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Nike’s Fuelband SE Isn’t the Update We Were Expecting

Nike changed the game nearly two years ago when it announced the Fuelband, a bracelet that measures the wearer’s everyday activity, calories and distance traveled and displays it all on an LED screen. Enthusiasm for the device was high — Gizmodo’s Casey Chan called it “an awesome fitness wristband for your entire life,” and when it became available for preorder, the first batch sold out in minutes, leading to high markups on eBay.

So expectations ran high for the second-generation Fuelband, which Nike introduced recently. The inclusion of a heart rate monitor and compatibility with Android devices were among the rumors, albeit thinly sourced, floated before the announcement.

But what we’re getting with Nike’s Fuelband SE is less of a revolutionary leap forward and more of a refresh.

“Everything you know and love remains the same,” Stefan Olander, Nike’s vice president of digital sport, told a group of journalists and guests at an event unveiling the device in Tribeca.

While it may not be innovative, the new version of the Fuelband does represent an improvement. The biggest change is the inclusion of the new version of Bluetooth, which allows for real-time syncing with the iPhone 4S and later models. (There’s still no Fuelband app for Android devices.)

Real-time syncing — already a feature on devices from Fuelband rival Fitbit — enables several new features. One of them, called “Win the Hour,” encourages frequent movement by notifying you via the Fuelband’s display or notifications on your iPhone if you aren’t moving enough. (The Jawbone UP, another Fuelband rival, has a setting that will make the wristband vibrate if you don’t move enough during a set period of time.)

Like the original Fuelband, the Fuelband SE converts activity to what Nike calls “NikeFuel” points that allow you to compare your activity with friends and family.

The Nike Fuelband SE, which will sell for $149, will be available in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K., Germany and Japan on Nov. 6, and is available for preorder on Nike’s website.




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