Save money on activity trackers with Moves app for iPhone [review]
A new app for the iPhone, Moves, a free app for the iPhone that allows users to track their physical activity from their pocket without the need for any expensive gadgets.
The creators say it is designed for users who may frequent the gym less than their friends but would like to know about the activity they’re tracking.
And with the app tracking exercise in the background and sending users a daily notification with a summary, it couldn’t be easier. I’ve been using the app for the past week, to see how well it works…
What is tracked?
The app uses all the tools in-built to your iPhone, meaning the accelerometer and GPS. For a free app, you are getting quite a lot! This means walking, cycling and running are tracked activities, along with the app knowing when you are in transit… unless you can really run that fast!
Unfortunately nothing else is tracked, so no sleep, food, etc. There are other apps for this however, SleepCycle for sleeping and MyFitnessPal for food tracking. When the API becomes available for Moves, this will mean you can hook into other apps and dashboards too.
The app surprised me as it was very accurate, the steps were exactly as I counted during a test walk and although I did see steps accumulate at the start of a car ride, the app soon realises you are in transit, thanks to GPS tracking, and doesn’t take any data during that period.
For a free app the accuracy is fantastic, and makes you wonder whether a FitBit or FuelBand style device is necessary – however there is the downside of the already poor iPhone battery taking a further beating.
The app is very simple to use and set up. The navigation makes sense, with steps, distance or time shown from clicking the main bubble. You are shown peaks in activity on a timeline, with walks between places and the places shown – you can even define these with a label, which will be useful when the data is made available to export (a feature coming soon, along with the API). You can also label the places based on Foursquare integration.
Battery life however is an issue; my iPhone 5 lasts until 7pm on an average day (which is terrible in itself) but with Moves running I was seeing my phone die at around 4pm. Is this an issue? It depends on whether you charge your phone during the day and whether you don’t mind gaps in data on the times you forget. It’s a free app, so charging your phone more often is a small price to pay.
Moves is a great app – it is free, accurate and so easy to use – I totally forgot about it each day until I received my daily notification. It has some neat features, including the labels for journeys and places, with Foursquare support, and when the API is made available, along with data export, it will become a solid offering.
While the app is aimed at the majority of people who don’t care so much about wearing an expensive fitness tracking device, I think it could work for those of us who do, but have light wallets! The only downside is the battery issue, as it does reduce your iPhone’s battery life to less than a working day – but if you think you will always carry a charger with you and remember to charge it, then no problem.
I recommend you try Moves out, especially if you are yet to buy a device – you might like it and save yourself some money. Download Moves for iPhone here.