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Nike+ Sportwatch GPS review
Posted on 4-Apr-2012 15:07 by M Freitas | Tags Filed under: Reviews

The Nike+ Sportwatch GPS is one of those things you think you can do without, but once you try one you then realise it actually fits right in. As a watch, its oversized case, super wide strap with wild colours (mine is black with a vivid yellow) might be exactly what some don't want for attention.

But when you are out running, the big numbers will be so easy to spot, the wide rubber strap will keep everything together, and it will even make it easier when the time comes to plug it to your laptop to upload your runs.

Yes, this watch not only use GPS technology to track your runs outdoors, but it can also upload data collected during your exercise to the cloud. And once you do that Nike has put together a web site where this data will be mapped for you, let you set goals, reward with badges when you reach those goals, and even participate in group challenges - such as "first team with most kilometers by 31st March wins"...

The technology behind the scenes is powered by TomTom, which is a company no stranger to GPS users in general. And since GPS is still an outdoors technology, the watch can be linked to the Nike Shoe Sensor to keep track of steps while you are indoors (a Nike Shoe Sensor comes with the Nike+ Sportwatch).

Wen you first plug the watch to your PC you will see a link to the Nikie+ web site. There you can download the drivers and program that will allow you to configure the watch. You will enter things such as your date of birth, gender, weight and this information will be used to calculate calories burnt during exercise (or "runs").

You can also have the watch synchronising time with your PC (or manually enter the time), set the preferred theme (dark background with light fonts or vice versa), plus things like counting laps, and what's on the display during a run.

Any runs recorded will be automatically uploaded to the Nike+ web site and show up in a dashboard with links to summaries, maps and other information, such as highest point in a run, lowest point, fastest kilometer, fastest five kilometers, longest run and many others.

On this web site you can set goals and each time you reach those you will receive a badge, plus some tips on how to keep doing it. You can also create or join challenges, which are groups working towards a goal - a challenge for example could be most kilometers by a team by certain date, or teams to run the largest number of different cities and so on.

There are three buttons on the Nike + Sportwatch. The easiest way to start a "run" is to press the bottom button for three seconds and the watch will start looking for "sensors". These could be a GPS fix, Nike Shoe Sensors or a heart monitor. The GPS fix will be faster if you plug your watch to a PC to download the latest data pointing to satellites position in the sky. From my testing a GPS fix still needed something from 20 to 30 seconds. Only when you have a fix the data will be collected.

During a run the watch display will change to a split screen with the top 1/3 showing some dynamic information that can be rotated by touching the up/down buttons, with the remaining 2/3 space showing one piece of information that will remain on all the time. I have mine set to show the time in big numbers, with the top 1/3 showing my current distance. If you tap the up/down buttons you can scroll the information in the top 1/3 space through other data including speed, average speed, elapsed time, etc. This is all set through the PC utility.

You can also configure the Nike+ Sportwatch to count laps, either automatically, based on distance, or manually by tapping on its display. This is not a touchscreen display so you need to snap you finger quite hard on in to count a lap - it will also turn on the back light if you need some help looking at time at night.

A full battery charge should last you about a week when nothing is being recorded. According to the documentation you should expect nine hours battery life when using it with the GPS activated. Which is not quite enough for a 100 km run - someone I was talking a couple of weeks ago said it had taken her about eleven hours and half to run 100 km around Taupo. Other than these extreme cases, it should be more than enough. And from my testing you should have no problem charging the watch from a wall charger.

- Complete exercise system, including creating plans, settings goals, recording activities
- Rubber case and strap make it resistant to small impact
- Water resistant, it should keep going providing you don't dive with it

- If you are doing some outdoor exercise and have to move some distance by other means, it might be better to stop the recording and start a new one later, than simply pause it - the whole distance will otherwise be recorded, with incredible results

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