I’ve always been fascinated by activity trackers and GPS technology in general. It surprises me how accurately and effectively it’s done. Once a connection is established to the satellites, it sends a signal to them and calculates the time it takes to respond, then uses math to determine your position on the globe relative to the position of the satellites. This is just a basic explanation on how GPS technology works, to give a general idea. Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that – but that’s not what this article’s about!
Today I’d like to cover Endomondo. Yes, it’s another fitness activity tracker; read the rest of the article to learn more about it and find out why I like it more than RunKeeper and the other similar apps.
Endomondo is available on the Android Market in both free and ad-free versions. Of course, as with most trackers, premium services are offered. The PRO version of the software is only $3.99.
The first time you use Endomondo you are prompted to login. If you have a Facebook account, you simply authenticate the application via the standard Facebook process. If Facebook’s not to your liking you can create a simple account and log in like you would in any other application.
I personally prefer to log in with Facebook or Twittter (mostly Facebook) whenever I get the chance because it saves time and means I don’t have to remember another password for another account. I generally recommend you do this for any sorts of applications that offer it.
Once you have entered your credentials, you are taken to a very neatly organized page that lets you choose what sort of activity you’re about to do. They are many types of activity, ranging from simple walks, runs, hikes, cycling or mountain biking to much more complex ones like kayaking, rowing, kite surfing, to sports like tennis and basketball.
This screen also shows your current stats: speed, distance, calories burned, the duration of the activity and GPS connectivity. Furthermore you have buttons to access your music (a feature I will discuss later on), to toggle audio cues and to select a type of workout: basic workout, set a goal, beat a friend, compete on a route, compete against yourself (available only on Endomondo PRO) or manual entry. The names are pretty self explanatory, but for the sake of being thorough, I’ll explain them:
- Basic workout: this the most basic of them all. You just select a type of activity and start it; nothing more, nothing less.
- Set a goal: with this type of workout you set a goal and then try to achieve it. It can be to match a specific time, distance or amount of calories burned.
- Compete on a route: you download a route and try to be the best on that route. I’m not really sure how this type of workout works, because they weren’t any routes in my location.
- Compete against yourself: you try and beat yourself on your own routes.
- Manual entry: you enter the workout manually. This is for when you used a different device to track your activity (for example, you ran on a treadmill or cycled on an exercise bike).
Once you’ve started your activity you can scroll to the right and watch the magic happen. Actually there’s no magic involved, you just see your current path on a Google map.
Integration With Music
You may already know that I’m a music freak. Now you’ve found out that I’m also a track freak. When I take long walks I usually listen to music when I’m alone and I’ve always wanted to know to what song I listened at different stages of my walk. It helps me remember what was I thinking or if I had some sort of a brilliant idea. I rarely have them though…
Endomondo integrates great with your player. I said earlier that it has a button for music. When you tap it, it launches your media player to start your music. It then scrobbles each track you listen to and stores it in a very interesting fashion on your map. If you look at your map in the history tab of the application, you’ll see music notes all over your path. Each note corresponds to a song that started at that spot and time in your activity. Pretty interesting no? Not sure if it’s useful for the average user, but for a music freak like me, it’s an awesome feature! Big plus for this one.
Connect With Friends
The application can easily find out if your friends from Facebook are using it. You can also invite people from you contacts list. I generally recommend you ask first whether you can invite them. Spamming is not an option.
On the Web
Like RunKeeper, you can view all of your activities from any desktop or tablet if you access the Endomondo site. There you can find interesting stats (for example, how many burgers have you burnt or how many trips around the world or to the Moon you have made). You can also join challenges. These challenges require you to either have the longest distance traveled or the most calories burnt in a specific time frame. There are some that require you to do a specific workout.
Everybody can create events and invite people to join them, but there are also challenges by Endomondo, which offer you not only bragging rights, but also something from their shop. At the time I’ve written this article I participated in a challenge that had an armband for your device (smartphone, mp3 player, iPod, iPhone and everything between) as a prize. Depending on how much you track your activities, I say that you should participate in every challenge of this type. You may never know when you can win something, because it is a draw competition. Each participant gets a chance, but the higher you rank, the more chances you have.
If you don’t win, Endomondo also has an online shop of their sports merchandise. I’d say they have all their bases covered.
As an Android application, Endomondo is just what I’ve been looking for. It tracks your activities very accurately and also scrobbles your music. It has a very clean user interface, a lot of good features and no flaws – at least I couldn’t find any. As a whole experience, Endomondo has surpassed my expectations. For the application I give it a 10/10; and for the experience as whole another 10/10. Great application!