Product Type: Apple digital audio accessories
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PowerSongs and sensors
Apple Nike + iPod Sport Kit
Member Name: macmonkey13
Apple Nike + iPod Sport Kit
Date: 15/04/09, updated on 15/04/09 (119 review reads)
Advantages: Small, compact, accurate data gathering
Disadvantages: Possible short battery life?
Having over indulged over Christmas and not really being able to tone up a little with general exercise, I decided it was time to take up a bit of gentle running. I decided I would start out going two nights a week for about a mile run, just to break myself back in gently (I hadn't been proper running since I was at school some 10 or so years ago).
So I went to my local sports shop and got myself a decent pair of Nike running shoes, half with the thought of getting myself a Nike+ Apple sensor to pair with my iPod. I tried in vain to find the official Nike+ running shoes for under £30 but wasn't able to do so. I settled on a pair of Dart VI which were on promotion for £24.99. As I didn't have the sensor, I thought I'd see how I got on first.
My first run was a success and I found even though I was absolutely shattered when I got home, I was somehow looking forward to my next venture out. Therefore I decided to hunt down a Nike+ sensor. Now I have an iPod Touch (which I used whilst running to break the boredom of running on my own) and so I only had to find a sensor sold on it's own and not in the iPod Sport Kit.
The sport kit comes with a transmitting device which plugs into the bottom of the iPod (where you plug the USB cable for connecting to a power adapter or computer) which then receives a signal from the Nike+ sensor. The iPod Touch can receive the sensor signal as it uses either Wifi or built in Bluetooth (I'm not 100% sure which) to make the connection. After scouting around for a day or so on where best to get the sensor, I eventually opted for Amazon at a cost of £14.00. True to Amazon's usual good service, it arrived after 3 days.
I did however still have a small problem. How will I secure the sensor to my trainer? As mentioned, I didn't go for the 'official' Nike+ trainers which house the sensor under the insole of the left shoe in a special compartment. I searched on eBay for a solution and it came back with all sorts of shoe pouch, rubber fasteners, plastic latches, etc - all which would cost about the same as the sensor itself.
I was about to give in and buy one of the cheapest when I found a very useful YouTube video on a 'Nike sensor hack'. A guy called seansymons posted a very useful video on how to fasten the sensor with next to no cost at all. You take a small sandwich bag, put the sensor inside, wrap it around a few times and place it under the laces of your left shoe. As there is excess plastic bag hanging out either end, it is secured when you do your laces up. Genius!
So, I was no ready for my second run. I had already created a 'running' playlist in iTunes which I synced to my iPod with songs to keep my energy and enthusiasm up, which are as follows:
'Shut Up and Let Me Go' - The Ting Tings
'My Generation' - Limp Bizkit
'Smack My Bitch Up' - Prodigy
'X Gon' Give It To Ya' - DMX
'Pump It' - Black Eyed Peas
'Mr Brightside' - The Killers
'Killing In The Name' - Rage Against The Machine
'I Predict a Riot' - Kaiser Chiefs
'Breathe' - Prodigy
'Oh Timbaland' - Timbaland
'Hey Ya!' - Outkast
'Hungry Like The Wolf' - Duran Duran
'Standing In The Way Of Control' - The Gossip *POWERSONG
'Break Stuff' - Limp Bizkit
'Fashion Victim' - Green Day
'99 Problems' - Jay Z
'In Da Club' - 50 Cent
I turned on my sensor (there is a very small white button on the underside - press once for on, hold for 3 secs for sleep/off) and walked around as indicated for the connection to be made with my iPod Touch. It took roughly 3 attempts for this to happen, which was a bit surprising as I was expecting an instant connection. Eventually we got there and I was off, but I now found I had to callibrate the sensor by running 400 metres. A little annoying but I wanted to get it right.
A few options can be set up in the preferences before running. I had chosen a female instructor's voice for updates on starting/resuming my workout, etc. A male instructor is also available. You can also set your workout by distance, calories you want to burn or by time. For just normal running, there is a basic workout which will just record all the above with no interruptions. You are also asked to select a 'PowerSong' which can be activated by the iPod interface at any point in your run to give you
2 and a bit miles and roughly 30 minutes later I returned home, had a shower and was eager to get all my running information off the iPod. When you connect the iPod to the computer and iTunes has opened, you have to sync the Nike+ info. Once done, iTunes asks you if you wish to connect to the Nike+ website to create a free account and upload your data. I had already anticipated this and set up an account so all i had to do was log in.
The Nike+ website is a great add on to the already useful (and quite fun) sensor. Here you can view your run as a graph, showing you where you had burst of energy or used your PowerSong, map your run using Google maps, challenge yourself to achievable goals or just see how other people are getting on.
All in all I would recommend the Nike+ Apple sensor as a useful bit of equipment, especially if you're already going to be listening to music. I have heard that battery life lasts only approximately a year and once it runs out you have to replace the unit as the sensor is sealed.
I've been running for near on 2 months now and haven't yet lost my sensor, so it's good to see the bag tip works!
This is my opinion only. I also write reviews on Ciao! under the name macmonkey.
Summary: Apple and Nike combine perfectly to bring an extra feature to music listening whilst running.
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