Nike+ Sportwatch GPS review

My experience with the Nike+ Sportwatch GPS

Why just do it when you can just log it too? See what I did there?

We runners are a geeky bunch. Let’s be honest, we love to compare our stats – pace splits, distance covered, elevation. If there are graphs involved and nice illustrations of our efforts, even better.

So I’ve only had three running watches in my 10+ years running – a crummy Garmin which was the size of a microwave and frustrated me with its ugly clunkiness, the Nike Sportband and the Nike+ Sportwatch GPS.

Nike Sportband

I was pretty happy with the Nike Sportband – a sleek little device similar in appearance to the FitBit and Jawbone which featured a little pod that you insert into the insole of your Nike running shoes to log distance covered, pace and calories burned.

The only letdown with the Sportband was the lack of GPS. It basically worked as an advanced pedometer – counting your footstrikes and then estimating what distance that would cover.

It sounds pretty inaccurate but in all my races from 5k to the marathon, it was spot on. But once the Nike+ Sportwatch GPS came along, it was retired to the drawer under the Mac.

Nike+ Sportwatch GPS

Once the Nike+ Sportwatch GPS came along, I was pretty excited. Not only was it worn by the likes of Paula and Mo, but it had a TomTom GPS built in too meaning it was now up there with the likes of Garmin, Polar and Suunto.

It looked pretty sleek again – like you’d expect from Nike. Still slightly bulky but with more of a rectangular profile than its more curvaceous competitors.

I strapped it on my wrist and started logging the miles with ease, building up my Nike+ stats and posting my daily runs to Facebook and Twitter.

All was good for a number of months, but then from about the 9th month onwards, I started having issues with it. For a fair comparison, I’ve listed the pros and cons of this GPS running watch which I’ve used for a number of years now in all distance races.

Oh yeah
Good things about the Nike+ Sporwatch GPS

  1. The overall aesthetics are sleek and the watch itself isn’t too bulky – it sits on my wrist well as a runner with a slight frame
  2. It’s easy to get out and run – just hit ‘run’ and ‘start’
  3. It usually finds signal pretty quickly
  4. You can swap between using GPS and/or the sensor pod – which is handy if you want to log a run on the treadmill
  5. Display is nice and big and the backlight for night use is bright and works well

Just no
Problems with Nike+ Sporwatch GPS

  1. The screen fogs and stays fogged in cold weather – once you warm up, it doesn’t get any better. This makes it almost impossible to see the display and read your distance/pace as you’re moving
  2. Run with the Nike+ Sportwatch GPS in the rain and you’ll know about it – things will start going wrong. From simply not being able to sync to the USB chip rusting
  3. Once the USB chip starts to rust (and in time, trust me, it will even if you keep it out of the rain) it’s a slow decline into the GPS graveyard. Even if you clean the rust off, it’s temperamental at best in connecting with your computer to upload runs
  4. If you strap the Nike+ Sportwatch GPS up too tight, the top panel will come away from the main panel – you can see the inner glue and mechanics suggesting poor design/manufacturing
  5. Nike have now discontinued the Nike+ Sportwatch GPS meaning we runners now have to find another brand/model which is rather annoying.

Although on the plus side, there are several TomTom/Garmin GPS running watches that will pair up with Nike+ so you can still access your data and check your stats on the same dashboard/interface

Hope you’ve found those tips useful and that you’re all enjoying your running :]

Keep up!

TRG