John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

RunTastic Pro (and Runtastic Pedometer)

Amazon had a free app sale and this one was on the list so I grabbed it. I been a fan of RunGPS for a long time now. I’ve played with a number of these apps Endomondo, MapyMyRIde, CascaRun (on BlackBerry) etc. All these apps do a similar function. Track and log your exercise. So I was interested to see how RunTastic stacks up and whether it can unseat my all time favorite RunGPS.
The opening screen looks VERY good. It allows you to change the sport (click on the running icon), connects to Bluetooth heart rate monitors (like my Zephyr), displays a map of your exercise as well as the weather (including the wind). (It does not support Ant+ heart rate monitors.) All very nice. The app is integrated with Google+ as well as Facebook for social media integration. Includes voice coaching, and your friends can even encourage you while your exercising! At the end of the exercise it uploads to a portal that you can easily share and includes lots of stats of the excercise. Here is a sample:
Sample map.

It does support Pebble, Samsung Gear and Sony Smart watch a nice touch.

Overall the ap is well done and thorough. Like most apps in this category there is no non-GPS mode (think indoor gym), pedometer mode, or hear rate monitor logging mode.

Compared with RunGPS the one thing missing from Runtastic Pro is the ability to use this app to navigate. Imagine your out on a hike. I have no idea why this feature is missing from every other app (other than RunGPS).

Next up I wanted to compare the calorie count of the app so I did a comparison between RunGPS, and Runtastic, and Runtastic with and without a heart rate monitor. Read the details. But the end result is I have no idea what Runtastic are using to calculate calorie count but it seems WAY off. For me this is a HUGE problem and one that will have me uninstalling Runtastic and going back to RunGPS. Tried and true!

RunTastic Pedometer
Interestingly enough they have another product called RunTastic Pedometer. Likely a way of making sure they can get a few more dollars out of you. Fitness trackers like fitbit and the like are all the rage. Let’s face it, these devices are an accelerometer and an algorithm to figure out what to do with the data from the accelerometer. Most modern phones have accelerometers in them anyway. So this app (RunTastic Pedometer) makes sense. So I ran a comparison. I started RunTastic on one phone and RunTastic Pedometer on my HTC One (different devices pedometers may be better or worse) and went for a walk. Runtastic using GPS showed a distance of 1.7 kms and a calorie count of 75 calories. The pedometer showed 1.5Kms and a calorie count of 75. This is delta of a mere 8%. Wow. I’m shocked at how accurate it is. So I used it for the day at work. While I can’t say it had no effect on battery I can say it wasn’t massive draw to have it always running. It seemed to pickup stuff correctly. I put it in a belt holster. I ran into only one issue, it came up and said it was having trouble recording steps in the background. What I really think is it couldn’t figure out what to do with prolonged periods of time while I was sitting working (ie not walking). They likely didn’t think about this use of the app. That said, once it tells you of the issue you can say ok never tell me again. So it’s all good. As an interesting aside it says at work I did 1166 steps and burned 70 calories walking around work. I’m an IT guy so I don’t walk around a whole lot. If you want to see the whole trace check it out. So all in all it worked just fine as a pedometer. No complaints. No idea if the pro of the Pedometer includes heart rate support. The RunTastic Pro (the non Pedometer app) does. If the app isn’t sensitive enough for your device you can increase the sensitivity and you can even tune the size of your step to make it more accurate.


April 9, 2014 - Posted by | Android, Blackberry 10

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