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Runtastic running app squanders an early lead [Runner’s Week: Day 4]

Runner's Week It’s Runner’s Week at Cult of Mac. Every day this week, I’m reviewing a different running app for Apple Watch in an effort to help you decide which one belongs on your wrist to log all your sweaty miles.

Yesterday I reviewed Strava. Today, it’s Runtastic’s turn.

Runtastic review

Runtastic watch app
Runtastic’s user interface is cluttered and confusing with icons and text that are too small to see while running.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of MAC

Runtastic flags after a great start

The Runtastic Apple Watch app is a big disappointment. One of the first apps to support watchOS 2, it allowed you to go for a run without taking your iPhone with you. That feature apparently vanished. Last year, Runtastic promised it would add support for Apple Watch Series 2’s built-in GPS in 2017, but so far there is no sign of it.

It feels like Runtastic squandered its early lead. I find that surprising, considering that Runtastic’s lord and master, Adidas, scrapped its own MiCoach offering and made Runtastic the cornerstone of the brand’s new digital strategy.

Runtastic’s user interface looks a little confusing. The start screen features two baffling icons, which I think only the app’s designer could love. (With a little digging around in the Runtastic iPhone app, I eventually worked out that the icons activate a “Voice Coach” and something called “Live Tracking,” which lets you share your progress on social media). It seems an odd choice to clutter the interface by presenting such minor settings so prominently.

My problems with the Runtastic app design extend beyond mysterious icons. The text is very small and faint — it’s tricky to read while you are out running. Overall, the app design feels dated. For instance, it uses force-tap to pause a workout, when most apps these days follow Apple’s lead and use a swipe to the left to reveal the pause button.

Runtastic uses text that is too small to read while running
Runtastic uses text that is too small to read while running.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Runtastic interface: The good and the bad

The user interface is not all bad though. Like Runkeeper, swiping to the right reveals your split times, while colored bars at the bottom of the display provide a great indication of what heart rate zone you are training at. And music controls built right into the app come in handy, because watchOS forgets to return the current app to the foreground if you ever leave it during an active workout.

Runtastic was the least stable of the apps I tested. Sometimes it simply would not launch. And even when it did, it sometimes refused to start a workout. It also repeatedly logged me out, although Runtastic claims it fixed this glitch with its latest update.

This running app shows potential, but it needs a major overhaul to catch up with the competition (and add Series 2 support).

Price: Free

Download: Runtastic Running, Jogging and Walking Tracker

Runner's Week score: Runtastic

Look out for Runner’s Week Day 5 tomorrow, when I’ll be reviewing MapMyRun.

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360 reviews
81%
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10%
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5%
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1%
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2%
(7)

Nice band. Worked well. Need to be sure to watch the video on using the tool to adjust the band.

never receive my purchase

I contacted the store but they never replayed to me i don't recommend to buy here!

Sadie, the elder, says .....

Not only is this iWatch such a practical means of holding my watch while charging, it’s a hoot - looks like my original Mac. I love it.

The case doesn’t totally align but it does it’s job. The part that stinks is that it attracts lint and dust because it’s silicone.

Great tidy solution

You know what happens, all your devices need a charger. 2 iPhones, an Apple Watch, iPad and more. My old solution was fast charger with 4 USB outlets plugged in to an outlet in the kitchen. Worked, but not pretty.

Let me start by saying this charger looks great. I got rid of all the other cables and keep this out in the kitchen. Much tidier! Phones charge quickly. Apple watch does too but you to be careful that it goes on right. Also, I have a metal band on mine so I have to close it before I put it on the stand or else it would rest on the screen of the phone below it.