ike’s Fuelband, believe it or not, is almost 2-years old. Yet, despite it’s not so tender age, at least in terms of a gadget, it remains only water resistant. In other words it’s NOT waterproof. Take a dip in the pool, bathtub, or as the founder of Techzulu did, a swim in the ocean and your Fuelband will meet a watery demise.
It’s rather surprising that the Fuelband isn’t waterproof, especially given that’s it is intended to be used by those that exercise. Exercise often equates to sweat. And if done right copious amounts of sweat which should be followed by a shower, or some means to cleanse one’s self of bodily fluids.
So why is that Fuelband not waterproof? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is beyond my knowledge. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a waterproof Fuelband.
The company that can supply such a product is called WaterFi. They claim to waterproof the inside and out of the Fuelband allowing it to dive to depths as deep as 210 feet. Suffice to say that’s more than enough watery depth for some of the most tenacious of athletes.
So what’s different about this Fuelband from one purchased directly from the Nike store? Aside from the price, there is an ever so slight coating which can be detected in between the single button that activates the Fuelband’s array of LED. Fortunately, it’s purely visual and doesn’t impede upon the performance of the Fuelband or the button’s action. Other than that, Waterfi’s Fuelband is indistinguishable.
In my testing I submerged the Waterfi Fuelband for 60 minutes in a glass of room temperature water. I also showered with the device and swam in a pool at depths of no more than 6 feet. And while this would kill an average Fuelband, Waterfi’s version kept on ticking. No connectivity issues, no dead LED lights and no battery problems.
So what are the caveats of Waterfi’s Fuelband? Price. Nike sells it direct for $150. Waterfi’s price is $250 (now $240). It’s a significant premium, but it’s one that could payoff if you’re an avid athlete with a penchant for water sports. Arguably, Waterfi is way over charging. But because they have to remove each Fuelband from the box, waterproof it, then repackage it, it’s perhaps not that grossly inflated in light of the manual labor.
But alas, the choice is yours. You can gamble. Spend $150 and if your one year warranty isn’t already up, Nike will likely replace it, or so goes the anecdote. Or you can drop an extra $90 and garner some piece of mind.