By Adam Harvey on Tue, 04/23/2013
I have a Fitbit, which I love, but I can understand that not everyone wants to make the investment in an activity tracker until they’re sure they’re going to use it and enjoy it. Until you decide to make a commitment, it’s nice to use a free app to help keep track of your activity. Even though I use my Fitbit, I thought I’d test out an app for you iPhone Lifers because I’m a caring guy, and I like to help people (I also have a slight obsession with fitness apps).
There are many pedometer apps out there that do the same basic thing — track your steps. Some keep track of calories, some don’t. Some tell you how fast you traveled and some tell you if you’ve hit an incline. After testing many out and feeling pretty disappointed for a variety of reasons (inaccuracy, too many annoying notifications, boring or unattractive design, not user friendly, too many crashes), I finally found one I like. Pedometer Ultimate GPS + (Free) is my favorite of them all. It’s made by the Arawella Corporation, which has a bunch of different Pedometer apps in iTunes right now. They’re all good and work similarly, but the Ultimate GPS + is the best as far as I’m concerned.
This app is great whether you’re walking, running, or cycling (an upgrade is required for use with cycling). The free features include things like distance tracking and route mapping, calorie and step counting. You can choose to use either the accelerometer or GPS. I found both to be good, but the GPS is better because you can see a map of your route when you’re done. If you use RunKeeper, BeginnerTriathlete, TrainingPeaks or Dailymile, you can automatically upload your data.
It’s fun to see how many calories you burned and steps you took! I tested the accuracy of this app using my chest strap heart rate monitor to see if the number of calories I burned accurate, and the numbers were super close! That’s a big thumbs up in the accuracy department. The number of steps taken also is just about spot on. I tested that by using a standard pedometer.
Ultimate GPS + has all sorts of bells and whistles in addition to the basic stuff. There’s a pulse timer, a pacer, an alarm that tells you when you’ve burned a preset number of calories, gone a specified distance, or exercised for a certain amount of time. You can set all those things and wait for the alarm to tell you how you’re doing. You can choose between indoor or outdoor activities and specify if you’re walking, running, walking/running, Nordic walking, snowshoeing, skiing, cycling, rollerblading, ice skating or skateboarding.
You can type in your measurements and track your progress if you’re using the app to help you lose some of that winter weight you may have put on (not that anyone here would ever overindulge in comfort food!). There’s also a playlist feature so you can put together a good power mix to get you moving.
And that’s all free! There’s a ton of other features with the paid upgrade that would be cool to have, but they’re mostly enhancements of the free features.
So that’s it, iPhone Lifers! I hope the promise of a new toy to play with motivates you to get out there and get some exercise this spring.