Yesterday, Nike announced the release and limited pre-sale of the FuelBand, a nifty-looking workout gadget that I immediately wanted. Apparently, I wasn’t alone–the pre-sale models of this cool new device sold out before many folks could get out their credit cards. But plenty of our readers raised concerns not about what the device did, but instead, what it didn’t do. Which is kind of a lot–and enough to dissuade many of you from immediately (but not ultimately) ponying up the $149 Nike was asking for.
The Nike FuelBand immediately won over techie fitness enthusiasts (like this gal) with its awesome features (and oodles of hype), like the use of a USB port, the ability to sync it to a smart phone, and its compatibility with Nike+, which I already use. Even non-runners were excited by the prospect of a calorie-counting, goal-oriented piece of gear that was inclusive enough to work for dancers, athletes, and even practitioners of yoga and other hard-to-measure activities. And then there’s the oxygen kinetic thing which…well, to be honest, I’m still not 100% clear on what that does/means (Nike didn’t give a very clear explanation of it in its marketing materials), but it sounds neat. Sounding neat, though, wasn’t enough to convince many readers that it was worth it to jump on the pre-sale bandwagon.
Commenters on yesterday’s article and poll on the subject noted several key features that this first generation of FuelBand left off, like a stopwatch and a heart rate monitor–two very important tools for both runners and athletes, particularly considering the FuelBand’s claim to help users reach their goal. Some speculated that this was probably an oversight by the company and that, if customers were vocal about it, future models would probably include these features–so it would be worth it to wait until the next generation was released. Which is fair–early adopters of gadgets like this one often suffer buyer’s remorse when they realize that the model they got just isn’t going to be as cool as the next one.
Some also brought up the fact that this device, while pretty sweet-looking, isn’t exactly novel–the adorable and sync-able FitBit and the science-heavy BodyMedia Fit (which does require a membership, which can get pricey) were both mentioned as similar, equally-effective devices that are close or even lower in price–not to mention readily-available, without the wait until late February like the FuelBand.
But novel or not, the Nike FuelBand still definitely has a cool-factor that’s hard to shake (and probably due to their slick marketing that somehow turns us all into consumers). And while I didn’t get one on pre-sale, I’m with our readers on this one–if Nike can add some of the stuff that this model left off, I’m definitely not taking it off my wishlist.