Gear Reviews

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Kasumigaura Marathon 2016

When \\\\\\\"blustery\\\\\\\" wasn\\\\\\\'t even the right word. Read the race report here!

31st Marathon and my 6th Consecutive GCAM. Race report here.

 

Second Take On The Nike+ SportWatch GPS

Note: If you’ve not read the first post on the SportWatch, you may want to read it up here first [link]

The basic Timex chrono on the left. The SportWatch is definitely smaller than the FR305. The dimensions of the SportWatch are comparable to the Polar EXCEPT that it's nearly double the Polar's thickness. Not surprising with the built-in GPS. Caveat: I've very skinny wrists.

It’s been a week since putting the SportWatch to use and I’m pleased to report that it’s been mostly positive. Having been a Garmin user since 2008 before making the switch to Polar recently, I think I’m pretty much acquainted with the 2 major brands of GPS-based sports watches out in the market today. I’ve no experience with Suunto and Timex’s GPS interface though. Therein lies the challenge when using the Nike+ SportWatch. I’ve to remind myself that the device is not as sophisticated as the aforementioned big hitters, so it’s good to bear that in mind as I go through the features.

Excellent contrasty readout. The backlight is excellent

As mentioned in my initial post, uploading of one’s workouts is via the pop out USB connector, which means your SportWatch is charged each time you sync up. In order to test the battery life of the watch, only an upload was done the entire week. A total of 32K was logged on the watch and the display showed slightly more than half battery level remaining, which was decent enough. It will surely last the entire week of activities for the normal user. One important thing to note here. You’ll need to switch off the GPS after each workout so that the juice lasts the week. Failing to do so, the watch will be flat after 2-3 days, even in Clock mode. I’ve since remembered to turn the GPS off after every workout. If you’re one who religiously sync your workouts after every session, your battery level is always topped up. Another incentive to sync often is so that you can watch your Nike+ chart go up and receive the virtual cheers from your fellow runners :)

History Menu showing the recent runs

Drill down to a particular run and you'll get this screen

One thing which I neglected to mention in my unboxing post was that the watch has a concave window which is set flushed against the bezel. The curved surface makes reading the display very easy from a lower angle. The downside is that there’s a higher risk of scratching the surface. It hasn’t happened yet on my unit, thankfully!

What surprises me is the superfast satellite signal acquisition. In fact, it clearly outdid the Polar’s G5 which isn’t a slouch by any means, the first time I used it in the KLCC Park. It was a grab and go in under 12 seconds. This impressive performance is partially negated by the difference in recorded distance between the SportWatch and the Polar – not once but on several occassions over 2 running routes. The 400m difference is rather glaring and I’m not sure if the instances were anomalies or something more. I suppose I’ll know once I return to the said routes (BA-Hartamas and Kinrara) in the training days to come.

So, is the Nike+ SportWatch GPS for you? I think it certainly has a place in the sportwatch market. If you’re one who is wants to take the next step to GPS devices from your rudimentary chronograph, you won’t go wrong with this easy to use, relatively affordable (at RM599) option. If you want to strip away all the extraneous data like elevation, zones, average this or that, and all you want is basic data (pace, distance, total time), the SportWatch will satisfy your need to declutter.

Pluses:

  • Easy UI. No manual necessary.
  • Very audible beeps.
  • Large readouts with good contrast.
  • Customizable screen – slap for backlight or lapping function
  • Bright light.
  • Integration to a mature Nike+ website provides social motivation for a large segment of runners.

Minuses:

  • Limited data fields, not for number crunchers and power user.
  • Data fields can only be configured from the Nike+ Connect client-side app, and not from the watch.
  • Readings off by 400m on 2 out of 3 different routes tested on.
  • Needs a Polar Nike+ heart rate strap, so I’m unable to test that one out using my Polar Wearlink strap.

The Nike+ SportWatch GPS is sold at the MidValley, Pavilion and 1U Nike outlets. I was informed that stocks are in the process of being replenished, so check first with the stores before heading there.

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