Time: 61 Minutes
Distance: 8.1 KM
Since I began running outside, one issue has plagued me- How do you measure your base stats such as distance and calories burnt? I quickly discovered a variety of Iphone apps which assisted with this, but deciding which one to buy and use was a chore. I like to research these things, especially as some of the apps are around the $10 mark. Although there are a few reviews of the apps around, none were really useful. So in the end, I bought 3 paid and free apps. I have long wanted to test all three and this has often been put off. But yesterday I decided to run and have all 3 running at the same time. Here is how they all compare. I am using an Iphone 4S for this test.
Each app does the same basic function. It uses your GPS to trace your route, providing you feedback on speed, distance, calories. Now obviously the Iphone GPS is not the most accurate in the world so you do get some minor errors. The times when I have run a route I can test with Google Maps, they are often pretty accurate. Basically, all the little inaccuracies end up being averaged out. So how did the GPS route go for each one:
So as you can see, the distance variance between them is only 20 meters. Which I don’t quite understand considering each one is using the same GPS. A look at the image shows that there is some variation in the paths. The Nike+ is more accurate in the top of the image where as the other two put me in the water. Yet you’ll notice in the middle of the image it has me running through the grass instead of the pathway which I actually ran on. Runmeter seems to makes softer curves than the other two programs and as such is probably slightly more accurate.
Now I must state, NIKE + has one advantage. It uses the Iphones inbuilt accelerometer when the GPS signal is weak or non-existant. I think Runmeter also uses the accelerometer as well. For me, who lives around big apartment blocks, this is a big deal. I’ve had times when the GPS has freaked out and Runkeeper says I am running 40+km an hour. The other thing that is good about the map on the Nike is it can show you the map with colours representing how fast you ran. Red being the slowest pace and Green the quickest.
Now each program provides different types of information as you run. Here they are
Distance, Time and Minutes per KM.
Distance, time, average speed, current speed, a graph thingy showing you how fast you are running in comparison to the time before hand, a KM by KM breakdown of speed, split times
Everything! You can customise the hell out of it.
Now all three also have the ability to relay info to you via your earphones as you run. You can often base this on time(ie every 5 minutes) or on distance (ie every 1km). Now Nike+ is the crappest at this despite having the best voice of the lot. This is mainly as you can’t customise it much. You can choose to have it tell you how your going either by time or by distance, not both.
Runmeter has the most amazing feedback system as you can not only customise the hell out of what is says to you. IE- Every KM tell me how far I have run, average speed and calories burnt. Ever 5 minutes tell me my speed at that time etc.
It even tweets or facebooks your stats out to your friends then reads their responses to you. SHEESH! So imagine running a marathon and then you get tweets telling you to go for it from your mates. So if you follow me on twitter and you see a tweet from me saying I am on a run, then tweet me! The funnier the better.
Ultimately, I have covered the main aspects of the programs. But there are a few issues I need to tell you about. Firstly, although Runmeter sounds awesome, there is one major issue. Both other two programs allow you altar the orientation of the screen so you can wear it on an armband etc. Runmeter doesn’t allow it(well not that I can find at the moment). Grrrr. Nike+ is annoying as it shows so little information on the screen and you can't customise it. WHY YU NO DO THAT?!!?
ULTIMATELY, Runmeter is probably the best program of the three. I have to admit I prefer the screen on Runkeeper but you are not staring at the screen all run so it isn’t enough to change my mind. Also because runkeeper doesn’t have the use of the accelerometer, which is a big issue for those of us who live around big buildings or areas with lots of trees, I wouldn’t buy it. So if your after something very simple, go the Nike+ but if your after some grunt and some serious data about your run, grab Runmeter !!!