Under Armor Record – Disappointing iPhone Application

iPhone Applications

I continue to look for interesting and useful new iPhone applications – ones I can use on  my mountain bike and keep track of rides and stats.  Over the last 3 years I have reviewed a whole bunch of apps and have found them overall usually relatively useful.  The list of the ones I have reviewed is long – Argus, Bike Brain, MapMyRideRuntastic Mountain Bike Pro, and a bunch of other ones.

Every so often I have come across some that are buggy and tend to be a disappointment.

My latest review is of the Under Armor Record – I thought since it is developed by a very popular and well adopted in the exercise circles brand – Under Armor – it will be well put together.  The application comes with tons of accolades from the company itself – it is promising and with a lot of features.  

Under Armor Application Dashboard

Application Dashboard

The front screen is a dashboard with a running feed of all your activity, which Record collects from your iPhone’s internal motion tracker.  You can also get sensors from main suppliers and interface to the app.  If you are so inclined you can also challenge friends, check on your friends’ progress, and track also food, sleep, and calories burned.  

This is all fine, but the application REALLY DOES POORLY on tracking your bike sessions.

You can see in the follow on screens a summary that makes you wonder – who designed the application that way.  Here is what happened – the result of which you see on the next application screens.  Earlier this weekend I went on a bike ride and used the Under Armor Record and in parallel ran the Runtastic Mountain Bike Pro, and Strava.  The results did not bode well for Record.  Why?  Well see below

Under Armor Record

History of sessions

Under Armor Summary

Session Summary

Check the time duration and the calories burned…!

This is “amazing” – I did 23 hours on the bike….NOT!

Well, turns out I did attempt to stop the application as I completed the bike ride.  As I did with both Runtastic and Strava.  But Record decided to keep on going.  And kept on going until the next day (today) when I was getting ready for my next bike ride.  I thought that behavior was a fluke.  So I just started a new session.   I biked for 1-hour 15 minutes…and then when I came home I tried to stop the application…. Well, I wish the programmer who wrote the app could see it.  I kept trying to stop – I kept getting the screen with Application Session Paused — with the option to slide the screen button to Finish it.  I did over 10 times – each time the Application just exited – i.e. CRASHED!   Every time I tried to get back in – Record went back to the same screen – with the request to Pause and then Slide to Finish – and the same repeated over and over again.   

Then I took the drastic action – I deleted the Application!   That is it – Under Armor Record was gone.  The app worked OK for tracking elliptical trainer workout, and walks but as far as the biking is concerned the assessment it TWO THUMBS down!

Thumbs Down

 

Health Apps for iPhone

What is New in the Area of Health Apps for iPhone

Well, I have always been a believer that the iPhone offers a very versatile platform for tracking your exercise, your biking, walking, running…etc health related endeavors we all have.  As you know from this blog postings – I tried the Apple Watch and was rather frustrated with its lack of good repeatable measurements.  At the same time the iPhone has been relatively solid performer with a slew of applications – e.g. (in no particular order):

Earlier last week during the holidays, I decided to figure out how I can aggregate all the apps tracking information via the Apple Health application – why?  because I wanted to track all my walking, jogging, biking, hiking exercise as an aggregate.

Apple iPhone Health App

Apple iPhone Aggregation point

Apple iPhone

Next level of detail

So I tried to accomplish that.  Took me a while to figure out what applications actually interface with the Apple Health app.  

Well, turns out all of the apps have gaps in their ability to synch up with the main Health app

So I am using Argus, Bike+(b+), MountainBike-Pro, and Under Armor Record – all of these applications have the ability to measure relatively accurately the distance, steps, calories, miles of walking, hiking, biking,  BUT – there is the big disappointment – they all have gaps in their ability to interface, synch and feed into the iPhone Health app.

Here is the summary of what I have found so far:

Under Armor Record

The Under Armor Dashboard

 

Under Armor’s Record is the application which allows you to capture your Hiking, Walking and Biking exercise – but when I tried to synch up and connect the app with iPhone Health – I was able to, the apps connected – but I was only able to get the walking results into the Health app.

Why?

I could not tell…!

I tried all sort of options – but NO luck with getting the biking info into the aggregation app.

 

Under-Armor-Record

Dashboard for a ride on Under-Armor-Record

Here is the information from the Under Armor Record application – it properly captured the exercise info but no luck getting it into the Health App

The other issue that i found, although I would say that is a smaller issue as it only relates to how calories are counted.

The Under Armor Record captured my biking distance and calories at a much lower level vs what both Argus and MountainBike Pro recorded.

Again – no big deal as it just means one of them is more accurate – who knows.

 

Here are the other two (Argus, MountainBike Pro):

Argus Mountain Bike

Summary of a ride on Argus Mountain Bike

MountainBike Pro

Summary of a ride with MountainBike Pro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, net-net, Argus injected the information of calories into the Health App, Under Armor Record injected the Walking data, and the actual Cycling info from all three Apps (Argus, MountainBike Pro, Under Armor Record) never made it in…!  Very frustrating.  Next few days I will try Bike+(b+) to see if it will feed into the Health App – it is supposed to….!  I want to find the way to get all my excise data / results into one place….and I will find a way  to do it.

Will report on my progress in the next posting…

Even Argus Has Issues Though

Argus Has Issues

I have been using and reporting on various biking software / Smart Phone Apps to record my exercise and measure various vital statistics while riding my mountain bike.

My bike itself has been outfitted with several brackets / attachment modules so I can install both specific sets of iPhone cases with my iPhone 6 Plus as well as more generic ones.

On top of the iPhone then I run different apps to track my activity.  Argus is one of them I just reviewed and was pretty happy with as a exercise tracking aspect of it but now have discovered a bit of annoying feature / capabilities.

Argus mountain bike and other exercise traker

The Annoying Feature…! I just exercised and am being reminded nevertheless

The image above shows the front screen of my iPhone (not the only time you see the notifications) – and according to it I need to go workout – e.g. ride my bike.  One problem though – I just returned from a bike ride using the Argus SW for tracking my bike ride….So you would think that the Application designer would consider that and update the clock being used for the reminders….Go figure!!!

ARGUS – Another Useful iPhone Application for Your Bike

Argus

An updated review of Argus.  I continue to test iPhone applications that help you measure and track your physical activity.  There are a number of applications you can use – some more robust and useful then others.  I have a number of them reviewed at least to some extent in the summary round up found here. Over the last 1 year! I have been using two of them specifically – ARGUS (I am using the free version of the application) and Runtastic Mountain Bike Pro (I paid for this one)

The good news is that these two applications – both of which I find useful and good to use – are measuring the bike riding activities I do in a relatively similar way!  This is good.  I have tried both the road bike and mountain bike functions.  And surprisingly – the two applications do well as they measured close enough the distance, speed, and calories for the rides

I like the Argus application – it is well done with a good linkage between keeping track of your various forms of exercise and ability to see it all on one screen.  One issue I see – the notion of entering the food you consume is very tedious – and I do not understand what is up with the option to take a photo of your food…. WHY?  So if Argus can fix that – I will like this up even more ūüôā

Side note:  a link to some good bike trail photos…Enjoy!

 

 

Good Bye to my Apple Watch

Earlier today I finally decided to resolve my situation with the Apple Watch.  Both yesterday and today were beautiful sunny days in Austin, Texas, with yesterday being surprisingly cool (vs. the weather forecast that called for 90-degree F).

Needless to say, the bikes were out (after fixing a flat I had not noticed on my way back from the trails three weeks ago) and my family and I hit the green belts on Barton Creek….a nice place to bike

We spent about 1 hour and 20 minutes riding – on both Saturday and Sunday – although Sunday was a more difficult day – due to the significantly higher temperatures.

Now, back to the Apple Watch situation РI had posted about my issues with the Watch in previous articles.  I like the Watch!  The idea is great and the industrial design / physical implementation is also impeccable.  Problem (at least per my experience) is the software.  I continue to find issues with how the watch measures exercise etc.  A week ago I upgraded to version 2 of the Apple Watch OS with the hope things will improve.  Since then I have been testing the exercise applications for elliptical trainer and for biking and in all cases the results are less than stellar Рthe Apple Watch continues to give incorrect readings from the sessions

Finally, today I went to one of the local Apple Stores and had a very positive experience with the Apple Store Staff.   Overall, the are usually very attentive and knowledgeable.  This time they went well above that.  I discussed the situation with the store manager Рadmittedly I had spoken with him about a month ago about the issues and was very offered a great service РI was able to return the watch and get a refund.   This is well beyond my expectations РThank you Apple!  and Apple Store Staff!

As I stated earlier – I really like the idea Apple was targeting with the Watch and was very disappointed to have to return it but it did not work. ¬† I will look forward to the next version – with the hope that things will be improved etc. ¬† Till then – back to my bike and iPhone applications… Just as a reminder – in my opinion Runtastic Mountain Bike Pro is a good one, and so is Strava (as many bikers will attest). ¬†I have not been able to use well Bike+¬†for some reason its user interface and features are not quite as well done as the other apps. ¬†But I like to experiment – will continue testing them.

If you have questions about iPhone Apps for Biking – do not hesitate – let me know…will give you my experience and view point.

iPhone Bike Mount – How To Video

Well folks, this is it – now you can leverage Kristin’s tech review channel to get to various reviews of cases for smart devices (iPhones and iPads predominantly). ¬†Over the last week or we were able to also get a couple of hands on reviews going on for the bike mounts for the smart gadgets.

I personally find the mounts for iPhone (or Android phones for that matter) on my bike extremely useful and over the last several years have written multiple times about my experiences on the subject.  Now you can see the video of how to install / use as well.

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Here is also a link to some further description on the mounts.

Why do I find these mounts so useful?  For several reasons:

  • Allow you to have a good tool for assessing your exercise level
  • You are not likely to get lost on the trail — YES! believe me, multiple friends have told me they have had experiences where they were disoriented on a remote trail and took some time finding their way back to the car…
  • You can receive a phone call while biking – I do not recommend it BUT WHAT if there is an emergency….
  • …I am sure you will find other use cases as well (e.g. listening to music in some cases)

So check out the options I recommend and look for more reviews to come over the weeks ahead.

 

Biking Computer Applications on iPhone 6 plus

Earlier in the week I finally upgraded my phone from the very good and solid iPhone 5 to the iPhone 6 Plus.  In previous postings on this blog I have described how useful a smart phone Рwhether iPhone or one with Android Рcan be in terms of providing a biking computer platform for various navigation and exercise planning applications.

There are multiple options for how one can use the previous generations of iPhone 4, iPhone 5 and even iPhone 6 – here are several that I have tried and/or used on my mountain bikes over the last 4-5 years:
 

Now my new phone posed a larger (literally) challenge – being the iPhone 6 Plus – its size is pretty amazing when seen on the handlebars of the bike….But for that I will provide you with a better visibility over the next couple of days – we are preparing a through review of the Tigra mountain bike case for the phone.

Today, I tested the setup on my Trek bike and was pleased with the overall stability of the case and phone.  HOWEVER, I discovered a nuisance Рseveral of the mountain bike computer applications did not change orientation when I turned the iPhone 90 degrees to be in a landscape format on my handlebars.   I rode as usual with the Runtastic Mountain Bike Pro application on and to my surprise it stayed in portrait mode even when I turned the phone 90-degrees to landscape.  Needless to say Рthis turned out to be pretty annoying fast.

Then I tried other apps – and surprisingly all of them – BikeBrain, BikeComputer, Cyclemeter, iBike, TheBike – did not change orientation….Strange! ¬†To say the least. ¬†iBiker was the only one of the bunch – of the ones I tested – that actually automatically adjusted to landscape mode when I turned the phone to be more aligned with my handlebars.

iBiker Bike Computer view of the iBiker Dashboard

So, with that in mind, the quest for the ‘perfect application’ needs to continue – this time with iPhone 6 Plus mounted on a mountain bike handlebars in mind! ¬†Wish me luck and drop me a comment if you have a recommendation on a good Bike Computer Application. ¬† Thanks in advance!

More iPhone Apps for Biking

I am a big advocate of using your gadgets to the fullest.  As you can tell from this blog, biking apps for iPhone, are a big focus for me as a way to track my exercise as well as learn more about my biking style.

Side note: if you have an Android based smart phone – you can leverage many same or similar applications in that framework

With that in mind, today I wanted to review yet another good application, namely, Argus – Pedometer, Calory, Nutrition, Activity Tracker by Azumio.  This application converts your iPhone in a relatively sophisticated computer to track your biking as well as other activities and combine those with estimated calory tracking.   It is a good aggregator of multiple bio-related tracking points to help you analyze your habits and develop better ones.

Here are some screen shots – as you can see the application in this case is aggregating my walking statistics with a bike ride I took on the same given day:

Argus iPhone application Argus iPhone Argus iPhone Argus iPhone

As you can see the user interface on the main dashboard is very neat – I like a lot how the application aggregates information which then it can display (upon selection) into separate user panes.  

Here is also a snapshot of the application's main features: 

– Daily Steps and active Calorie counter 

– GPS mapping of Running, Cycling and Driving 

– Creates Food diary of all your meals with food photo snapping 

– Set daily goals for Steps, Sleep time and Hydration 

– Observe trends over time with all variables to track wellness 

– Uses Instant Fitness for your home workouts 

– Uses Sleep Time to monitor your sleep cycles 

– Uses Instant Heart Rate to monitor your heart beats 

– Built in support of third party wearable devices and health app

Finally, I will continue to review applications. In the mean time – here is a link to other postings on the topic

Biking Applications – Part 1

Biking Applications – Part 2

Biking Applications – Part 3

Biking Applications – Part 4

Summary Views

Biking Applications Review – Part 2

Well folks, I am continuing on the quest for the 'perfect' application for my smart phone to implement a bike computer.  This weekend I decided to try out the next one BIKE BRAIN.  Downloaded the application from the iTunes application store.  As usual it is offered as a free version with some baseline features.

Side note:  You can check out Part 1 of the reviews which covers some additional applications – here)

Here is a graphical view of Bike Brain:

Bike Brain Dashboard

Bike Brain Dashboard

Bike Brain Stats

Bike Brain Stats

Bike Brain Mapping

    

The application has some good features and more importantly allows you to view the dashboard throughout the whole time – i.e. it does not allow the screen saver on iPhone to come on.  It burns more battery but then you want to see the dashboard as you are biking, right…

I give it two thumbs up!

 

How to Get Started in Mountain Biking

Last week I had a summary of the new mountain bikes coming up for 2014.  There are a number of interesting machines available for you to use.   But, for some folks new to the experience, there is also the mental block of how do I start…?  What is the kit I need to have in order to get started with mountain biking.  So, with that in mind, I decided to post a brief list of the basic and extended necessities for a beginner in the sport.  

  • A good mountain bike – there are multiple options
    • On the higher end for a beginner: Marin Rocky Ridge 
    • In the mid-range: Specialized Rockhopper
    • In the entry level: Trek X-Caliber 6 (will write about this bike in my next posting)
  • Biking helment – lots of controversy and opinions on what makes a good helmet and how important they are, but at the end of the day, yes, you need one…For many reasons…
  • Water bottle 
    • If your bike was not outfitted with a water bottle cage – you need to get it done – either get one from your bike store or any of the camping stores may carry it; They are fairly universal 
  • spare tube for your tires
  • pump – you can look into both portable and/or full size ones
  • Combo tool kit – those come in a form factor that fits like a pack under your seat
  • Next we go into the nice to have things:
    • bike computer

                 — OR —

This kit should get you going on your first mountain bike ride – if it is just in your local park as a start!