Apple Watch Nike – Review

The Apple Watch Nike is one of the best fitness watches on the market and carries a price tag to prove it. Since the Apple Watch series 2, a fitness and health-targeted Nike version has been launched annually by Apple.

I’ve had an Apple Watch Nike for several years. I’ve tested more than 25 sports modes, used all of the watch’s smart features, and tracked my sleep with it.

Here’s what I’ve learned, liked, and disliked.


11 Best Features Reviewed – Apple Watch Nike


In over three years of use, I’ve been able to identify the best and the worst that the Apple Watch has to offer.


1. Sports Modes

Three Stars Rating

Apple Watch has a very long and satisfying list of sports modes. Apple even beats Fitbit and Samsung in terms of the variety and number of sports modes it offers.

All the main ones are there: running indoor, running outdoor, pool swimming, open water swimming, badminton, tennis, cycling, walking, yoga, pilates, rower, HIIT, cross-training, skating, etc.

And there’s a bunch of less traditional activities you can record too: core work, tennis table, stretching, tai chi, meditation, etc.

The only disappointment for me was the absence of a triathlon mode. For triathlons, I use my Suunto watch.

I’m very satisfied with the Apple Watch Nike sports modes. There are more options than on a Fitbit and Samsung Galaxy band.


2. Screen Resistance

Three Stars Rating

When you pay the big price for a wearable, you don’t want it to break or scratch easily.

My Apple watch has endured a lot. Ocean and chlorinated water have never been an issue, and despite all my carelessness at the gym and in my everyday life, the glass screen never broke. It has a few scratches, but I’ve never been careful with it, so would have expected worse to be honest.

The Series 7 Apple Watch is even better than the one I have, with a more resistant front crystal and an IP6X dust resistance rating.


3. Battery Life and Charging

Two Stars Rating

Apple markets the Nike Watch 7 as having a battery life of up to 18 hours on an average day, where an average day includes one 60-minute workout, 90 time checks and notifications and 45 minutes of app use, among other things. Depending on how much you use the watch, you may get more or less life out of it.

Read full details on the 18 hours battery life on the Apple website.

Actions like taking calls from the watch, or using the GPS are two of the most battery-draining actions.

The fast-charging feature of the Series 7 model is a must in my opinion. When a watch is designed for sports and everyday use, including sleep tracking, it needs a few days’ worth of battery life. And if falling short of that, as is the case here, then you need to have the ability to return to a full charge super quickly. The series 7 fast-charge technology is a big plus.


4. Large Number of Apps

Three Stars Rating

To have an app on your Apple Watch, you must have it on your iPhone first. It’s very easy to select which of your apps you want access to from your watch, using the Apple Watch application.

Here are a few of the apps I have on my watch, just to give you an idea of what’s compatible with the Nike Watch:

  • Spotify, Apple Music, Podcasts, Audible, Shazam
  • Strava, MapMyRun, RunKeeper, Nike Run Club, MyFitnessPal
  • Calm, BetterSleep, Sleep Cycle
  • Google Maps
  • Uber, TripView
  • Messenger
  • TheWeatherNetwork, WeatherZone
  • Hilton Honors, Yelp,
  • Flightradar24, United, Air NZ, Qantas, Clue
  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  • Todoist
Very good app coverage by the Apple Watch Nike

The apps I can’t access directly from my watch are:

  • Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Reddit
  • Discord, WhatsApp, Signal
  • Google Translate,
  • a few of my local real estate apps
  • etc.

Just a precision regarding the use of Signal and WhatsApp on Apple Watch. Whilst you can’t have the Signal and WhatsApp apps on your Apple watch, you will still receive calls and text notifications from Signal and WhatsApp. You will be able to answer and reply from your watch. You can’t, however, initiate anything yourself given the apps aren’t on the watch. If you want to initiate a WhatsApp or Signal call or text message, you’ll have to use your phone.


5. Nike Run Club

Three Stars Rating

The app comes pre-installed on every Nike watch. It’s an awesome tool for runners, especially beginner and intermediate runners, as you get access to pre-set running workouts, some coaching, and a community of runners.

You can earn badges and participate in challenges to motivate you to train with consistency.

The app is great but not irreplaceable, as it mostly focuses on things other apps like Strava and MapMyRun do as well: it maps your runs, tracks your distance and pace, tracks your heart rate using the watch’s optical heart rate sensor, etc. Your run stats are summarized in a visually excellent way.

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6. Apple Pay

Three Stars Rating

It’s as easy to use your digital wallet on the watch as it is to use it on an iPhone. You simply double-click on the haptic button, and your default card will show up. You can scroll down to select other debit cards, credit cards or reward cards.

You can use Apple Pay on the watch even without your phone being nearby.


7. Activity Rings

Three Stars Rating
The Activity Rings are unique to Apple.

The Apple Watch Activity Rings work surprisingly well to motivate us to be more active. I never thought I’d be bothered by not closing my rings, but I am. I enjoy the celebratory vibration on my wrist when I close a ring.

There are three activity rings:

  1. Move (red): the largest of the three rings, against which KCALs of movement are tracked.
  2. Exercise (green): the middle ring, with a default goal of 30 minutes per day
  3. Stand (blue): the smallest of the three rings with a default objective of standing for one minute per hour, for 12 hours every day.

Each of the three goals is customizable and tracking against your goals is done automatically by your watch.


8. Music Storage

Two Stars Rating

You don’t need your phone nearby to listen to music from your watch!

Using apps like Apple Music or Spotify Premium, you can download songs, podcasts and playlists directly on the watch. You can play music from any Bluetooth headphones or speakers by pairing them with your watch.

Offline playback is very useful for outdoor runs when you don’t want to carry a heavy and bothersome phone in your hands.

If you have the free version of Spotify, you’ll be able to control Spotify from your watch but won’t be allowed to download content for offline playback.


9. Siri

Three Stars Rating

Siri comes in handy on the Apple Watch. I actually use Siri more often on my watch than I do on my iPhone. “Siri, call mum”, “Siri, set a timer for 15 minutes”.

And about about 7 times a day: “Siri, find my phone”…


10. Sleep Tracking

One Star Rating

I’ve used my watch to bed for the purpose of this article, but I do not intend to use it on a regular basis to track my sleep. The reasons I won’t track my sleep with Apple Watch are:

  • I was disappointed with the insights
  • I run out of battery at the end of each day and my “old” series watch, unlike the Series 7 Apple Watch Nike, doesn’t have fast charging.
  • I never got used to sleeping with the watch on. I’m not a good sleeper to start with, and the watch bothers me at night.
  • When I wake up wearing the watch, my wrist is moist where the watch and band sit, and I don’t like that.

With Fitbit, you get detailed sleep insights including an estimate of the time spent in REM, light and deep sleep phases. You don’t get any of that with the Apple Watch.

You’re only told about the amount of time you spent in bed.

One night I went to bed at 10:30 pm but couldn’t fall asleep until 1:30 am, and had insomnia most of the night. My watch said I was in bed from 10:30 until 7am, giving me no insights on actual sleep time.


11. Decibels

Two Stars Rating

Your watch can display the level of decibels around you in real-time, with a color grading to warn you when sound levels are above the safe threshold.

In the Apple Health App, you can see a summary of your hourly exposure to sound, every day of the week.

It’s a good tool for awareness of hearing health, even with kids (“we’re in the red kiddo, we’ll turn down the volume to get back in the green”).

Sounds Environment Decibel Tracking Apple Watch



– 50m water resistance
– Optical heart rate monitor
– In-built GPS works independently from iPhone
– High, Low, irregular heart rate notifications
– Activity rings
– Compatible with a lot of apps
– Music storage and streaming
– Sleep tracking*
– ECG **
– Always-On retina display**
– Blood oxygen saturation (SpO2)**

* I was disappointed with the sleep tracking feature as explained above.
** Not available with SE model


Apple Watch Nike SE vs. Series 7


The two latest models of the Apple Watch Nike are the SE watch and the Series 7 watch.

I’ve summarized below the most important similarities and differences between the Apple Watch Nike Series 7 and Apple Watch Nike SE.



  • Smart Notifications: texts, calls, calendar alerts, emails, etc.
  • Mic & speaker for on-wrist calls
  • Sports Modes: same
  • Water-Resistant: 50 meters
  • Nike Run App: Yes
  • Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
  • High & Low Heart Rate Notifications: Yes
  • Irregular Heart Rhythm Notifications: Yes
  • Sleep Tracking: Yes
  • Onboard GPS: Yes
  • Cellular Option: Yes
  • Family Setup: Can pair more than 1 watch per iPhone
  • Emergency SOS and Intl Emergency Calling: Yes
  • Fall Detection: Yes
  • Battery Life: Similar enough
  • Siri: Yes
  • Activity Rings: Yes
  • Decibels: Yes
  • Apple Pay: Yes


  • Material: Series 7 material is more resistant to cracks and dust
  • Always-on Display: not an option with SE
  • Display Sizes: Series 7 minimally bigger
  • Charge Time: Series 7 has fast charging
  • Sensors: The newer generation optical heart rate sensor of the Series 7 allows:
    • Blood Oxygen Saturation (SpO2) readings, and
    • Electrocardiogram readings
  • Price: SE is cheaper

Compare Price:


Difference Between Apple Watch Nike and Apple Watch


The Nike model is Apple’s smartwatch product for people that intend to sweat with a watch on.

Not surprisingly, the most visually noticeable difference between the regular watch and the Nike watch is the wristband. The Nike edition comes with a special exercise-proof strap – you choose between a nylon strap and a rubber band. The classic Apple Watch Nike rubber band is a soft, comfortable fabric with perforations to help air circulate. I’ve used an Apple Watch Nike for over four years and haven’t changed the band once, so I can attest to the durability of the band.

The only other visual difference is that the Nike model has a very small Nike logo at the back of the watch, near the optical heart rate sensor.

Otherwise, the Apple Nike watch has all the features of the regular non-Nike Apple watches, plus a few added bonuses:

Regular Apple Watch Series 7
  • the Apple Watch Nike comes with the Nike Run Club app that helps you track your runs, coaches you, and connects you with a community of like-minded fitness freaks. You don’t get that on the non-Nike version.
  • You’ll have access to exclusive watch faces. Some are more sports-oriented or have the Nike logo showcased.

Pros and Cons of Apple Watch Nike



Inbuilt GPS
Optical heart rate monitor
Apple Pay
List of sports modes is hard to beat
Fall detection feature
Calls and notifications on wrist
Activity rings are excellent for motivation
Swimproof (50 meters)
Apple’s Trade-In program to update your watch for a newer model


No triathlon mode
Battery life is not exceptional
Not compatible with Android
Sleep Tracking tracks time in bed, not time asleep or sleep phases.

Variations and Options


There are 4 important decision points when purchasing an Apple Watch Nike. Your choices will determine the look and the final price of your smartwatch.


Model (SE vs. Series 7)


The Series 7 is more expensive than the SE, given it’s made of better-quality material and has more features. The SE remains an excellent option if a competitive price is more important for you than having:

  • the most crack-resistant front crystal
  • certified best in class dust-resistance
  • a slightly bigger display
  • blood oxygen saturation readings (SpO2), and
  • electrocardiogram readings.
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Display size will impact the purchase price slightly, with a bigger display being pricier than a smaller display.

Options for Series 7:

  • 41mm
  • 45mm

Options for SE:

  • 40mm
  • 44mm

Bigger sizes have more pixels, rendering a clearer image, and weigh a few grams more.

In choosing your preferred display height (or case size), don’t forget to consider your wrist size.

The smaller case size versions of the Apple Watch Nike Series 7 and SE (41mm and 40mm respectively), fit 130mm-200mm wrists. The larger case size versions (of 45mm and 44mm) fit 140mm – 220mm wrists. That’s consistent with the idea that those with smaller wrists will generally opt for the smaller screen.

There’s no difference in functionality and features no matter the size you pick.




You’ll have two options:

  • GPS; or
  • GPS + Cellular

The latter is more expensive, not just at the time of purchase, but also on an ongoing basis.

With GPS connectivity, both your phone and your watch have to be nearby to use functions that require signal: calls, text messages, etc.

With Cellular connectivity, the watch is equipped to receive phone and text message signals even when you don’t have your iPhone nearby. However, for this to work, you’ll need your mobile carrier to support Apple Watch and they’ll usually charge extra each month. My mobile carrier charges an extra $5 monthly fee.

Both models can be purchased as GPS only (cheaper) or GPS + Cellular (more expensive). Note that even the GPS-only version has a built-in GPS that works independently from your phone.


Body Color & Wrist Band


Two options for SE:

  • Space Grey
  • Silver

Two options for Series 7:

  • Midnight
  • Startlight

There are two different band styles to choose from:

  • The classic sports band made of rubber with perforations throughout (available in several colors)
  • The newer sports loop made of nylon (also available in several colors)
Silver Apple Watch Nike with classic rubber band
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The Apple Watch Nike is a great everyday sports watch and a top product to consider if your budget allows it.

Tips if you have a narrow budget: opt for GPS only (instead of GPS + Cellular) and consider the SE model which lacks a few “minor” features.

Don’t buy an Apple watch for its sleep tracker, as it doesn’t give very detailed insights. Other brands like Fitbit do a better job than Apple to track your sleep.

The Apple Watch Nike has a heart rate monitor to keep track of your target heart rate while exercising. It beats Fitbit and Samsung in terms of the number of sports modes.

I’ve had my Apple Watch Nike for over three years and its battery life hasn’t worn off, so it ticks the box for battery longevity. In terms of battery life for day-to-day use, Apple meets my minimum requirements. The Series 7 model has fast charging, which is a big plus.

The Apple Watch Nike has a built-in GPS and music storage, so you don’t have to bring your phone with you on runs.

It’s water-resistant, which means you can swim in a pool or open water with no worries. Mine has been in salt water and chlorinated water a lot and is still working well after over four years.

To conclude, I have no hesitation in recommending the Apple Watch Nike, as long as sleep tracking is not your reason for buying a smartwatch. The Apple Watch SE and Series 7 are both excellent devices for sports adepts. Until a new series is released, they’re the leading Apple watch options available.


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