Nike Fuelband SE vs Fitbit
Update 30 June 2015
I have a Samsung Gear 2 Neo now. It tracks sleep and steps and of course does tons of things that smartwatches do. You can also measure your heartrate. I’ll probably review it soon.
I am no longer recommending the Fuelband from Nike for one simple reason. To be fair, you could argue that any coverage out of warranty is not required whatsoever.
The reason is that lots of people have had the button on it fail so that it no longer works properly. I am an engineer by degree, and buttons should not fail. When’s the last time you had a button, key, etc. fail? Exactly.
The thing is, it’s not just me. Lots of people have had this happen and there are several repair blog posts and videos, so you know that it happens more than it should.
It’s a weak point Nike refused to address, so I can no longer say you should buy one. It’s a cheap part in a fairly expensive band. Nike needs to address this. The rest of the band, the delicate electronics, display, etc. still work great. That tells me the button was under-designed.
I had a Fitbit Flex until I got a steal price on a Fuelband SE. So here’s my quick review of each:
What’s to like:
- Pretty! Hey, it’s got colored lights, different animations when you reach a goal, etc. It’s funner.
- Has a time function. So you can tell time right on your wrist! 1868 called. Double press the button to show the time.
- You can start ‘sessions’ with the single button by holding it down and tag them using the app or site later for specific activities. You can also make your own tags. Sleep, weights, jogging, etc. More granular for tracking your activities.
- More Likes on their Facebook page vs. Fitbit, so at least it’s a more active community there. Indicative of something.
- Can plug into any USB port to charge and sync. Needs the app to sync of course. But it can also sync using your Android or iOS device.
- Multi-sizing. It has links you can by and put in for various sizes. Fitbit only has 2 band sizes. Nike has 3, plus at least two expansion link sizes. You could probably make it dog collar sized. Or in the smallest case, for your active toddler. If you do either though, just send me some money because you have too much.
- More colorful designs. Did I use the pretty thing already?
- Easier to fasten. Fitbit has a goofy clasp that if you press on your wrist to close it, hurts. Ow.
- No Bluetooth dongle, so if you want to use an older laptop or PC you have to plug it in. Not a real dealkiller but it would be nice.
- (Added 30 May 2015) I just found out you can turn off the Bluetooth on the band by holding the button for about 7 seconds. the Bluetooth symbol and ‘ON’ or ‘OFF’ will show. Push the button to toggle. Makes the battery last a LOT longer.
What’s not to like:
- More rigid. Fitbit Flex is more softer.
- Clasp easier to close and open but can pinch a little on closing
- More expensive
- Can’t change band colors once it’s bought, I’m pretty sure. Basically it’s all one piece.
- Can pinch my tender lady wrist skin on closing unless I’m careful.
What’s to like:
- I know more people with it, probably because it’s cheaper.
- Includes a low power Bluetooth USB dongle so you can use your old school with more wearable tech now.
- Has two band sizes in the box.
- More colors
- Easy to replace individual parts: Fitbit flex slips into the band so any little part that breaks, you just need that part. Band, dongle, Fitbit Flex itself.
- Probably lasts another day or two on a charge, but you need the special cable to charge it.
- Great customer service on warranty. Fitbit replaced it with no real questions asked and let me keep the old one and all the parts. So I have extras.
- Tracks sleep better. Fuel earned is the only metric during a sleep session on the Fuelband. Less is better I would presume. Shows spikes when you move. Or take a potty break, let the cat out/in, etc.
- It’s simple. Good for the non-techs. It doesn’t do as much of course as a result.
What’s not to like:
- Needs a special cable to charge.
- My first one broke. Could be bad luck.
- Very basic. Three possible indications: progress for the day, when you reach a goal, and whether it’s in sleep tracking mode or not.
- You have to press hard to close the clasp thingy, which kind of hurts my weak lady wrist tendons.
What’s the same on both:
Good website, good apps, good community and social aspect with friends. Both make you consider your activity level.
Summary: I like them both but the Nike is better, I think. Prettier, more granular, easy charging, fashion points applied. To some degree it’s a taste and budget issue.
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