Sunday, January 1, 2012

Product Review: Nike+gps vs Runkeeper

If you got a shiny new iPod touch or iPhone for Christmas or are gearing up for a New Year's fitness resolution, then you're probably looking for some fitness tracking apps.  We'll compare two of the top contenders here, the choice is ultimately up to you but I'll try and share my experiences with these two programs. (Android options are beyond my experience, but I'll take a leap and assume the core features are about the same)

Nike+GPS ($1.99) vs Runkeeper (Free)

I'll start off by saying that both of these are great programs. I have used both for some time now and each has it's significant benefits.  I've often switched back and forth between the two and have yet to formally narrow it down to only one program.

Nike+GPS is available from the apple store for $1.99. It will coordinate with the Nike+iPod program if you've been using that application so all your runs will be available on your account.  Also, you can switch back and forth between the programs, a nice little feature if you've been tracking your progress through the nike site for some time.

Runkeeper is now free from the apple store, and there is an Elite subscription for $19.99/year that gives you access to additional features such as advanced reporting & feedback options, discounts on fitness classes and live broadcasting of your runs.

Both have a friends feature and community aspect that works well if any of your friends are also participating and you can post your runs to both facebook and twitter with either program.

The Nike website also has some nice features such as moving to different levels based on total mileage and some positive reinforcement messages from athletes.

Nike also has the ability to receive 'cheers' from your facebook fans, a nice little feature if you're competing in a run, or if you just want some kudos on your every day run.  This feature is only available as part of the Elite subscription in Runkeeper.

Runkeeper is the hands down winner on total feature set.  You can track various activities and you have several feedback options.  Personally, I like having feedbacks at both mileage and timing intervals. Nike only allows one or the other.

Nike+ also integrates with sites like dailymile, which is a really nice feature if you're using that site as it will import all your runs with ease.

The gps function is weaker on the iPod Touch than on the iPhone, and Nike+ has a built-in accelerometer that helps compensate for weak gps signals, and also allows you to use the app with some degree of accuracy on treadmill runs as well.

Runkeeper will integrate with certain heartrate monitors while the Nike+gps app currently does not (though the Nike+iPod (another free app) will and as said before, you can switch back and forth between apps and still save all your runs). 

Nike will loop your chosen playlist if your run goes longer than the music you selected while Runkeeper will not, and there is no option to re-start the music. If your activity exceeds your playlist in Runkeeper, you'll have to manually go back into music and make a selection.

If you live in an area with spotty gps, you're only wanting to track runs &/or walks, you want to use a single app for your indoor treadmill runs as well (or primarily indoor runs, or if you use the iPod touch, then Nike+gps is a hands-down winner.

If you like tracking multiple activities, prefer more feedback options, and are using an iPhone in an area with decent gps coverage, then Runkeeper is a must-have.

Shortcomings: I really wish there were a shoe mileage tracker on either of these programs.  For now, I've downloaded a free app, but it would be nice to have that feature fully integrated.

Start the year off right, download a free or cheap app and get out there!

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