Nike is rolling out the red carpet for their newest Nike+ product. The watch uses both the familiar Nike+ shoe sensor and TomTom’s GPS technology to track runs. Users can then upload their runs to Nikeplus.com via a built-in USB connector in the watch’s strap. New features on Nikeplus.com will map and track runs, including time, pace, distance, calories burned, heart rate and elevation.
The watch will even serve as your Jiminy Cricket if you need one; automatic reminders magically appear when you haven’t logged a run for five days. Like the Nike+ Sport Kit for iPod, you also get virtual high-fives for reaching personal benchmarks such as fastest mile, longest run, fastest 10K and fastest marathon. Runners can track those records on Nikeplus.com, as well as find new routes, set goals, get coaching tips, challenge other users and ping progress to Facebook and Twitter.
The new watch also lets runners click off laps, as most basic running wristwatches can, but the Nike+ Sport Kit for iPod, alas, cannot. The new watch has a tap interface that displays the backlight and marks laps during a run. Finally! Sure, there’s a stopwatch on the iPod, but you can’t access it when you’re in Nike+ without pausing or ending your run. Sorry Nike and Apple, but being able to mark laps, miles, kilometers or what have you is basically Running 101; the Nike+ iPod’s inability to do so was its most frustrating aspect for me as a user.
As a Nike+ user who runs with an iPod, I’ve never bought a GPS watch because I already had the calibrated shoe sensor tracking my runs and didn’t want to add one more expensive, clunky gadget to my already weighted down arm. So I’ll be curious to see the watch in person to get a feel for its 66 grams of weight, especially compared to the many Garmin and Polar GPS watches already out there. And I’ll be especially curious about the price tag.