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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Endomondo Review

Endomondo.com

Rather than spending a lot of money on a GPR compatable watch or cycling computer, I wanted to see what was available on the android market.  I tried many GPS apps only to find that most of them were not free.  When I found out that endomondo was free and had a lot of positive reviews on the android market, I figured that I should give it a try.  Endomondo measures time, distance, speed and calories (as long as you enter your weight).  It also automatically stops tracking anytime I needed to make a full stop.  My favorite feature was the audio feedback of average speed and split time every mile or kilometer- so you know if you're above or below your goal pace.  As far as power useage goes, the app is very efficient.  On a full battery, I was able to track a two hour 46 minute half century and still have 80% of battery to spare.  The only area that I think needed improvement involved the map display on the phone and the lack of a manual option to set the split distances.

MAIN SCREEN:
The main screen was fairly simple to navigate.  The big green button on the left starts the gps tracking program and the big green button to the right automatically starts tracking after the 10 second countdown is completed.  Before using the app to track the workout, make sure the icon below the logo matches the desired sport.  A few times, I forgot to change the sport from running to cycling and it later showed that I ran an 18.5 mile per hour pace for 40 miles.  To change the type of sport, click on the white space above "duration" and below the logo.  Some of the options that it will provide include running, cycling transport, cycling (sport), mountain biking, skating roller skiing, cross country skiing and even table tennis- though I'm not really sure what valuable information anyone could get from GPS data on table tennis.

The shaded boxes located in the center of the screen may be customized to display different data.  Instead of displaying duration at the top, it can be replaced with speed by long tapping the duration box until a menu pops up with several choices to choose from.  The boxes may be changed into the following: duration, distance, speed, pace, average speed, average pace, calories, heart rate, average heart rate, goal and cadence.

The dark gray box to the left gives the option to play music using the endomondo music player.  Personally, I like to let the app run in the background and instead, use the default music player to play music.  The gray box in the center is the "goal" box.  Basic workout has some pretty cool competitive features such as "beat a friend" and "compete on route."  These modes allow you to either challenge a friend's personal best time or any previously tracked route available to the public.  Where I'm located, nobody posts routes to challenge, so the "compete on route" is pretty much useless.

HISTORY SCREEN:
This history screen displays all of the workouts that have already been tracked.  By tapping on one workout, this first window that opens is a map with a blue line that represents the course of the route.  Clicking the square on the top right will take you to the split time page.  I haven't found a way to modify how the splits are taken, but by default, this app will only display split times on a mile-by-mile basis.  Mile splits times were good enough for cycling, but runners would probably benefit more from a half mile or quarter mile split time display.


HOW TO SET ENDOMONDO TO CALCULATE CALORIES BURNED DURING A WORKOUT:
In the settings window, just enter in your weight and the app will do the rest.  In the future, I plan to confirm whether or not the calorie counter is accurate.  It seems to slightly underestimate high intensity caloric expenditure.  Also, remember that if a cadence sensor is not synced to the phone, coasting on a bicycle will not cause the calorie counter to stop.


Pros:
  • It's free!
  • Does not drain batter (did a half century in 2 hours 46 min and the 
  • Auto pauses
  • Shows statistics for all workouts (avg. speed, pace, altitude climbed/ descended, etc.)
  • Can sync with HR monitor
  • Share workouts on Facebook
  • Upload maps to phone to challenge friends
  • Automatically calculates split times
Cons:
  • Cannot connect to Polar heart rate monitors.
  • The map sometimes shows me cycling off course, but quickly corrects itself within ~.25 miles. It rarely does this though (once every ~20 miles)