Nike+ SportsWatch GPS review
Although I have bought myself my first smartwatch a few months back, it lacks one major feature that I want most — integration with Nike Running. I do run sometimes so currently I’m always using my iphone or android to track my run using the Nike+ app. It would be very convenient for me if I’ve got a watch that can sync with my Nike+ stats. And that particular watch is the Nike+ SportsWatch GPS.
After much thought, I put up my Samsung Galaxy Gear watch for sale and used the money to get myself a secondhand Nike+ SportsWatch GPS on Mudah. Just my luck, I found a red colored one in good condition for sale. That second watch cost me a cool 400 ringgit, not as expensive as a new one at RM550 but still the most expensive timepiece I’ve ever purchased.
The Nike+ SportsWatch is more of a digital wristwatch than a regular smartwatch. It has none of the fancy features of my old Galaxy Gear, just plain non-touchscreen LCD display with big numeral digits. The watchface is non-interchangeable so you're stuck with just one type. You navigate the menu by pushing the 3 buttons on the left side. There’s not much to configure inside the menu aside from clock, run, history, records and stopwatch. Some of the settings are set on the watch while the rest of them are set within the Nike+ Connect software available for PC and Mac.
The watch connects to a PC or Mac using a standard USB 2.0 connector that’s hidden under a flap at the end of the band. First thing you need to do is to download the Nike+ Connect software and sync your watch with your Nike+ account. After that you can control much of the settings on the watch like distance unit, time and which stat to display on the watchface (pace, distance, calories, lap etc).
The watch has a backlit LCD display but it only lights up when you give it a gentle slap on the display. Apart from that the watch is also water resistant up to 5 ATM but I have yet to bring it swimming or in the shower to test it.
Now how well does it work? The first day after getting it, I was alarmed on how it doesn’t seem to find a GPS signal on the watch. Powered by TomTom, the watch is supposed to track my run distance, pace and location using GPS technology. After some googling though, I learned that you can only use GPS with the watch outdoors. It will almost never work indoors. So I stepped outside and still can’t get the GPS signal to connect. It is only a few days later after I stand up perfectly still under a cloudless sky and point the watchface straight towards the sky then I did get a connection. So my Nike+ SportsWatch isn't exactly faulty, it’s just really bad at getting a GPS connection.
I found out later that I only get the watch to connect 2 times out of every 10 tries which is really disappointing to say the least. I asked around other Nike+ SportsWatch users and they don’t seem to have that much trouble getting GPS signal. A minute or two outdoors and they should connect fine. So either I’ve been really unlucky or my watch really hates me. Anyway, I can’t wait forever for a GPS signal everytime I want to run outside so I bought myself one of those expensive Nike+ sensor which you put inside your shoes and use that to link to my watch instead. Although it doesn’t trace the location or map out my run, at least it can track my distance without fail everytime.
In conclusion, I’m not sure whether I’ve got myself a bad unit or I’m not doing it right, my Nike+ SportsWatch can’t seem to do what it’s advertised to do — track my run outdoors using GPS. It’s kinda frustrating not be able to run with just my watch and nothing else. What’s the point of getting a GPS enabled watch if can’t use the GPS capabilities really. In any case, I’m not recommending the Nike+ GPS SportsWatch to anyone. Not when you can sync your Nike+ stats with Polar & Garmin GPS watches (among others) nowadays. In fact I might just sell my watch and get one of those instead.