Sep 10 2010

Nike+ GPS vs. Garmin Forerunner 405

A quick history:

Between February 11, 2007 – August 31, 2008, I used Nike+ a TON. I had a lot of fun with it, and still miss it now.

Used it a couple times since then, but not much. August 31, 2008 was the 2008 Nike+ Human Race and it nearly killed me. I always meant to write about it but never did… oh well.

Well I got an email the other day about the new Nike+ GPS app. Woa… nice. It seems kinda weird though… like they cheated or something. They have an awesome device to run the app on, and they didn’t even have to do anything! No more “pod” just a GPS. Well I looked and its $1.99. I usually scoff at any app that costs money, but after a moment of clarity I decided that wasn’t too bad after all. I think I bought it laying in my bed at about 10:45pm with no intention on running then, but got it, and looked through it. Looked good enough and planned to test it out soon. Even if I only used it once, $1.99 wasn’t bad to test it out I felt.

The next day I went for an afternoon “get circulation going walk” and used it for a minute on the latter part of my walk. It measured out .25 miles ok enough, and sure enough back inside it was already on the Nike+ website mapped out and everything.

Well that night I decided to take it on the ‘ol reliable 6.85 mile route along with my Garmin 405. I charged them both to 100% and headed out. In my unscientific effort I started them about a second or two apart and paused the nike+ on my iPhone a couple of times to adjust the music and what not. I even stopped both for about a minute while I adjusted the armband. That’s one thing that’s a lot nicer about the Garmin 405. You don’t have to lug around your iPhone. Maybe I can get a belt clip for it or something. I dunno… its just kind of impractical to take… and I really have gotten out of the habit of ever listening to music when I run. It’s crazy — its so nice to have sometimes because I can really get in a rhythm with some songs and get some copious adrenaline surges. Looking forward with glazed eyes, a lump in my throat, a sudden shortness of breath, a grimace, and blood literally racing from my ears to my legs jolting them forward – usually to a comfortable pace about a minute faster than what I was running, with no detrimental after effects. Well, that can happen sometimes listening to music while running.

Despite all that – I usually run sans tunes. The one constant exception being any treadmill runs.

Well all that aside, here is how the Nike+ mapped, superimposed with the Garmin mapping.

Nike+ GPS and Garmin GPS Maps

As you can see, they are for all intents and purposes, completely identical.

The Garmin seems more “technical” and while the Nike+ seems more flashy and fun. Both have pretty robust features, too many to detail here in a full comparison… but suffice to say you can spend quite some time dissecting either one. I would have to say in the end, the Garmin may win out for full blown data presentation and features… but its also a much more mature platform.

One thing that never seems to work quite right on the Garmin, are the elevation readings. The same route over and over will have wildly different readings. Well the Nike+ GPS seems to be reading the same ever changing topographical map in this endeavor, as it doesn’t appear to be close either. You can also note the difference between the top (Garmin) and bottom (Nike+) in their different presentations of this data. For the Nike+ that’s all there is; for the Garmin there are many more ways still to delve into that data.

Elevation Comparison

Elevation aside (who really cares? other than a fun stat) here is the important data that was tracked:

Nike: 6.54 miles 55:12 – 8:19 pace

Garmin: 6.61miles 55:41 – 8:25 pace

The times are different due to me shutting off the Nike a couple times, and also a hiccup where the workout paused several times, with no interaction from me towards the end of my run. It also popped up several times, with Voice Control – also unsolicited. These were definitely a little bothersome. I initially thought it was perhaps because I left the screen on – it can easily be locked… but even after I locked the screen both interruptions happened several more times.

Now since then, a new update has been released and I have it downlaoded ready to go for next time. The update stated it contained: “bug fixes” — so that could be a fix for these issues.

My sync went off without a hitch the instant I was done running, and someone screamed to me “HEY! THAT’S YOUR PERSONAL BEST FOR 10K! SWEET!!” — haha that was rather fun. You can also replay it over and over.

There are a few more points to cover, but I’d like to get this out there… so look for a part two after my next run with it!

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