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Respawn: The Razer Nabu - Gamer or Fitness Band?

Posted Thu, Jan 09, 2014 by Xerin

Respawn

The Razer Nabu is something that I have a million words for and no clue how to write all of them. It is… an abomination and I seriously question why Razer is moving into the fitness market. Let me explain a little bit about myself, I am a moderate fitness buff. I go attend 5Ks, I have both the Fitbit and a Garmin Forerunner, and I know a little bit about smart watches. Enough to consider myself a consumer and the Razer Nabu is just… not a product I see a gamer company making.

I’m sitting here and I’m honestly right now trying very hard to compile my words and organize everything to make sense because it’s so difficult to express the general ideas. Let’s just take it one line item at a time here.

A Fitness Bracelet from a Gaming Company

Gamers have the associated stigma of either being overweight hambeasts with long thick neckbeards or lanky skinny guys who eat nothing but candy / snacks and have no muscle mass. Thinking of a gamer has a fitness buff who hits the gym is a stretch - but not one for me, because my personal trainer plays WoW and personal trainers by default must be very fit. My personal trainer is also a girl, if that has any relevance to how stigma is portrayed.

Razer Nabu

If I was a terrible person there is a lot of funny things to caption this picture as, but the idea of trying to randomly find people with other bracelets to make friends seems ehhh.

There are gamers of every walk of life, but at the same time a game accessory maker marketing a fitness / social watch is just out there. First, the two have no correlation. If I want a fitness product, I run to Garmin (no one I know likes Polar, but they have their following as well). If I want a new mouse or a new crazy gaming product, I run to Razer.

Razer is not my idea of a fitness product. However…

Razer Nabu Positives

Turning fitness into a game is one of the ways I keep on track with my fitness goals. I record my runs, measure times, and use websites that keep track of the data. I put it into spreadsheets and stare at it, all happy and content with progress. Any failure results in the same emotion as missing a raid.

Likewise, adding in the “game” aspect to fitness works wonders. Except when we consider the technical limitations of a wrist based non-gps running device. See the steps in a day thing isn’t accurate, because it’s trying to measure the sway of your arms. The general idea is that the more you sway the more you’re walking / running, in the same sense a pedometer works. However, the data is mostly for fun.

In this aspect, it makes a lot of sense for a gaming focused company to add in cool games to the idea of fitness, but at the same time a lot of these ideas (outside of the pedometer) are available on your phone. Like bumping to note that you're meeting people or the ability to "claim territory."

The Wrist Fitness Issues

Wrist bracelets are great for general “idea” of how you’re doing, but in realistic practicality they’re very useless for actual “real fitness.” The reason being is that running is a very strict thing. You need a lot of accuracy and data to compare different runs and a pedometer is great for measuring how much walking you probably did, it’s not going to tell you your second by second speed around the track.

This is where running apps and watches come in. These smartwatches are nothing new and have been around a lot longer than “smartwatches” have been to replace running with a lap timer in your hand. They measure altitude, distance, speed, and a lot more and output the data to work with. The Fitbit and similar products output the amount of steps made, amount of flights of stairs climbed, etc. Which tells you have active you are in a day.

The two products are similar, but one has almost no real use. Knowing how many steps you took in a day doesn’t necessarily tell you much. You will know if you went out of your way to walk more than normal. Taking a few extra steps burnings almost no noticeable amount of calories.

Now, to be fair, Razer did make the Nabu (sounds kind of like nab you huh) more than just a fitness tracker. They also added in really cool features like the ability to vibrate with your phone and show some data, but that really belongs more with the Pebble and less with the Fitbit if we’re talking practical.

They are also adding in a ton of other features (which is cool, but again better placed on an actual smartwatch), but they're also a game company. So again, what is a gamer going to do needing a fancy tech toy that tells them how many steps they made moving their rig from the car to the party?

That’s my first thoughts on the Nabu. We’ll be going into a more detailed analysis tomorrow with our MMOware. See you guys Friday!

 


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