RunKeeper Versus Runmeter on the iPhone: A Newbie Runner’s Review

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“auto stop detection,” meaning that the clock stops when you’re immobile (say, waiting for the walk signal at an intersection). That way, involuntary pauses in your run don’t count against you in the average pace calculation. The automatic voice announcements over your headphones are highly configurable: you can set them to occur at a range of time or distance intervals, and you can pick what data gets announced, and in what order. You can run against “ghosts” of yourself on the same route on previous runs. The app can use text-to-speech technology to read incoming replies from your friends on Twitter and Facebook over your headphones. If you’re running uphill, the app will take note of the slope and adjust your calorie burn rate accordingly. And there are many other features and customization options.

Runmeter map screenAs far as performance, I’ve found so far that both Runmeter and RunKeeper work exactly as advertised. The distance and map data seem accurate and consistent, and both apps give you several ways to bask in the glory of your accomplishments by reviewing your past activities.

So which app should you choose? That probably depends on what kind of runner you are. If you tend to pursue your fitness goals alone and you just want an app that accurately tracks your runs, Runmeter will do everything you need and more. But if you want to tap into the power of social groups, share your activity data with friends, and access training classes and other help, then RunKeeper Pro is the better option.

Heck, the apps aren’t that expensive — for $15 you can buy both of them and compare them for yourself.

And to give you even more to chew over, I plan to bring you a smackdown between the creators of the two apps. I called up both Steve Kusmer, former CEO of Atomz and co-founder of Abvio, and Jason Jacobs, the Babson College MBA and marathoner who founded FitnessKeeper, to get their takes on the similarities and differences between their apps. In a separate piece coming Monday, I’ll quote each of them at length. You’ll see that, like most competitive athletes, they aren’t above trash-talking the competition a little bit.

Continue to Part 2: The Running App Founder Smackdown

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Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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