For a week now, I have been using both the Nike Fuelband and the BodyMedia armband (on the same arm). Since the initial hurdles to set up the Nike Fuelband, it has work flawlessly with synching and everything else.
What threw me in the beginning (and almost turned me off) was the concept of “Nike Fuel”. It is a Nike-specific measure of “activity”. It is calculated in the same way for everyone wearing a Nike device and thus, ‘fuel’ is comparable (if you are looking for some competition with your SO, here you go). I started to see it as “so, how active was I today?” It is great to tap through the small button on the fuelband and select “fuel” or “steps” or “time” or “calories” without the need to upload or sync the device. I realized it really reminded me to ‘be more active’ when the fuel value was low.
What I did not like was the “calories burnt” measure. With the BodyMedia you get an account of how many calories you burn per 24 hours, and Nike reported a minute amount. This did not really help with accounting food intake vs. calories burnt. However, when I subtracted the amount of “cals burnt” the fuelband reported from the overall calories burnt the BodyMedia device reported I got almost the same value every day (so if you know your baseline for weight/height/age you can almost calculate it). Basically I could now just wear the Nike Fuelband and add the ‘baseline’ amount to the calories reported by Nike Fuelband and I would come up with the overall amount of calories burnt.
The 2 pluses of the Fuelband are: 1) no monthly fees (Bodymedia charges $6.96/month for upload), and 2) the much smaller size around the wrist instead of a ‘big bandage” around the arm.
The pluses of BodyMedia: 1) more accurate calorie reporting (see pict below, the colored lines are Nike, the light blue bars are BodyMedia), 2) accounting for sleep quality and 3) just more/better data. As for 3) the Bodymedia device reports much better (now) when I ride a bike (and does report activity peaks although my arm is relatively immobile) but the fuelband does not capture it quite as well well.
So, I am torn. Should I return the Nike Fuelband or should I keep it? It has grown on me. Being vain I think about summer tan lines, and also people NOT asking me anymore “what is it that you are wearing???? (looks like an ipod but no headphones?!??)”
We shall see.