I don’t know about you, but since I returned to having a Smartphone in October (an iPhone 4S), it is with me about 90% of the time. Besides being my phone, it has become my camera and a replacement for some of my aging memory. However, I have found that one the biggest things I use my Smartphone for is as a GPS device.
I use my iPhone as my GPS running companion, no I don’t have a GPS watch “yet” (I am working on that). When I had my old iPhone 3G, I whined and complained about how inaccurate the Running GPS Apps were and went back and forth with which one I would use. The problems were that none of them worked the way that I wanted them to.
When I got my 4S, I wanted to find one App and stick with it. Luckily, I figured out which iPhone App I wanted to use within the first week and have been using it since then. This App is:
Okay, so what is so special about iSmoothRun?
For me it just works! I think improvements in the hardware from a iPhone 3G to the 4S helps a lot, but the developer of this App has made a LOT of improvements under the hood, to make this the only Running App, I have used with my iPhone since around October 15th.
The features that I like the best are:
The biggest one that I like is that I can post to several different running websites at once, when I am done running. I like several features of the Nike Plus site, but I also like being able to post to Garmin, Daily Mile, Training Peaks, Strava and several others.
This ability to post my running data (see my post on Who’s Running Data is it? for more of my thoughts on this), to several sites at once, means that I am not limited to one website and that if something happens to that site, that I have lost all of my data.
As I have found out it is difficult to sometimes get your running data from one website and then to easily upload that data to a different website.
iSmoothRun lets me decide which site I want to use instead of having to stay someplace, just because all of my data is stored only there, without having to start over. This ability to post to multiple running web sites, is the primary reason that I initially chose to use iSmoothRun as my iPhone Running App.
It is pretty accurate, which is an important attribute to me, the distances are fairly consistent over the same courses. No GPS will be smack dab on every time, but when I was running the Runner’s World Half Marathon, iSmoothRun was either right on the mile marker or very close to it, which boosted my confidence in the App considerably. Although it sort of works on the treadmill, I have found that it is not as close as I would like, but I don’t run on the treadmill all that much and can just take a photo of the treadmill’s final readout if I want proof of what I actually did.
iSmoothRun is very easy on my iPhone’s battery! I have run almost a couple of hours with it on and still had more than 50% of the battery life left.
One of the things that I am working on as a runner is increasing my cadence and iSmoothRun keeps track of my cadence during a workout. It also has a metronome feature to help with improving your cadence, but that feature is a little difficult to use, since you have to leave the main screen while running to access it and I am always afraid that I am going to hit a screw up my stats, so I tend not to use it as much as I would otherwise.
I like the Apps ability to tell me when I have passed a predetermined distance (for me usually a mile) and it gives me my total time, distance, pace for the last mile, cadence and overall pace. (I can set it for more or less info), but this is the information that I find beneficial to me when I am running or racing. It gives me a quick how I am doing and I can make adjustments to my run based on that information. Yes many apps do this, but this is a feature if a running App doesn’t have, probably means that I won’t use it.
There are some things that I am don’t really like about the iSmoothRun App, but deal with because the App is so awesome!
The user interface screen when the App is tracking a run. It is functional but is pretty bland. Until I got used to the where the stop/pause buttons were, it added some time to a few of my runs. When I am running, it would be nice for the stop button to be a different color that I could pick up right away. Also there is no way to lock the screen, so I don’t accidentally do something to mess up the tracking of my run.
I really don’t care about calories or track points when I am running, these in my opinion could be on the summary screen at the end of a run and use this space for other information or controls.
I would rather have the ability to turn off/on the metronome on the main screen, instead of having to find the cog icon in lower right corner and then attempting to switch the metronome to the on position while running – which can be very frustrating. Then having to repeat the procedure to turn it off…well you get the idea of why I don’t use this feature too often.
Actually these cons are relatively minor and haven’t stopped me from using iSmoothRun, they are more things the developers look at differently than I do.
The reality is that
I have used iSmoothRun exclusively since October 7th and have been VERY pleased with its functionality, consistency and the ability to publish my running stats to several different websites at once, to track my training has made it my “goto” iPhone running app.
There are free and Pro versions of the App in the Apple Store – $4.99. I purchased the pro version, when I had my old iPhone 3G and moved it to the 4S without any issues. It actually works a lot better on the 4S.
From what I can see the developers have continued to update the App. Last week there was an update, so the App is continuing to be improved, which is an important consideration when using Apps.
The biggest thing that I like about the iSmoothRun App is the freedom that it gives me from being “held hostage” to a certain site/app because that is where all my past running data is being stored. With iSmoothRun I can post to several different sites and use the one that meets my needs, while not locking me into that site or losing my data if that site goes down. This is very important to me!
Overall a very well done running GPS App for the iPhone, that I use daily.
Be positive, be strong and keep smiling – great things can happen :-).
Disclosure: This is a personal purchase and I have not received any form of compensation to write this review, they are simply my thoughts about something that I use.