Nike+ Move App Review: A good substitute for wearable fitness trackers

Nike+ Move activity reports

Nike’s latest entry into the Nike+ family brings the Nike+ Move app for iPhone. Taking advantage of the iPhone 5s’s new M7 motion coprocessor, Nike+ Move will track your movement throughout the day and award you with NikeFuel based on your activity. There is no traditional step tracker. Your movement is displayed on a time-based graph that updates throughout the day and is overlaid on your graph from yesterday for a quick comparison.

Move also breaks down the type of activity you participated in for the current day and itemizes your NikeFuel earning for running, walking, and “other movement.” If you grant Move access to Location Services, it will also show where your activity occurred throughout the day and display NikeFuel earnings and time spent moving in each location. Separately, a long-term bar graph displays your activity for at least two weeks. The M7 in the iPhone does not store data for more than 7 days, and the Nike+ Move app has not been out long enough to test the history beyond that.

Nike did build in some social features to Move that utilizes Game Center and Location Services to compare your activity to your friends and others in your geographical area (categorized by your nearest major city). The Game Center integration is extremely poor at best and should have been left out until complete. I could not find a way to find any friends using the app, which probably just means that none are using Move. A tantalizing “Add Friends” button is there, but tapping it takes you to a Mail pop-over where you can email your friends and ask them to connect with you – completely foregoing the Game Center friends list that Nike touts as a feature.

Nike+ Move is a fairly simple motion tracker than can substitute for a physical fitness tracker if you don’t already own a Fitbit or Nike FuelBand. Accuracy is hard to gauge since it is quantified in proprietary NikeFuel points that seem to have no discernible reason for when you get rewarded. My activity graphs from wearing a Fitbit while keeping my iPhone with me at the same time result in nearly identical activity graphs, so Move seems accurate enough.

This latest (and arguably greatest) app to make use of the iPhone 5s’s M7 motion coprocessor is definitely a strong contender in the space and likely won’t be overshadowed soon. Once Nike better integrates the Game Center experience, Nike+ Move should dominate the M7-based motion tracking space. Move sports a beautiful simple interface and is incredibly easy to use – two things sorely lacking in the first M7 motion tracker, Argus. If you already own a wearable fitness tracker, it’s best to stick with that though. I notice that I wear my Fitbit Flex much more often than I have my iPhone on me, and my activity reports reflect this activity tracking gap. Nike’s goal is to use the Move app as gateway to the Nike+ ecosystem, hoping to tempt users to upgrade by purchasing a new FuelBand. I have to admit that I now kind of want one.

You can download Nike+ Move for iPhone now, free on the App Store.

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