The M7 Motion Coprocessor in the iPhone 5s, opened up new doors for exercise apps. It's a great innovation in the space, but what about folks using any other iPhone? While they might not have access to the M7 there's still some great exercise apps out there, like this one from Puma.
It's called Pumatrac, and simply put it's a run tracking app. It's free to download, and has a couple of great features to improve your workout experience.
Pumatrac is a full on iOS 7 app experience, designed quite obviously for the latest version of Apple's operating system. The colors are simply black on white, and the interface isn't overcrowded. Everything is kept quite simple, with large icons, numbers and buttons. The main display shows you your run duration, the current time, location and weather conditions to keep you up to date while you're out without having to move between apps.
Quite handily too, Pumatrac integrates with your iTunes library on your iPhone, giving you easy access to all your music again without having to leave the app. Sadly there's no actual music controls aside from selecting what you want to listen to, but with Control Center in iOS 7 they're never far away. With the launch of version 2.0 of the app, Pumatrac now also supports Spotify music, but you do need to be a Spotify Premium subscriber to make use of it.
Pumatrac will also help you to find routes to tackle with the Explore tab, which detects your location and shows you routes in your area that other users of the app have run. It then gives you the option to run that route should you be in the same area. It's also pretty accurate when it comes to mapping your route. If you don't fancy going outside, the latest version of Pumatrac has a handy indoor mode so you can still track your workouts without leaving the house.
You're also given menus to examine your running stats, and provide insights such as "your run could have powered a Color TV for 1 hour, but you're no couch potato." Fun, but not necessarily the most useful part of exercising! Insights is supposed to help you identify personal behaviors and environmental conditions that make you run better. So it doesn't just track you, it helps you figure out how to maximise your performance.
Settings for the app are pretty basic, but you're given the option to choose imperial or metric units, edit your personal profile and toggle on voice feedback and change the intervals at which you get it. It's actually pretty useful; for example every mile you'll hear a voice in your headphones telling you your stats for that mile.
Pumatrac also integrates with the Pebble smartwatch. Providing your iPhone is connected to your Pebble in the regular way, Pumatrac will do the rest. No additional installs are required. This is particularly handy for anyone who uses the popular smartwatch, as you're presented with the key information on your run – duration, distance and pace – right on your wrist. By pressing the middle button on your Pebble too you're able to pause and resume your runs.
So, any negative points then? Well, since it doesn't rely on the M7 Motion Coprocessor in the iPhone 5s, it's more battery hungry than apps which do use it. But for everyone else using any other iPhone, it's a non-issue and GPS is used as usual.
- Looks fantastic, great iOS 7 design
- In-app music library access as well as Spotify access
- Insights provides good information to help maximise your performance
- Pebble integration
- Completely free app
- No M7 Motion Coprocessor support on the iPhone 5s
- GPS use can drain battery life
The bottom line
If you're looking for a solid and totally free of charge runtracking application, then you should give Pumatrac a try. No M7 support on the iPhone 5s is a little disappointing and the GPS can suck your battery, but it's pretty accurate at mapping your route, provides you with all the most important information while you're out running and integrates with Pebble with no fuss. Definitely worth checking out.
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