This is a review of the Blackberry version of this app. It is also available for Apple and Android. Plus wanted to get something out here that isn’t CES related. :)
The past couple of years I have been trying to get fit. Started out running 5k’s and then up to 25k’s. Last year I ran my first marathon and this year I will be attempting at least 3 that I know of now. What this means is a LOT of training and trying to get better. In my high school days that meant wearing a watch and timing yourself and writing it down after each practice. That evolved after college to the first iteration of Nike+ which put a sensor in the shoe and an attachment to the iPod. Granted a couple of years ago this was greatest thing ever! You go for your run, plug your iPod in and it syncs your run on the NikePlus site and keeps track of a bunch of stats. The only problem was the first iteration wasn’t that accurate as it tries to guess your distance by your cadence on your feet with your stride. Later versions including the new app rely on GPS in either the iPhone or iTouch. Well I wasn’t about to buy another iPod and I had my Blackberry so I decided to start searching.
What I found was Runtastic. I installed the App off of Blackberry World (it is a big app) and ran it for the first time. The interface couldn’t be simpler. When you first run it, you are taken to the setup screen. One word of caution I would highly recommend to go to their site first and register and then log in with the app. I spent 3 days trying to upload my activities because I tried using the Facebook connect. But once I logged out and re-login using my credentials I set up on the site everything worked flawless.
And boy is this app sweet. You start out at the main screen which is the first picture below and you wait til the red light in the upper right hand corner turns green. If you are outside this doesn’t take more than 3-5 seconds which is fast in my opinion. You then click the start button and start your activity. btw. Did I mention that this app isn’t just for Running, it is also used for Cycling, Walking, Driving, Skiing and so on. So after I loaded my blackberry with music (Pandora is just too slow streaming on my POS), I went out for my first run and what would you know the damn thing was extremely accurate! During the first run I still didn’t know about the mapping capabilities and I actually found it out by accident as I hit the right button on my trackpad on my activity screen. It brought me to a screen where I had to install Blackberry maps. (Half hour later and a very non friendly install) I had a map of my run! What impressed me the most was it even showed me where I crossed the streets. The only issue I have with the mapping (Image 3 below) is at the moment this is no zoom on the map, you can scroll around but you can zoom in or out. As stated above now I wanted to upload it to their website to see what else I could see about my runs. Needless to say that took 3 days of waiting but it is now figured out.
My screenshots are purposely cropped since I used a horrendous app to take screenshots and they put watermarks on all of my images. So please note there is about 20% of real estate missing from these.
After I uploaded my three activities I went to the site and created a 4th one as I ran on a treadmill and I am pretty sure that a GPS tracker won’t fare too well accuracy wise on a treadmill. :) You are brought to your main portal and from there you can goto your Sports Activities. Clicking on one of your activities brings you to a detail section of the run.
I was very impressed with the amount of detail that was given on this screen. It gives you your duration, calories burned, pace, elevation gain but not elevation decrease, and your pulse if you get an add on that they sell on their site. The best part is the Google Map that allows you to zoom in and look at your route. Then if you got below the map you will see the 2nd image below which is a graphical representation of your pace and atlitude real time on the map. As you move the cursor along the graph, you will see a little icon on the google map. Now I haven’t used Nike+ lately but this is a VERY nice feature! Then if you go farther down you will see a miles split button, pressing that will give you your splits for the activity.
Then under Statistics are a summary of your workouts based on the criteria you select. Very informative and good detail to base your training on. Below this are many graphs of how your workouts go.
In summary for a FREE app this is one of the best I have seen. For a blackberry this is a gold standard. There is a paid version of this app, which will give voice feedback and other features that will be added later. The website also has a paid section section which will give greater detail and more friend support. But all in all, anybody who is a runner, biker or skiier this will make a killer addition to your phone.