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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Viewing the ride online
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.