Whether you enjoy running, jogging or long walking, you may want to know that Nike has partnered with Apple to come out with Nike Plus iPod Sport Kit. This kit makes running more fun. It has extended the use of iPod Nano, making it more than just a portable song player and more relevant to fitness enthusiasts.
Nike Plus Sports Kit includes:
- A tiny adapter (receiver) that attaches to the Nano.
- A small oval shape of sensor (pedometer) that fits under the sockliner of the left Nike Plus Footwear. You will not feel the sensor at all even it is under your foot. It tracks your steps and communicate wireless with the adapter on Nano.
Note: iPod Nano and Nike + shoes are not included in the Sport Kit package.
While you are running, the shoes “talk” to iPod Nano via wireless technology to provide the following near real time statistics:
- Distance traveled
- Calories burned
- Time elapsed.
Cool Features of Nike Plus Sport Kit
Some of the cool features are:
- Voice feedback
- PowerSong which is track that gets you pumped up when you need extra push.
- This Sport Kit is not just a product alone. It provides data integration with Nike + community website.
- My friend showed me how he uploaded the workout data to Nike+ Online Community which is free for registration. The interface is intuitive with nice colors and comparative charts. I saw the line graph of his running record, displaying average speed and other performance.
- He set up challenges and virtual track meets with other nikeplus.com users. The site can even chart the total progress of all Nike users around the world. I love the social aspect of this tool because it enables you to interact with friends and look at their running records too.
- Nike claims that the kit provides 90 percent of accuracy right out of the box. You can calibrate to your stride and increasing to higher accuracy.
Main Drawbacks of Nike Plus Sport Kit
However, you may want to know few of the main drawbacks:
- The battery is not replaceable. So, when the Sport Kit run out of power, you will have to get a new Sport Kit. According to Nike, the pedometer will last about 1,000 hours before it dies off. If you run an hour a day, 7 hours a week, this gadget will last for about 2.5 years. By then, your running shoes may have worn out too.
- Also, the Sport Kit is only meant for iPod Nano and it will not with iPod Classic, iPod Touch, or iPod Shuffle or iPhone. (Update: iPhone can be linked now with iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4) It will ne nice to get all iPod platers to work with the Sports Kits because iPod Shuffle and Classic are also used as exercise companions nowadays.
- You need to manually trigger the PowerSong.
Other things to watch out:
- Do not use the receiver in water or during rain unless you are sure that your iPod, receiver and the sensor are well protected from water. May be H2O can help.
- If you are taking flight, put the sensor to sleep too.
- If you are cycling or using elliptical machine, this kit will not provide accurate results. The sensor needs to detect the vibration produced when your foot hits the ground.
- Some people are expecting more from this kit, like being able to measure heart rate. If it does, I believe that it will be more expensive than its current price.
Do You Really Have To Use Nike + Shoes In Order to Use Nike + iPod?
One of the key reasons Nike works with Apple is to push the sales of its shoes. It comes out with Nike Plus series. I believe that some people, who already own iPod Nona, may purposely buy Nike + shoes together with the Sport Kit. However, I wonder any consumer will buy iPod Nano just for this feature.
You do not actually need Nike + shoes with the Sport Kit. What you need to do is to find a way to secure the pedometer with one of your shoes. It does not have to be underneath your sock guard. Just stuck it at the top of your shoe between the lace and shoe tongue will do. Here are two accessories produced by third party which allow you to do so with any type of running shoes:
Many runners have compared the results with Nike and non-Nike running shoes and the results are still accurate enough.
My Experience with Nike + Sports Kit
I borrowed my friend’s Nike + Sports Kit and iPod Nano few weeks ago.
After I inserted the small white transmitter into iPod Nano’s connector, a Nike iPod menu appeared on the iPod Nano’s screen. Under Setting submenu, I key in my weight, then I chose a PowerSong.
I didn’t expect much, but I felt good to hear feedback from Lance Amstrong saying, “This is Lance Armstrong. Keep up the good work!” I can choose either male or female voice. Whenever this voice appears, the music fades into the background and the voice informs you how far you have run, current speed and how long you have been exercising.
In short, I tried this gadget without knowing much beforehand and my experience has been a positive one.
Despite some of the drawbacks mentioned earlier, Nike + Sport Kit is still a great “workout partner” acting as a motivator or coach that gives you live feedback on your running progress. If music is your motivation, this kit will take you for another mile.
Category: Fitness Gadget/Equipment
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