Fourth on my list for the App review was Polar Beat. I have a polar loop activity tracker and thought it would be interesting to see how they integrate. I tested the app for 31 days and ran a total of 212km with the app – well some of my races and runs I did with Strava as well – just because the app bombed out a few times.
The app was ok. The GPS Tracking is accurate but has failed me a number of times. I have attempted to review this app before, it also failed me a few times and it’s quite sensitive – I got into contact with their customer services and they did explain to me that they are experiencing issues, but that they are in the process of correcting it but until then they don’t have a answer for me as to why it is happening. This was about a year ago, and my Phone at the time was a bit dodgy. The GPS tracking was much better with my new phone but some of the other problems are still present.
The appearance of the app looks really hard core – but I guess that’s a good thing? The whole theme is centred on black and Red Colours. – 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 the other apps, but only on the website, the app does not appear to have the interaction with friends other followers.
The accuracy of my pace and Kilometres ran worked out accurately in the beginning with the occasional GPS signal loss and tracking errors. You can add photos, and have a few nice options of what you can do, different layouts etc. The app made me a little nervous, when I want to take a picture mid run it just exits the app – and you run the chance of the app malfunctioning and stopping the run due to other activity on you phone. So i lost a few runs that way.
You can integrate between the app and the website, the app is Polar beat and the site is Polar flow. 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.
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. Nothing intricate.
The app has a sidebar menu that pops out with all its options available, the app will ask you to put on your blue tooth to connect a device if you have a polar device – My Polar loop didn’t connect I think it is for the more advanced devices, but it did in fact pick up that I ran – and when I synced my polar loop with the Polar Flow app, it did pick it up. So that was nice. On the running interface it will show if you have GPS connection – and if you click on the + sign you can choose between multiple activities.
Above you can see the interface in a run that has started – you can either let it run on a map view or on a stats view. I just normally used the stats view. But I guess the map view could be helpful if you don’t know the street names.
The option to start a Run – interface will automatically be displayed once you open the app. You can then connect your device or not as previously explained. When you pause you run it will look like the above picture. I found that if you don’t immediately save the run and you keep it on Pause and lock the phones screen you run the chance of losing the run that has been tracked. This happened to me twice – so frustrating, I wanted to cry! So save the run immediately…
After you have saved the run you can scroll down to see the stats and the map that you ran. That is pretty nice. You cab share you run with Photos.
After saving the run it will be displayed in the feed below the Start button, the heading is latest session. You can open you run and edit some photos. I did enjoy the pictures there are multiple layouts and I particularly enjoyed the real live map view. Have a look below at the nice pictures you can create.
So by the length of the post you can probably note that I did not really enjoy this app. I had a hard lime trusting it, and when I knew I was going for an important run I just felt safer using a different app. I was just too scared of using the app and losing the data. I think if you have a Polar devise it makes sense to use the app. But at the moment I would give it a pass. I hate saying that but it truly was not very great.
My top 3 Deal breakers that did or did not work for PolarBeat:
- Accuracy: when the GPS works – 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, My ASICS 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.
- Social involvement: None really on the app, but does have possible interaction on the website. You can join groups and be a part of different movements there.
- Integration: Polar Beat links to my Polar Flow which in turn 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 Strava as well – but I think this is more for devices, but have a look at their website to check it out yourself maybe you find something you can integrate with.
Sorry to say but I’m not happy with this app. I was happy with their technical support and comeback time on email. This was nice – but it was almost a year ago and I’m a little disappointed to see that there wasn’t really improvement on the app. They have all the things to make a great app. There is just a few small development issues that need to be fixed, but let’s just say I’m really happy with my Mileage this month (212km!) but my legs ran better than the app. Glad it’s over.
So on to the next app- Stay tuned to see what is the next free app I will be testing out!