I’ve had my Nike+ GPS Sports Watch a few weeks now, so I thought it was about time I shared my experiences.
I owned quite a few sports watches. Polar’s, Garmin’s, Suunto’s. Some GPS, some not. I have a bit of a fascination with them. When Nike announced they were building one in collaboration with TomTom, I was suitably excited.
Buying the watch was a little strange. I got mine from NikeTown on Oxford Street. I initially thought they didn’t stock them as there is only one on display in a little cabinet in this giant store. When asking one of the assistants, he proceeded to shuffle off into the back room and fetch the special keys to where the watches were hidden. He had a smile on his face, and told me that the first 500 batch had sold in 2 days, and that they had only just got the new batch. Clearly they don’t need to stick these things in big glass cabinets. The marketing and hype is enough.
The packaging is very “Apple” and the build quality is really nice. The setup was also very simple (although not perfect). Install a little desktop client, plug the watch into your computer via the nifty built in USB adapter and follow the instructions on screen. This gives you feedback about what the watch is doing. You log into the Nike+ website from this client too, but strangely also configure the watch options, like setting the time, 12 or 24h, km or miles, sounds on or off. When starting out I had a problem where my watch had a firmware update available, and whilst installing it the software crashed! Simply starting the procedure again and ignoring all the opaque error messages seem to do the trick and I was up and running.
Starting up for a run is just a matter of clicking and holding the yellow button. This gets the watch in linking mode, where it will try and locate satellites and your foot pod if available. I’ve found the watch to be quicker to link than other watches I’ve had, especially in Central London, but it’s not super quick. Probably 20-30 seconds. Once linked, you are greeted with “Ready” and just need to press the yellow button to start.
The watches UI is really simple. I initially thought to simple after the feature fest of other sports watches, but after a few weeks use, I think it’s perfect. They have stripped it down to exactly what you need on a run, and no more. The display is clear and easy to read whilst running, with it’s large display and smaller display above it, and the button chunky enough to not accidentally press the wrong one.
There are three buttons on the watch, two to toggle back and forth and the final one to select things. It’s really simple to pause the watch during a run, or switch the views. If you choose to have the watch add autolaps, the watch beeps at the lap marker and then waits for a second to let you glance down, showing you split times.
Battery life is epic. Maybe I’m not using it enough, but the built in battery seems to be always full. My old Garmin used to be practically flat after a run.
Finally, after a run, it just a matter of popping the watch into your computer USB slot and the syncing begins. Once synced the app takes you to the Nike+ website. Currently this is where it all goes wrong. The Nike+ site is a dog. A Flash only dog. It’s old, slow and clunky. There is hope though. There is a new part of the site called Maps beta, which is only for the GPS devices. This is an HTML pages and is much snapper. I’m guessing the while site is going this way … please.
So to summarise. I think the watch is fantastic, and worth every penny. Once Nike sort our there website, it will be an awesome combination.
PROS Looks, simple, battery, functionality CONS Syncing, Nike+ website