Please note: this information was current as of November 2007 but is still a useful guide today.
The NIKE+ / IPOD Sport Kit is a personal workout coach with a difference. To get going you'll need a pair of running shoes from the Nike+ range, an iPod Nano and the Sport Kit, which comes in two parts: a sensor and a receiver.
You place the sensor in the special compartment in your shoe and attach the receiver to your iPod. The sensor monitors your footstrike, working out your pace by figuring how long your foot spends on the ground. You then transfer your workout data from your Nano to iTunes, which automatically sends it on to the Nike+ website.
But wait there's more.
- Let it know when you're running out of steam and it'll kick in with your favourite workout tune or some inspiring words.
- If you want him to, seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong congratulates you after your workout.
- And there's an interactive Nike+ website, where you can plot and track your results, set goals and challenge yourself and others; even have virtual races with friends on the other side of the globe.
CHOICE took the kit, shoes and Nano for a 3 km walk and 3 km run in a local park. We tested the system for accuracy using a stopwatch and a road wheel (which measures exact distances) and it passed with flying colours, with less than 1% error for time and less than 3% for distance. Our tester, who hadn't used an iPod before, found the system a breeze to set up and use, and really liked the voice feedback. Stopping, pausing or requesting a status update were also very easy.
- You can get a pair of Nike+ shoes for $150-$240; there's a range of currently 16 styles to choose from.
- The iPod Nano retails for $199-$279, depending on which version you choose. See our latest test on how it compared against other MP3 players.
- The Sport Kit itself is $48.
- Very easy to navigate and use.
- Male or female voice feedback of distance, time and current pace.
- Music dips in volume during voice feedback rather than cutting out.
- The user guide has clear instructions.
- The receiver can be linked to more than one sensor, so you can share the kit without having to share your shoes.
- Powersong function allows you to jump to a preselected motivational track at the touch of a button.
- The rechargeable battery isn't replaceable. However, the manufacturer claims it lasts for 1000 active hours (which should be over three years of running, even for a keen exerciser).
- Works with the iPod Nano only, not with other iPods or digital music players.
- Displays calories but not kilojoules.