Nike+ Fuel Band Review Roundup: Possibly Worth The Hype

nike fuel band

Some things, like food and air, you want because you need them. Other things, like the new Nike+ Fuel Band, which is going back for a second round of pre-sale again today  sold out after about 8 minutes of pre-sale, you want because…wait, why do we all want it? Because it’s undeniable that the thing is in huge demand–and I really want one–but is it because it’s awesome, or because it’s been hyped within an inch of its life?

Nike has been pretty cagey with the rollout, allowing only a tiny window of presale since the hype began last month (with a launch that included celebs like Jimmy Fallon?). But even with the ultra-limited release, the $149 personal fitness tracker that adds up steps, calories, and time spent in motion throughout your entire day (and then relays it back to your smart phone) has appeared on the market (I saw at least one eBay auction where it was priced at $399 and climbing). Which means that the reviews are finally starting to flood in.

If you’re thinking about snapping one up when it goes back to presale today at 12 EST, you may want to breeze through these reviews to see if it’s really worth the $149 price for you–or if there’s another, less expensive, less proprietary (remember, the Fuel Band measures your workout in “Nike Fuel,” something they made up) piece to help you reach your personal goals, like these that we reviewed earlier this month.

But if you do get yourself a Nike Fuel Band, be sure to let us know how it’s working out for you. I’m still biding my time before I get one, but I’d appreciate your input.

All Images: Nike

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    • Crow Plus

      Presale was non-existent. Was on presale site early after being burned on the first rollout. The large size was in my que for checkout. After entering ALL of my personal purchase information, Nike informs me sold out. Tried teh process at least five times. I am done, will buy the Nike Fuel at next a yard sale next year! QUIKSTER

      • Hanna Brooks Olsen

        What a maddening process! Do you think this is why the hype is so big–BECAUSE NO ONE CAN GET IT?

    • Bailey Nichols

      Tried again as well. Not doing it again. Went with the fitbit instead.

      • Hanna Brooks Olsen

        Be sure to drop us a line about what you think of it! I’m seriously considering going this route as well and would love the input. Thanks!

      • Terri M.

        Bailey Nichols:
        Tried again as well. Not doing it again. Went with the fitbit instead.

        Just out of curiousity….how does the fitbit work for you? Does it just track walking or all physical activity? I’m interested to know before I shell out $100.

    • Kevin R.

      I wrote a story about this on my blog. I do not believe that it’s worth the hype or, more importantly, the price. For the price of $150 you can get yourself an iPod Nano with 16g for music, a radio, a pedometer and much more. Sure it can’t track how well you are doing when you play basketball with your arms, but this band really can’t either.

      One of these products has already come out in the past, by Jawbone. It flopped. Didn’t work. Someone wearing one while playing baseball (lots of arm movement) was seeing ridiculous numbers. A person playing basketball would be a little less. Really, it’s just a pedometer that goes on your arm to track a different part of your body.

      I decided instead to get an iPod that I can wear when I run to listen to music, podcast, track my steps and more important, doesn’t require me to use the awful Nike+ website. If you don’t use it now, you’ll know exactly what I am talking about after you buy one of these.

      I say skip it for now until you can get it for $70 or less.

      • Kevin R.

        Also, if you want to read the original post I wrote or check out my other stuff my blog is http://www.runeatblog.com. Thanks.

    • Steve

      Ordered..waited..received two of them today..Went to download the needed “connect software”..plugged in the fuel band as directed..firmware update..not successful!!..what!!..Tried all the trouble shooting systematically..OK..sometimes these things happen..Finally called support..Nice guy I think Zack was my operator..his solutions were..couple days to get an answer on what is happening with the ones they have had similar problems with(including mine)..to offering to have me send back for a replacement..okay sounds good..What?!..1 to 2 weeks?!!…No thanks Nike….returning both of them..not worth the hassle..I’ll wait for the Apple version or check out Body Media or you know what..forget the whole hyped up silly thing and save the money and buy a new pair of Mizuno running shoes..yeah that’s the ticket..thanks for reading.

      • Nathan Howard

        May I ask what Operation System you were running? I am having this issue also and believe it is a Lion OS issue. wondering if you have the same OS?

    • Tony I.

      I have tried to purchase this item twice. Once, a week ago and just tried again today. The first time I got all the way to the part where it tells you to press click order. I had to answer a call on my phone and by the time I got back to the order page it said they were sold out. This was within 10 minutes of them going on sale. Today I tried and got just past the place order step. Just to get an error message telling me that the L size was sold out. This time it was approximately 5 minutes after they went on sale. Either this is a marketing gimmick or these things are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Either way this is ridiculous. The UP by Jawbone was a flop, maybe Nike is trying to create hype so that people don’t think this will be the same.

    • Danielle

      I got mine today and I really like. With those that are having problems with theirs, typically anything new that comes out will have a glitch or two. It sucks but oh well. As of right now I am having no problems and enjoy having it conviently on my wrist. Especially since right now I have a desk job so it shows me just how much or little I have been and from there I calculate my evening workouts to meet my goals.

    • Drew

      As with MANY people out there I too tried preordering, and saying 10 min they sold out is a huge overstatement I had my cart filled and all info filled in both times the preorder was available at the exact moment it was on sale “spamming buy button” in 20 seconds tops and it was sold out?! Bullsh$t total marketing PLOY! I highly doubt NIKE couldn’t make something this small and technologically simple in THAT low quantity, and if that really is the case selling it in such small quantities like this is a BAD customer experience move! Learn from Apple let people preorder or “back order” with a time frame 1-2 weeks 2-4 weeks instead of REAL customers having to compete with resellers who end up putting it up on eBay and Craigslist. Seriously people $500.00 for this thing? Are people ACTUALLY buying these things at THAT big of a rip off price?! This is WHY we have scammers and scalpers! Nike shame on you, and I’m NOT alone there are over 40 threads already with hundreds of responses from people who feel the same way.

    • Heather

      My husband preordered one for me and we got it yesterday. We are not celebrities, just normal people. So far, I love it. It is making me think in a different way about al of my daily activity I take for granted. I am also very competitive so it is fun to see my numbers get closer to my goal. I can understand the frustration of people not being able to get one and I feel people are judging something they haven’t even tried yet. Give it some time and everyone who wants one will have them. I am willing to bet some who have complained about the fuelband on this forum will have one by this summer… Just a guess.

    • David L.

      Nike-FAIL! I signed up weeks ago to be one of the first to try this out. True to their word, Nike had mine delivered yesterday. Feeling like a kid on Christmas morning I couldn’t wait to get it set up. I’d received an email from Nike the day before telling me to download the app now “For the best experience…” which I did.

      Well, after letting it charge overnight I attempted to sync it with my PC. No luck! Everytime I tried to sync, either wirelessly or through the USB cable, it would freeze halfway through the update procedure. Finally, I gave up and called their support hotline and spoke with a really decent tech who walked me through several tests before determining that my FuelBand was defective. And since the Nike Store was sold out I was told that if I wanted a replacement quickly I would have to give them a charge card number first, then they would ship me a replacement that would arrive in 5-7 days. Then I could ship the old one back with a prepaid mailing label. I was told that if the Nike Store had any left they would ship me one overnight. Huh?

      This has been a pretty disappointing experience, thus far.

    • Kurt Ngsaye

      Ordered it and got it yesterday. Needless to say I was stoked to get it started. Downloaded the software and the band. It said there was a firmware update that needed to be installed. Followed the instructions and kept getting the message that the band was unusable and to retry. Did this three times so I called for help. According to support the only thing they could do was to send it back with the prepaid mailer sticker and a replacement will be sent. Who knows when that will happen or if the new one will work. Way to drop the ball Nike. Your slogan says just do it but in this case you didn’t.

      • Katie

        I had the same issue. Got the FUelBand on Wed, let it charge overnight and on Thursday installed the software and tried to get the darn thing to work. My FuelBand wouldn’t turn on even though it’s fully charged. The screen works because the full battery image shows up when you connect it to the USB port and says “Go!”.

        However, once the FuelBand is removed from the computer, it doesn’t work–no lights, no words. The power button doesn’t work either. I also had issues when the FuelBand tries to sync with my computer. I get “Error returned from Nike+. Try again.” Emailed customer service and went through about 5 steps to get the thing to work (clear out the cache for browsers and flash, uninstall software, reinstall software, reset to the factory defaults etc).

        Talked to customer service on Thurs and they were really helpful but nothing could get the FuelBand to work. They determined it was defective and wanted me to send it back to Nike HQ with a prepaid label. After 2 calls to customer service, I’m still waiting for the label to be emailed to me so I can get a replacement. Grrr.

    • Brett Williams

      I was able to get two during the pre-order, one for myself and one for my wife. We, like the people above, were very excited to open the package and start setting these things up. Setup for us only took a few minutes, let the thing charge, and away we went. So far I have been very impressed with the device. You dont realize in an office job, how little you do. It has jump started our health entirely, we are now coming home and using the treadmill nightly to make sure we reach our goal we set for the day. I have mine high enough, I am a runner, that I literally have to run at least 3 miles everyday to reach the goal. It has been great! So much fun to see how just a 15 minute walk around the office building makes a difference in your daily activity. If you are goal oriented, this device is fantastic and an interesting study if your movement through the day to say the least. Well worth the cost in my opinion. The website is great and synching it to your iPhone in real time really gives you a look at what you are doing at any given moment.

    • Adam

      I bought mine on 2/22 when it went on sale. I literally clicked refresh at 3:59 CST (sale started at 4) and it showed as available to buy. I added to cart and used my PayPal account to avoid having to input shipping/billing info. I checked out at 4:01, so I tried to add another one for my wife and it said Sold Out. The one I purchased came the next day and I’ve been using it every day. It does help you to keep active every day in order to reach your set goal, especially if you are competitive like myself. I don’t care for the Nike+ website, but the iOS app works great! Careful when syncing with your PC and your iOS device; mine shows a different number on my PC than on my 4S. I was already active and ride my MTB every week so the Fuelband just helps me to stay on track and compete against myself. Overall, I’d recommend it to anyone looking to track how active they are.

    • le jefe (il nasty)

      Nike is only releasing these 1000 at a time. There is VERY little chance you will get one unless you have a lot of free time or are allowed to do what you want at work (or if you have an unemployed spouse rotting away at home), none of which I’m lucky enough to have. There is no way Nike had only 1000 made at a time, the cost from Chinese businesses to make such a small amount would be astronomical. It’s a self-imposed shortage, not sure why they are doing like this. Many people are getting frustrated and hearing about the defective units makes me want to try other products.

      I’d love to try one out, but at 1000 per release, you’d be lucky to get one within the next year and a half.

    • Amy

      I pre ordered in Jan, got it last Wednesday and I LOVE it! I’ve had absolutely no issues with the band itself or the ordering process. It all went smooth as butter. It keeps me motivated to beat my daily goals. I also love that I can change my goals for each day so if I know I will be working late one day or going to the gym and lifting and doing cardio I can change my goal for each day accordingly. You have to be sure you update your daily goal the day before (before midnight). It doesn’t allow you to cheat by changing your goal part way through the day. I have mine to count, not only Nike Fuel but also steps and calories. It also displays the time so it also functions as a watch.

    • Amer

      I tried to order it 3 times so far, first time I had set my alarm 5 minutes before launch time at 11AM CST. As soon as alarm rang, I refreshed page and was able to add it to my cart.

      Happy that I might have beaten the crowd, I entered my info and went through whole process only to be told that it was sold out before the actual launch time. I was frustrated.

      I tried again on next 2 wednesdays but everytime their website would slow down and I would start getting session timed out error messages.

      Now I am pretty sure I don’t want Nike Fuel. But I will definitely try again next Wednesday. If I buy it, I will just sell it on eBay. Looking at the number of Fuelband for sale on eBay, I am thinking most people are just buying it for making quick profits.

      • Amer

        Got frustrated enough and bought FitBit: http://chaosplay.com/nike-fuelband-fail/

      • Drew

        Amer, this is exactly why YOU couldn’t get one! People like you irritate me, you buy up a product and go around and resell it for a marked up price! You are obviously mad you didn’t get one but you will do the SAME thing to other people who are patient and deserving enough to get one for uses OTHER than making profits!? You need to look up the word hypocrite in the dictionary….

      • Amer

        Drew, I don’t understand why I should look up hypocrite. I am not against free market. I am against creating false scarcity & stupid marketing games.

    • jukey

      i’d probably buy this. i dont think i’ve spend 150 on any one item. it looks pretty cool.

    • Dave R

      Ok, I like it and the concept. It’s gotta work on accuracy though. I received mine today, synced, charged and took it for a run. The colories were close to what my Nike + GPS said, about 30 off. But the distance wasn’t even close, off by almost a mile, .7
      Would have liked this to have a timer function added on. I’m also would like the clock to constantly show Instead of having to push the button
      Jury’s out, give it time.

    • Alexi

      Great write up on the reviews.

      I’ve been searching for one but its sold out just about everywhere. Best I could find was one on amazon for $300 – http://amzn.to/yBXDum

    • Chris

      Nike is really hurting themselves now! According to sales numbers they are releasing about 1,000 or so each release. 1,000 is straight up marketing PLOY to get people in a feeding frenzy! Nike needs to stop being a&%holes and allow people who WANT to buy the product the chance. I am passing Nike up for this AND future products! They don’t even allow backorder, why!? Because the more times they “sell out” the more hype they get. You ask them directly how many are being released at each launch and they “don’t know” why? Because its only 1,000, according to analysts. There is NO reason why Nike is releasing 1,000 units at a time OTHER than the fact they are HOLDING back product to create hype! They have plenty of product they just CHOOSE to release so few at a time! It would be economically COSTLY, WAY too costly for them to only manufacture SMALL amounts of this product at a time! It just doesn’t happen! Nike… you REALLY need to release these to the public before people catch on and you end up getting bashed and tarnish your name MORE than it already has….

    • Alvin

      I bought two Fuelbands and only one worked…the other i tried for several hours to sync/link and only errors… the initial setup and hassel isn’t so friendly, but once up, the usage model is decent and it seems fairly accurate. but 50% failure rate on HW isn’t good… will know more after long term usage.

      • adam too

        I pre-ordered the Fuel Band and waited three weeks to get it by the end of Feb. Low and behold, it didn’t work at all. Defective device that I had to send back. The new one loaded on my computer but my phone did not recognize the blue tooth. I used it for two days and when I hooked it back up to my computer it failed and I had to reinstall. Long story short. This one is broken as well. I have to send it back a second time! If I get one that works I think it will be great but so far no good. I find that if I don’t move my arms it doesn’t quite track correctly. If I’m weight training at the gym I don’t see my calories shoot up.

    • Phil Kopp

      Had all the ordering hassles everyone else described. Gave my feedback to Nike that this was a ridiculous way to do business. Decided to abandon the idea of gettting the band altogether.

      Unfortunately my wife bought me one yesterday. Tried it and it was DOA. Went through Nike support and they confirmed that it was DOA through some basic troubleshooting. Now I am going through the return/exchange process because the refund process seems to have more roadblocks and I do want to try the band. I will keep my box and receipts because I have low expectations for the quality of the band.

      Bottom line is that Nike is not an electronics consumer products company and their supply chain in China is nothing like that of Apple or other large CE companies. Buing anything other than a shoe from Nike (I run in Asics) is a risk. Their sales and marketing strategy for this item was nuts and I am sure they lost more customers than they gained.

      If you have not started the process, my advice is, don’t do it instead of “Just do It”

    • Mark Seale

      Wow, too bad. lots of bad bands. You know I have downloaded a bunch of apps for running and workout. So far the best one is Jog Log and i use a iPhone. Nike + and Nike + GPS are fine but still are lacking. I think I will stick to my apps for now. Sorry Nike looks like I will pass on this.

    • Andrew Harnett

      Well I had no problem installing and syncing for four days. USed it until the battery ran out. Band took a full charge from USB cord via Mac laptop however the charge lasted for less than five minutes. Battery compeltely dead. Tried charging again this time lasted four hours. Unfortunately the unit will not respond now is now dead…inert. will not take a charge will not respond to syncing cannot be reset as suggested by Nike Tech Support. The section of the band next to the USB plug is getting very hot when plugged into USb port on my mac laptop. Lack of charging, rapid discharge high heat when plugged into USb charging cord….seems like a bad battery?

      • Matt DiGeronimo

        same exact problem . . .any resolution for you?

        btw – how do you “reset”. . haven’t tried that.

        thanks. -Matt

    • Ashley Pharoah

      I bought one on Oxford Street, London, last week. I already had reservations – not working for swimming, cycling etc – but was intrigued by the design. It half works. Synchs to my iPhone but not to any of my computers. Customer Support is very poor. It’s the first Nike product – other than clothes – I’ve ever bought and it makes me very grateful for Apple!

    • Aaron Rainey

      I got a fuelband and by day two was as frustrated as any poster. The band would not fully synch with the iPhone and would not synch with the laptop. On the laptop the green progress bar would stop halfway any eventually an error would pop up.

      In a nutshell, the device was in between states after a firmware update. To fix, kill your laptop Internet connection, plug in the band and the app will launch. At the bootom left there is a factory reset. Select it and let the band reset. Next uninstall connect software, reboot laptop, plug in band, restore Internet connection, go to Nike plus, download install software and config device.

      I now love the fuelband!! Thanks Nike support!!

    • Jessica

      Had Fuelband two weeks and it stopped syncing completely Error 23. They know about this error and didn’t even argue just said return it to them. Support is useless: “did you try rebooting? Did you reset? It is a user problem….” I tried everything and it is a known issue so it was just a huge waste of my time. They should do a factory recall and replace all the units when they have a product ready for mass production. They launched way too early to be beta testing on a group like this.

      • Martin

        Yea mine was working ok and then stopped syncing the day after I had just climbed Mt. Rainier. I had 8,623 fuels on the first day and 13, 456 fuels on the summit day. I lost all of that so I was bummed about it. Too bad there are still so many problems with it. I also agree that it doesn’t work well for cycling or weight lifting. Too bad.

    • David Christensen

      Piece of crap. Stopped sync’ing. Nike can’t figure out how to update their own website, with the numbers it IS generating. One person tells me they are sending a replacement – the next says the order was placed, but 6 days later. No two people at NIKE say the same thing. I am disposing of all NIKE gear. This is the same experience I had with the watch. Given the website issues, inability to produce a quality product, and constant lies – do you feel safe putting their clothing or shoes on your body?

    • David G

      I’m having Fuel Band issues, but nothing to do with synching – which seems to be the only thing it does consistently well. My issue is with the locking mechanism that hold the bracelet together – when using links or not. My band will not stay closed…and it appears as if the internal mechanism is stuck “open.” I’ve stopped wearing the band all together because I got tired of clasping it back together 20 or 30 times a day.
      I’m heading to Nike store today to see if anyone knows of any tricks (or perhaps I’m just missing soemthing) but I can’t imagine they can help…

      • lou

        Hi Im just wondering if you managed to sort your links out as I am having the same problem and struggling to find anything to help.
        My links are all stuck on open and am not able to lock the braclet together.
        Thanks

      • Nancy

        Hi David, what did they tell you in the Nike Store? I have the same problems with the link/closing the Fuel Band. I’m using the Nike Fuelband for just 1 week :-(

    • Marieke

      I bought 2 Fuel bands in June by just walking into a Nike store in San Diego. They’re working great! No problems at all. Especially since the last update on the iphone app, sync speed really improved. Nike Fuelband app for iphone is not working properly on my boyfriend’s phone (4s). We tried removing and installing it again but it won’t work. On my phone (4s as well) it works great! We love the Fuel Bands! It’s a fun and easy way of tracking how active we are. If we come home late from a long day at the office and we haven’t reached our goal yet, we’ll go for a walk together. I think it’s a lot of money but you do get a great gadget, and a watch. If you like gadgets, it’s a must-have. Just wanted to share a positive experience with everyone because I think there are more satisfied users however they won’t bother to leave a review here just because they’re just as happy with their Fuelband as we are:-)

    • suz

      I’ve had mine about 7 months and the lights have stopped lighting up completely on some of the numbers. Today after exercising for more than 2 hours and then just cleaning house etc it says I have burned a whopping 381 calories… that’s right LOL I think something is very wrong with it.

    • TEE

      I won’t be purchasing this thing because apparently its inaccurate! It looks dope, but as far as functionality…..not so much