Tuesday, 26 July 2011

SportsTracker for iPhone review


I enjoy doing sports like jogging, walking, biking, etc. and I have tried many different apps in the past, but if I had to choose one, that would be Sports Tracker for iPhone.

Sports Tracker used to be part of Nokia (named Nokia Sports Tracker) but nowadays it does not belong to Nokia anymore. During Nokia times, there was only a Symbian version available (that I had used in the past). But after that, Sports Tracker has become also available for iPhone and Android devices besides the Symbian version.



The service is like a sports social network. You can add friends that also use Sports Tracker into your friend list so you will get notifications of their workouts, the pictures they have been taking with the app during their workouts, and you can also leave comments for their workouts.

One thing I am surprised is how the app and the online service can be sustained without any advertisement. I will enjoy it as long as it lasts... I guess in the future there will have to monetize the service somehow.

But let's have a look at the iPhone app. I will skip here all the registering process into the service (you can do it online in the Sports Tracker web service or on the device).

The first thing you always get whenever you start the app is the Home screen or dashboard:


This screen gives you a summary of your profile, with the number of workouts, distance, time and energy consumed. Then you have the latest workout information that you can actually click to get into the workout detail screen (we will check this detail screen later).  You have also a notification area where you can see what your Sport Tracker friends have been doing lately. And some useful information the sun rise and sunset hours and the time remaining until sunset, just in case you are going for a long ride or jog and you want to know how many ours of sun light you have left. And finally the Start new workout button.

Besides the dashboard or home screen, you have a Diary, Friends, Explore and Settings screens.

The Diary screen shows your last workouts. You can select any of them to get into the workout detail screen and also you have a small icon with an eye and a number (in my case 0) indicating how many times your workout has been checked by any of your friends and in case that you take pictures with the app, you will see a camera icon with a number indicating the pictures you have taken during the workout.

From the upper bar, you can edit your workouts (delete) or use the + button to add workouts manually.


The Friends screen has two views, the latest activity from your friends, and the list of your friends


From the Latest view you can access to the photos, comments and replies, as well as the workout details. By pressing the Map button in the upper bar you can see where your friends have been working out in a map. You will see the Map button in several other views, and they will always bring to the map showing where the workouts have been taking place. The dot indicating the workout has a different color depending on the type of workout (jogging, walking, etc.):


From the Friends view you can access to the list of friends, and you can add new friends based on Sports Tracker username or even from Facebook. The service will also suggest you friends.

Your friend's profile shows all the sports they have been practicing, the number of workouts, distance, pictures and a workout list.


Maybe now it is time to have a look at the workout detail screen. This shows you a map with the route, and all kind of information about the workout as you can see below. Also, if you have taken photos during the workout you can see them and select them to check them in full screen. It also allows you to write comments to your friend's or your own workouts.


Laps and chart buttons allow you to see more details like lap detail as well altitude and speed chart. Laps can be 0.5km, 1km, etc. In the chart you can see only speed, or altitude, and you can also zoom in and out to see more detailed information.


In the Explore screen you can have a look of all people sharing their workouts in the area where you are, even they are not your friends. You can actually set your workout as public or private, so if you want you can share it with the rest of Sport Tracker users. In the Explore screen you can have a  Map View and a List & Photos view. Map options include also satellite and hybrid.


This can be a good way to find new friends and new areas where to go jogging for instance.

And finally the Settings screen where you can set up your personal information and also configure the app as well as setting up your profile. You can even enable push notifications for the notifications if you wish.



So now that we have had a look to the main views, let's see how we record a workout. From the Home screen, just press the Start new workout and select the type of activity (Walking, Jogging, Biking, etc.). You can also set the Auto pause On whenever your speed goes under 2 km/hr or under 5 km/hr. This allows you not to record whenever you stop, for instance, to have a drink, or take a picture (very clever function).


Then after pressing Continue you will get to the main screen where the recording takes place. You can press the Sun icon to select the white or dark background to improve the visibility. From here you can control the workout recording (Stop, Resume, End) or record lap markers by pressing Lap button.


If you want to see where are you heading and yo need a bigger map, you can have a full screen view by tapping on the right upper corner of the map.


You can also swipe from right to left on the recording screen to see the different recording data details:




 Once you pressed Stop button, the workout recording pauses, and from there you can either resume it or end it. Also, you can lock the screen so no touch will be detected on the screen unless you unlock it. At the end of the workout (or if you edit an already existing workout) you have the option to share it with your friends, make it public and even publish it on your Facebook or Twitter account, a great social network integration.


And the best of all in Sports Tracker is the synchronization with their online service where you can check all your workout information, your friends, your social network integration, etc. Very complete solution.

Here it is a list of what I like and what I would like to see or dislike:

Like:

  • Plenty of options to visualize your data
  • Very accurate calorie consumption
  • Google Map integrated in the app
  • Background recording
  • Sharing capabilities with Facebook and Twitter
  • It is FREE
Dislike:
  • Web service based on Flash, not HTML5 (not working on iPads)
  • Not posible to email the GPS file from the app (although you can download it from the web page)
  • Does not support any sport band to record your heart rate
As a summary, I have to say that I love this app. It is extremely well design and integrated with their online service, and it is free. The guys from Sport Tracker have done such a good work with this app!

I recommend you to go straight to the App Store and give it a try. Here you have the link.

Enjoy!

7 comments:

  1. Great review - hard work and strong insights behind it! Thanks,

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. I saw that it was available on Android too. But I've been running with Cardiotrainer for a long time now and I don't feel like switching... but I must say that the features look interesting...
    Good review!

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  4. Sport Tracker seems not to support any of the "standard" sport bands supplied with commercial heartbeat monitors, but will work with the bluetooth band they sell in their website.

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  5. Sports Tracker DOES support heart rate monitors - I have POLAR HR monitor since 2010 and it was and it is still supported by Sports Tracker. I am using Sports Tracker on both old Symbian phone, and two Android Phones.

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