Since November 2011, I’ve been using a Nike+ Sportswatch with GPS to track my runs. Released in 2011, the sportswatch retails on the Nike+ online store at US $169.00. Previously I used the Nike+ shoe pod and receiver attached to an iPod nano. I found the tracking device to be consistently a half mile over my actual distance, despite repeated calibrations.
I eventually switched to the Garmin 405cx before purchasing the Nike+ Sportswatch with GPS. The selling point was GPS tracking as I still do not trust the shoe pod tracking.
What comes in the box? The sportswatch, shoepod, USB connector and a brief instruction booklet.
The watch sits prominently on my wrist. Distance and pace are displayed in large font and are easy to read on the run. You can toggle, using the side buttons, the display to view elapsed time during your run. This is especially useful when adding a component of speed training during your run.
Nike+ provides an online home for collecting and analyzing data from your run. In addition, there is a robust social media component that allows users to share their runs with their online friends, fellow runners and family.
As with other Nike+ running products there is an online component to track data collected during your run. GPS allows users to track their runs via maps. Distance, time, calories and pace are displayed in the GPS view on Nike+ .
In January, I took both the Garmin 405cx and the Nike+ Sportswatch out for a 4 mile run on Kelly Drive in Philadelphia. I own both watches, neither company has shared gear for me to review. The data from the run, captured with the Nike+ Sportswatch is displayed above. To compare apples with apples, the data was collected on both devices using GPS, I did not run with the Nike shoe pod.
Both watches showed exactly the same distance, the Garmin showed a 10-15 second difference in pacing time. Pace and distance was far easier to read on the Nike+ while the Garmin kept showing the racing man. Stopping the watch at the conclusion of run on the Nike+ was smoother than the Garmin. Data wise the two sport watches were comparable; I’ve only issues with how the information is displayed and downloaded with the Garmin. The only limiting factor of the Nike+ sportswatch is its inability to migrate to other activities, such as bicycling.
All in all, I found the Nike+ Sportswatch to be a good investment for beginner to intermediate runners. It gives you the pertinent data you need to analyze, learn and improve upon your running skills. For those looking to progress to multi-sport events like a spring triathlon, until Nike+ makes a multi-sport watch, I’d go with the Garmin.