For my birthday this year, my husband bought me the new Apple Watch with Nike+! I knew it would be hard for him to top last year’s gift, but he managed it anyway. He pre-ordered it and it arrived a few weeks after my birthday in early October, making me one of the first people in the world to try it out when it arrived on 28 October.
After a month of use, I now (finally!) feel ready to give it a review. I wanted to make sure I thoroughly tested everything, ensuring that any annoyances were user error and not some flaw of Apple or Nike.
First off, you might be wondering how the Nike+ watch is different from the regular Apple Watch. The answer is that you get an exclusive Nike-styled watchband and custom Nike watch faces, and of course, perfect integration with the Nike+ app.
The Nike+ Integration
- As you would expect from two powerhouse brands like Apple and Nike, the integration is pretty seamless. The one-touch start for the Nike+ app is great. No fuss to get started. By default, it has an annoying 3-2-1 countdown before it starts, but I have just learned that I can turn that off.
- The display is a so lovely – a vast improvement from my original Nike+ GPS watch. You can see elapsed time and distance in the standard setup, but an advanced setting will let you also display your pace and heartrate
- The watch can connect to Bluetooth headphones and play music while running which is great. I haven’t tried this yet since I don’t own Bluetooth headphones, but they are on my Christmas list.
- Voice prompts play through the watch’s speakers if you aren’t using headphones. The familiar Nike+ voice lets you know your average pace, distance and time, but you can turn this off for those times when you’re running with a group.
- The watch is like a little personal trainer. If you haven’t run in a few days, it will start to send you motivational messages to encourage you to get back out there. That said, this is only a feature that I’ve read about and never experienced. Maybe I run too frequently?
The Other Good Stuff
- Setting up the watch was seamless. Easy, perfect integration with my iPhone in minutes
- The watch is in fact waterproof. I was very hesitant putting it in the pool the first time. Sitting on the edge of the pool, I tentatively dunked it in a few times just to make sure the waterproofing claims weren’t a gimmick. I successfully swam over 1km in the pool and the watch is still functioning, though I did stop every 50 meters or so to check on it! The watch uses vibrations from the speakers to clear water out after a swim. A very cool feature.
- The watch comes with a versatile fitness app that tracks all sorts of other workouts like indoor or outdoor cycling, pool or open water swimming, walking and stair climbing. I have tried it for spinning and it easily tracked heart-rate, calories and total time. The pool swim was reasonably accurate – just a few metres off
- You can answer calls from the watch! This is just such a strange novelty. I can’t l get over it.
- You can summon Siri just by saying, “Hey Siri!!” She likes to tell me the weather each day. She can also automatically start your run if you ask her.
- The strap is super comfortable and looks cool.
- The battery life is pretty good. It can easily last a full day using a variety of features, and close to two days with minimal use of the apps.
- The watch seems to only sporadically track my actual route while running. While it boasts built-in GPS, it doesn’t seem to work consistently and I’m not clear why. Perhaps this will be fixed in an upgrade.
- It takes forever to sync runs between my Nike+ app on my phone and the watch. They eventually seem to catch up, but the delay is annoying
- Just as in the original Nike+ app, it will show monthly stats like total runs and total distance but for some reason, this data is never right on my watch. It’s usually a run or two behind what it should be. Right now it’s showing the right total number of runs, but the wrong distance. WHY?!
- The heart rate monitor doesn’t work in the pool. Boo.
- I don’t seem to be able to share my runs on my social networks after I’m done. This isn’t really a big deal, and I’m sure no one cares about how far or often I’m running, but I liked the feature.
Overall, I do really like this watch. It’s been a very cool gadget to play with, and the always-on activity tracking is a great motivator. I also get loads of comments on it and it’s a great conversation starter. Everyone wants to know about it!
That said, as a fitness watch, it does leave a little bit to be desired. For running, it’s great, but it definitely does not have the specialist features that some Garmin or Polar devices have. Trying to track a triathlon on this watch would be a real challenge, for example. However, if you are a loyal Nike+ user, and want an Apple watch, this is a perfect combination. I highly recommend it for the runner on your Christmas list this year. But order fast! They take 2-3 weeks to dispatch and Christmas is just 26 days away!