Runtastic – a compelling smartphone alternative to fitness GPS

Do you have a smartphone, and are in the market for a fitness GPS for running, cycling or mountain biking? Consider the Runtastic line of apps instead. With support for several external heart monitors and other accessories, it is flush with features normally found only in more expensive equipment. Most of the apps run on both Android and iOS; Runtastic Pro also supports Windows Phone and Blackberry.

Even when I am on my best exercise habits, running is one of my weaknesses. Mountain Biking was not much better, and as I challenged myself to get into better shape and enjoy the countless miles of trails near my new home, I looked into a fitness GPS to help track my progress and map out some goals. My wife has a nice Garmin fitness GPS loaded with cool features she can use for both running and cycling, which was a basis for my comparison. When I stumbled upon a recommendation in a mountain biking forum to try Runtastic apps on my smartphone instead of buying a more expensive dedicated GPS, I had to give it a try. I was instantly impressed.

Runtastic apps are each built on a similar foundation, and each is themed on a common fitness activity such as running, cycling, etc. I love that they are simple to use and reliable. They are available both in free versions and paid pro versions. All integrate with a great web site where you can track all of your activities across multiple applications and support heart rate monitors. Runtastic sells their own heart rate monitors and other handy cycling monitors, which are competitively priced to other 3rd party chest strap monitors. The web site itself also offers both free, trial and paid membership options depending on your wants for fitness plans, advanced statistics and other premium features. At a glance, it seems similar and competitive to other full-featured fitness sites.

Even with the price of the heart monitor and the smart phone apps I cared to get, I still shelled out less than the Garmin could have cost, and get nearly all of the same features from something I already owned. Of course, a high end dedicated GPS will always come out on top specially when you are in zones of limited cell coverage, but Runtastic is still a lot of bang for your buck.

 

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