App Review: JogStats 14
Way back in the day when you went for a run, you just ran. Then came the Walkman, which brought music. Pedometers gave us our first logging capabilities, but that was fairly rudimentary. In recent years you could go with a fairly rudimentary and exceedingly expensive GPS-based tracker, but the user experience of those almost always left something to be desired. Fast forward to today, a time where every smartphone platform has multiple inexpensive apps that not only can track your run live, they log it with more information and analysis at your fingertips than we've ever had before.
One such app for webOS is JogStats, a $3.49 creation by Rusty Apps. JogStats brings a level of polish and webOS-ness that some other run tracker apps lack, and has the added bonus of being mostly functional. Unlike some other run trackers, JogStats does not have a cloud backend, which while this means you can't automatically backup your runs and look at them from other devices, it also means (1) you don't have to deal with needed a data connection (GPS tracking is going to drain your battery fast enough) and (2) you don't have to futz around with online systems that change while the webOS app is left abandoned. The question is how willing you are to live without web access to your logs.
Upon first launch you're presented with a cleanly laid-out display of zeros, waiting for you to press start and get off to the run. The tracking screen displays your elapsed time, total distance, current speed (mph), and current pace (minutes per mile). A simple swipe to the right reveals your lap stats.
To get started you hit the oh so obvious start button… but don't take off just yet. JogStats then prompts you to select your exercise type, allowing you to choose from jogging (duh), running, walking, hiking, and biking. In this "session" set-up you can also check off if you want JogStats to log individual laps and how long that lap is to be. Once you tap your forward momentum activity, JogStats will look for a strong GPS signal and start tracking. You'll want to wait for that strong signal before starting, because the app won't track distance or even time before thinking itself adequately located. If you happen to live in an area with poor GPS reception, the preferences do allow you to adjust the minimum accuracy. In our residential neighborhood we were able to get marginally accuracy than the default minimum of ten yards.
So you go on your run, jog, hike, walk, or ride, and manage to remember to hit the Stop tracking button before reaching for your water. Good job, take a breather before you check out the stats from your run. Within each log you get basic info like date, time started, and total time, plus how far you ran, how fast you ran, your top speed, and how many calories you're estimated to have burned. JogStats does let you note your weight in the preferences, but for the life of us we couldn't get the app to transfer that info into the statistics. You can at least enter it manually, plus notes should you like to keep track something else too.
The statistics don't end there. A Graphs button lets you check out a chart of your altitude change (nicely composited between maximum and minimum height, cutting out sea level and Everest), your speed at any given point, and your route with a heat-mapped line showing where you were fast and where you were not-so-fast. You can also export your info to a GPX file and share your run directly onto Twitter (once you've entered your credentials) or to the webOS Facebook app. JogStats also includes a very thorough help page covering everything from what you see on the screen to errors to setting your preferences.
As far as run trackers go, JogStats sits towards the top of the pack as far as functionality is concerned. For many that may well be enough, though the lack of online sync may be a dealbreaker for some The simple, intuitive, and not visually offensive interface is a huge bonus, as is the thoughtful and not intrusive social network integration.