Nike+ SportWatch GPS: 1 year later, ready to go to the garbage can

Nike+ SportWatch GPS = No repair after 1 year of warranty
Good bye watch, one year is so little time for a gadget to last…

How I fell in love with my watch

I ran my first race with the Nike GPS watch on Aug 17, 2011 at 6:50 pm; It was a 3.1 mile run, at a pace of 8’43 / mile. It was nothing stellar yet I was excited because I was kicking the tires of my new watch with GPS and I had no need to use an IPhone or an Android to see how much farther away I ran (before that I was using my Nike+ Ipod nano).

Yes, I was so excited about the new watch, so simple to use, that I even played hacking my data from the NikeRunning website.

NikeSupport on tweeter
Nike support on Tweeter. Very slow, lack of answers

But today, almost one year later, my watch stopped talking with my computer. The software doesn’t recognize the watch anymore so I decided to contact Nike on tweeter first to figure out if the latest software upgrade on their Nike+ Connect software had a bug.

So I wrote and after waiting 3 hours with no further reply from their support I decided to give them a phone call (I actually used the callback service).

The called within a minute and asked me to try several options (restart your watch, re-install the software, reboot the machine, install on a different machine) and nothing worked. So looks like is a hardware problem and if I have the purchase receipt AND if the warranty is still under one year I can get a replacement, no questions asked.

So my watch is barely a year old and no receipt. Here are the bad news: Nike doesn’t re-furbish their watches, they don’t offer to repair it and there is no option to buy a new watch at discount. You have to buy a brand new watch, with a warranty of only one year.

While $160 won’t exactly break your bank account it also true that you expect a Nike watch to last more than a year; Now my data is trapped inside the watch with no way to recover it. To make things worst I also purchased the Polar Band to capture my heart beat while running, so that is another device that I cannot use now.

The aftermath

So the watch is busted. Looking through Google I found http://nikewatchrepair.com/. They charge you $12 just to receive your watch and later they tell you how much the full repair will cost, but before I asked them if they support my model and they never got back to me.

Repair is also not possible. Now I have a powerful watch that can capture heartbeats and distance using the GPS and yet cannot export the data.

So what went wrong here?

There is nothing wrong on Nike offering only one year of warranty for the watch, that seems to be the standard; Also it is my fault that I did not keep the receipt after the purchase which limits greatly my options.

But Nike dropped the ball here on the following:

  • No way to repair the watch, even if is out of warranty? Seriously Nike? Look how Garmin does it and learn!
  • Nike doesn’t care much about their users. I spoke with 2 different support people over the phone and also had a long (and fruitless) session over Twitter. I wasn’t expecting a free new watch but a discount while purchasing a new one or a way to repair it. Looks like Garmin love their users more

So what it is in the future for Nike+

I plan to buy a new watch to replace the damaged one … but it won’t be Nike. My experience with the quality of the watch and their support is negative. On top of that the fact than I cannot export the data from the NikeRunning website (effectively locking my data with the vendor) droves me even further away from purchasing any other Nike products in the future.

I know than Nike won’t notice this (I’m not expecting it either) and they won’t change their ways either. But if you are reading this and thinking about buying a GPS watch for your runs you may learn one or two things from this post. Specially about keeping the receipts or asking for the extended warranty if any.

UPDATE:

At the end Nike gave me a replacement watch after my story got published in the website ‘the consumerist‘. While it is a nice gesture from then it still doesn’t cover the issue of no repair for existing watches, even with a third party provider.

4 thoughts on “Nike+ SportWatch GPS: 1 year later, ready to go to the garbage can

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  2. Do you still have the watch? I had more or less the same thing happen a few days into January 2012. It might even have been the 11th. They shipped me a replacement because fortunately it was under warranty. I had the same suspicion regarding a software update but never figured out if that was it or not. My new one has not repeated this performance yet; it will probably wait till the year is up. If so I’m going to disassemble and ohm out the USB traces. One thing that I wanted to try but didn’t before shipping it back is the secret key sequence for resetting it’s firmware. I forget exactly what it is but it’s pretty basic. I think yellow held down while plugging into USB or maybe yellow & black while plugging in. If you still have it could you try this?

    1. I got a replacement and so far no issues when connecting the new unit to the computer. In my case I think this confirms an issue with the previous unit (I also tried doing a full reset with the old watch but no luck).

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