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Thinkspace

Mobile Health's Best: Nike FuelBand, Sleep Cycle, and Jawbone UP

I own both the Jawbone UP and the Nike Fuel Band. Being a geeky guy that likes data, I was quite interested in tracking sleep and exercise. When the Jawbone UP came out, I immediately got one. However, there are other options out there so I decided to write a review on the Nike FuelBand, Jawbone UP, and Sleep Cycle alarm clock App.

Jawbone UP

The Jawbone UP tracks sleep, movement, meals. I think the Jawbone does an awesome job packaging and marketing their products. In fact, I think they do a better job than Nike when it comes to marketing and packaging. The thing that I really like about the Jawbone UP is that it tracks how much and how well I sleep. After using the Jawbone UP, I became aware of how I felt after 5.5 hours versus 6.5 hours versus 8 hours of sleep. Then after seven days the device became defective and stopped charging. I took a chance on buying the device because I knew Jawbone had a no questions asked refund policy. Jawbone’s product idea was really good, however, I think they took a chance and launch the product before they done adequate QA testing. I pretty much feel like Jawbone blew it as being first to market with a defective product has jeopardized the trust with the consumer.

Tracking Sleep

With a dead Jawbone UP, I was able to find an alterative app for tracking sleep called Sleep Cycle alarm clock, created by Maciek Drejak. The Sleep Cycle App has over 1 million downloads and does an even better job tracking sleep than the Jawbone UP. It also only costs $0.99 and has almost 10,000 ratings. This app acts as an alarm clock that analyzes your sleep patterns and wakes you in the lightest sleep phase – a natural way to wake up where you feel rested and relaxed. Sleep Cycle monitors your movement during sleep using the extremely sensitive accelerometer in your iPhone. The nice thing about this, is you don’t have to wear a bracelet when you sleep.

Nike Fuel Band

The Nike Fuel Band is similar to the Jawbone UP but it does not track sleep and costs more money. It tracks steps, calories, and time. It also tracks something called Nike Fuel, a metric that Nike put together on its own that matches a person’s movement through the wristband’s accelerometer against data collected on how rapidly oxygen is consumed. The band is thicker and more sturdy than the Jawbone UP.

Nike+ Twitter Response: How are calories calculated by the Nike FuelBand? Updated: 2/27/2012


The surface of the band also has a cool digital display that gives you immediate stats about how many steps you’ve taken, calories burned, and shows you the time of day.

Nike FuelBand Is Better Than The Jawbone UP

Let’s compare two working products and let’s pretend that Jawbone UP solves it’s defective battery issue. Here’s why the Nike Fuel Band Is Better:
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  • Nike FuelBand charges wirelessly. It uses Bluetooth Low Energy and syncs to the iPhone App. Jawbone UP has to plug into the headphone jack to sync.
  • Nike FuelBand provides you stats on the display for immediate feedback. Jawbone UP doesn’t until you sync it.
  • Nike FuelBand doesn’t have parts that fall off and get lost. Jawbone UP has two pieces that could fall off and get lost. It also could fall off and get snagged on things.
  • Nike FuelBand tells time. I didn’t think this would be that good until I realized there is one less thing that I have to wear. Nice to lose the wrist watch. It definitely something you can wear while playing contact sports like soccer or football and not worry about it scratching someone.
  • Nike FuelBand is more suitable for me than the Fitbit. I was never a candidate for Fitbit because it’s something that I could easily lose. I’d gladly pay $50 more for a product that I won’t misplace or lose. Yes, the Fitbit tracks sleep too, but, again there’s a $0.99 app called Sleep Cycle that takes care of that for me.

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Keep It Simple and Do It Really Good

Some companies compete by having more features and being cheaper. Nike is showing that you can charge more money for a high quality product. As an entrepreneur I like this model better than competing on price and could write a long blog post on why it’s better to charge more for a product than be at the bottom of the barrel. Nike, while not first to the mobile health band race definitely is capitalizing on Jawbone’s misstep. It’s too bad for Jawbone because Jawbone’s marketing team really did a great job with their marketing effort.
Updated: March 6, 2012

How to Soft Reset Your Nike FuelBand

While up skiing, my FuelBand would not sync to my iPhone. I tried to make my iPhone forget about the FuelBand and then try to re-pair it via Bluetooth. That didn’t work in fact, I could not get my iPhone to even see the FuelBand as a Bluetooth device. I called customer support and they walked me through how to reset or reboot the Nike FuelBand. You hold down the button on the FuelBand until it says “reset”, click the button one more time, and it will reset or reboot the FuelBand. You will NOT lose any data that is on the FuelBand. It’s kind of like rebooting a computer or turning on and off any electronic gadget.
[youtube_sc url=”http://youtu.be/7x92eOYQjT4″ playlist=”C28vPth3Xio, MT50eLLxPco, BoKkQrCHS2Q” title=”How%20to%20Reset%20Nike%20FuelBand”]

Chief Pot Stirrer @thinkspace

Comments

  • Farren West

    February 26, 2012

    Great summary…Peter 😉 Thanks for the heads up!!

    • Peter Chee

      February 26, 2012

      Thanks for stopping by to read about the Nike FuelBand. LMK if you end up getting one. I think there’s some social elements to this as well that might be fun to encourage each other to exercise.

      • Matt N

        May 9, 2012

        I did a 500 step test wearing both the fitbit and the Nike fuelband – fit bit got 516 steps (couple extra on the corners) and the fuelband got 79. This is a total fail in my mind. If you’re into the game and concept of fuel as something fun to keep you motivated – go with the fuelband – if you care about accuracy or data at all, do not go with the fuelband. Sure the fitbit can have its errors or misfires depending on how you wear it or certain one off situations. But overall it is a far superior product if you’re actually I trying to track steps or calories, even though the fuel band says it does track those things. I promptly returned the fuelband.

        • Peter Chee

          May 9, 2012

          Thanks for the interesting comparison between the Fitbit and Fuelband. I don’t own a Fitbit so I can’t really comment on this. The only comparison I did was between the Jawbone UP and Fuelband.
          The one thing that is fairly accurate is running on treadmill and comparing the miles that I ran and that was really close to be the same.
          One would think that Nike did test the Fuelband against things like Fitbit and treadmills to ensure that the measurements were somewhere in the same realm — since that is what most people would be comparing to determine the validity of the product…

  • Peter Chee

    February 26, 2012

    .@AdamLoving did a video review of the Nike FuelBand on Facebook. Check it out. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150709799290351

  • Blueknight

    February 27, 2012

    You mean it syncs* wirelessly? Probably doesn’t charge wirelessly. Great review, I’m really glad you wrote it. I do like the sleep tracking of jawbone. Hope this is a firmware update in Nike.

    • Peter Chee

      February 27, 2012

      Thanks! Yes, it syncs wirelessly to the iPhone App. Which is way more convenient than having to jack it in. It also means you don’t have to worry about the Jawbone UP cap falling off and losing it. One time I was reaching behind a car seat and the cap of the Jawbone UP feel off. The Nike FuelBand also shows you a progress meter in how close you are to your goal. Kind of nice so you know how close you are each day.

      • Andy Casey

        March 3, 2012

        Hi Peter,
        If I don’t have an iphone, but I own a mac, will it sync via Bluetooth on my mac? I have heard there is a website, like fitbit, true? Can you also track food?
        thanks,
        andy

        • Peter Chee

          March 6, 2012

          I tried to connect my FuelBand via Bluetooth to my Mac Book Pro directly (which worked) but the software running on the MBP did not recognize that it was connected. I think the software only supports direct USB connections to the FuelBand.

  • Joanne Salonger

    February 27, 2012

    I just signed up for a free sleep tracking solution call SleepRate.  It use a heart rate monitor –I have a polar belt –and an iphone app.  Then in the morning I can see my results on my dashboard.  It works for me and it seems more scientific.  

    • Peter Chee

      February 27, 2012

      Hi Joanne, thanks for the tip to SleepRate. It looks interesting, how do you like wearing a strap or polar belt?

      • Joanne Salonger

        February 28, 2012

        Hi Peter,
        The belt is uncomfortable for the first night or two.  Then its ok – I got used to it.  
         I find that using SleepRate keeps me focused on sleeping better and getting enough sleep.  The dashboard is helpful to understand how I sleep – it tells me how long I slept and in what stages of sleep.  As I use it more, I understand my sleep and lack of sleep better.
        I noticed when I sleep good- I don’t eat as much, I exercise more, and overall am happier.
        Try it.
        Let me know how you do?

  • Mieka Miller

    February 27, 2012

    Great review Peter. Personally, I absolutely love the Nike Fuel Band! I will be buying it when the next batch is released. Can’t wait to compete with your results! 🙂

    • Peter Chee

      February 27, 2012

      Mieka, I think you’re one that loves goals and being able to see how close you are to your daily exercise goal is going to be exciting for you. It certainly does motivate me a lot more to have this on and know exactly how close I am to my exercise goal! With the Jawbone UP I was completely in the dark plus it was not as convenient to synch. Game on!

    • Peter Chee

      April 28, 2012

      I’m still waiting for you to get one!

  • Jennifer M. Owens

    February 27, 2012

    Good to know about the Jawbone!  Although it does not tell time, I still prefer the Fitbit because it can be worn on my pants, in my pocket, or on my bra and be discreet and professional.  It also does a better job tracking sleep patterns becasue since it is worn on the wrist, it doesn’t pick up vibrations from your bed partner in the mattress like an iPhone app does.  

    • Peter Chee

      February 27, 2012

      Hi Jennifer. It’s interesting to hear the reason that you like the Fitbit. Based on my habits, I’d certainly misplace or lose the Fitbit. While the Fitbit can be concealed, I actually like the social aspects of wearing it on my wrist. Just like the Jawbone UP, it’s makes for a great communication starter when I’m out and about. I also don’t like wearing things like watches or bracelets to bed. The Fitbit does look like a great product and they certainly have a cool API that allows it to be integrated into other apps. I have to commend Fitbit for that!

      • Raymond Russell

        March 6, 2012

        Does Nike have an API for the FuelBand, similar to that of Fitbit?

        • Peter Chee

          March 6, 2012

          Hi Raymond, no they do not have a programmable API for the FuelBand. However, I would like to think Nike would create one just like Fitbit.

    • FitBitGal

      March 2, 2012

      There are two FitBit models. The original, now dubbed Classic, does not tell time. The 2d generation model, dubbed Ultra, does have this function. The latter also adds “flights of stairs.” Note: walking in a hilly area will translate ino flights. Helpful! FWIW, while I love my FitBit, I’m looking at the FuelBand per its wireless sync with an iPhone. Bugs me that FitBit ties me to a computer for syncing purposes. If I’m correct that these two devices are more similar than different, I’ll be sporting a FuelBand bracelet in the near future (grin).

      • Peter Chee

        March 2, 2012

        I think the FitBit certainly looks like a really good product. Cool that it translates walking into flights of stairs that’s pretty helpful as you can visualize yourself walking up 50 flights of stairs. I gotta believe that sometime in the future FitBit will come out with a new version that uses Bluetooth low energy. Right now the Nike FuelBand seems to be only thing that syncs wirelessly.

      • TypeA

        April 19, 2012

        Hey FitBitGal,  I was one of those people who couldn’t wait for the FuelBand to restock so, I’ve been using a FitBit the past three weeks, earlier this week, my FuelBand arrived (yay).  I’ve been wearing the two to compare steps and distance well, guess what happened today?  I lost the FitBit, I went to a doctors appointment and she asked me how it was (it definitely kept me motivated) and it was gone.  For this reason, I’m going to stick to the FuelBand. You won’t have to worry about loosing it.  It doesn’t have the detail nor track food like the FitBit however; it does the same in that it keeps you motivated and I find the 3500 fuel range for the FuelBand is equilvalent to the goal I set on FitBit. Steps were also very close.  Good luck and enjoy the FuelBand!

  • JR. Hunte

    March 1, 2012

    Peter,
    Thanks much for the review. I have been looking all over the Internet for a comprehensive review and side by side comparison of these two products, and I am glad to finally find one! Being a new product there really isn’t much information out there regarding the Nike Fuelband, but after reading this review, it really helps me justify my decision to order one (I ordered it 2/29).
    Regards,
    JR

    • Peter Chee

      March 1, 2012

      JR, Glad you found it useful! One thing is for sure it’s definitely providing me with motivation to exercise. I’ve been working out for six straight days! Got to hit my daily goals!

  • Peter Chee

    March 1, 2012

    Btw, the Nike Fuelband battery life is 4 days. That’s what’s advertised and that’s about what it was at before I charged it up again…

  • Paul

    March 1, 2012

    Great comparison!  Quick question about the Fuelband’s calorie count.  On some of the YouTube reviews I see users who have very low calorie counts early in the day.  Even without exercise, the thing should read 650 or so by 9am.  Someone mentioned that it only computes calories during activity, but I would think it should add calories at all times (just at a lower rate, but based upon body size and age, etc) as does the Fitbit and Bodybugg.  Have you found that it provides a 24-hour running tally of calories, or just those burned during activity?

    • Peter Chee

      March 2, 2012

      Paul, I wasn’t able to find any information about how calories are calculated. I did ask @NikePlus FuelBand the same question and they replied “Calories burned is based on height, weight, gender and movement which is calculated by the internal accelerometer.”. That is one area that seems foggy and I wish I could get a better explanation on that. I will be down at Nike HQ next week, maybe, I can ask someone in corporate!

      • TypeA

        April 19, 2012

        Hey Peter, someone on Twitter asked about the calorie calculation and @NikeFuel answered that it only shows calories burned above your base metabolic rate (so, you have to add the calories showing on the band to your BMR).  Hope that helps. 

  • Tridge1010

    March 6, 2012

    Have you found out if the fuel band keeps a running total for the day or just during activities?

    • Peter Chee

      March 7, 2012

      For the last few weeks, what I’ve noticed is that it resets to zero each day at midnight. It tracks movement from the moment you get up until you go to sleep.

  • Anne-Marie

    March 11, 2012

    Great review – totally following Fuel Band on Twitter so when more are released, I can buy it. I’m a go-go-gadget girl! 

    • Peter Chee

      March 12, 2012

      Thanks Anne-Marie! I didn’t get a chance to talk with you at the Nike event last week. I hear that they are selling the FuelBand at the employee store starting at the end of the month. I wish they would have had them available when we were there I would have stocked up!
      I’ve exercised for 14 straight days now. It’s weird how having something on my wrist with a goal on it has increased my motivation.

      • Anne-Marie

        March 12, 2012

        I’m not surprised at all! Having that physical, visual reminder is going to be hugely motivating for me. I can’t wait to get mine! I’m signed up for email and Twitter alerts when it is released.
        The Nike event was off the hook, wasn’t it? I loved the message of taking risks. The employee store was really cool too.

        • Peter Chee

          March 19, 2012

          Did you get your FuelBand yet? I hear they announce there’s more via Twitter and then they are all snatched up quickly.
          Yesterday was rough — I’ve been sick all weekend but somehow I’ve managed to keep on exercising. Almost didn’t make my goal yesterday, but, mustered up enough energy to run a few miles. I’ve been trying to keep my string of consecutive days of exercise going. The goal is to hit 30 days!

          • Anne-Marie

            March 19, 2012

            No, not yet. I’m all set to buy it the second they release – signed up via Twitter. Signed up via email. I’m stalking it. I can’t wait to get it!
            Take it easy, don’t stay sick longer because you won’t give your body a break =)

          • Peter Chee

            March 20, 2012

            My body appreciates that I push and exercise it even when I’m sick. The goal is 30 consecutive days… I really don’t think there is anything that can stop me from reaching my goal. 😉

          • Peter Chee

            April 28, 2012

            It’s so cool that you have a Nike FuelBand now. Having you linked on Facebook makes this even more fun. #fitceos

          • Anne-Marie

            April 30, 2012

             Just got myself and the app all linked up and I can see you now too! I love this extra dimension for working out =)

  • Calioverdose

    April 22, 2012

    great review!  i agree fuelband is amazing…i was just wondering in your first bullet point after your conclusion you say ”
    Nike FuelBand charges wirelessly…”  Did you mean “sync”…or is there a feature i am not aware of?  just curious as that sounds too good to be true haha…also do you know how you tell it is fully charged?  the first time i put it on and charged it it said “go” when complete, but now it just looks like battery fills up and i take it off.. thanks

    • Peter Chee

      April 23, 2012

      Thanks for catching that. Yes, I meant sync instead of charges. Now that would be pretty sweet if it could charge without wires! I’d like to start charging all my devices without wires!

  • Kim Ramsey

    April 23, 2012

    Today during a 45 minute spin class I only earned a little over 200 pts towards my daily goal.  How is that possible?  Do I need to wear the nike + device in my shoe when spinning?

    • Peter Chee

      April 23, 2012

      I noticed that the FuelBand doesn’t really track things well when riding a bicycle. moved the FuelBand from my wrist down to my cycling shoes which has a velcro strap over the laces and attached it. That did the trick as far as being able to track motion. It definitely isn’t going to match up in terms of miles but at least it “counts” the motion.

      • Sarah

        May 2, 2012

         I wonder if that would work for the elliptical too?

    • Paul Speese

      May 4, 2012

      Yesterday I tied the fuelband to my shoe when cycling, it captures more than double the Nike Fuel Points than when worn on the wrist.  I think it is more accurate but maybe overstated by a small amount, but better than the understatement when on the wrist

  • uopjo6

    April 27, 2012

    I think the Jawbone is meant to be forgotten on your wrist so you are not distracted by real-time feedback. Agree with the parts falling off though. Although the design is nice functionality is totally forgotten. Not to mention a big portion is defected. 
    I heard a Jawbone UP ver.2 is coming in the Summer though. 

    • Peter Chee

      April 28, 2012

      It should be really interesting to see what comes out from Jawbone UP version 2.0 and see what they have learned from their mistakes as well as now there’s the Nike FuelBand out there. How will they make it better…

  • I Loans

    April 27, 2012

    Ok so I purchased & worn for 2 days .. Approx 2924 steps (1.2 miles )& 1375 calories burned does not sound accurate.. Does anyone else see their caloric burned off ..
    2nd 5.3 miles walked in 10 hours & 3911 calories burned .. I did a soft reset yesterday.
    Lastly, as I’m sitting on the bus it says 24 steps & 30 calories burned ..I just don’t this is accurate

    • Paul

      April 27, 2012

      Used mine for a week then returned it. The calories displayed are those burned beyond your basal rate. That is, your body typically burns a certain number of calories a day just to stay alive (for me, about 1400). The Fuel band shows calories burned by activity beyond that. I found it accurate, if I added 1400 to the number it showed, the total made sense. But is was looking for something that showed the total in real time, the way the BodyBugg does. So I ended up sending back the Fuel Band. Also, I found it awkward on my wrist, getting in the way when writing, etc.

      • Peter Chee

        April 28, 2012

        Interesting, I didn’t consider that it was calculating calories like that. I also average about 1400 calories burned each day. I thought that was a bit light, but, I haven’t been using the Nike FuelBand to really track things in that manner.
        I wear my FuelBand on my left, non-writing hand…

    • Peter Chee

      April 28, 2012

      You can be sitting on a bus and moving your arms around and it will show that you’ve burned calories. It’s calculating and tracking arm movement. Burning 3911 calories is a ton. I seem to average around 1400 calories burned per day.

  • iNichi

    May 2, 2012

    Thanks for the great review, the only one that compares it with Jawbone UP and others. I can’t wait for my Fuelband! I live in Italy, but I ordered mine thanks to my aunt who lives in NJ. Are there enough Fuelbands avaiable at the moment on the Online Store? I ordered it on Sunday, and my aunt is travelling to Italy on the 19th. Do you think it will it arrive in time?

    • Peter Chee

      May 2, 2012

      Thanks for reading the review. I hear that Nike is fully stocked as of today with all size FuelBands, but, I think they are selling quickly. Sorry I don’t know how fast they ship things, you might want to call their customer support and ask them.

      • iNichi

        May 2, 2012

        Thanks!
        However, I’ve also downloaded the iPhone app and looks great! Thanks again!

  • Sarah

    May 2, 2012

    Peter, my husband is laughing at me about the Sleep Cycle app. Do you think it’s really very accurate? It’s interesting to look at, but I’m not sure if it’s just registering my movements, or his too.

    • Peter Chee

      May 2, 2012

      It is quite funny if you think about it. My wife thinks it’s a bit nuts. I had the same question that you had so I compared the Jawbone UP sleep metrics against the Sleep Cycle metrics and they both were very similar. So the are at least consistent.
      I know it was registering my movements, because, my toddler would come into our room at night and it certainly was picking up that I was waking up and getting out of bed.
      It seemed accurate enough for my purposes. I stopped using this on a daily basis because I have a fairly good idea now what my patterns are and I flat out know I need to be getting more sleep!

  • Randy X. Haynes

    July 3, 2012

    I haven’t tried the fit bit or jawbone device, but im looking into adding the fuel band to track my everyday activity. Do you know if running with the fuel band and Nike+ app on my iPhone skews the Nike Fuel points higher?

  • RR23

    February 19, 2013

    You should think about rewriting this now that Jawbone has reworded the UP. The Nike Band is a total fail, inaccurate, provides little useful feed back, tracks only motion and poorly. UP is actually useful and while I would like to see it sync using Jawbones BT technology – there is no legit comparison in the data you get from the Nike FB vs the UP.

    • DQ

      October 3, 2013

      I have the Jawbone UP, Noticed it on a few people and was intrigued by the design. When I found out it’s benefits for health tracking of movement, sleep and food it was exciting to me. I wanted one immediately but it took a bit before I purchased it. I call it my “NEW BEST FRIEND”. Truly enjoy wearing it and watching it sync in and register what my habits have created in terms of scientific results. I do agree that the cap, that I remove to plug into my iphone and sync in the results, may be easily lost… it is a concern each time I take it off. I do not have experience with the other gadgets but I am a happy consumer

  • Stefano Roman Gunness

    February 19, 2013

    Sleep Cycle? can u put the itunes link? i found to many with the same name

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