Nike + SportWatch on the road

Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano

with two watches to make the tests as it should be!
with two watches to make the tests as it should be!

Through contact with the agency MediaHook that deals with communication for TomTom products, I had the opportunity to test the Nike+ Sportwatch GPS powered by TomTom (this is the full name :shock: ). For this review I do not receive any reward, except, of course, the ability to have free loaner watch.

The review is based on my actual use of the watch, so do not expect a “In deep review” like DC Rainmaker, but rather an on-the-road test about the most common functions I’ve used and pros and cons I found during use..
It is neither a guide, nor a substitute for manual (in fact I give for granted that you know at least the basic functions!), Is a summary of my actual use “on the road”. If you have any question or doubt about some function that is not described in the article, just ask in the comments!

Firsti impact and unboxing

Nike+_02I must say that the first impression was very positive: the pictures do not do it justice, and those that I did probably even less: it is much nicer live than in publicity photos and handling it is a feeling of strength and solidity!
Opening the box we find watch and foot pod inserted within a housing in cardboard, while under the latter there is the cable for connection to the PC (which is actually a simple USB extension to use from the strap on the side of the clock and the computer) and a Quick Start Guide, a very skinny fast start instruction manual (the full one is here).

The only concern I had was the location and strength of the USB connector: at the bottom of the strap it looks really delicate and especially subject to wear when you wear and take the watch off, operation that is mandatory to download the stored data and recharge the battery.Nike+_04

The look and feel of the watch is very attractive, you can fell the “hand” of Apple in both the packaging and the design of the strap and case. The color that I got is probably the most neutral (black – gray), other colors are certainly more flashy and “fashion”. The glass is curved and round but not protruding from the plastic casing, although it is a little “exposed” and could be damaged.
On the left side there are 3 buttons to manage the functions and menu, but to turn on the backlight mind you have to “slap” on the clock! Instead of a button to turn on the light there is an accelerometer (I guess) that, when you hit the top of the glass, activates the backlight or lap stopwatch and GPS.
Obviously this is the feature that most excites my two years old son, who occasionally asks me if he can “come to blows” my watch. A weird thing is that the light turns on while I’m shaving…

Nike+_12
the USB connector and its coverage: beware of water droplets!

I used it for a little as every day watch and I must say that it really looks good!

The watch is water resistant to 5 atm, so it goes safely under t rain and even in the shower, but between the cover of the USB connector and the contacts often some water remains “trapped”: remember to wipe the contacts before connecting to the PC.

The watch software and Nike+ website

The watch software is quite simple (sometimes even too simplified) and deliberately minimalist: to start a race quickly it’s enough to hold the lower button for a few seconds. In this way, you activate the search of the satellites via GPS and the stride sensor, and within seconds you can start running.

If you prefer to take it easy,  you can scroll through the menu with the other two buttons (up and down). Again, items are few and pretty self-explanatory: CLOCK, RUN, HISTORY, RECORDS and STOPWATCH.
CLOCK is used to configure the date, time and any alarm.
STOPWATCH is used only for timing, it does not measure any distance, and to generate a lap just tap the clock (like when you turn on the light).
RUN leads to the menu where you can choose whether to enable GPS and stride sensor or connect other sensors (heart rate monitor in the first place) and configure the options as autolap (Automatic lap) function or the intervals. On the clock you can enable or disable this functions but to configure the duration (in time or distance) you must connect it to the PC.
HISTORY shows the archive of the races you have already made, with summary data (mileage, average pace, calories burned, total time and duration of the various lap).
In RECORDS, you find the distance traveled, the fastest mile, the fastest km, the best time of 5 and 10 km and the longest distance traveled in a single workout. These data are derived from the synchronization with the Nike+ site and updated every time you connect the watch to the PC to download you run data.Nike+_Software_01

There’s nothing more to say about the watch functions: actually several parameters can not be set from the menu, but you need to connect it to a PC and set from there to the desired values. For example, the “beep” of the keys can be disabled only by the PC software, as well as the autolap duration or the duration of the run-walk intervals: they can not be set on the watch, but only enabled or disabled.

Nike+_Sito_02Connecting it to the PC the Nike + Connect software is automatically installed. It allows you to download workouts from the watch and upload them to the Nike + website (registration is required at the site, which is critical to be able to make the best use of all the functions available and to keep a journal of their training).

The “strength” of the system is its integration with the Nike + website, where ther are saved your race times, your best times and you can do analysis on the data, integrate information on the race with our feelings and the type of track on which we run, as well as keep track of mileage with every pair of shoes.Nike+_Sito_01

Your personal bests are also updated on the clock, but this  function is pretty useless (raise your hand if you do not know your best times of 5 and 10 km …), mostly used to “bully” with friends.

The real lack of clock software is that you cannot create structured workouts: warm up, intervals, cool-down phases, which make the watch ill-suited to the evolved runner. The function run-walk should be integrated with the phases of heating and cool-down, making the Nike + watch a much more complete instrument.Nike+_10

Go for a run

I did some run with the Nike + SportWatch on left wrist, and the Garmin 610 on the right (ok, I know, I’m not normal, but it is to have a comparison between the figures …)
Both with the foot pod (I had to stick the Nike+ pod on my shoe using cling film, while in the Nike shoes there is a special slot under the left insole)Nike+_05 and GPS enabled and both with recording of GPS points per second (actually the Nike + is not settable but downloading a track from the site you can see that the points are collected every second).Nike+_08

The locking time of the satellites is damn Immediate for Nike +, while the Garmin takes several tens of seconds more. This is certainly due to the fact that every time you connect the Nike + to PC this also updates the satellite data on the clock (the so-called ephemeris) speeding up the fix process, while Garmin does not have this function and relies on the updating of the ephemeris from the satellites, which can take quite a lot, and in the early morning with 0 ° C is not nice …!

The autolap “beep” comes almost at once. I tried to start and stop them at the same time, and eventually the Nike + measured 9483 meters while the Garmin 9655.
From the trace, the Garmin got lost in the last 100 meters, making me do a little more road. Up to 9 km, tracks are practically the same, the Nike + is more “true to himself” in the sense that every time I went over the same point the tracks are closer together than the Garmin.

The instant pace is rather slow to adapt to changes of pace, a sign that is calculated by averaging the measurements of a few seconds, by contrast is very stable, it never reaches excessive peaks.

Even on a half marathon the difference in distance measured by the two watches was very small!

Conclusions

Nike+ Sportwatch GPS is definitely a great product, with a few small lack and certain features rather good.

Pros

  • Robust, solid and attractive design
  • water resistant 5 atm (50 meters)
  • Menus are simple, so the configuration (could also be a cons, you can not change save interval data saving period, runs can not be deleted from the clock memory, etc.).
  • Easy software setup and connection to Nike + website

Cons

  • It lacks the ability to create advanced workouts
  • Watch menu in English only
  • Beeps (lap, run-walk) very low, barely audible when running
  • The USB connector is quite delicate, especially because it tends to remain “wet”

3 thoughts on “Nike + SportWatch on the road

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