Endomondo Life — Yet Another Pedometer App for the iPhone


I currently use two fitness trackers — a personal Jawbone UP24 and a Garmin Vivofit review unit. I’ve worn them daily at the same time, on the same right wrist for over two months now, comparing their step counts. Their final tallies tend to differ and it seems that the UP24 has the better algorithm of the two. I do however also carry an iPhone 5S in my pocket throughout the day and the built-in M7 coprocessor allows for another reference point. I started using David Smith’s (yes, Underscore-David-Smith) Pedometer++ [App Store link] a few days after it was released and despite it being extremely simple, I’ve grown to like it — it’s my current go-to app. I’ve also tipped him on occasion, hoping he’ll keep on working on it. I must note that I also have a Withings scale at home — a gift from my father a few years ago …

My setup is actually pretty similar to Federico Viticci’s, as I recently learned from the second episode of Connected. I use Jawbone’s UP app, Garmin’s Connect, Withings’ Health Mate and My Fitness Pal. I also have a Runkeeper and Endomondo account and they’re all interconnected in some way — at this point I’m not even sure how the various bits of information are shared between them, but that’s beside’s the point and I am hoping that HealthKit in iOS 8 will eventually consolidate everything in one place. MFP is my daily calorie counter – my meals get pushed to both Garmin Connect and Jawbone UP. My Withings scale pushes the data to all of them in some way or another and I rely on Pedometer++ to verify my step count against the Vivofit and Jawbone UP. The latter also pushes it’s step count to MFP. If you got lost along the way then don’t worry — I don’t quite follow it either…

Endomondo Life for iPhone

Since Endomondo released Life a few days ago, I decided to give it a shot. My point of reference was David’s extremely simple Pedometer++, which neatly fills my expectations — no clutter, simple to use, simple to read. Upon first launch the user’s greeted with an option to log in to their Endomondo account or to continue on without creating an account at all. As far as I can tell, there is currently no benefit of creating or logging into one. None of the step data is visible on their website and my weight is not synced to the app either. That option can be updated manually, however having a connected Withings scale makes this function obsolete — it should be automated, especially since I’ve provided them with this data already. I’m also assuming that a user’s weight let’s them calculate calorie burn more reliably.

Endomondo Life’s UI is fairly simple, yet it has two uncommon elements. The first one is the way settings are accessed — you do this by pulling down on the screen. I naturally associate a down swipe with pull to refresh, hence I have accidentally opened the settings screen on more than one occasion. Secondly, a pinch-out gesture is used to “zoom out” from the daily step count to a weekly view, or vice versa with pinch-to-zoom. I find this frustrating when operating my iPhone with one hand … Everything else is easy enough to master, yet the above mentioned details make the app feel unnatural to me — I’m used to certain common behaviours and these put me off.

There is only one optional feature that can be turned on — distance. This is of course estimated, since the app itself, in contrast to RunKeeper’s Breeze app [App Store link], does not make use of the GPS at all. And I’m glad it doesn’t – polling the GPS periodically increases battery drain and in the case of the latter, it’s quite a substantial loss. iOS allows the blocking of this in the Privacy settings panel, yet Breeze’s constant nagging to allow it to use GPS almost made me pull my hair out.

Endomondo Life is a very simple and slightly more functional app than Pedometer++, but I can’t bring myself to like it despite it being attractive. The lack of weight synchronisation with their website and the unnatural feel to the UI frustrate me enough not to want to use it. The app is free however and it is once of the nicer M7 apps around so please do give it a try — you might have a different point of view than mine.

Endomondo Life — iPhone — free »

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