The original Nike+ SportBand which was launched slightly more than a year ago was a nice and simple to use running watch and pedometer for those who didn't want to run while listening to music using the Nike+ Sports Kit (iPod). However, it was short lived as it was pulled off the shelves as it had quality issues with the display where moisture easily enters it thus causing a malfunction.
A year down the road, enter the Nike+ SportBand 2.0. Built and look exactly the same as it's predecessor except for the colour, Nike has claimed that the new version had the display issue rectified. Though sporting the same build which includes my suspicion on the edge of the dongle that connects the USB which appear to be "loose" which allowed moisture to enter the display on the previous model, it is proven here that Nike had really rectified the display issue. The internal moisture and water resistant sealing has been totally improved thus making sure it's totally dry in it. I have tested it myself drowning the SportBand in water, showering with it and also taking it out for a real cool morning run together with rain. After almost 2 weeks, it has no issues with it unlike the previous model where it will quickly show its defects within a matter of days. Therefore, the nightmare of the SportBand that most users experience with is now lifted! Kudos to Nike!
Let's see what some of the slight difference in terms of looks compared to the original. As mentioned, the colour has changed which now comes in gender specific colours although both function the same. The men's model is dark grayish on the outer and a dull yellow on the inner band which gives a slight LiveStrong feeling to it. However, from the Internet, it can be seen that there are few other colour option to the inner band like blue. Not too sure if those are available in Malaysia though. The women's model come with a pearl white outer with a pink inner band. Both the transmitter is still in black thus it might cause a little eye sore for some on the women's model. The display now has a white grayish background as oppose to the black in the previous. Though still without lights, it did made it easier to read. However, sadly to say that the display is only protected with a clear plastic cover. Though no issues on looking at the display with it, it is so prone to scratches even from a simple wipe from our fingers or even our apparels. This might cause issues in the future when it becomes difficult to read the display with scratches all over. So that's about it, as even the packing looks exactly the same coming in a small little plastic case with a simple manual in it.
The band itself. Note the yellow colour...
The SportBand detached from the band. Note the white grayish background on the display...
As with it's predecessor, the Nike+ software needs to be downloaded from the Nike+ website first before plugging in the SportBand into the USB drive. Once installed, plug the SportBand in and let it charge for at least 2 hours and it's ready to go, of course after popping in the sensor into a Nike+ enabled shoe. However, do not forget to setup a Nike+ account first and also setting up your details in it. It will be needed for future synchronisation.
In terms of software, I realised that the SportBand 2.0's firmware is now upgradeable. The first time I hook it up to the Internet for syncing, it detected a new version and prompt for an upgrade option. Clicking on the "Yes" button quickly upgrades it within a matter of minutes. That's a good move from Nike in ensuring the the SportBand is always up to date in features and functionality.
A few articles I read from the Internet, some claimed that Nike has upgraded the SportBand's accuracy. Personally speaking, I found no difference. It still offer about 92% accuracy out of the box and maybe up to 95% if calibrated. Calibration is done by running a known distance and then comparing it with the distance tracked by the SportBand, all done during the synchronisation process. Still a problem though, a sudden change in pace will send the SportBand recording inaccurate distances.
With the main button next to the display for start, end and pause function, one just needs to pair the SportBand to the sensor by pressing and holding it for 3 seconds and then by walking a short distance. Then another push on it, and off you go. The button at the side is call a toggle button where you can toggle the display between distance, pace, chrono and calories. Pretty much the same. And as with it's predecessor, the split timing function is still missing and I find this kind of sad.
Overall, the Nike+ SportBand 2.0 is a very much improved gadget over it's predecessor. With the display issue now rectified, runners can now rely on it in getting readings about their run. It may not be as accurate as compared to GPS enabled systems, but it's an affordable solution for those who just want to refer to something. Retailing at the same recommended price of RM229, it is now available at your nearby Nike stores.
Many thanks to Mr. Wong Li-Zren and to Nike Malaysia for replacing my original Nike+ SportBand to this new version although it has been a year.
For the review on the original Nike+ SportBand, hit the link.