Wearables

Plus points for the Apple Watch Nike+

The Apple Watch Nike+ has built-in GPS to track distance and speed for walks and runs without the need to take along your iPhone for GPS tracking.
The Apple Watch Nike+ has built-in GPS to track distance and speed for walks and runs without the need to take along your iPhone for GPS tracking.PHOTOS: APPLE
The Apple Watch Nike+ has built-in GPS to track distance and speed for walks and runs without the need to take along your iPhone for GPS tracking.
The Apple Watch Nike+ has built-in GPS to track distance and speed for walks and runs without the need to take along your iPhone for GPS tracking.PHOTOS: APPLE

NikeFuel points collectors will be pleased with this running watch

The Apple Watch Nike+ is the latest link to my 10-year running relationship with Nike+.

It started in 2006 with the Nike+ iPod Sports Kit. It consists of a receiver for the iPod nano music player and a sensor that you insert into the sole of a Nike+ running shoe.

The kit tracks the distance covered, timing and calories burnt during your runs, as you listen to music on the iPod nano.

Over the years, I have moved on to Nike+ FuelBand fitness tracker and then Nike+ SportWatch GPS running watch.

I have also accumulated more than 1.3 million NikeFuel points - Nike's own measure for tracking physical activity.

In fact, I chose TomTom Spark Cardio as my running watches in recent months, because it can collect NikeFuel points.

So, the first thing I wanted to find out about the Apple Watch Nike+ is if it collects NikeFuel points. It does.

And I'm glad, because otherwise, the Apple Watch Nike+ would just be an Apple Watch Series 2 with a Nike-styled perforated rubber watch band and several Nike+ watch faces not found in other Apple Watch Series 2 models.

You can swop the perforated watch band of Apple Watch Nike+ with any supported metallic watch band and it will look like a formal watch. And when you need to run, swop back to the perforated watch band.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $548

    CASE MATERIAL: Anodised aluminium

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth

    WEIGHT: 28.2g (case only)

    RATING

    FEATURES: 5/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 5/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 3/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

The Apple Watch Nike+ has built-in GPS to track distance and speed for walks and runs without the need to take along your iPhone for GPS tracking.

The major highlight is the integration of Nike+ Run Club (NRC) app. You will be prompted to sign in with your NRC account or create an account during the initial pairing of the Apple Watch Nike+ with your iPhone.

You will then get the NRC app on the smartwatch, which activates the Nike+ watch faces. I like all of the Nike+ watch faces. They range from a big and visible digital watch face to a minimalist analogue watch face. The watch faces really go well with the watch band in terms of colour combination.

All the watch faces have the NRC app shortcut, so you can access the app quickly. And some watch faces will show your last run, as if trying to coax you to better that distance. If you have not been running for a few days, you get prompts to do so.

When you go for your run, just tap on the NRC shortcut on the watch face. Tap on Start, wait for the 3-2-1 countdown and run.

During runs, only the elapsed time and distance will be displayed. But you can have the pace and heart rate by turning on "Advanced" in the NRC watch app setting.

While you can get the same NRC app on the Series 2 watches, and it will work in the same way, you will be missing out on the Nike+ watch faces and the more ventilated perforated watch band. Since the Nike+ model is priced the same as a Sport Series 2, you might as well get the former.

Like the Apple Watch Series 2, I found the GPS distance tracking readings to be not much differentfrom my TomTom Spark Cardio, differing by only less than 20m. Battery life is similar to the Series 2, lasting around two days with notifications on.

Similar to the Series 2, Apple Watch Nike+ is water-resistant to a depth of 50m, so you can go swimming while wearing it.

However, there is no option in the NRC app for swimming. You have to use the native Workout app to track your swims. In other words, there are no NikeFuel points to earn here. The same goes to other exercises, such as cycling and yoga. Guess I have to stick to running.

•Verdict: If you are a NikeFuel point addict (like myself) and just run to keep fit, the Apple Watch Nike+ is probably the only smartwatch and running watch combined into one that you will ever need.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2016, with the headline 'Plus points for the Apple Watch Nike+'. Print Edition | Subscribe