In the past, if you wanted to track your run and really know how far you’re jogging, you had to drive the route with your car and keep an eye on the odometer. These days however, everyone has a GPS unit in their pocket, so getting lost or not knowing how far you’ve gone is a thing of the past. Serious runners that wear extremely lightweight clothing and don’t like to carry much in their pockets have new technology that allows them to leave their cell phones back at the house. Nike’s new GPS sportswatch features TomTom technology that can give you accurate speed and distance information, even on indoor tracks.
What’s our take? Now runners have a wealth of information about their bodies and their workouts, instantly, wherever they want it. Time, distance, speed, heart rate, calories burned, elevation, and a map of your route are all quickly accessible with the Nike SportWatch GPS. By uploading the information to the NikePlus website, runners can track their progress, receive coaching tips, challenge friends, and share their runs via social media. The Personal Coach feature reminds users when to run, stores your run history, and charts your progress.
Here’s what we found. The setup for the watch was simple– with about a 10 to 15 second “link” time. Charging did not take long and the watch had a comfortable fit and was fairly lightweight. We were surprised to find that the watch lacked “seconds” unless you were in stopwatch mode. I guess they were trying to make the numbers as big and easy to read as possible, but for sprints, you need to be in stopwatch mode. The watch is supposed to be water-resistant to 5 meters, but we did not test it underwater. The battery provides about 8 hours of run time and the watch software needs to be periodically updated to maintain its satellite link capability. We did notice a slight discrepancy in the GPS mapping– it seemed that the watch was counting less slightly distance than was actually traveled.
Would we recommend? The watch performed well under normal testing conditions, but we didn’t subject it to any extreme stress during testing. There was concern that the watch might not hold up well under excessive sweat or rain, as the USB connection seemed susceptible to moisture, but after a week of testing during morning jogs, the device continued to perform well. Serious runners that are looking to ditch their iPhones for more lightweight GPS solutions should strap this on and give it a go, but if you are merely a casual jogger or aren’t interested in obsessing over your caloric burn rates, there are simpler and cheaper devices out there.