracies and falling back on stating that as long as it provides a relative indication of activity that is good enough. Well, Nike did not sell it that way so why let them get away with that.

    Personally, I’m not surprised at the product’s inaccuracy. Accelerometers measure contact forces or said another way, changes in relative motion. They don’t measure absolute quantities. If you could run without changing the input to the device, it would measure nothing. Each shake, drop, twist…relative change, is what is measured.

    A relative motion sensor is great for accurate physical activity sensing only when coupled with an absolute motion input (I.e. heart rate monitor, GPS, and such).

    In any case, it is hard for me to believe that Nike could have overlooked this fact, given that it is such a well funded company. So, the alternative is to believe that they took a minimalist approach, assuming the bulk of the population to be stupid enough to not know the difference. Looks like success ;)

  12. I think this review was thorough and sincere — that being said, many will either disagree or agree. It is the best review I have read, because it examines the product from as many perspectives as possible. I still want to buy this product, but I have a clear view of what I am getting into. Thank you!

  13. I love my Nike Plus Fuelband, but it doesn’t love me back. I was a walking, talking, turbokicking advertisement for the Ruelband where ever I went. It is/has been/was great. Until two weeks ago (which is why people who review a gadget should re-do it after several months of use-is it still working?). I’ve had it since April. Two weeks ago one row of lights stopped appearing. I called them and they sent a replacement. I got it going just fine, but last week it stopped syncing. Now I understand they were re-vamping their website, however…then on Sunday it synced and all of my stats were back (relief!). Then yesterday, and today-it says today is June 18th; several of my record stats have been replaced with arbitrary numbers. I cannot get it to sync anymore. The most frustrating thing about this is that I spent a total of 3 hours (3-4 phone calls) attempting to get it to work w/the help of Nike reps, including letting them use screenshots. I think they have a recipe book (When caller A says this is the problem, say this…etc.), but do not themselves understand the problems. I wasted another 3 hours trying different suggested solutions, all the while suspecting they had little to do with my Fuelband (which continues to show correct stats-but begins anew each day which is why they need to be synced) and more to do with their website. A visit to their Nike Plus Facebook page shows just how big a big problem this is for many, many users, and for many devices, not just for the Fuelband. All the while they continue to release more gadgets and apps. I think the company they hired to do the programming is not sophisticated enough to get it together. I also think Nike is going to be on the short end of the stick soon if they do not admit they are having problems to their customers. This is not an isolated problem for a few users.

  14. Got mine, test for e few days and have a serious question
    FitBit had been counted , 10 000 steps as nearly  2600 cal burned  by a person of my complexion ,
    FuelBand counts the same 10 000 steps as  800 cal and 18 000 just only 1500 cal. How it comes?
    Do they have some kind of different calories  or what%)?

    • gadgetreview

      Hmmm, this sounds like you might have entered in your age/weight/height incorrectly in one of them.  Double check that and let me know.

    • Miss Poppins

      I have been seriously disappointed to see that after starting at 7am and an entire day of non stop rushing around and 13,500 steps of activity..and a Fit Barre (ballet/Pilates) class, its reading 740 calories at 11pm at night!!
      if thats the case then I should be fat because I consume around 2000calories of food a day.
      I am sad to say I am losing faith in my Fuelbands reliability :(

  15. ThisWriterKnowsNowt

    I don’t know. It just sounds like he is bitching. Not really a review, more of a bitchy whine. It is designed for middle aged women. Get over yourself. You think your opinion matters?

    • gadgetreview

      Sorry you feel that way.  Perhaps you should reread it.  Then let me know what you think I could have added to the review to make it sound more like a review and less, well, like you ;).   Seriously, though, I’m all ears.

    • Do you think YOUR opinion matters? Obviously enough to read an article by someone who’s opinion you don’t think matters and then tell us your opinion about how his opinion doesn’t matter. Seems like pointless whining to me in an otherwise interesting evaluation and discussion of the product. Get over yourself.

  16. Danielle

    Theres one thing I dont really get.. When is the last time you have to sync it to ur phone? At first I thought I had to do it everyday before midnight. But when i woke up this morning I realized I forgot to do it, so I synced it this morning instead and it worked! For How long can it register my activities?

    I love My fuelband and as many others has said, its mostly a daily motivator for me.
    BUT, do anyone else have problems with the links attached? I have a size S with the big link on right now, but its à bit loose! One time I almost lost it while playing basketball. Also wonder if I can have both links on? Dont know if Im doing it right but they wont stay together if I have two links on..

    • gadgetreview

      Danielle, I’m not sure how many days of data it can hold, but it really should be a none issue.  That said, you don’t have to sync it daily.

  17. Janetbrunell

    thanks for your honesty.  I too found that while in the kitchen just cooking, the Nike Band showed I burned 566 calories.   I already use a Suunto Watch to monitor my calories and heart rate.  I have decided to send the band back and wait for a new & updated version.  Also the fact that the sleek Nike Band is subject to  marring left me a little disgruntled.  

  18. mike thompson

    I think the coolest thing is that it is a lazy meter…. The is the only reason I wear it…. After a week of being lazy and a few pounds then I can actually see why.

    • tyrone blackburn

      Absolutely, above all else it reminds you to maintain a particular level of activity which has helped me out tremendously in the past 103 days since I first put it on.

  19. How can you tell if the fuelband is running out of battery? I recently got a small one, and its fully charged. I know in your article says it normally take 4 days for the battery to die. 

    • gadgetreview

      Based on my experience, you’ll need to plug it into to charge to see the battery life.  Kind of defeats the purpose, don’t it?  However, there maybe another way to view the battery life – I don’t have the Fuelband any longer.

    • When the battery is low, you’ll see a battery icon when you press the button to check your fuel points. That means it’s time to charge soon.

  20. I actually counted my steps (100) and compared to the FuelBand and it was within a couple of steps of my count.  So just normal walking it seems to work ok.  Where it’s grossly inaccurate is how it converts those steps to miles.  I calculated that it’s using a stride of 31 inches and this is way short of my normal 6’2″ height.  I even upped my profile height to 6’9″ and it still used 31 inches for my stride.   Makes absolutely no sense for them not to vary the stride length based upon height…  I’m sending mine back – I just have a thing for measuring instruments being accurate (at least be in the ballpark).  Back to using my RunKeeper on my iPad – that at least is using GPS and is quite accurate.

  21. 1markass

    Most expensive pedometer out there. I thought it had a heart rate monitor on it. I am sending it back. Why would I want it to synch with my iphone if my phone has a free pedo app on it? Great looking and great idea, but over priced for what it does. If it had a heart rate monitor on it, it would be worth it

    • gadgetreview

      Well, to be fair, you can sync it your iPhone so you can share our data.   And even though your iPhone can serve a comparable purpose, it’s not really practical to carry it when you’re performing certain activities.  That said, this is very much a lifestyle device.

    • I have had the fuel band for about a month and I agree, it is really just a cool looking pedometer.  THAT SAID (most over used term in this article/comments) I do like the motivational and the conversational aspects.  I wish I could enter calorie intake and/ or set options to describe activity undergoing to moderate the calories burned/steps taken thing. It also needs to be more water resistant.  I do not swim with it, but I do sweat, wash my hands, etc- seems to get moisture in there.  I wish I didn’t have to take it off to shower as sometimes I forget to put back on and lose “fuel” points.  To those of you who get outrageous fuel readings- you simply need to reset.  It happened to me at first and I just needed to go online and reset.  Good luck and here’s to being beta testers!!!

      • It’s water resistant up to something like 32 feet.You can shower with it , wash your baby or stuff like that but i wouldn’t swim in it or submerge it underwater for a long time.

  22. sttcxbld4dys3

    It depends a lot on your size I believe. I am a 310 pound guy and I am very active. I am also a hard working CNA(which I love :-)) on my second day using it I got roughly 7500 fuel, 28000 steps, and 4000 calories burned. The steps seem grossly high and my fuel was ridiculous. I guess it has to be due to my weight even though I can run a 5k just fine.

  23. Killeryakoo

    I own two of these. Unsure what size to get, I got the medium and large. Both have issues. On the Large, merely picking it up and putting it on puts 7-10 steps on it. The medium can’t hold a charge longer than 48 hours, even if it’s just sitting there. They both have severe accuracy problems, and both will be going back–probably along with the small my wife got–which is also painfully inaccurate. The trick with these is simple–you CANNOT wear them except when you’re running/exercising. If you do anything during your off-pique hours (like work, walk, have a hobby, meet people, point at things) then you’re going to add steps/calories/fuel you did not earn and this little game you must play with yourself to stay in shape is flawed. I cannot believe people reviewing how accurate these things are…it is simply not true. I run everyday, so the motivation factor doesn’t figure in. I’m also relatively young, so there is no amazement factor with this item, anyone 30 and under will not be impressed with the technology as it’s already out there and done better by others. Sure it’s cool looking, and that might mean I’ll keep one as a watch, but not for it’s prime functionality. I’m going to try a few other sport bands, like the motorola and jawbone–if they are all this quirky I’m going to wait for future versions.

    • Lol too bad for you! You got three broken bands dude! Mine works perfectly…it doesn’t count extra steps or calories etc. It measures MOVEMENT so ofcourse it will count fuel points if you ummm MOVE!…

  24. just got the nike+fuelband this week.  I love the motivation, especially on sedentary days, but yes, I agree with the reviewer, the steps taken, calories and distance are not accurate.  In my case, I am a runner that travels hilly terrain.  My gps watch had me at 5.65 miles on the hilly course, while the nike fuelband indicated only 4.5 miles.  Thats’ obviously a big miss.  I would suspect that arm and accelerometer motion is different when running a hill than when walking up stairs, and that to the device, it appears as if I am taking shorter and slower steps (which I am, but I’m pushing up a hill).  

    That said, I’m not sure I really care.  I have a gps watch to accurately measure my runs.  What the fuelband does is shows me how much activity I’m generating day to day.  And because the nikefuel is a made-up measurement anyway, i know that the device is at least calibrated accurately against itself.  So if I earned 3900 nike fuelpoints yesterday and only 1900 today, I know that I was less active today.  The other measurements are directional, and interesting, but not highly calibrated.

    You need to try the device for a few days to understand what everyone is saying about it.  It’s the constant motivation factor that makes it so much fun and useful.  I’m sure this technology and product space will see even more developments given the success and demand for the nike fuelband.  While this may feel a little like a beta product – it’s loads of fun!

    • I did nothing today but sit in front of my computer at work and drive 35 miles to return a phone to the Verizon store.  My FitBit, which has proved pretty accurate, recorded 4188 steps.  My brand new Nike FuelBand recorded a whopping 12731 steps!  This isn’t a small error…

      • I think you’re either making this up entirely, or you’re tying your band to a ceiling fan.

        It feels like someone who sits at a desk all day might have a vested interest in crapping on a fitness product without owning one.

        I’ve never noticed my Fuelband to be more than a few hundred steps off, and that’s when I’ve gone for 6-10 miles. This morning I hit the elliptical for 70 minutes and I clocked (according to the elliptical I was on) about 11,000 strides. My band currently has me at 11,958 strides.

        As I also walked to and from the gym, walked around to lift weights, did a couple hundred crunches and had my band on for other small tasks, I’d say that’s pretty spot on.

        By your logic, my band should have me at nearly 35,000 strides.

        Maybe you’re a FitBit rep. If so, kudos for your effort. It seems like more than you’ve made with your Fuelband.

  25. Hollysperry

    I really appreciate these reviews. I am a solid heart rate monitor girl, and I am anxious to see the difference between these two devices. Glad to know the fuel band resets on a 24 hour clock. I wondered if it gave up on you after x amount of time of inactivity. I hope I didn’t get the wrong size, I am never a small in anything, so I ordered the medium, but i am afraid with the extensions, it might have been the wrong choice. Just a comment. Sort of a pain that the instructions/set up info was only available online, but I know that’s the way things are now. Opened the box 2 hours ago and have 574 steps, 223 fuel, and 59 calories. Seems fair.

    • gadgetreview

      Ryan, I try, but it’s tough to catch all of my own mistakes.  That said, we’re always looking for people to edit our work…for free ;).

  26. In my case the Fuelband consistently comes in lower than what I should have when I walk, sometimes up to half of the distance. I tested it for days at random times and found it to be  considerably off while walking but extremely accurate while running. Out of a counted 74 steps, the Fuelband registered at 38. Out of 42 it counted only 27. Other times it can be fairly accurate. Out of a 1 mile run it was only off by about 4 steps from another counter. Driving I can get plenty of steps/fuel. It’s also a little disappointing that raising my arm to scratch my head nets me 2 fuel, while a full jumping jack nets 1. I figure the little irrelevant stuff that I do kind of balances out how off the steps are. While it may not be the most accurate thing, at least it is consistently inaccurate. This means after a month of using it I know where my fuel will be after doing certain activities, and I know exactly how to gauge my day. I’ve left work on multiple occasions having stopped at the punch clock at EXACTLY 1000 fuel. Luckily the most important thing for me isn’t how accurate it is, but the motivation it gives me. I’ve ran every night I needed to to meet my goal. I’m more active, and more motivated. The app is great. I would love it to be more accurate, but paying $150 for true motivation is well worth it to me.

  27. Is this dead on accurate? No. I am an airline pilot and yes on bumpy and turbulent flights it will record a few steps, perhaps 50-200. Sitting in a chair at home, no… it won’t but it will record a bit of “fuel” due to my arm movements but it is minimal, as it should be. It only cranks up crazy when I run, again as it should be. I find for a device on my wrist it is simply amazing.

    The point isn’t to be 100% accurate, come on, it can’t be… the point is a general reference of your activities. With the average person walking 6000 steps a day and active person walking 10-15,000 per day and a super fit people approaching 20,000 steps a day, do you think miscounting 50-100 steps here or there matters at all? No!

    The reality is I have a point of reference, as does the poster. On one of his screen shots it shows his average is about 2,500 “fuel” units a day. Now turn the device to set the goal at 3,000 and make it happen! When you figure out how to make yourself hit an average of 3,000 try for 3,500! The fuel band will make it you fit not because it will tell you that you walked 15,500 steps instead of the actual 15,000 but give you an ACCURATE sense of just how much you move each day.

    I love mine and I’ve had it for 26 days now.

    • Unfortunately mine, which I received today, recorded over 7500 steps taken while driving 35 miles.  This isn’t trivial, or something that can be ignored.

    • I agree, but think the reviewer makes valid points as well. 

      But the bottom line is that if you are a fitness buff – you don’t need this anyway.  For an average Joe – I like it.  It provides constant feedback and motivation.  As I take the stairs instead of the elevator (for the points) I get more active.  Then I actually stop to think before I grab something out of the candy dish at the receptionist desk.  It snowballs and before you know it – you are healthier for it.  Before I got one, I never thought much about my activity level.  When I tried to wear a pedometer, I would forget to reset it or log my results.  If I was in a rush I would forget the unit altogether. 

      This is all automatic and I don’t need to remember to do anything.  If you wear a watch, just replace it with this thing and you are ready to go.

    • Belgian dude

       Smells like a nike marketeer posing as an airline pilot… LOL! Nike is such a shark company!

    • Bob Cichon

      David,
      I could not agree more. Its a perfect day to day reference and only to help motivate us to do more, day to day! I do also carry a MOTOACTV with me during exersise events and its not far off the Fuel Band for Calaries and Steps Taken.

      I like both with the simple consideration of how I measure day to day and event to event execution. With this, I do not have to worry about accuracy!

  28. I have been using the fuel band for about 30 days and also notice that the step counter is pretty spot on.  I tested while riding in a bus, a boat, a car, taking off on a plane, and then sitting on the couch and moving my arm around – no steps counted.  I was actually surprised at the accuracy. The fuel band has kept me motivated daily to hit my goal of at least 3000 fuel points – in fact, I’m averaging over 3500 and realize now that before I had it, I was a lot more sedentary. 

  29. Vanallachi

    i was truely thinking about not deciding to buy this product after reading this review but thanks to matt islam i am now able to get more points of views from users. i agree with you that its stunning but i can not possibly review its affevtivness without the product in hand. overall a great artical though.

  30. Matthew Islam

    I disagree with this review. I have been using it myself in addition to other similar pedometers and the numbers work out 9 out of 10 times accurately with a differential of +/- 5 steps and +/- 10 calories…..what you are describing is not corroborated by many others who are using it. 

    Because it’s based on an accelerometer to doubt it is not a bad thing, I don’t use it for the calories burnt (my fitness pal is there for that with Nike + GPS’s apps) but as an indicator of my activities all day. I do not find the calorie readings very far off either from most other gadgets I kept in the first 7 days to monitor Nike claims….. I am also dropping weight having only used it for 30 days or so. 

    You’re criticism aren’t scientific and supported by evidence. Do some videos about its calorie counts and steps and you will have proved me wrong. 

    Additionally many others have tried to get it to read extra steps and calories by sitting and being stationary, it hasn’t worked my friend or so the larger web based user crowd says. 

    Cheers for the review though…..

    • gadgetreview

      Matt, I would have loved to capture the evidence on video, but sadly I had to send it back before I had the chance.  And by that I mean to say that I forgot until after the fact.  Usually we get 30 days with products, but due to the demand of the Fuelband Nike only gave me 7 days.

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