Sports Tracker app on the iPhone

If you’ve been tracking workouts on your Nokia or Android then you may be well acquainted with Sports Tracker. When I got an email off the Sports Tracker team telling me their app was coming to the iPhone I couldn’t wait to give it a try.

Whilst testing the app (which is free to download) I’ve been thoroughly impressed with the features they’ve managed to pack in there. Compared to other offerings some of it is pretty revolutionary.

The new kid on the workout tracking block

Since GPS was introduced to smart phones, some of the most popular application have been GPS trackers. These enable you to keep an eye on the distances you are covering either for the purpose of training or general interest. The apps vary from those that simply store the data on your iPhone, to those that encourage you to share the data with others such as Endomondo. I thought the offerings were already pretty comprehensive. However, the new Sports Tracker app adds a few features not seen before.

Logging the first workout

Before we dive into the new features let’s take a quick tour of the app. The first thing you’ll want to do is setup an account. This can be linked with your Facebook allowing you to share your workouts with friends. If you do set it up with Facebook it will automatically mention that you are now using Sports Tracker.

Sports Tracker mentioned on Facebook

Then, after a quick tweak of settings where you enter your weight to calculate calories, grab your bike and head for a ride.

To start tracking you hit the “Start new workout” button.

Sports tracker starting screen

It will then ask you your workout settings. You can choose which activity you are doing and whether it should auto-pause. Personally, I think this screen is an unnecessary extra step when you just want to get going. In this respect I prefer the famous Cycle Meter app where you just tap once and you get going immediately. Perhaps the developers will re-consider this in future editions.

Then, annoyingly, there’s also a third step where you have to hit the Start button. Again, this could be streamlined.

Once on this screen however the application really shines.

Sports tracker iPhone screenshot 1Sports tracker screenshot 2Sports track view 3 during workout showing lap timesSports tracker view showing altitude and speed plotted on a graph

You are presented with four different screens you can scroll and view. This should satisfy all users of the app and the presentation is impressive. You also have the option of tapping the map if you want to see a full screen view.

map-view-sports-tracker

Once you are done with your ride you have the option of sharing it. This will allow other users to view your workout if you select “All”. I did try to share my workout on Facebook however this didn’t seem to want to work. Every time I tapped it I was told I was already signed in to Facebook. This is something that will no doubt be fixed in later versions.

sports-tracker-view

Viewing the ride online

Sports Tracker online view

Your ride is also then viewable on the Sports Tracker website. I find this functionality incredibly useful as looking at a large amount of data on the iPhone can be a cumbersome process. Online the presentation is an excellent, advert free experience. There’s really no more I could ask for.

You can view your rides in your diary, graph your speed, elevation and distance.

Those worried that your data is too tied to the Sports Tracker website can breathe a sigh of relief as it is possible to export your rides.

Viewing the ride on your phone

It’s also possible to view previous rides on your iPhone. Tapping the diary in the Sports Tracker app allows you to do this.

Diary view on the Sports Tracker application

Extra features

A feature that I really liked that makes the Sports Tracker app stand out is the explore view. This is great for getting inspiration for rides you could copy and seeing what other users are up to. Tapping the map view even allows you to follow their ride.

Explore viewExploring someone elses workout

The features that are missing

There’s a couple of extra features that wouldn’t go amiss in the Sports Tracker app. The first is centred around following routes.

Say you’ve downloaded the excellent London Cycle Routes eBook and you want to follow one of the rides. Whilst you can import it online as a workout, which is then synced with your phone, there isn’t a way to track your progress along this route. You can view it on a map and see your position but you can’t track your speed and so forth.

Similarly, if you want to follow one of your previous rides, it’s not as easy as it is in Cycle Meter to compare your performance.

The second big feature that is missing is announcements. Other applications can announce your performance at set intervals. Although, I must admit, I’ve never personally used this feature.

Competing with friends

This is something that I didn’t get a chance to explore as none of my friends are using Sports Tracker. If you want to connect with me then my user name is: andikam (i.e. I need some friends!)

Review: Time to replace the rest

I like Sports Tracker a lot. The application is full of useful features, well presented and easy to use. This is a combo many apps can’t pull off.

For me it stands out in three ways. First of all it’s free – which is excellent considering what you are getting here. Second, it has an excellent online area where you can view your rides without being pestered with adverts. Finally, the Explore tab is an excellent way to tap into what fellow sports fans are doing in your area.

Two things I’d like to see added are the voice announcements and the ability to follow previous routes you’ve completed.

Overall, great app and now my main choice when it comes to tracking my cycling.

Good points:

  • Free
  • Excellent design
  • Easy to use
  • Great online integration
  • Plenty of different views to monitor your workout
  • Can import and export workouts (online)
  • Accuracy seems good from my testing

Bad points:

  • Facebook integration had a few bugs
  • Lacking a good way to follow a previous ride
  • Lacking voice announcements
  • Starting a ride has a few too many steps

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22 Responses to Sports Tracker app on the iPhone

  1. William Hook 06/07/2011 at 11:44 am #

    Personally, I’m a big fan of RunKeeper. It has similar features, no ads, it’s free, and despite the name it can be used for cycling / mountain biking as well as other sports, plus it has voice notifications for your distance, speed, time, etc. :)

    • Andreas 06/07/2011 at 12:00 pm #

      That’s another excellent app. Only reason I’d switch to this one is for the extra features but if RunKeeper has everything you need then stick to what you know!

    • Simon Wilcox 06/07/2011 at 2:52 pm #

      I’m quite happy with RunKeeper too. It does everything that I need & I’ve recently started using BikeHub for navigation. Battery life seems OK even when running the two apps together.

      Also thanks to Andreas for this site & the reviews of various bike mounts. I’ve been using the Biologic case with my iPhone4 for a while now afte reading positive reviews and I’m very happy with it so far.

      • Andreas 06/07/2011 at 3:18 pm #

        Pleased to hear about the positive experience with the Biologic case :)

    • idavid 06/07/2011 at 7:21 pm #

      This is becoming a crowded field.

      I zapped RunKeeper as it used to crash whenever I received data or calls. Later versions may have fixed this, though.

      I now use iMapMyRide. Don’t know how it stacks up if you’re into social, but if you just want to fly over that brutal climb which felt like the Galibier but was in fact 1.5km at 3.5%, it’s almost perfect.

      So far it lacks auto paws, unlike my CatEye.

      • William Hook 06/07/2011 at 11:33 pm #

        They’ve fixed those bugs a while ago – I often get calls and texts and have Mail.app check for email, and I’ve never had any problems with RunKeeper lately. It’s far more stable now than it was a year or so ago. :)

  2. Andreas 06/07/2011 at 12:06 pm #

    Update on this: I have my first friend! Anyone else out there please do add!

  3. batesie 06/07/2011 at 2:38 pm #

    Shame it uses the iphone maps, and not the Open Street Maps that the Nokia version does. It contains more detail and is more accurate for off-road purposes.

    http://www.openstreetmap.org/

  4. Lindsey 06/07/2011 at 9:26 pm #

    I was hoping to try this on my Android but apparently the app is incompatible with my phone!? (HTC Desire)

    I have recently started cycling to work and have been using BikeHub as a sat-nav, and now I know the route I want something to track my journey. I have Runkeeper, which is great. I tried Endomondo but it completely messed up on my phone, would only track half my journey, got distances and times completely wrong, everything!

    Would have liked to try this but doesn’t look like I can!

  5. Evan 06/07/2011 at 10:01 pm #

    Another good review. I still use Endomondo after switching from iPhone to HTC Desire S. It has a record of all my rides; a compelling reason to stick with it. It works perfectly and the only downside is that you can’t use it and another gps app at the same time (e.g. BikeHub). I don’t know if that is a limit of this Android phone though.

    Evan

  6. Don 07/07/2011 at 2:43 pm #

    I was very happy with Sports Tracker on my Nokia. When I switched to an iPhone, I was sorry to lose it – and at first felt that the Cyclemeter app was a poor substitute. So I was excited to learn that ST was available for iPhone.

    However, the absence of audio announcements is a deal breaker for me. When that nice lady in Cyclemeter tells me I am behind my best or median performance by 45 seconds, I am motivated to work harder. Even when she tells me I am ahead of my best performance, it makes me try harder again.

    This little coach in my ear has allowed me to shave 8-10 minutes off a 20km circuit – and to pretty much improve my performance painlessly week on week. If ST wants me back, it needs to give me a nice coach in my ear.

  7. Yvann 10/07/2011 at 8:56 pm #

    Tried this out for the first time tonight after buying a Tigra mount for the iPhone (so far: genius). On the whole quite impressive, but:
    - there is no way I hit 37.4mph.
    - the map had me wandering off the main road (particularly around Westminster and Aldgate – at slow speeds) through buildings and into construction sites, apparently

    I haven’t tried any of the others yet so I will be trying out CycleMeter as well, and Imapmyride and Runkeeper.

  8. Andreas 11/07/2011 at 9:08 am #

    Update to this: Noticed that when I track cycling with my iPhone in my pocket my GPS results are not as accurate (the only other thing I’ve tweaked is the Auto-Stop to on but doubt that makes a difference). When using the mount things are more accurate.

  9. Karl 11/07/2011 at 4:44 pm #

    I have used imapmy ride, cyclemeter and runkeeper and the biggest problem i tend to have is losing signal the the route being compromised. Cyclemeter was my mainstay for a long time, but has proven a little unreliable recently. To my surprise imapmy ride has improved in its performance and the ability to track workouts is great, only downside is the ads. I will give sports tracker a go though.

    • Andreas 16/07/2011 at 9:12 am #

      Hey Karl, since you mentioned iMapMyRide you may want to enter the halfords competition to win a £1300 Boardman bike.. I’m told they’ve not had a lot of entries yet (4 times when they emailed me) so might be in with a good chance to win: http://on.fb.me/nxrO2G

  10. Karl 16/07/2011 at 12:50 pm #

    Thanks Andreas, I will give it a go, sounds like a good opportunity to pick up a new bike! Thanks for the tip off.

  11. Travis 18/07/2011 at 10:20 am #

    Thanks Andreas, I have just purchased a new bike to get out riding again and used this for the first time at the weekend. Its a great little App. Just need to purchase one of the Iphone holders mentioned in your review and rack up the miles.

  12. Andy 31/08/2011 at 3:00 pm #

    There is even a better App on the Market.

    Try this one: http://apptalk.at/runtastic and have fun.

    • Kirsten 19/09/2011 at 4:28 pm #

      I’m no doubt in the wrong place here – but in the absence of an smartphone – can anyone recommend another Bicycle Sat Nav (other than the Garmin Edge)…. I am continually get lost in London and this could be the answer!

      Thanks

    • Keijo Kuonansuo 01/10/2011 at 7:21 pm #

      If there is one, runtastic isn’t it :)

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