A busy schedule twinned with a week of treacherous weather in NSW, meant that it took 7 whole days longer than desired, to finally test out my Nike+ GPS Sportswatch. Dressed in little more than a pair of race shorts and a technical shirt, I hit the streets in the pouring rain, excited to see how my new gadget compared to its predecessor.
Finding Satellites – Since arriving in Australia, my Garmin Forerunner 305 was never the fastest at picking up a GPS signal. Initially, I think my GPS was a little confused by the thousands of miles I had travelled since my last run, however, things didn’t get much better and I was always left waiting a little longer than desired to get going. The Nike+ GPS wasn’t any faster, though I will give it the benefit of the doubt as it was its first outing and could have been a tad disorientated.
The Journey – The watch felt no lighter on my wrist, though I did feel slightly “cooler” than when wearing my Garmin. I’m a sucker for design and the Nike+ GPS wins hands down on this one I’m afraid. As previously mentioned, the weather was awful, the park was flooded and I found myself running more of a cross country course than a road run. With that in mind, my thoughts were geared more towards not drowning or catching pneumonia than my average pace per mile.
When I did glance at my watch, it had all the important info to hand and all on one screen, reducing the need to “click through” to find out overall pace, distance and time. The only downside to this, was that as there were no other screens, no additional data was available to me. I often felt that my Garmin Forerunner held a wealth of info about the run, for example, elevation etc, which I’m not sure my Nike+ GPS even captured?
The Analysis – I love statistics. If I could marry a pie chart, or go on a date with a spreadsheet, I’d be a happy man. The Nike+ team have invested a great deal of time and money into making their website visually pleasing and simple to use. I love the words of encouragement, the fastest 5 mile, 5k & additional breakdowns at the foot of the page. It kinda gave the experience more of an online gaming meets foursquare feel, with the competitiveness & badge combination.
That said Garmin do a fantastic job at providing in-depth analysis and arguably provide greater technical insight into the run. However, much like Mac is to PC, what the Nike+ GPS lacks in insight, it makes up for in aesthetics and usability.
The Verdict – It’s too early to tell whether which is the greater sportswatch. The Nike+ GPS, in my opinion, would appeal more to someone that’s new to running, purely because of the visual ease and encouraging words / challenges. Maybe, just maybe, the Garmin Forerunner is more adept at providing an insightful service, but I could be doing the Nike device a disservice there. I figure that I’ll just have to go for another run to find out…
What are your experiences / comparisons between the Nike+ range and Garmin’s Forerunner series?