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Nike+ Running ReviewDigit Rating: Good4/5
- Works smoothly, clean interface, maps route
- Sharing options across Facebook, Twitter and Path - and a 'cheer' every time someone likes or comments!
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- Why is every activity a 'run' (no support for other activities)
- GPS connectivity seems spotty
Nike+Running is for those who love nothing more than going on a run. The app monitors your speed, route, calories burnt, and comes with sharing options. And minus a price tag. Still need a reason to download it?
There is no paucity of fitness apps in app stores around the world. There are apps that claim to lay out a fitness regimen for you, those that contain elaborate work out details, and still others that hand out dietary and nutrition wisdom. But by far the most popular (and accessible) are those that use your device’s GPS sensors and mapping systems to calculate the distances covered by your run and the speed at which you have covered it, along with a few other details such as calories burned and so on. The likes of Endomondo, Adidas, and Nike have some splendid apps in that category, and the last of those three worthies just updated its app dedicated to running - Nike+Running.
At its simplest, Nike+Running is simply an app that tells you how far you have run, at what speed and how can calories you have knocked off your frame in the process. Now, on paper, that may not sound like much, but it is the way in which the app handles this task - and the little touches that it adds in the process - that is its real strength. The app is available free of cost from the iTunes App Store for iOS users and Google Play for those on the Android side - the latter will have a lighter download at 17 MB, while the former have a 41.6 MB download to contend with. Functionality, however, seems similar across both platforms.
You can log in to the app by either registering for an ID (it’s free) or just using your Facebook account. For best results, also enter your height and weight. And then get ready for your run. It is here that the app really shows its true colours - apart from showing the distance being covered by you in large figures on the screen, it also tracks you on a map, which you can acccess by just flicking the distance figure screen behind. You can also set what the app calls Powermusic for your runs and can also set the music to pause if you stop running (neat!). While you are walking, you keep getting audio notifications about distance covered and if you have broadcast the fact that you have started your run on your social networks, well, you will actually hear a cheer every time a friend of yours likes your activity or comments on it. Speaking of sharing, you can share the results of your run on your social networks. Facebook and Twitter, the usual suspects are supported, as is Path, which we think is a very neat touch, given the fact that that particular social network generally links those one is particularly close to (not all of us want to broadcast our running results and timings to everyone!).
Distance covered measurements seemed to be accurate enough and the app worked very smoothly with nary a hitch. We also loved the fact that we could lock the screen while running, thus ruling out the chance that we would hit a button accidentally. The app is intelligent enough to compare the speeds of different runs and tells you when you have done particularly well or have fallen off the pace when you are through with your run. Once again, neat. You can also check out the times recorded and distances covered in your previous runs, as well as the routes covered on a map, if that tickles your fancy. And if you are particularly keen on sharing your information with other app users you can sync your runs to the Nikeplus.com website, see how much NikeFuel you have earned (Nike’s unit for effort put in), compare your fuel count with other people, and also see top routes in your area. Honestly, it did not work in East Delhi but we are sure it will do better in more popular and well-known areas. The home screen always shows you the total distance covered in your runs, as well as the number of runs, and your average speed, as well as the fastest mile covered by you, so you know exactly where you stand before you start running.
What we however, found a tad disconcerting is the fact that everything we did was classified as a run, even a casual stroll in the park. Yes, we know that the app was recording our speed and time and mapping our route and everything, but calling everything a run was not really on, if you know what we mean. We wish there ahad been some support for walks and cycling, to be honest (yes, yes, we have been spoilt by Endomondo, so be it)! We were also very annoyed by the fact that the app seemed to complain about loss of GPS connectivity even though other apps like Google Maps seemed to be working fine - though to be fair, this happened more often on the iPhone than on the Xperia S on which we took it for a spin, or rather, jog.
Those quibbles aside, there was not much we could reproach Nike+Running with. It worked smoothly, looked good and barring the odd GPS mix-up, was rock solid. We loved the sound of cheers in our ears as we ran and even the audio messages about distance worked. A must-have for all ye runners out there with iOS and Android devices, we say.
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