In 2006, Nike and Apple teamed up to develop Nike+ technology, which accurately tracks a running workout. The Nike+ system placed a proprietary sensor in a custom-designed shoe. The sensor tracks the movement of the foot and transmits workout data to a receiver attached to an iPod Nano. Apple later added the receiver to the iPod Touch and the iPhone as well.
But what if an athlete doesn't own one of these Apple products? To solve this problem, Nike developed the Sportband, which tracks pace, distance, time and estimated calories burned—and doubles as a watch. Designed for comfort, the Sportband is made out of a lightweight polyurethane material encased in a stainless steel enclosure, thus avoiding the bulky clasp of traditional watches.
The face features an easy-to-read screen and a single control button. It detaches from the wristband to connect (via USB) to a computer for recharging and for uploading workouts (up to 30 can be stored) to Nikeplus.com, which Nike bills as world's largest running club.
We tested the Sportband with the Nike LunarGlide+ 2 men's running shoe. The sensor fit easily in a slot under the sole of the left shoe, where it was unnoticeable. The Sportband proved to be comfortable and lightweight, as advertised, and the interface was relatively easy to navigate.
The workout data was consistent with that produced by the Nike+ GPS iPhone app. Differences were minimal. However, the Nike+ system has an advantage over the phone app in that it does not rely on GPS, so you can track your running everywhere, even on a treadmill or indoor track.
For more information, go to nike.com.
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