In starting to get acquainted with my new iPhone, I’ve been testing out some of the new location aware apps offered on the App store. One that caught my eye was Runkeeper. RunKeeper tracks workouts and tracks data such as time and location allowing you to build a diary and share your progress with your friends. I had been using Nokia Sports Tracker on and off for the last year and had been pretty happy with it so I decided to put my Nokia N95 in one pocket and my iPhone 3G in another and see how they matched up. Let the battle begin 🙂
RunKeeper – My Tracked Workout
Newcomer first…. RunKeeper is pretty sweet. It does a great job allowing you to see your stored workouts on the device itself and even will leverage maps so you can see your mile markers and route. This is far beyond what Sports Tracker offers in the device, though ST does offer a lot more general data points. The RunKeeper online portal is a little primative but cool allowing you to post your workouts into social platforms such as Facebook and the like. From what I hear they are improving this as we speak.
Cons include some known issues that are being worked out. First, the touch interface makes it pretty easy to press something by accident when you’re stowing the handset, not their fault but a usability issue nonetheless. I did experience one bug (pictured above) that somehow had me running to Burlington, MA and back (40 something miles!) in under 20 minutes. I think this was caused by the low battery message. This is a killer since you simply can’t just do your run over and disappointing to find that after all that work you don’t have your data. But other than this anomoly it has worked for everytime since.
Nokia Sports Tracker – My Tracked Workout
Sports Tracker is still a great application that you can use with your compatible Nokia device. The socialization piece on the website is top notch allowing you to look at a world map and see other workouts in your area as well as post pictures from your workout. It also allows you to share your progress via widgets into other platforms.
Now the bad. In the same run head to head you can see that my N95 did not pick up the GPS till I was well into my run. This is not a software issue so to say since the built in GPS on this devices takes a notoriously long time to pick up location, but still not cool. Also the visualization on handset is terrible compared to RunKeeper. Strange that they are strong on the desktop and weak on the device here.
In closing, it’s important to note that Sportstracker is free while RunKeeper is not, at least for the premium version which is $9.99. You can also use a free version of RunKeeper which I used for the demo, but you’ll get hit with ads. I did end up buying the full version, but I think there needs to be a few more differentiators other than ads to justify the price here. As for Sports Tracker, it’s hard to tell if it’s more than skunkwork for Nokia as it’s been in beta for a while. It’s a great offering however and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them evolve it someday as they roll out more devices and maybe roll it into their Ovi strategy.
Who wins? They are both great and both specific to the handset, so depending on what you own (Nokia, iPhone) give them a try, you won’t be disappointed.