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Nike Amp+ review

Nike’s new add-on for its Nike+iPod running kit is a watch that lets you wirelessly control your Nano. Now, give us ten laps...

You’ve seen the Nike+iPod system, right? To some it’s Nike’s way of turning a Nano into an instrument of torture, but regular runners have found its ability to give them voice feedback and log their jogging stats onto a website a handy motivational spur.

If you’ve got that kit, here’s what Nike hopes will be your next investment – the Amp+ watch. Using the same wireless receiver as the Nike+iPod kit it lets you skip tracks, get voice feedback and play your powersong while, naturally, telling the time.

Cut your own strap

Annoyingly, the first thing you have to do with the Amp+ is cut the strap to fit by measuring your wrist and taking some scissors to it. We’re not sure what’s so wrong with a standard adjustable strap, but it means your fat-wristed housemate may not be able to borrow it.

Once that puzzling episode is out of the way, though, setting the Amp+ is a doddle. Like the Nike+iPod kit, all you do is connect the receiver to your Nano, go into the ‘Remote’ section of its Nike+ menu and you’re connected. A dog could do it.

You may wish you had octopus arms when using it though. While it makes changing tracks much easier than fishing around for a Nano in your pocket, pressing buttons on your other wrist while running isn’t great for the balance – you’ll need to do it at slow canter rather than in full stride.

Apart from this minor hitch it works well and is easy to use. The front buttons give you one-button track navigation, and the side buttons bring up the time, voice feedback and your Power Song. Because the buttons are moulded you’re also quickly able to operate the watch without even looking at it.

Cryptic time-teller

But it’s a shame that the Amp+ is so cryptic when it comes to telling the time – you have to press a button for it to display, and even then the hour and minutes flash up separately. That £60 price tag seems a bit more hefty when you realise you can’t really use the Amp+ as your main watch.

The display is also hard to read in bright sunlight – not a major problem in the UK, admittedly – and it can get scratched quite easily. Taken together these criticisms don’t sound like a glowing report. But if you know someone who pounds the pavements on a regular basis and has a Nike+iPod kit, the Amp+ would still make a good present. We’d just rather have a Sony Ericsson Bluetooth watch.

Stuff Says…

Score: 3/5