As advertised, Nike+ Basketball measures your vertical leap (in vertical inches), quickness (in steps per second), total playing time, and NikeFuel burned. It accomplishes this with sensors built into the sole of each shoe, which in turn connect wirelessly to an app that presents your play data. Parts of this are done well. Others, not so much.
When I first bought the shoes, I was excited. As soon as I got home I eagerly tore at the packaging with dreams of measuring how pitifully far away I was from dunking a basketball on a regulation rim. Sadly, Nike+ Basketball doesn’t feature out of the box functionality, and I had to go through a relatively simple, if not time consuming set up process.
Set-up entails plugging in two Nike+ sensors into a bundled USB charger and into your computer. Next you download a small Nike applet that pairs the sensors with your shoes. Not much of a hassle, but the fact that you need to add a computer into the equation is a little annoying.
Next is downloading the Nike+ app for your iPhone. Easy. Then plug in a Nike+ communicator into the bottom of your iPhone. This adds bulk, and frankly I’m positive this is going to break off the bottom of my phone sometime in the next three weeks.
Ok, almost through the process. Next is dropping the sensors in the shoes. Pull up the insole and slide them in their slot. Both feet have to be paired to their respective sensors individually via the app. This only takes a few seconds, but you have to repeat the process every time you remove the sensors when they eventually need to be recharged. Thankfully I haven’t had to do this yet, and with over five hours playing time logged I’m still over 50% charged. The sensors have embedded LEDs to monitor battery life, as well as having their charge displayed on the app.
Whew. Finally play time. I pressed start and hit court. When finished then phone syncs up with the shoes and… you see a video of LeBron James telling you “Wow! Great job!”. Now I’m just pissed. If you’re a regular reader you know I was rooting hard for OKC in the Finals this year. In this moment, I genuinely regret my purchase. But I got over it. Sort of.
Stats are presented in detail while in landscape mode. Averages, total jumps, hang time, it’s all there, and it’s glorious. It made it all worth it. I still don’t have a meaningful definition for NikeFuel. Is it calories burned? I’m tired of looking. It doesn’t really matter, I’m here for the jump data.
All of your stats are easily shareable via Facebook and Twitter, as are videos you take with superimposed data.
Overall, is the expense and somewhat labor intensive set up worth it? Probably not. Don’t get me wrong, Nike+ Basketball is fun. Measuring your limits and pushing them is what Sport is all about. But you don’t really need to know how many times you jumped in an hour to know if you played hard.
If you ball, the shoes Nike+ Basketball is bundled with, the Lunar Hyperdunk+, are a must cop and are available at a reduced price point without Nike+ BB. Read my performance review later coming soon.
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