How the Nike+ FuelBand made me fitter in 24 hours

David Phelan tries out Nike's Mr Motivator that fits right on your wrist

The new Nike+ FuelBand SE (special edition) is the second edition of the popular fitness wristband. It’s similar to look at, differentiated from last year’s model by coloured panels on the inside and a brighter-hued buckle. But it’s more powerful and versatile.

As before, a motion sensor monitors your every movement, working out how much energy you’re expending, how many steps you’re taking and how many calories you’ve burnt. It also works as a watch – a quick double-tap on the band’s button and the bright white LEDs hidden under the band light up to show you the time.

These monitors work on the principle that the more you are aware of your activity, the more active you will be. Certainly some FuelBand wearers have reported that towards the end of the day if they are not reaching their daily target, it encourages them to go out and get a little bit more exercise.

The new FuelBand SE builds on this with extra targets such as winning the hour. To win the hour you simply need to be active for five consecutive minutes. Surprisingly even FuelBand wearers don’t do this very much. Only 2 per cent of them win seven hours a day. Now with the FuelBand SE, the band lights up at 45 minutes past the hour if you have been indolent, to spur you on to activity.

But the key improvement to the new version of this fitness monitor is that now it is able to more accurately measure more activity. For instance, I cycle a lot. In some activities, such as cycling or yoga, one’s wrist remains relatively stationary so your band is unable to accurately count your activity. Now however, when getting on a bike, you can instruct the band that you are starting a session. You let it know when you’ve finished a session, too. Then, using the iPhone app to which the FuelBand connects, you tag the session as cycling or whatever. The number of Nike+ fuel units, the currency the band uses, shoots up remarkably.

For me, this new accuracy was a revelation. Suddenly, I went from mostly missing my daily target, to breezing past it. This is satisfying, though it may mean that I’m not trying quite as hard any more.

There are a lot of other new features, some only on the new special edition Fuelband, though others are now available on the first version through improved firmware. The price remains the same £129.99.

This is an excellent gadget to encourage you to get that little bit fitter. It lacks the vibrating feature found on the Jawbone Up and some other rivals. This is a shame as the vibration means the Up works as a wholly reliable alarm clock.

That apart, however, this is the best fitness monitor on the market.

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