The RunKeeper app for Android is another popular fitness based app that is geared towards runners, walkers and hikers. Like the other top running-based Android apps, RunKeeper takes advantage of the powerful GPS features built into your Android smartphone. With route tracking, a great history feature and a few other personalization features, RunKeeper can hold its own against the pack.
This app is impressive, but how does it stand up when compared to other Android fitness apps?
A Detailed Summary of Your Workout
Like other Android based running apps, Run Keeper will show your route on a detailed map. More than just your route, however, Run Keeper will tell you your pace, average and top speeds, distance and time. A great feature the Run Keeper includes is the ability to view your route map while still engaged in your workout. For hikers, this feature can be invaluable if you ever venture off the beaten path.
Like all apps that use the built in GPS feature on Android phones, you need to have a clear view of the sky in order for the tracking to work. So while Run Keeper can function like a much more expensive stand alone GPS tracking device, don't expect it to work when you are hiking in the deep woods or even if the sky is covered by thick clouds. The last thing you want is to go hiking off path and not have your GPS working to guide you back.
Settings and Personalization
Running-based apps like Run Keeper, Cardio Trainer and Run Tastic all allow varying levels of personalization. With Run Keeper, you set how you want your workout to be recorded, choosing either distance or time. You also choose whether to use miles or kilometers. Unlike Cardio Trainer, however, Run Keeper does not give you a total calories burned summary, nor does it provide details on your altitude covered like Run Tastic can.
The main setting features are how you want (or don't want) Run Keeper to share your workouts with social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. If you are part of a fitness group that relies on social networking sites to share your workouts or compete against other members, Run Keeper provides effortless uploading and will even post your route on Facebook if you choose.
As I am not a huge fan of social networking, these features and personalization settings of Run Keeper are a bit lost on me. Moreover, if Run Keeper included a goal area that could be set to weight loss tracking or miles covered, it would instantly raise its ratings with me.
Mapping and History
In the B.A. days (that's "Before Android,") runners who wanted to keep track of their workouts had to rely on pen and paper or a computer. With apps like Run Keeper, not only can you get a wonderful and easy to view map of your route, but the app will automatically save each workout to its "History" section. There, you can review the details of your workout and compare workouts against each other.
I haven't been able to determine the limits of the History section of this app but believe that the app stores all the data on the installed SD card. If that is the case, you are limited only by the available memory on your SD card.
If Run Keeper is the only running-based app that you'll ever try, you will be impressed by its mapping features and social networking capabilities. If you are installing a few running-based apps and Run Keeper is just one of them, you'll find things you like and things you wish it included.
For me and my "download and try every Android app ever made" issues, Run Keeper is useful, easy to use and feature rich enough to list as one of my top running apps for Android. It is not, however, so feature rich that it is the only fitness or running-based app on my phone. For that app, I must continue my search.
All in all, Run Keeper is a terrific free app but the developers would really need to add some "wow" factor-features before I would pay for this app or give it my recommendation.