The single most important thing my iPhone has done for me, at least app-wise, is help me stay in shape. Sure, I get a lot of use out of my Twitter and Facebook apps, and I certainly play a lot more mobile games than I used to, but those items really aren’t all that important to me, and I could definitely do without them. The one thing I can’t do without is an exercise tracking app, and over time I have to admit I have used quite a few. I recently settled on RunKeeper Pro for my exercise needs, but after meeting with Abvio‘s CEO Steve Kusmer at Macworld 2010 and getting a hands-on demonstration of Runmeter, I am beginning to rethink my choice again.
Runmeter is a full-featured exercise app that truly allows you to get the most efficient workout possible thanks to a few really neat features. Like most exercise tracking apps, Runmeter uses your iPhone’s GPS to track your distance from one point to another, and is able to calculate how far you have gone and how efficient you were during that time. It is also able to display your location on a map, how far you have climbed, how many calories you have burned, and much more. What it does differently, however, is that it is able to display all of this data in-app instead of uploading it to a website, allowing you to get all of your feedback without the use of a computer.
The app features a calendar so you can look back on your exercises to see how you previously performed. Exercises are given visual indicators, such as a green arrow pointing up or a red arrow pointing down, telling you how you performed compared to your last exercise on the same route. You can dig a little deeper by tapping on the exercise in question and you will be given much more specific data. Runmeter stores and keeps all of this data on your iPhone, and according to Kusmer, a year’s worth of Runmeter data, including maps and graphs, is equal to a single song in size.
Stats are great, but if the app doesn’t perform well, what’s the point? That’s where Runmeter‘s large feature set comes into play once again. Runmeter features some nifty earphone controls that have become indispensable to me even during my short time with it. Instead of having to hit the start button right before you take off for your run, or whatever your exercise of choice is, you can use your earphone’s controls. A single click will pause your music like usual, but another click about a second later will start or stop the stopwatch. This is great for anyone who stores their device in their pocket while exercising or doesn’t like reaching over and fumbling around with it when attached to your arm. You won’t lose a single second with this feature, allowing you to get the most accurate results.
The earphone controls also allow you to hear a wide variety of announcements with a single click if you wish, which will once again pause your music in order to convert text to speech. Announcements can be added, removed, and reorganized in the settings menu so you can hear only what you deem necessary.
If you are looking for an all-in-one exercise tracking app, Runmeter is absolutely a contender, and at $4.99, it’s half the price of RunKeeper Pro. Don’t let the name fool you either, Runmeter features different settings for all kinds of exercise activities, including but not limited to cycling, hiking, walking, and skiing. Just to be clear, my thoughts on the app are solely based on my use of it as a running tool, so your results may vary.