Posted by: Armand | May 11, 2010

More running technology – iPhone sports armband & SprintGPS

Ok, so technically I tried these whilst cycling this morning rather than on an actual run, but quick initial assessment…

This iPhone sports armband works pretty well – other than the fact that with the extended strap you need guns the size of a small redwood to have it fit snugly, it holds the iPhone secure, gives good access to the iPhone screen and  generally does the job. You can fiddle the strap so it fits comfortably on more modest guns. The lack of a fitted screenguard will make it less useful in the rain, but I’d rather have unimpeded access to mess around with the interface the rest of the time… Downside for me is that the iPhone needs to be out of its regular case to fit in it, but I guess any armband that didn’t require that would be pretty bulky.

SprintGPS is a competing app with Runkeeper (which I’ve mentioned before) which I decided to give a try because it a) supports cycling as well as running & walking and b) they followed me on Twitter and left a comment here, so was impressed by their social media prowess ;-). Like Runkeeper, it uses a GPS lock on your iPhone to track pace, location, etc., over a timed workout (giving you splits, average speeds, estimated calorie burn etc.) – unlike Runkeeper it also has music controls in the free version (vital until multi-tasking with iPhone OS4.0 kicks in, as I discovered when a phone call during my half-marathon training run on Sunday interrupted my playlist, never to be resumed) and a few other cute features. Social media sharing via Twitter and Facebook is pretty seamless (although not quite as pretty as Runkeeper, which gives you a thumbnail map in your share) and GPS lock was quick and effective. The online route map and analytics are pretty good too, although again this doesn’t feel quite as slick as Runkeeper’s.

Tempted to try this on my next long run… What does anybody else think?

Update: SprintGPS free only lets you save a couple of activities, rendering it pointless. I’m back with Runkeeper, and considering RunKeeper Pro (but will wait for iPhone OS 4.0 before I do that…) The armband, however, works brilliantly when running too.

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