- Nicely priced
- Looks great
- Nike+ Connect software is superb
- Features can be basic
- GPS linking can be slow
The Nike+ SportWatch GPS has great style, a large face, and cool support software. It's priced less than many competing products, and that all combines to make it an excellent product.
Nike+ may have started as a little chip that fits in the sole of your shoe and tracks your mileage but it’s come a long way since then with the introduction of the Nike+ GPS Running App, Nike+ SportWatch GPS, Nike+ SportBand and the Nike+ FuelBand.
Today, we’ll be sharing our review of the Nike+ SportWatch GPS, Nike’s answer to the GPS watches most runners are seen with these days. The SportWatch GPS tracks your location (GPS) but it also keeps track of your pace, time, calories, steps, lap/intervals and even heart rate (if you wear the Polar Wearlink+ Heart Rate Transmitter).
Build and Design
The SportWatch GPS is bigger and badder than your average sport watch; the face is large and heavy and will take some time to get use to wearing. If it bothers you wearing it like a normal watch, try wearing it so the face is on the inside of your wrist.
It comes in multiple colors and style combinations that runners can choose from. My watch is bright yellow with a black face and I’ve had a ton of strangers and friends alike compliment me on it so it’s definitely fashionable if you care about such things.
It’s also durable. Training for a spring marathon in Ohio means that you run in any weather: rain, snow, sunshine and/or freezing cold. After four months of wear and tear, it still looks good. The yellow band does show dirt so the black band might be the way to go for those runners who want an out of the box look.
One of the coolest things about the SportWatch GPS is that it plugs right into your computer. Nike includes a USB cord but it’s unnecessary, the watch slides right into a USB port. This is great when traveling because you don’t have to worry about remembering the cord.
So how does it work? The face reads the time, date and battery life on the front. Simply tap the Nike+ symbol above it to light up the face if you are running in the dark.
To access the menus, there are three buttons on the side of the watch. The top two buttons open and navigate the menus while the third button acts as an “enter” key. It selects the option you want.
The menus (without the heart rate monitor) are as follows: clock, run, history, records and stopwatch. The clock menu is pretty self explanatory; it adjusts the time and date on the face of the watch. It also allows users to set an alarm.
Run sets the watch before, you guessed it, a run. With the SportWatch GPS, you have two options for tracking your distance: the GPS functionality (powered by TomTom) or the Nike+ Shoe Pod. The Shoe Pod can be used indoor or outdoor but the GPS is only functional outside. You can also adjust how the watch tracks your runs by turning the lap or interval feature on. The only downside is you have to configure these settings using the Nike+ Connect software. So you can’t switch up your intervals on the fly if you happen to be running with a different endurance group.
You can also quick start a run by holding down the third button for about three seconds. The satellite icon will come up and when the signal has been found you’ll get the ready screen.
The history menu reads back all your saved runs. Select one and you’ll get distance, time, pace and calories burned for that particular run. If you are more interested in know your fastest time, pace, etc. you can select the records menu. The watch saves your total miles, fastest mile, fastest kilometer, fastest 5k, fastest 10k and longest run.
The stopwatch feature is just that: a stop watch.
The SportWatch GPS can take a long time to link up to the satellite, which I found frustrating during long runs because I wasn’t getting a completely accurate reading. However, if you update the software on the watch before the run, it generally wasn’t an issue. I learned that the hard way but Nike actually suggests docking the SportWatch GPS before every run for that exact reason.
Once the SportWatch GPS was linked, I had zero issues with performance. It was dead on with the distances I pulled from Map My Run and the Nike+ Running App. I love that you can scroll through the stat line while you’re running; the generic stat is distance and pace but you can scroll to average pace, speed, average speed, elapsed time, lap time, calories and clock as well.
It’s also easy to pause a run if you have to stop at a traffic light or retie a shoe. Or simply end the run on the same screen.
I am an outdoor runner, so I didn’t use the Shoe Pod feature often, but it does work. And if you don’t have Nike running shoes, you can purchase a small waterproof attachment for the Shoe Pod that connected to the laces of your shoe.
The battery life of the SportWatch is outstanding; I probably charge it about once a month. Of course, every time I plug it in for a few minutes to upload my data, it’s getting a brief charge but I liked that I didn’t have to charge it weekly.
The Nike+ Connect software is incredibly easy to use. Before your first use, you download the software to your PC or Mac and it’s ready to go. Plug in the watch and the Nike+ Connect software pulls all the data off the watch and then automatically updates the GPS software.
The software also lets you adjust all the settings on your watch including your weight, height, age, gender and distance units for more accurate readings. You can also customize the face data, laps and intervals as I mentioned previously.
Once you are done pulling the data off, you can upload it to your Nike+ account and track how you are doing against the rest of the community, your friends, your gender, your age group etc. Nike lays it out in numbers, charts and graphs and you can even create a little profile and upload a picture of yourself to make it more fun.
Nike+ SportWatch GPS Specifications:
- One size wrist-based band (1.5 x 10.1 x .6 inches)
- Memory: stores 8 hours of runs
- Battery life: 8 hrs
- Sensors: 3 axis accelerometer
- Backlit LCD with invert ability
- Optional heart rate monitor
- 2.4 GHz wireless receiver
- Water and sweat resistant (up to 5 ATM)
- Nike+ Connect software (Windows and Mac OS)
- Shoe Pod, USB charging cable included
I really enjoy using the Nike+ SportWatch GPS. I like the style, the large face, the tracking options and the support software. And the best part? It’s priced at $169, which is considerably less than some of its GPS sport watch competitors.
I did have some issues with the satellite linking but managed to correct that by docking the watch before each use. And the Nike+ SportWatch GPS is lacking some features of the more expensive Garmin watches like being able to have more control over interval running.
But for a runner who is looking for the basics with great support software at a relatively low cost, the Nike+ SportWatch GPS is definitely a great option.
Pricing and Availability
The Nike+ SportWatch GPS powered by TomTom is available now through Nike and authorized vendors for the suggested retail price of $169. Don’t need a Nike Shoe Pod Sensor? Get the Nike+ SportWatch GPS for $149 without the Nike+ Sensor.
The Nike+ SportWatch GPS is covered by a 1-year limited warranty.