First Look at Nike Amp+ Watch Oct09

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First Look at Nike Amp+ Watch

A diversion from Marketing (at least directly, you could say that anything Nike is marketing), I received my Nike Amp+ Watch today. I already have an iPod Nano with the Nike+ kit. This means I have the mp3 player, and a chip that goes in my running shoe and a small receiver to plug into the iPod. It allows me to listen to music and it keeps track of my pace and distance. A voiceover cuts into the music and tells me how I’m doing.

Between the well integrated feedback and the Nike+ website that tracks the data I think this is one of the coolest things to happen to running in years.

The Amp+ is a watch that gives you some extra functionality. It’s a watch that has some basic iPod controls so you can leave your iPod in your pocket (there are Nike shorts and jackets that come with perfectly sized compartments – or at least they were until the new Nano came out a few weeks ago, that’s an interesting side note – you’ll see the box has a picture of the old Nano on it…)

As you can see, wordpress does a really crappy job of image layout… My stylesheet has been fixed – sorry Matt, it wasn’t your fault!
So here are some shots of the box and of it open, the container is pretty slick in red and black, the product encased in a plastic bubble.

The band is plastic and needs to be cut to the appropriate size. I was a little concerned when I used the paper measuring tape because my wrist was too big, but the band is big enough, so I just didn’t have to cut it. My wrist is larger than average, when I buy a Timex I have to order a couple of extra links (which they will do for you if you call).

So I plugged it in and it works perfectly. The default is for the clock to be off so it just looks like a rubber band with a silver Nike swoosh on it and a raised ring for the iPod control. When you hit the side button closest to your hand the clock appears, first the hour, then the minute with a funky little animation.

When you use the iPod controls the display shows the icon of what you are pushing. There is no touchwheel functionality so there are some limitations – you have to have your playlist set to go because otherwise you can only flip through all the songs one at a time. This isn’t a big deal because if you are running you should have your playlists ready to go so you’re not screwing around with the scroll wheel out on the road.

The killer functionality is that you use one button to start the work out (the one on the left) and the center play button to stop it. If you’ve ever ended a workout by mistake, you’ll understand how great this is. You can also leave the player in it’s pocket during the entire run.

I’ll add info after a couple of runs, but overall it’s very cool and I’m impressed – now all I need is heart rate monitor functionality!

Update: I had my first run this morning, it is much easier to adjust volume and change tunes as well as to end a workout. I did manage to scratch it already, which is normal for me b/c I’m a klutz who destroys watches, clothes, etc. It’s water resistant to 5atms, and survived the shower.

Update 2: One down side is having to push the button every time you want to see the time. I was doing some public speaking this afternoon and I’m used to sneaking a look at my watch to see where I am on the timeline and you can’t do that with this watch. On the plus side it looks very cool at night.

Update 3: So it’s almost 2 years later. Critical points – if you are having trouble connecting, change the battery. You can get them at Radio Shack – the CR1620 (3v) works for me, I have heard the CR1632 works but I have not confirmed that. The manual is no longer online (at least that I can find after looking for about 30 minutes). To set it – hold down the button on the right until you get an “H”, then use the volume buttons to set the hour, use the FF button to set minutes, 24 or 12 hour and then hit the button on the left to finish.

The button on the left starts workouts, hold to activate the powersong.

I still like it for running, but I never wear it as a watch.

Update 4: Occasionally frustrated by innacurate distance/pace measurements, I was lured to the Garmin 305 when the price fell to around $150