On Apple’s site you see the advertising “Meet your new personal trainer” describing the Nike+ipod Sport Kit. Using a wireless sensor, the Nike+iPod Sport Kit measures and records the distance and pace of a walk or run and displays the results on an iPod Nano, second generation iPod Touch, or iPhone 3GS to provide real-time feedback during workouts and allow you to track performance on your Mac or PC. The wireless sensor works with compatible cardio machines and also compatible Nike shoes.
The Nike+iPod Sport Kit consists of a small accelerometer designed to be inserted under the inner sole of a Nike+ model shoe, and a receiver that connects to the iPod.
It is no secret that keeping track of your workouts can go a long way toward helping you achieve your fitness goals. The Nike+iPod Sport Kit allows users to record the length and pace of their workouts, and upload that data to the Nike+ Web site for analysis and feedback.
The device is designed to be used with Nike+ shoes ($110), which feature a slot in the left shoe for the accelerometer, and the receiver is attached to an iPod Nano. (The receiver is not necessary with the second generation iPod Touch and the iPhone 3GS, which have built-in Nike+ capabilities.) The kit can be used right out of the box, or it can be calibrated for more accurate recordings. Calibration, which involves walking or running a known distance of at least 0.25 mile while in calibration mode, is recommended as individual walking and running strides greatly vary. A Consumer Reports analysis found that the device was accurate when the pace was fixed, and less than 90% accurate during a variably paced workout.
The Nike+iPod Sport Kit records and displays elapsed time, distance traveled, pace, and calories burned; the device can also be set to provide audio updates and cues (in your choice of male or female voice), even when music is playing. The device also provides several display and workout options depending on the user’s goals. For example, it is possible to set a caloric goal rather than a specific time or distance goal. At the end of the workout, the recorded data can be uploaded directly to the Nike Web site or through iTunes. In addition, the site offers an interactive community where exercisers can ask questions, challenge other exercisers and provide feedback.
Certainly, the Nike+iPod Sport Kit will appeal most to those who enjoy tracking their workouts and working toward specific goals. Fortunately, the device makes it easy for even the least tech-savvy person to record and upload their workout data. And if your preferred workout shoe is a brand other than Nike, it is possible to use the device without buying Nike+ shoes as long as you can find a way to attach the accelerometer to the shoe (a key pouch attached to the laces would probably work).
For those who already own a compatible device such as the iPod Nano, the Nike+iPod Sport Kit is an affordable and fun way to increase exercise motivation and adherence. However, the biggest drawback is that the battery on the accelerometer is not replaceable and typically only lasts about a year—Apple says it will last 1,000 hours provided the device is turned off when not in use.
What we liked:
- Accurate and easy-to-use device for recording and tracking workouts
- Interactive Web site for uploading and analyzing data
- Affordable option for those who already own a compatible iPod device
- May be used with or without a Nike+ shoe
What we didn’t like:
- Non-replaceable battery renders device disposable
December 21, 2009