Every day this week, I’ll review a different running app for Apple Watch. Yesterday I reviewed Nike+ Run Club. Today, it’s Runkeeper’s turn.
It’s obvious that Runkeeper’s developers put a lot of thought into this Apple Watch app. The user interface looks super-slick, with smooth animations when you pause and resume a workout. But there’s more to this app than eye candy. Runkeeper solves some problems that even Apple hasn’t cracked yet. Like the way it displays your GPS signal strength, so you know you have good reception before you start your run.
Runkeeper also gives you the option to specify if you want to log the workout just using your Apple Watch, or with your iPhone as well. This well-thought-out feature proves important because the iPhone’s GPS is more accurate than the Watch’s.
It also means you can choose which battery you want to drain. Battery life seems to be a particular issue with Runkeeper — the iPhone app tracked my location in the background when I was not running, draining the battery very quickly.
The Runkeeper user interface packs loads of neat features. To pause a run, you swipe to the left and tap pause. The app then automatically slides back to the main screen, so you can see your stats without any risk of accidentally tapping “End Workout.” The buttons are large, and arranged vertically rather than horizontally, making them much easier to tap accurately when your arms are swinging sideways as you run.
Runkeeper is one of the few Apple Watch running apps that shows your current pace. You can also swipe right during your workout to see your split times for the current and previous interval. That way you know if you are speeding up or slowing down — although you must wait a long time for these stats to appear. (Plus, the type size could be a little larger.)
As with all the apps I tested, syncing workouts to the iPhone proved hit and miss. But Runkeeper seems to suffer from some extra glitches of its own. In particular, sometimes when I saved a workout on my watch, it insisted on making me save it on the iPhone app as well, which was confusing.
While Runkeeper’s iPhone app benefits from an auto-pause feature, this appears to be missing from the Apple Watch app. Even when I enabled it on the iPhone, it didn’t appear to work when I logged workouts using the watch, which is a shame.
These minor gripes aside, the Runkeeper app feels pretty solid. And it’s one of the most innovative I’ve tested.
Look out tomorrow for Runner’s Week Day 3, when I’ll be reviewing Strava.
Comments will be approved before showing up.
Shiny new Apple Watch? Why not deck it out with a classy leather Apple Watch band — the Crocodilus band from Strapa, available in the Cult of Mac Apple Watch store? Strapa’s Crocodilus band is luxurious and timeless, and we filmed an unboxing video to give you a closer look at the band. Don’t worry — […]
Your shiny new Apple Watch is great for logging workouts. But it comes up short when you want to review your training progress and share your workout history with friends. Everything gets bundled in the Activity and Health apps on your iPhone, which are pretty basic. That’s where third-party apps like Strava come in. Strava […]
Apple Watch is pretty awesome at doing a lot of things. But mapping workouts isn’t one of them. At least, not until now. Back in 2016, I was pretty disappointed with the maps I got from my Apple Watch Series 2 (the first model that came with built-in GPS). When I tested it at my […]