Gear review: Nike+ GPS app

Nike+ app home screenFrankly, any runner who doesn’t use some form of GPS tracking is just kidding themselves about the distance they’re covering.

I should know: after many years of running 6 miles most nights, my first encounter with a Garmin GPS for runners showed me that I’d actually been running 5.6 miles, and was therefore neither as fit nor as fast as I’d previously thought.

And so, I adopted first a Garmin, then RunKeeper for the iPhone, which has the added advantage of giving you in-ear updates about pace, time and distance.

The only problem with RunKeeper though, as most long-term users will tell you, is that with every new update comes a new glitch; resulting in either the loss of all your valued data, or the lady who speaks in your ear … talking … very … very … slowly. Or even not at all.

Then, a few months ago, along came Nike with an update on their charming but hopelessly innacurate Nike+ pedometer unit.

Naturally, as no friend of faceless big business and corporate American ethics, I decided to stick with the little guy, and give RunKeeper another chance. Just before it dumped all my data again…

So, what choice did I have but to give the Nike+ GPS App a whirl? And wow, am I glad I did.

OK, so the website it comes with is pretty hopeless, concentrating on flash graphics rather than hard analytical data. But the actual App works perfectly, and even allows you to get audio updates every half mile if you so wish.

The interface is simple and clear: and most importantly, appears absolutely reliable, having performed perfectly every time I’ve used it.

Frankly, there are only two things I’d change about the Nike+ App:

1. The inane Americanisms offered by the post-run voiceover: “Hey, you can just run all week baby” being amongst the worst.

2. Unlike RunKeeper, Nike+ doesn’t offer you a 15 second countdown to the start of your run, meaning that once you’ve pressed ‘Start’, you either have to try and shove it into your armband on the go, or add a few seconds to your overall time.

But those small and, let’s face it, fairly petty quibbles aside, this seems to be the App that runners have been waiting for.

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