Thursday, 3 October 2013

Product Review: Nike+SportWatch GPS

As much as I love running gadget-free, I also love having post-run stats available for a race or a hard interval- or hill training session.  I was recently sent the Nike+SportWatch GPS to review and, of course, jumped at the opportunity*: What's not to love about trying out new running toys?!    

Fun!

Let me give you a quick overview of its looks and functions:  

My first impression of the watch was that it had a spunky, sporty design.  I personally love the look of the white review unit I was sent, but immediately knew that keeping it clean was going to be a battle for this mama.  And I was right - the straps got dirty pretty quickly - I think that the black unit (also available) will be a much more practical option.

I found the Nike+SportWatch GPS super easy to use (which is saying a lot coming from a total tech dummy...).  The display is big and easy to read, and the menu, with only five options, easy to navigate.


I love that the watch strap plugs directly into a USB port to recharge, as well as for downloading workout data - no more separate little USB sticks that can get lost!  Should your computer's USB port sit in an awkward position, though, the watch also comes with an extension cable for your convenience.  I personally would also have preferred an additional option to charge the unit directly via an electricity socket - starting up my computer solely for the purpose of recharging the unit is sometimes a bit of a mission.




The Nike+SportWatch GPS is sold without a heart rate monitor, but the latter device can be purchased separately.  Personally I'm not a big fan of running with a heart rate monitor (chafing, anyone?), so this arrangement suits me just fine. 

One of the really nice features of the Nike+SportWatch GPS is that it also comes with a foot pod - a nifty little gadget that can be inserted into a Nike+ enabled shoe, or fastened to any brand of shoe via a separately purchased adaptor.  The pod allows you to record data even when you're running indoors or in an area with poor satellite coverage - love!  However, I'm not such a big fan of inserting the pod into a slot in a running shoe.  Call me The Princess and The Pea, but that little slot (even without the pod) used to bother me so much during my runs that I eventually switched from Nike running shoes to another brand, which I am using to this day.  The slot doesn't bother Will at all, though, (he runs in Nike shoes), so I guess it differs from person to person.   



Here, in a nutshell, is what I love about the Nike+SportWatch:

  • It is super user friendly. 
  • It has actual buttons to press for all functions, except for the back-light and for marking laps while you're running (the latter two functions work with a tap on the screen).  I found that having to press actual buttons eliminates the chances of accidentally switching between screens mid-run - a frustration that I have with my own running watch of a different brand. 
  • It has a funky, sporty design.
  • It has long battery life (8+ hours - longer than I'll ever run in one go...).
  • Running stats can be downloaded to the Nike+ website and shared with the Nike+ Community.  I found this highly motivational and the site very user friendly.
  • The watch plugs directly into a USB port for charging and downloading data, thereby eliminating the need for separate little wireless connectors that can easily get lost.
  • The unit gives you motivational messages after each run - sort of like virtual high fives :).

There are two things that I found a bit frustrating about the watch: One, is that the distance units (km's versus miles) cannot be changed on the watch itself - it can only be done on a computer, with the watch plugged in.  It took me a bit of reading up and fiddling about to figure this out - I would have preferred a quicker way to do this directly on the watch.  Secondly, although the unit generally linked to a satellite pretty quickly during all my walks/runs throughout the review period, it did take over 17 minutes to locate a satellite on one occasion, causing me to only be able to record data from the last half of an event that I participated in.  I must add that I started linking the unit during my drive to the event, which may be what caused the delay, so take note to only start linking the device once you're outdoors (if not using the foot pod).

In summary, if you're in the market for a simple, easy to use GPS running watch, I'd definitely recommend the Nike+SportWatch GPS.  It's fun, motivating and gives you a good selection of basic running stats.  

*I was provided with a Nike+SportWatch GPS review unit for a limited time for the purpose of this review.  All opinions are my own.

6 comments:

  1. I have heard some great things about this watch... thank you for sharing.

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    1. My pleasure! I really enjoyed trying out this watch and must say that I got quite fond of it over the review period!

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  2. A very beautiful running toy! It could be the next present for my wife. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I'm sure your wife will love it - she's a lucky girl! :)

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  3. I think it is worth buying as an athlete. It has a nice look and seems so comfortable to wear.

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    1. I definitely enjoyed using it. And it is very reasonably priced!

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