Monday, March 26, 2007

Nike +ipod Sport Kit Hands-on Review

With May closing fast and with over 50 patients running their first triathlon, and with one of the great Somersault events actually named the, "Dr. Freedhoff try-a-tri Challenge", it's time for me to get my butt in gear and start training more seriously.

One of my favourite training tools is the Nike +ipod Sport Kit. It consists of a small transmitter that fits on your shoe and then a small receiver that plugs into the base of your ipod Nano (it only works with the Nano). The transmitter houses at least one accelerometer and consequently what it does is track your speed and distance and then transmits them to your ipod.

It's what the ipod does with that information that's great. As with most products Apple, it's incredibly easy to use. A human sounding voice speaks over your music telling you your elapsed time and distance along with your pace every time you briefly press the ipod's centre button. You can set the interface up to follow your time, distance or Calories burned and then at intervals the voice comes on automatically to tell you how far you've come and how far you've got left.

At any point during your run you can push and hold the center button and your own preselected "power song" will immediately begin to play. It's like a nitro boost for your run.

When you get back home and sync your ipod you'll also be given the option of syncing with the Nike +ipod website where you can track your progress, set multiple goals and join running teams.

The best part - this thing is cheap! In the US, Amazon is selling it for $26.99 and in Canada you can get it on the Apple Canada website for $39.00

Downsides to the product are few. The most obvious one is the fact that it only works with the Ipod Nano. The second is the fact that by trying to tie it in with Nike shoes (the Nike shoes have a little embedded crypt for the transmitter) if you want to run with your own shoes you have to either jerry-rig an attachment to your shoe yourself or buy a third party device for attachment.

I bought the Switcheasy Runaway for $7.99 online. It's pictured below, works great and is very easy to use.

I give the Nike +Ipod Sport Kit an A-.