Fitness Gadget Shootout : Fitness Gadgets (Part 3) - Nike+ Sportwatch GPS, Sony Smartwatch

11/14/2012 9:30:28 AM

Nike+ Sportwatch GPS

Even though the Nike+ SportWatch GPS isn’t exactly the most compact of the six devices, it certainly is one that’s remarkably well-designed. Dressed in an all-black exterior and a bright green (or yellow) interior, this is likely one of the more physically appealing sports watches we’ve seen.

Not with standing its hefty weight of 66g, the SportWatch GPS doesn’t feel cumbersome as we initially thought it would be. Similar to the Nike+ FuelBand, one end of its strap has a full-sized USB connector, which can be accessed by flipping the hinge. The USB connection transfers your workout data to the Nike+ web portal as well as charging the watch. The watch is sweat and water resistant up to 5 ATM too.

Unlike your standard sports watch, you cannot adjust the time on the SportWatch GPS out of the box. Instead, you have to download the Nike+ Connect software onto your PC or Mac. Depending on how you see it, setting the time through Nike+ Connect can be easier and faster than pressing the side buttons on the watch. However, being unable to access a basic feature like this is a little annoying.

With the GPS and built-in maps powered by TomTom, GPS reception can be sometimes be a hit and miss affair especially in the concrete jungle of Singapore. There is a Nike+ sensor bundled along with the watch (that needs to be inserted into your corresponding Nike+ footwear) that will continue to track data in the event that the GPS signal is lost.

Description: Nike+ Sportwatch GPS

Nike+ Sportwatch GPS

Using the SportWatch GPS turned out to be quite straightforward as you only have three buttons to navigate. It also helps that the menu interface is simple to understand – clock, run, history, records, stop watch. The upper two buttons enable you to move up and down the list, while the bright green third button acts as start/stop/select.

During your workout, the display is split into town portions: top and bottom. You can customize what to display in the two sections, which include pace, distance, calories and clock. This is done via the Nike+ Connect software. The fonts are large enough to be read and the screen performed quite well under direct sunlight. Due to the integration of GPS< the workout data provided by the Sportwatch GPS lets you view the route you took, your pace and elevation at different points on the map.

The SportWatch GPS is one step ahead of most sports watches due to its integration with Nike+, as well as collaboration with TomTom. The magic comes when the workout starts are uploaded to the web portal where you can keep track of your progress and compare with other users.

“This is one of the more physically appealing sports watches we’ve seen”.

·         Display: 1.57-inch

·         Dimensions: 25.6 x 37 x 16mm

·         Weight: 66g

·         Price: $279

Description: Nike and TomTom collaborated on the SportWatch GPS.

Nike and TomTom collaborated on the SportWatch GPS.

Description: Nike keeps it simple with three buttons on the left side of the device.

Nike keeps it simple with three buttons on the left side of the device.

Description: Flip open the hinge to reveal the USB connector.

Flip open the hinge to reveal the USB connector.

And Performance

Sony Smartwatch

Measuring just 36 x 36 x 8mm and weight 15.5g, the Sony SmartWatch is very portable and light compared to its bigger counterparts. The front of the device is dominated by a 1.3-inch OLED touch screen display that has a black bezel. The body of the SmartWatch is made up of two having an aluminum frame going around the edges of the display, with the bottom made up of while plastic. You will also find a clip at the back of the SmartWatch for attaching to the wristband, or clothing. Lifting up the clip will reveal four contact points, which are used to charge the device with a proprietary USB cable. A power button is located on the right side.

Design-wise, it is a neat and fairy stylish device with no exposed ports and extra buttons for navigation. Sony states that the multi-touch display is scratch and splash-proof, though not suited for water-based activities. The SmartWatch comes with a wrist strap included in the package but it uses a non-breathable material, making it feel warm on your wirst after a while.

Basically, the SamrtWatch functions like a Bluetooth remote control for your Android smartphone. Speaking of which, the SmartWhatch is positioned to work best with Sony devices, but is compatible with several non-Sony devices, such as the Galaxy Nexus which paired successfully.

Description: Sony Smartwatch

Sony Smartwatch

The setup process is straightforward, requiring you to download the LiveWare Manager app (preloaded on Sony phones) and SmartWatch apps from Google Play. By default, there is no fitness-related app preinstalled on the SmartWatch, you have to download and configure the apps via LiveWare Manager. At the moment, there are several fitness related apps such as Endomondo Sports Tracker and SmartTraining, unlike Motorola’s walled-garden approach, Sony released the SDK for developers to create apps for use with the SmartWatch.

Navigating the interface on the SmartWatch requires finger gestures. As easy as it may sound, navigation is far from intuitive. Pinching with two fingers on the small screen isn’t easy, especially for those with large fingers. One major shortfall with the SmartWatch is the need to be paired to a smartphone to truly function properly. In order words, the SmartWatch cannot function on its own, not even showing the time after you power it on. Furthermore, the OLED display wasn’t readable outdoors, limiting where you can bring the device, as well as the types of activities you can do.

“Basically, the SmartWatch functions like a Bluetooth remote control for your Android SmartPhone”.

·         Display: 1.3-inch OLED

·         Dimensions: 36 x 36 x 8mm

·         Weight: 15.5g (main unit), 41.5g (with watchband)

·         Price: $248

Description: Lift up the clip to revel its charging port.

Lift up the clip to revel its charging port.

Description: The only button on the Sony SmartWatch is used to turn it on (or off).

The only button on the Sony SmartWatch is used to turn it on (or off).

Description: You will have difficulty reading the display outdoors.

You will have difficulty reading the display outdoors.

And the Best Fitness Garget is…


The MOTOACTV comes across as the perfect companion for working out. As it has built-in GOS, there’s no need for a smartphone to track your workout, unlike the Sony SmartWatch. MP3 playback levels the playing filed with the Apple iPod Nano, but Motorola goes one-up with rain-, sweat- and scratch-resistant properties. Its 1.6-inch display provides sufficient room for comfortable finger navigation and performs web portal may not have the branding strength that Nike+ has, but at least you can easily load the MOTOACTV app across different Android devices.

Description: Motorola MOTOACTV


Apple iPod Nano

Although the Apple iPod nano isn’t positioned primarily for sports, it shows its versatility by transforming into a decent fitness device when coupled with an optional wrist (or arm) strap. The iOS-like interface with its large, finger friendly icons makes navigation easy. Its built-in accelerometer removes the hassle of connecting to a receiver or shoe pod, for the convenience of starting your workout anytime, anywhere. The dedicated fitness app also makes it easy to track your workouts without the complexity found in other fitness-centric apps. Supported by the established Nike+ web platform, the highly compact iPod nano gives you plenty of bang for your buck.

Description: Apple Ipod Nano

Apple iPod Nano


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