There’s no doubt the Apple Watch is a great smartwatch, but with the flaws in the Nike app and the features it offers at this price, it’s not a perfect running partner.
- Display quality
- Quality of build
- Water protection
- Comfortable strap
- No GPS lag
- Nike Run Club app
- Battery life
- Strap adjustability
- Lacks always-on display
We all agree that the Apple Watch is one of the best smartwatches ever. Its user interface is slimmer than many of its competitors, it works seamlessly and exclusively with the iPhone and comes with high quality, unobtrusive hardware.
The Nike + Edition 2 Series Apple Watch features an exclusive sports band and unique virtual dials. The Nike + Edition is designed specifically for runners.
But is the Nike + Apple Watch the perfect running partner with so many running watches on the market?
- 38mm and 42mm sizes available
- Same aluminium body design regular Apple Watch S2
- Exclusive Nike+ sport band
We’re not going to spend too much time on design because the Nike + Apple Watch looks just like the rest of the Apple Watch family. The only difference is the small detail of the Nike Swoosh as part of the lettering on the back.
The Nike + version is a solid, high quality and good looking device, made of aluminum and available in gray or silver. Our 42 mm version is not too bulky and the water jacket protects you from sweat or rain damage.
The Nike Sport Band (as Apple calls it) is the biggest visual part of the Nike + version, setting it apart from its normal siblings. This band is soft and flexible and ensures a comfortable fit. It is generously perforated with holes and uses a two-ply construction to represent contrasting colors. The neon yellow paired with black is a trademark of Nike as it’s been the color of the 2011 Nike + SportWatch GPS (which was produced in collaboration with TomTom).
Although the strap is comfortable to wear, it is not very practical. The pin-and-hole system is a bit fiddly and can hardly be adjusted while running. In the long run, it’s harder to adjust than something more conventional, such as a buckle, when it feels too tight because the extremities swell up.
In other words, you can change the harness to something less sporty in no time if you want to get out and make things smarter. This is one of the advantages of the Apple Watch, which you will not find on other sports equipment: It can be adapted to any type of fashion, at will.
Nike Run Club app
- App available to all
- Offers distance and duration runs
- Easy one-tap run options
At Nike Run Club, it’s all about running, as the name implies. You can choose between indoor and outdoor use – the GPS location is deleted if necessary – otherwise you have to select the desired measurement type: distance, time or speed.
These each open the main screen for ongoing activities and guide you with the metric you selected. The goal of choosing the distance or time is to set this in the clock. So if you want to run 10km or 40mins, say so, press Start and off you go.
There are two main views in the Nike Run Club app: The default view is simple and displays only distance and time. With the crown you can switch between the larger value.
However, there is an option on the home screen to enable all metrics. This is the view you want. If you’re a runner, this is a must to access the other information you would expect from a running watch – heart rate and pace. Again, you can display the time, distance, or tempo as the dominant value with a curvature of the crown.
In addition to these two main views, you can select distance, duration or speed. The first two options are pretty self-explanatory. You can either tap the + or – icon to change the value in steps, or turn the crown to get exactly the value you want. If your exercise plan requires a 10 percent clearance, the range will increase In the long run, that’s no problem at all.
Performance and accuracy
- Good GPS performance without startup lag
- Good heart-rate monitoring
For example, the Apple Watch can avoid delays or delays. We’ve been testing the Nike + Apple Watch for about a month, and you’ll never be stopped from saying that there is no satellite connection or that your heart rate can not be found. We suspect that this has to do with good hardware just like Apple, to ensure that you get a nearly error-free user experience.
Strap on the Apple Watch and you can read your heart rate well. It is also usually accurate, close to the averages we would expect. However, compared to a Garmin heart rate belt, it was an average of five beats per minute over a one-hour run. However, this is not a general rule as other runs were only a few strokes away.
This is the reality if you choose the relative freedom of an optical heart rate sensor on the wrist rather than a chest strap. However, the watch is also compatible with Bluetooth heart rate sensors such as the Polar H7 if you need more accuracy. Considering that Nike is not really supported at all, you might want to use another app or a completely different system if your heart rate is right for you.
GPS mapping is generally good too. As I said, there is no sign of a delay when you go out the door and look for the trail. Route tracking is generally accurate, with slight deviations from the line, so you can walk through buildings or in the middle of the road as you look at the routes in more detail. However, this is not unusual.
The distances are generally close enough and each of our runs has been covered within a few hundred meters. That sounds like a mistake after 5-10 km, but it’s also typical of this device type and close enough to the Garmin device we tested on the side.
The presentation of the data is a bit too smooth for us. Both Nike’s speed and heart rate (the only data you can actually access) are displayed as perfectly smoothed lines in a graph. Compared to the rudeness of a presentation like Garmin or Polar, this is less useful – but it depends very much on how much data you need and if it means anything to you.
- Two day battery life max
- A long run will eat half the battery
Battery life is the disadvantage of this type of smartwatch. With a regular battery life of about two days in a burst, a run of about an hour can be a major part of battery life.
Go out the door with 30 percent or less, and it could sink during the run. This is a factor that must be compensated against the other functions of this clock. If you wear it all day and use it for exercise, you will recharge it every night.
This is not too different from a device like the Polar M600, which is probably the most obvious alternative you could buy (in the Android section) – although the app from Polar is more rounded than Nike’s, which is a natural advantage ( and a lot of heart rate) provides functionality).
Compare that to a “normal” fitness watch like the TomTom Spark 3, where you’re likely to spend a week per life, and you can see the obvious inequality. The Nike + is just a device for running and has a pretty bad battery life. However, we do not believe that anyone will buy the Nike + Apple Watch and will only use it for running.
- Great quality OLED display
- Lacks always-on capability
The Apple Watch Series 2 is a comfortable watch for the road, the compact design and the relatively light weight help as well as the bright and lively display.
What sets the Apple Watch apart from other devices (both sports watches and smartwatches) is the quality of this display. It’s OLED, which helps, which means it has deep blacks, a wonderful contrast and twice the brightness of the original Apple Watch. It looks fantastic, details are clear and bright, easy to read, whether it’s bright sunshine or rain.
What we do not like is that Apple really does not want this display to be on, and it turns off whenever possible. This is a general criticism of the Apple Watch in general, that there is no “Always On” mode, as it is in Android Wear or almost any other sports watch.
We can live with it for everyday life, but when walking it is uncomfortable. It denies you the chance to turn your eyes down and check your values while you run hard. Instead, you must make a conscious effort to turn your wrist to see the details. We have sometimes lifted an arm and seen that it has stayed dark, which means that it is more effort than you sometimes want.
We only wish that there is an option that stays on all the time, as this would be a better device to be active on a regular basis. This would also affect battery performance, but it’s worth it for us to improve the user experience.
The Nike + Apple Watch Series 2 is a great smartwatch. It offers seamless integration with the iPhone, high-quality hardware, a great display and a striking sports band.
The Nike + version is not just about being a smartwatch – it has many problems as a running watch. The Nike + Run Club App has shortcomings for serious runners (especially in heart rate measurements) and is therefore not as attractive as other devices. The lack of an always-on display irritates us and the band could be even better for the sport.
So is the Nike + Apple Watch suitable as a running watch? Yes. However, it is not the perfect running partner.