Running App Review: Runkeeper

Second on my list for the App review was Runkeeper. I have never heard of the app before starting to review it but saw that it was used quite often. I tested the app for 31 days and ran a total of 103km with the app – well maybe even more because it had some issues and didn’t track all my kilometers.

I was impressed with the app. The GPS Tracking is accurate but has failed me 3 times. I was presently surprised of the fact that it does not only track roads, but also continued tracking me as I go off road. This is not something I expected from an entry level app.

I personally (really this is just me,) did not like the appearance of the app – is seemed a little childish and too playful for me – but overall this does not change anything towards the function of the app so it’s probably not that important. The interaction on the feed works similarly to Strava and Nike+. I could only find one of my friends on Runkeeper – but the interaction was the same as the other apps, you can follow and comment on others activities.

The accuracy of my pace and Kilometers ran worked out accurately in the beginning with the occasional GPS signal loss and tracking errors. You can add photos, but only have one option with regards to the information that you can display on the image. This is something that comes down to personal preference, but for me I like adding the map as a overlay to the picture in other apps. The actual logo of the app is too dominant for me on the image. In some images it can happen that the logo covers your face or messes up the composition of the picture. I would suggest making it an optional add on or just simplifying it a bit. The other issue I had with the photos is that you can add multiple to the run you are saving. But it has trouble when you want to share them or add the stats to it – for instance it does not display small thumbnails of the images so you cannot choose which one you want to edit. I found that I have to make turns saving each one in order to see what they will will look like. A little tedious, but it can be done.

The pause button worked well, and it allows me to take pictures whilst I run. It adds the picture to you Map, so that’s also pretty cool.

You can integrate between the app and the website. Both will display your information and sync with each other.  Below are a few pics of the website. It is very user friendly and a lot of it is self-explanatory.

Website:

Here will follow a few Screenshots of the Website,

 

Mobile App:

But the most important part is obviously how it works on your mobile, as this will be the platform that you use the most when you run. Below I took a few screen shots to explain how the app works. Also to show some of its functions. Again very user friendly, nothing intricate.

The app has a sidebar menu that pops out with all its options available, and on the top bar there is a little message bubble that will let you know when you have notifications. You will be notified when someone likes your run or starts to follow you. Any other important notifications will also pop up here for you to see. When you tap on me you will be directed to your personal profile. On here you picture will appear and all the recent activities that you have taken part in. You will also be able to see your goals here and you achievements.

You can set goals and Runkeeper will keep you up to date with regards to your progress. On your profile as seen above, it will also show you how many Kilometres you’ve done for the month so far, and it will also display all your information in the feed below.

The option to start a Run – interface will automatically be displayed once you open the app. You can view your friend’s activity by clicking on Friends or yours when you go to your profile, just navigate on the side bar. When you scroll up and down on you friends feed you will be able to open your friend’s runs and check out their stats and the routes they ran.

START RUN: When you choose to record an activity a map of your location will be displayed. It will show you whether your GPS has signal or not, if you don’t have signal your stats won’t record accurately – so ensure that you have signal and that your data is on. This is one feature that sucks a little as you basically always need data for your app to work and with the Nike+ running Club app you don’t need data – it should track you even if you don’t use your GPS, it will track you and just leave out the map part.

PAUSE RUN: You can Pause your run and continue it again later. It will show you the stats of what you have run so far. You can press the red stop button to end your run or the record button to continue with your run.

I unfortunately encountered a bit of an issue here with one of my runs. I proceeded to pause the run and the pause button was missing? I ended up having to delete the run as this was the only option given to me, that or just continue running… This was sad.

SAVE RUN: You can edit the name of your run, chose if it was a workout or a race, and even add a description along with pictures. One issue I encountered here was that my runs never synced properly – they displayed a little triangle with an exclamation mark in. I noticed then that my mobile app and the website was not connecting properly with each other. I got into contact with them and they helped me understand that you have to have good signal and that you can just resent your run to Runkeeper. Please have a look at the images displaying this below. This worked but continued to happen with all my runs even though I was on WIFI or had great signal. This was a little annoying and still 2 of my Runs refuse to sync.

On my last run I was very excited to finish this review well, but alas the GPS stopped working again. This was a very disappointing end. I used my Nike+ app on my IPod to track some of the stats just to be safe. When I stopped the run I saw it malfunctioned and took a screenshot for the purpose of the app review. I continued to press the stop button – it appeared to be directing to the save run page, but it instead just quit the app completely. When I went back into the app to see what happened, I was disappointed to see that it deleted my run, luckily I took the screenshot before. An unfortunate end… See pic below:

After saving the run it will be displayed in the activity feed. You can then choose to share from there. You can add photos, but only have one option with regards to the information that you can display on the image. This is something that comes down to personal preference, but for me I like adding the map as a overlay to the picture in other apps. The actual logo of the app is too dominant for me on the image.

When you decide to share and activity you can do so with the automatically generated image or use your own image. The picture will then display your run stats at the bottom of the image, see below and above.

You can also create your own routes on Runkeeper. This seems to work best on the website – but you can view them on your mobile app as well. You can share your routes with others, and easily plan routs ahead. I love this feature. I usually plan my routes ahead of time for instance before a holiday. You can plan your routes from anywhere in the world. Runkeeper also has a feature where you can add a training plan. I have not tested this Feature.


My top 3 Deal breakers that did or did not work for Runkeeper:

  1. Accuracy: when the GPS works – then the app is accurate, that I will say. I just don’t feel too trustworthy of it with regards to the signal – So far Strava and Nike+ had no problem with the signal – on the same phone, on the same routes. So I do think it is very important to improve here.
  2. Social involvement: Not too many of my friends are on this app, so it’s hard to say – but it seems to work similarly to other apps.
  3. Integration: Runkeeper links it to my Medical aid, and get point for my activities. This was nice. I do Believe that if it is an approved app by Momentum then it is carrying some sort of weight towards its credibility, they just have to fix a few things. It does link with many other apps , none of which I use, but have a look at their website to check it out yourself maybe you find something you can integrate with.

I’m happy with this app all in all. It has a paid option that you can upgrade to with time, but I’m mainly interested in free things night now. I was very impressed with their technical support and comeback time on email. This was nice. They also have all the things to make a great app. There is just a few small development issues that need to be fixed, and then I think they will be a good competitor for other apps.  Hope to see more from you guys in the future.

So on to the next app- Stay tuned to see what is the next free app I will be testing out! 

Click Here to see how Strava did!

Happy Running!

Jani

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