Nike's New Fuelband Sucks

Were you waiting patiently for Nike's new Fuelband, hoping that 20+ months was enough to make it great? Well, screw off. The Fuelband got a few minor improvements—better Bluetooth and it's a weeee bit more waterproof—but overall it's still miles behind virtually every competitor. No altimeter, no heart rate monitor, no toggleable GPS (so you still have to take your phone with you to track runs), comparatively crap battery life. But hey, it's made by Nike! Assholes.

Still, it's going to have by far the broadest adoption into other gear, and will probably be around long after the other guys are dust. So there's a good chance it's still the best buy, even if this isn't a great update.

How Does Nike's New Fuelband Compare to Its Toughest Competition?

Nike's newest iteration of its signature activity tracker seems... fine. It's slightly more water resistant, it has some new tapping functions, and it's added Bluetooth 4.0. That's good! But the real question is whether it's enough of an upgrade to keep up with an increasingly crowded field of activity trackers. Here's how it compares.

Based on specs alone, it's a fairly even field, although the Fuelband SE falters at maybe the most important feature: battery life. Its listed battery life pales in comparison to the Fibit Force, Withings Pulse, and the Jawbone UP, which isn't great news for a gadget that's intended to be worn at all times forever and always. But that's pretty much the only significant difference between the six. Other than that, your decision basically boils down to cost, and whether or not you want an actual display.

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Overall, the Fitbit Force seems to be pulling rank, which is in line with our review. Specs are only part of the story though; we'll see how the Fuelband SE does with real-world testing soon enough.