Review: Nike device improves, but oversimplified

By Anick Jesdanun

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Oct. 27 2011 12:15 p.m. MDT

And once you've connected your device to a particular online account, you can't change that without completely resetting the watch and erasing all your data. Competing devices from Garmin and Timex let you change accounts. You might need to, for instance, if you loan your watch to a friend or family member with a separate account and want details of those runs placed there instead.

The watch also goes into power-save mode too quickly. If I don't start my run soon after the device finds the signals, it turns off and has to search for signals again. I can see the reasoning behind this, but it would be nice to be able to change how much time you have or to temporarily turn that off.

An upcoming software update will offer some improvements. Nike says you'll be able to set the time and date directly from the watch, without needing a computer. There's also promise of a stopwatch feature, so you can use the device when you have no GPS signal or foot sensor around. Those are two features that should have been there from the start.

This device is designed more for form than function. It's not for hard-core runners used to lots of customization and data. It's simplified for beginners and others content with just the basics. That mentality is underscored with inspirational messages such as "Way to go" and "Job well done" after each run — a bit insulting to hard-core runners after finishing a particularly bad run.

Perhaps one day, I'll get a device that has the full functionality of a Garmin or Timex watch but works as well as the Nike SportWatch in big cities. It doesn't matter which one does it first. I'm just glad there's healthy competition to get there.

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