You won't fall short of fitness apps in the mobile market. There are many applications designed just for the fitness freaks who like to sweat it out, and count every calorie put on their plate. But for those who are all about taking on the jogging track, Nike’s app ecosystem has some apps specifically cut out for them. One such app is the Nike+ Running which lately shed its iOS exclusivity to reach the Google Play market. This app is all about tracking and maintaining your running activity, irrespective of whether you like to take rough roads, jogging tracks or the treadmill in the gym. Here’s what we liked and disliked about the Nike+ Running app for Android:
Design and Layout
Nike+ Running app uses GPS and the accelerometer of your Android smartphone to track your running activity. So you primarily need to own a GPS-enabled Android smartphone but it should support Android 2.3 OS (Gingerbread) or a higher operating system. Nike+ Running, from its icon to the user interface has adopted hints of a brownish-orange shade, which makes the UI look very lively. Once you register with Nike, you will notice that the main page of the Nike+ Running app has the upper part of the user interface divided into two sections: Home and Run. On tapping the Home button, it instantly shows a dropbox featuring options such as Activity, Challenge Me and Shop Nike (Nike’s store). While the Home section let us take on newer running challenges- it actually asked us to surpass our previous/ best running activity - and track activities to see our progress, the Run section instantly put us on the running track.
This app uses GPS to track your movement outdoors, but it can be used even if you are using a treadmill. The app has been designed to let its users choose whether the running activity is indoors or outdoors. It has the options of adding music, morale-boosting cheering, and more. The app displays a three-option pop up to also choose from the type of run: Basic run, Distance run and Time run.
The user interface is quite straightforward and simple to use. We liked how Nike divides the main page into two simple sections on the upper side of the page, making navigation organized and simple. The rest of the lower area of the main page shows the number of runs, calories and average pace. A green elongated bar shows your yesterday’s activity and a tiny strip at the end takes you to Settings of the app wherein you can tweak the app according to your preferences. However, the tiny strip is camouflaged on the lower side of the main page and may go unnoticed.
Nike has added some nifty features to this app. On using the phone’s accelerometer and GPS, it can record the distance covered, pace and the time. To motive the runner, there is a "cheers" option. To keep you updated about your performance while running, it comes with the audio feedback feature. This feature keeps you updated about the progress as you run and so you don't need to look at the screen. The feature can be tweaked using the settings option so that you are updated about the metrics after specific intervals of time. In case, you find the audio feed back annoying, you can simply turn it off. The app goes the social way, allowing in-ear cheering from friends and you can also tag friends you ran with and share a map of your route. Many find music relaxing as well as motivating while running, and so the Nike+ Running comes with the option to add music called Powermusic. You can add your own playlist too. The Run summary offers all the information about the route taken, the type of trail and also the weather conditions.
Features for smooth tracking
All the data is synced with Nike’s website (nikeplus.com), allowing you to view it from your web browser anytime, anywhere. The summary of your progress is neatly broken down and shown in the form of graphs too. So you can clearly track your progress each day and review each run. The Challenge Me section pushes you to beat your own good scores and elevate your fitness level. The Home dropbox also includes a Nike Shop tab that takes you to the Nike webpage for some shopping. Moreover, the app lets you tag your shoes to know if they are worn out or not fit to use.
Performance and Conclusion
To get started with the app, you have to register with Nike or sign in with your Facebook account, which is fast and simple. The app has a neat UI, so navigating across menus and features was quite easy. On choosing the Basic Run option, the app began working after a quick countdown and instantly started tracking our movements to calculate the pace, distance and time taken. It fired a pop up in case the app determined we weren’t holding the smartphone properly or detected the lack of movement. We could also opt for Time Run and Distance Run, by setting the timer to run for specific time or cover a particular distance respectively. The app's audio functionality notified us each time we started or paused the workout. There is a slide button on the lower side of the screen that you need to simply swipe to pause or resume, which we found quite handy to use while running. On completing the run, we could choose the terrain, and a bunch of smilies help you mark how satisfied you are with the workout, and view that detailed info about the run anytime.
Analyse each run
As the name goes, it is a purely running app, pretty good at what it does. However, you can’t expect it to do anything apart from tracking and managing your running activity. It doesn’t support any other sport activity or walks. If you are walking, it will simply think that you are running too slow. Moreover, we believe that Nike could have added some more features such as a heart rate or pulse rate monitor. However, for an app that comes at no cost from Nike, it does a good job.
To download this app for iOS click here
To download this app for Android click here