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Nike+ SportBand and Nike+ iPod kit comparison

Many months ago, I bought myself a Nike+ iPod kit to track my runs. Recently, I was given the newer Nike+ Sport Band which does exactly the same thing, albeit a bit differently. This is a comparative observation of the pros and cons for those who want to run with Nike+ yet can’t decide which one to get.

The obvious difference between the two items is that the Nike+ iPod Sport Kit requires an iPod nano for it to function. The Nike+ SportBand is independent of any 3rd party device and can be worn as a watch when not in use to track runs.

So as not to kill off their watch line, the Nike+ Sport Band does not include many customizable functions for telling time. No backlight is included and the way time is adjusted is through a sync with your computer’s USB port. Eek! The USB connector of the Nike+ band is curved in design, which makes it rather annoying to plug it into laptops because you’d have to tilt the device off a platform.

Perhaps the biggest gripe with the Nike+ Sport Band is its calibration. A lot of people including myself, Bong, and Phoebe have clocked in less miles than we ran. And the margin for error is quite huge. I clocked in about 6.8k in distance but the band only reported 5.4k. The margin seems to be similar throughout the Internet – we lose about 1k in every 5 kilometers. This would have been excusable, except that the earlier version – the Nike+ kit for the iPod is pretty darn accurate. Firmware update, Nike?

Accuracy aside, both devices work pretty well, factoring in the “style” by which you run. My most ideal set up would be to use the Nike+ SportBand as my distance tracker and listen to music on my nano. Why so? Why not just use the iPod kit? Well …

Without taking into account the heavier bulk of the iPod, the Nike+ kit should be more favorable except that when running, the Nike+ application on the iPod limits my navigation for songs. I can only browse through set playlists and not my entire library ala carte. This means I can’t switch to audiobooks, podcasts and well …. video (ever tried watching video while running? Crazy s#!t!). There is a fix to this – which would be to drag your pre-selected media onto a “Running Playlist” which you can always load.

Another huge advantage of the iPod set up is that you get audio notifications when you’ve set records – there’s nothing like Lance Armstrong’s voice congratulating you for your longest run to date.

In terms of pricing, the Nike+ Sport Band is cheaper by slightly more than P1,000.00, retailing at P2,300. The Nike+ iPod Sports kit goes for roughly P3,500.00. Both can be bought from Nike outlets and sports hobby shops.

If you don’t have an iPod, the Nike+ SportBand is the obvious choice. You get a USB chargeable watch (one charge lasted me 3 weeks!) and a neat Nike rubber statement band. The Nike+ iPod kit is less out of the box as you have to have both your iPod and the small white receiver for it to work. Choose: more convenient device with slightly inaccurate data vs. running with music, but slightly bulky.

Do any of my readers own one (or both!) of these? What’s your feedback, especially with the calibration of the Nike+ SportBand? It’s a pain!