If you take a look at the Nike FuelBand now, you would think that it is a very basic fitness tracker. It counts your steps, calculates the calories burned, and tells you the time. It works with a mobile app that allows you to see your data and gives you tips.
The Nike FuelBand appeared in the market very early on. It uses gamification to make fitness fun. You get badges if you reach your goals. It also uses Nike Fuel, a metric that takes into account all of your activity data and measures your whole body movement. In short, it is a simple and easy way to know your fitness level and it even allows you to easily understand how you have progressed over time.
The Nike FuelBand sports a straightforward design. It is made of thermoplastic elastomers, polypropylene, and magnesium, and it has a metal clasp so that it stays on your wrist.
It comes in three sizes: small (measuring 5.97 inches in circumference), medium (6.77 inches), and large (7.76 inches). It is 0.63 inches thick.
Physically, it has a single button that allows you to scroll through your data. The display is composed of 100 white LED bulbs plus a smaller array of 20 colored LED bulbs. These bulbs move from red to green as you approach your goal.
The Nike FuelBand is quite big, but it does not interfere with your movements. You can be powerwalking down the street or playing tennis, and you would easily forget that the FuelBand is there.
The Nike FuelBand is pretty straightforward as far as fitness trackers go. It works just like a pedometer, but with smarts.
It can connect to your computer using a USB port, or you can connect it wirelessly via Bluetooth. The mobile app will show your Fuel score, your activity data, your active time, calories, and distance moved. You can even connect the mobile app with your Facebook account to share your data with your friends.
One part of the mobile app is called “Me,” where you can see your best records, your trophies, and badges. On top of the mobile app, there is a Web-based app that allows you to see more details for your numbers.
The Nike FuelBand is also water-resistant. You can wear it while showering and you do not have to cover or take it off when it rains. Just do not swim with it. Furthermore, it uses two lithium polymer batteries that give you seven days of running time on a single charge.
What you would like about the Nike FuelBand
Nike FuelBand does its best to make fitness more interesting. Admit it or not, most people find being active more of a chore, something they have to do because they do not like getting fat or getting heart disease. Numbers are not any sexier. So Nike really made the mobile app in such a way that you can see fitness as a game that you have fun playing. You get rewards for reaching goals and you get dancing animations celebrating your victory.
What could be better
The Nike FuelBand can be inaccurate at times, making it unsuitable for those who are serious about their fitness. It was also costly. It first came out with a $149.99 price tag. (Check oout the latest rates here!) At that price, it could have offered more and do more.
Nike has already discontinued support for the mobile app after stopping production around 2014. As of April 2018, users are no longer able to use their FuelBand because of the discontinued app. In short, the company has effectively bricked all FuelBand devices it sold.
Fitbit Charge HR
While the Nike FuelBand was launched in 2012, Fitbit Charge HR was released in 2015. Fitbit’s chief competitor for the Nike FuelBand was Fitbit Flex, launched in 2013. The two years from the time Flex was launched to the time the Charge HR was launched gave Fitbit lots of time to come up with a better product.
The Fitbit Charge is like the Nike FuelBand in that you wear it on your wrist and it tracks your activity. However, instead of LED lights, it has a full OLED display that you can see even under direct sunlight. It also has a physical button that allows you to cycle through your data.
There are five color options for you to choose from. This means that you can finally get away from the dull black of the FuelBand and get something bolder such as tangerine or teal.
The Fitbit Charge HR can also keep track of your steps, your active minutes, calories burned, and distance traveled. It also tracks the flights of stairs you climbed and monitors your sleep patterns and your heart rate.
The Fitbit Charge HR also has smart features, including the ability to show you who is calling on your phone.
Additionally, the Fitbit Charge HR transfers data to your computer or smartphone via Bluetooth. The package comes with a free Bluetooth dongle for your desktop computer.
Battery juice lasts for five days before you need to recharge the Charge HR.
The Fitbit Charge HR comes with a companion mobile app that keeps a log of all your fitness data over time. You can easily see your statistics over time, allowing you to take note of trends, see how you are progressing, and even check your performance against that of your friends. There is a Web-based app as well. The Fitbit app gives you easy integrations with other fitness apps, including MapMyRun, MyFitnessPal, and Endomondo. You can also connect with apps that provide you with advice on losing weight, keeping active, and sleeping better.
What you would like about the Fitbit Charge HR
The Fitbit Charge HR comes with a buckle with adjustable slots on the strap. This allows you to wear your Charge 2 snugly but still be comfortable. Unlike the Nike FuelBand, the Charge HR 2 looks more like a watch. It tracks your daily activities, sleep, and heart rate.
What could be better
The Fitbit Charge HR is not waterproof. You cannot wear it to the shower and you most certainly cannot go swimming while wearing it. Also, while the Fitbit Charge HR can track more of your activity, it does not have GPS on board.
The OLED display is small. Also, much of the features on the Fitbit Charge HR are somewhat shallow. They are there, but they don’t do much. For instance, the sleep tracking is nice to have, but it is just that you probably would not know what to do with the information. The battery lasts only four days, which is kinda weak considering that it has a small screen with no battery draining GPS. Even the smart features are somewhat limited to syncing with the app and call notifications. You cannot read text messages or e-mail on your Charge HR. And forget about getting notifications from installed apps.
Alternatives to the Fitbit Charge HR and the Nike FuelBand
Both the Fitbit Charge HR and Nike FuelBand had a price tag of $150 when they first came out of the market. That is a bit too much, but each had significant contributions to the activity tracking devices space. The FuelBand came out with much fanfare, even getting some well-known athletes into the picture. It made people take notice, even those who were not athletes and fitness buffs. The Charge HR, on the other hand, was one of the first trackers with an optical heart rate monitor. It certainly cemented Fitbit’s reputation and foothold in the market.
However, both fitness bands have been superseded by other devices that have better sensors and more functionality.
For instance, Fitbit alone currently has the Flex 2, which tracks the same things as the Nike FuelBand but offers smart features such as call, text, and app notifications. The big difference is that Flex 2 costs only $60. Read here all about the differences between the Fitbit Flex 2 and the Fitbit One!
Then there are those trackers that other manufacturers have developed. There’s the Huawei Band 2 Pro, which already has GPS, heart rate sensor, and a much more detailed sleep tracking dashboard. This $70 tracker has a touch display, too. Then you have the Garmin Vivomove Sport (read more here!), which does double duty as a smartwatch and activity tracker. It costs $90, and the battery lasts a year before you need to recharge it.
If you are looking for something stylish, there’s the $50 Misfit Ray. It may not have heart rate tracking, but it does an excellent job of tracking your sleep and activity.
On top of these devices, you have the more expensive smartwatches that also act as a fitness tracker. Fitbit has the Ionic and the Versa. Both of these smartwatches are in competition with products that come from some of the biggest names in tech, such as the Apple Watch 3, Samsung Gear S3, Motorola Moto, and Asus Zenwatch 3.