Jeff Smith 2 p.m., Dec. 18
Runtastic Enters the App Race
I was asked to check out the Runtastic tracking app so I did. I loaded it on the phone and went for a couple of runs.
The distance tracking was accurate and lined up with my Garmin records and other running app records.
The app has some cool features. One of which is a video recap of your run via a Google Earth button. The button utilizes Google Earth's new 3D features. Other apps perform similar functions and while it's fun, it tells you nothing about your run.
It's a one-trick-pony. You see it once, think it's kind of cool and then never use it again. For some reason, every running app developer includes this video recap.
A camera function is also available. This is another feature that several tracking apps use. Taking pictures and uploading them has nothing to do with tracking a run. Focus people. Focus.
If I'm going to stop and take a picture it will be with Instagram and I will upload it immediately because that's what Instagram does. I want my tracking app to have tracking features. I personally don't care if I can access my camera from inside the app.
Runtastic has a nice design and easy access to your running history--just one swipe to the left of the workout screen. A map is one swipe to the right of the workout screen--nice and easy.
The workout screen is the end all be all for me. Yes, I like to track my run history and see my progress hashed out in numbers but the workout screen is the one that I look at while I'm running.
Runtastic keeps the number of fields to a manageable number but they also keep the font small with huge open spaces around the information fields. The font could be doubled in size and still have plenty of open real estate around it.
Why is this an issue? When running with a phone, screen glare becomes a big issue. Add sunglasses and smaller fonts disappear.
The workout screen is where Endomondo separates itself. The screen is simple with a white background and black characters. The font is large and easy to check.
I'm not sure why none of the apps allow the user to customize the information on the workout screen. A Garmin Forerunner has had that function for years now.
If a running app developer wants to separate from the pack, they will create a smartphone app that has a customizable workout screen for information, font size, and color scheme. An app that also added a metronome? Perfection.
I'll explain running with a metronome in an upcoming post. Suffice it to say I paid $30 for a clip-on metronome and it was worth every penny.
I like Runtastic but I don't see anything revolutionary that sets it apart. The pro version is nicely priced at $3.99 which is less than many other pro versions.
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