Product Review: Nike+ Ups the Ante with Sportwatch Powered by TomTom

I've been a long-time fan of Nike+, so it's no surprise when they announced their newest edition to the Nike+ family at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), I was more than amped to get my hands on it. If you're not familiar with Nike+, check out a post I did a while back "The New Nike+" to get details about the system. When the Nike+ Sportwatch was released April 1, we weren't surprised that it sold out before we could call dibs. After what seemed like several months of waiting, Nike finally restocked the watch which was sold out for a good month or so. Why did I choose Nike+ rather than go for the often coveted Garmin. I'm a huge fan of the Nike+ online interface that accompanies the technology. I can train, compete in challenges with friends and keep my online social network up-to-speed on my running progress.But with any new gadget, there are pros and cons. The Pros:
  • Lightweight
  • Super easy to use.Tap the screen to mark laps and activate the backlight during your run, and personalize the data that you want to see during your run. For direct connect, USB contacts are built into the watch strap—just plug the watch directly into a USB port on your computer to upload run data and recharge the battery.
  • Doubles as a stylish fashion accessory when I'm not running.
  • Using GPS by TomTom with the Nike+ Sensor, you can track your runs instantly, and get accurate speed and distance information, indoors or out—even if the GPS signal gets interrupted.
  • The Nike+ SportWatch GPS by TomTom tracks your time, distance, pace, heart rate and calories burned. It also shows your mapped route, with pace data, and changes in elevation on Nikeplus.com. And it's heart-rate monitor compatible with the Polar Wearlink+ Transmitter.
  • Review your Nike+ history (up to 50 runs) and PRs, and set automatic Run Reminders that guilt you into hitting the pavement. Run a personal best, receive an "Attaboy".
The Cons:
  • No distance or time goals. It's just you and the open road. This isn't a necessarily a bad thing, but something I've had to get used to as I'm all about clocking a particular amount of miles or running for a particular amount of time. However, there is a certain sense of freedom that I've gained and I've gotten used to running without music and focusing more on my form.
  • I'm still having trouble getting the GPS function and the shoe sensor to work in tandem. However, this could totally be operator error.
  • The GPS (as all GPS') can take a while to sync. During my race in New York a few weekends ago, I was well beyond the start line before it completely synced.
I've had a lot of people ask if they should invest in the Nike+ or a Garmin. While I haven't used any of the Garmin watches, they each have their pros and cons. I do see a Garmin in my future as I begin to set my sights on a Tri. However, my heart is and will probably always be with Nike+ as it's how I started my love affair with running. If you have the Nike+ Sportwatch or a Garmin, tell us what you think.


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