On Nike+iPod: The Full Review
Now that I’ve had some time to play with the Niki+iPod package from Apple, I thought I’d offer my thoughts on how well the attachment functions and whether it is worth the $30.00 price tag.
Overall Look and Feel
The attachment itself consists of two parts: the first, a receiver, attaches to the port on the bottom of the iPod Nano (and only the iPod Nano; other iPod models will not work) and the second part, the pedometer and transmitter, attaches to the shoe [editors note: While you can buy Nike shoes that have a pocket in the sole for the pedometer, I simply Velcroed mine.] I don’t notice the pedometer at all while running, and the receiver is small and fits snuggly into the base of the iPod. While I’m not too big a fan of the coloring (a white receiver and orange pedometer?) they both have nice rounded edges and match the Nike and Apple branding pretty well.
This is where the attachment really shines! I love the integration with the Nike website, which has a complete history of all runs and even runs graphical analysis and comparisons. Signing up for the Nike account was very easy, and everything originates from iTunes. All I have to do is plug in my iPod for syncing and my recent workout information is automatically transferred to the Nike site.
The interface on the iPod itself is very cool, with current workout information easily accessible by pressing the iPod’s center button. You can also download special workout regimens from the iTunes store that help motivate you while running. While I think these packages are a bit overpriced (they cost about $15), I appreciate the variety that they provide to what can become a monotonous activity. In addition, full versions of all the songs on the workout are included in the purchase price (I finally have some Pussy-Cat Dolls! Yes!)
As far as accuracy is concerned, I’ve been relatively pleased with the overall accuracy of the product. It appears to believe that I walk faster and run a bit slower than I really do, but overall it’s never too far off the actual speed and distance. I did “calibrate” the package, but I didn’t notice much of a difference between the calibrated accuracy and the non-calibrated accuracy.
While the attachment itself is reasonably priced, the ecosystem surrounding Nike+iPod is, in my opinion, a little more than it’s worth. Nike+ shoes are more expensive than regular running shoes (even regular Nike running shoes), and the Nike-branded armband that contains a special pouch for the receiver costs as much as the package itself! Unfortunately, trying to find a work-around for the armband is much more difficult than the shoe. I tried running with the iPod and transmitter in my old armband and ended up losing it halfway around Eastlake! Finally, the workouts on iTunes are a nice addition, but they are probably about $5 more than I would like to pay.
While a bit overpriced when you count the ecosystem around it, the Niki+iPod package is a solid product for those who already own an iPod Nano. My personal workout experience has benefited from the attachment, and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to get a bit more performance out of their run.