Geek Stuff

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

38 replies on “First Look at Nike Amp+ Watch”

thanks John for this review…looking forward to your video. did you buy the Amp at a Nike store?

Good question… it is, I didn’t think it would do that but it does. When it is off any of the ipod control buttons will turn it on, even if the keylock is on.

Thanks for the review. Does it work with any Nano? Apple’s site claims compatibility only with the 3G Nano, although that doesn’t make sense to me. It should work with all of them.

The one I have works on my 1G and I’ve seen people using it with the 2G, perhaps they only say 3G because that is the only model they are still selling.

Great review!
I immediately got concerned about compatability though–nowhere else on the web seems to know…I have a red 4g nano, and I’ve already ordered my watch.
Am I screwed?

All I know is that I have already seen advertising with the running kit working on the 4G, not that that means anything. Keep in mind that thanks to synchronization with iTunes all of this hardware can be upgraded so I would be really surprised if it didn’t work, but that’s just my opinion – we’ll find out for sure soon…


I really want to buy this AMP+, but I live in Eurpe (Belgium).
Can you say me where I can order it for Europe?



Its available now on the EU Nike Website tjoff.

Zach, 1G, 2G refers to the generation, not the memory capacity (ie Gigs)

Hi All, I want to buy this gadget, but it only seems to be over the nike website and as I’m not from US I can’t use my credit card. Amazon doesn’t have it yet…and I’m going back home next week…Where can I buy it near Jacksonville, Florida?

Thanks John! I’ll see want I can do. Maybe I’ll drive some miles and get to Orlando and buy it! lol.
Thanks again

Hey John,

Thanks for the review. I was just in the Niketown in Hawaii and one of the salesmen there told me that the Amp doesn’t work with 1st Generation Nanos, but claimed it worked with 2G and 3G. So, I didn’t buy one. But what you’re saying, based upon your Nov. 23rd comment, is that the Amp you bought works with your 1st Generation Nano? If so, I’m off to the Apple Store since they sell them too.

Hi John! Thanks to your blog I’ve decided to buy the Nike watch! I haven’t seen the watch in Sweden yet…. maybe I’ll be the first to get it! I’ve heard that the display gets scratched easily and I read that you scratched yours… the scratch very visible? Is it something that gets your attention when you put the watch on? du you have anymore pictures of the watch on your wrist?

The watch is coated in a fairly soft rubber so it can be scuffed. It’s really not that great a watch since you have to press the button to see the time. As a tool for running it’s the best thing you can buy and the risk of scratching it is not a big deal compared to how great it works.

If you are interested in this watch you should check out the Philippe Starck Fossil, it is pretty similar, without the ipod capabilities of course, and the led stay on all the time

I need to link this watch with my ipod nano could you show me how? I left the instructions on the box and I dropped it 🙁 I already have Nike +


There’s no setup for the watch, on the Nano you have to go into settings and there’s a choice to enable the remote control. That’s about it.

Yes, there was a step I was skipping (number 3). Here it is:

1.- Connect the Nike+Opod receiver to the Ipod Nano
2.- Select Nike+Ipod ->Settings
3.- Push the play/pause button (apparently, this action enable the use of Remote Control)
4.- Select Remote->Link
5.- Follow the instructions

So I finally could link mi Nike AMP to the system.

Now I just wanna run to test it.

i have the watch and a 3G ipod.
when i go to setting though it isn’t giving me the option to connect a remote. my only options under settings are powersong, spoken feedback, distances, weight and sensor.
can someone help me? i’d really like to be able to use my watch.

You need to go into the settings for the iPod, not for Nike+, if you are on the screen to select the powersong you need to hit menu and go up at least 3 directories and then go into that Settings menu.

OK. I have tried to find the remote option in both of the setting options. I still am not having any luck. Any ideas?

I’m having the same issue. Pressing the play/pause button after scrolling down the menu to Settings (whether that be in the main iPod menu of the Nike+ submenu) isn’t activating the ‘Remote’ option. Thus, linking with the Amp+ is impossible. I even went to the trouble of performing a Restore on the iPod and making sure the software was updated, but to no avail.
Does anyone have any answers?

It’s only been minutes since I hastily posted my lament regarding the iPod and the Amp+ not linking but I’ve managed to get it linked now by pressing both the play/pause button on the iPod AND pressing the ‘Voice Feedback’ button on what will be for most of you the forearm side (if you wear it on your left wrist, that is, unlike me) of the Amp+. The Amp+’s sending out an active signal seemed to help the two connect.

Hey does anyone know how to adjust the wrist band? It’s very loose for me and the manual says nothing about it..

When you use the watch, does the light come on on the ipod?
I am always running out of battery on my ipod so I don’t touch it at all unless I have to because the light drains the battery very quickly.

I’m not really sure because once I’m using the watch the ipod is in my pocket and I can’t see it. One thing you can do is go into the settings and set the backlight timer to 2 Seconds or to Off, and that will save your battery. Also, as soon as I’ve started my workout I turn on the Hold switch so that the touchpad is deactivated.

can you use the nike amp too if you only have an ipod and no other stuff? cause i just want to use it as a watch and forward play pause, etc.

No, you need the shoe kit for the receiver that plugs into the bottom of the ipod…

One other thing. I killed my first nano and got a new one and the watch wasn’t working as a remote, the clock worked but not the controls. I replaced the battery in the watch and all was good again.

Ej – THANK YOU SO MUCH for your advice on holding down the Play/Pause button AND the button on the left side of the watch. i have been struggling with this watch for the past 30 minutes and looking all over the web for an answer – other than “touch any button on the watch”. Your posting was the ticket!! thank you so much for sharing with us. I hope it helps others too.

hi i just bought the watch and a new ipod touch. i was told i could use it as a remote for my ipod because it has a reciver built in to it with the program. its true what they said however i cant seem to be able to get it to work as a remote at all as i dont want to use it on work outs just when im walking around, so i felt i didn’t need the shoes. do you know any way that the watch/remote can work when your not working out

Couldn’t link my new AMP+ with my Nano 2nd Gen. Tryied out everything without success.

It was the battery! New one and it was connected in 2 seconds…
Thanks John!!!!!!!

Anyone know how to set the time on this bad boy – I lost my setup instructions. I know there is a way, but it has been a while since I did it.