iSmoothRun with AW. Experiences?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by meeebee, Jan 24, 2016.

  1. meeebee macrumors member

    meeebee

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2016
    #1
    I'm coming from a garmin 305 and am looking at using the AW for times when it's not convenient to have both (eg. while traveling).

    How does the iSmoothRun app compare to other apps like Runkeeper or Strava?

    In looking at their website, they state "For the moment Apple is very restrictive regarding what features of the watch we can use. This will hopefully change in the future and we’ll be able to use its HRM, vibrations and buttons."

    I'm not sure what that means. Is it the delay in displaying info, the lagging HR, or similar items that that other apps suffer?

    Since they don't offer a lite or free version, I'd like to get other's opinions before plunking down cash.
     
  2. bripab007 macrumors 6502

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    Oct 12, 2009
    #2
    That's interesting. I've wondered about using that app, myself, as I like that it has native Smashrun integration, but my go-to running app for several years has been--and still is--Runmeter. Oddly enough, Runmeter updated the app just recently to be able to use the Apple Watch to track heart rate, so it's odd that iSmoothRun says it's not yet possible. Having said that, I still tend to prefer my Bluetooth chest heart rate strap, simply because it provides better resolution (samples every 2 seconds instead of every 10 seconds, like Apple Watch does). But it is nice to know that I can forget my chest strap and still have a way of recording heart rate during a run. Come to think of it, Pedometer++ is another app I use that has the ability to kick off a native walk/workout on the watch, completely with heart rate and such.
     
  3. meeebee thread starter macrumors member

    meeebee

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    Jan 23, 2016
    #3
    Runmeter looks really good. But do you have to pay $9.99 per year to keep using the AW features? It seems confusing.

    But it does offer some pretty nice visuals and gauges. I'll have to give a try.
     
  4. louiek macrumors 6502

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    Mar 7, 2006
    Location:
    Knutters Knoll, Melbourne
    #4
    Ismoothrun doesn't do HR through the Apple Watch but Runkeeper does. For some bizarre reason, while you can start and pause through ismoothrun if you want to stop the run you have to do it through your phone. Ismoothrun gives you two screens to pick your six favourite stats to be displayed on but runkeeper only displays time, pace, distance and HR. Ismoothrun also has a "lap" button but I've never pressed it. Can't say which one's more accurate as runkeeper screwed up a few too many half-marathons for me years ago so I only use them to store my exported data and maps now.
     
  5. meeebee thread starter macrumors member

    meeebee

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    Jan 23, 2016
    #5
    "Can't say which one's more accurate as runkeeper screwed up a few too many half-marathons for me years ago so I only use them to store my exported data and maps now."

    That's the worst fear, having a watch lose valuable data. I guess that would be a good reason to wear two. :)
     
  6. Gwhite1 macrumors newbie

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    Aug 20, 2015
    #6
    I'm sure the new version just released does use the heart rate sensor in the watch.

    Gary
     
  7. PatrickNSF, Jan 26, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016

    PatrickNSF macrumors 6502

    PatrickNSF

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    Jan 24, 2011
    #7
    I beta tested the AW app prior to release and it's ok. I believe the later versions of the beta were able to access the HR sensor.

    Of all the third party running apps I tried on AW, I found iSmoothRun to be the best of the bunch. I used the app years ago prior to getting my first Garmin, so as far as iPhone apps go it's fully functional. And the ability to sync to various services – including Garmin – is a bonus.

    I think if you're just looking for something to substitute for your Garmin while traveling it would be fine, though I wouldn't consider it to be a proper, permanent replacement for your Garmin. The issues I've found while using it have more to do with the AW itself than the app. Not only is there is delay in waking up the AW screen, there's also a noticeable delay in the data updating. It makes quick glances at your AW to check pace or distance difficult. In addition, in full sun you'll likely fine your Garmin to be much easier to read than iSmoothRun on the AW. I found changing the AW font setting to "bold" helped, but iSmoothRun's choice of colors (blue, yellow, red) make the screen even more difficult to read while running than standard white on black. Finally, as with the other AW apps, pausing and ending a run are difficult with the touchscreen.

    Again, if you want something for travel, iSmoothRun would be the best option. I would choose it over using the Workout app.
     
  8. louiek macrumors 6502

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    Mar 7, 2006
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    Knutters Knoll, Melbourne
    #8
    Looks like you're right, the version released earlier this month has a "use watch HRM" button. Now there's no excuse not to use it.
     
  9. bripab007 macrumors 6502

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    Oct 12, 2009
    #9
    I just renewed, and it's $4.99/year to all the "Pro" features. I'm not sure that Pro is required for the AW features, as I was paying the pro rate before I had an AW.
     
  10. meeebee thread starter macrumors member

    meeebee

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    Jan 23, 2016
    #10
    Downloaded and ran the AW runmeter app this morning. The only screen available was a big map view over most of the screen, and two smaller metrics, run time and distance. It did not change so after about 15 minutes I stopped and went back to Runkeeper. Although it looks great on the website, I'm not about to pay $10 or even $5 a year for an app that I can't take for a trial run. And even if I did like it, that is too much to pay -- not sure why they chose a subscription plan.

    One other question before purchasing ismoothrun, is the link to the iphone necessary for a run, like the Runkeeper app requires? Or can it work like the Workout app, where it will estimate pace and distance based on the internal AW mechanisms? I'd prefer not to carry my iphone 6 on my runs.
     
  11. RichP74 macrumors regular

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    Dec 16, 2012
    #11
    I've been using Runmeter since early 2012; it's fantastic. I've used all the running apps, and it's by far my favorite.

    That said, I am ready to give up on the Apple Watch client. If your shirt sleeve brushes the watch face just wrong, it will stop your run. If you look at it funny, it will repeatedly read your pace and distance back at you.

    Frankly, the Apple Watch has been disappointing as a running/exercise tracker. I will continue to use Runmeter, just on my phone. When it's not below freezing, I wear my phone on my arm in an armband. When it is freezing, I drop it into a Roosport I wear on my shorts. Instead of using the Apple Watch client, I'll just start the run, sleep the phone, and drop it into the Roosport. I'll have to settle for not knowing my current pace when it's below freezing.

    I'm probably going to sell my Apple Watch and go back to a Fitbit, which is a much more robust fitness tracker. That way I get the best of both worlds. The Garmin watches have always been a bit bulky and ugly for day to day wear, though obviously they are the best as pure running devices.
     
  12. BarracksSi Suspended

    BarracksSi

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    Jul 14, 2015
    #12
    RichP74, does Runmeter not have a Lock Screen command like the AW's stock Workout app presents via Force Press?
     
  13. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    Jan 6, 2005
    #13
    Don't know what you decided on, but while I think ismoothrun is a great app, probably the best available, it does not seem to be able to work with just the AW right now. The watch is treated only as a remote display. I tried to run on the treadmill with it this week, and was hoping to be able to use the watch to track my speed and distance and leave the phone sitting in front of me as a remote display, but I could not get this to work. It seems to currently only use the phone as your motion sensor. I hope this feature comes as it's one place the AW even as it stands now could be more useful than my Garmin.

    The other thing that's odd with this app is that it seems here is no way to end a run from the watch. I can pause it, but must end the run from the phone.
     
  14. bripab007 macrumors 6502

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    Oct 12, 2009
    #14
    Oddly enough, I've been running with Runmeter on the AW for quite some time and I've not _yet_ managed to accidentally press the screen or brush up against it in any detrimental way.
     
  15. aarontsuru macrumors regular

    aarontsuru

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    Jul 21, 2014
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    Brooklyn, NY
    #15
    I love iSmoothRun, but the update that added support for WatchOS2 broke the watch app. Mine displays no info now. Not even delayed. Ugh.

    So.

    I switched to the Strava app full time (I was exporting to it anyway) and have had no issues. It supports WatchOS2 and turns the circles, etc. All good. Just wish I could adjust what is displayed when I run/ride like I could with iSmoothRun.
     
  16. TigerStephie macrumors regular

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    Jun 27, 2010
    #16
    I have been using Strava since they added heart rate, the best one I have used. I have tried runmeter a few times too and it locks up on me now, plus it stopped doing my heart rate halfway through and showed the same heart rate for like 2 miles of intervals. I will probably continue to use runmeter for intervals though until something better comes out. Runmeter drains battery way more too.

    I will have to check out iSmoothRun though.
     
  17. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    Jan 6, 2005
    #17
    iSmoothRun is working fine for me on OS2. Strava is nice and simple, but like you say, no way to update what info you view and I find that what info it does display is really slow to update every time I raise my wrist. I recently bought a HR monitor strap, and paired with iSmoothRun the AW is actually a pretty passable running watch now. Info doesn't display instantly when I raise my wrist, but quick enough that if I delay looking for half a second as I raise it, it's updated by the time I take a glance. Now I just wish it could give me some feedback in real time (alerts for splits that just show temporarily, HR or pace zones, etc.) but I think Apple is holding them back from that. That and the iPhone still isn't nearly as reliable for GPS tracking as my Garmin watch.
     
  18. aarontsuru macrumors regular

    aarontsuru

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    Jul 21, 2014
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    Brooklyn, NY
    #18
    Hmm... maybe I'll try a uninstall/reinstall and see if iSMoothRun will work. As much as I like the Apple Watch, Apple's limitations imposed have made it hard to love it.

    As for GPS tracking, if I'm not mistaken, some runner did a huge comparison of GPS accuracies between a bunch of watches and the iPhone and the iPhone was one of the top for accuracy. I think they had a 5s (maybe a 5), it's a couple years old.

    Ah! Found it - http://fellrnr.com/wiki/GPS_Accuracy

    Makes sense. You would expect the iPhone (a pretty powerful handheld computer) to have at least as good an accuracy for GPS as a little watch.
     
  19. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    Jan 6, 2005
    #19
    Unfortunately that's not my experience at all, especially in the woods on trails. My Garmin is extremely consistent with distances, and routinely matches to within 1/10 of a mile or so to others in my group. My phone is sometimes really good, (although never as accurate for real-time pace on the trails) but frequently has rather large errors. In thousands of miles with my Garmin, I've never had a route where I doubted its accuracy. In hundreds of miles with my iPhones I've had enough discrepancy to not wholly trust it. I do, however, wear my phone on a waistband on my back which as he says, probably has an effect. I'm not interested in strapping it to my arm or holding it in my hand which might improve things.
     
  20. aarontsuru macrumors regular

    aarontsuru

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    Brooklyn, NY
    #20
    yeah, I got a running belt and keep the phone at the small of my back too. I mostly run the streets or parks of NYC or, occasionally, a park trail and it's been fine. In the end, you are only as good as your signal, eh?

    It sounds like for the best accuracy the footpod is the way to go, but I'm certainly not "pro" or anything and don't need that level of accuracy. For now, the strava-phone-watch combo is enough of a journal to keep an eye on my progress.

    But, with all that being said, I really want iSmoothRun WatchOS2 to work for me! Grr. Will definitely fiddle with it again to see if I can get it going.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 6, 2016 ---
    okay, got it to run.... how do you stop the workout from your watch? force touch gave me map, lap, and resume.
     
  21. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    Jan 6, 2005
    #21
    There doesn't seem to be a way to stop a run from the watch. You can pause it, but you have to actually end the run from the app. It also is very aggressive with auto-pause so if it says resume, it's already paused.

    The app is pretty good overall, but it's a bit confusing because it really is just a 'display' for the phone app. Other than the HR data from the wrist, it doesn't seem to pull any data at all from the watch. As I've mentioned, I've tried running with it on the treadmill, hoping it could do pace from my wrist, nope. I got the HR monitor strap and my first inclination was to pair it to the watch. Didn't work and I had to pair it to the phone and activate it from within the app. Confusing!
     
  22. aarontsuru macrumors regular

    aarontsuru

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    Brooklyn, NY
    #22
    Ugh.

    That's one thing I came to love about the Strava watch app. Didn't matter if it was a run or a bike ride, I can pack up my backpack (for commutes) or load up my running belt, whatever, including my phone... go outside and start, finish, and upload a run/ride without any unpacking.

    Oh well. I'm putting iSmoothRun on ice for a little bit until I see some updates.
     
  23. meeebee thread starter macrumors member

    meeebee

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    Jan 23, 2016
    #23
    That's been my experience. I ended up purchasing iSmoothRun, but it doesn't work without the phone.

    OTOH, RK's latest release does allow it to run without the iphone. However it only records the time and HR but not distance. I haven't found an app that can work like the stock Workout app and estimate distance without a phone.

    Maybe a future app will build that functionality. It probably is a limitation on the current API.
     
  24. bripab007 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2009
    #24
    Man, I thought I had a great opportunity to use Runmeter AW app more recently when my Bluetooth chest heart rate strap battery died. Figured I was good to go since Runmeter uses the AW heart rate now. But I think a recent update to Run,enter has caused to go on the fritz--it's giving me very inaccurate heart rate readings and also appears to not be updating some screens on the watch.

    I hadn't dug into the problem much yet, but since I already had purchased iSmoothrun a while back but never really used it, decided to give it a go today. Whelp, I couldn't even manage to get the AW app to do anything. Force pressing the screen and choosing Start did nothing, so then I started the run from the phone, but the watch still wasn't displaying anything about the run, just a blank screen. I almost kept running except that I noticed the phone also wasn't getting any headrests info from the watch. So I just gave up and initiated the Apple workout app :-/
     
  25. mhoutman, Feb 8, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016

    mhoutman macrumors 6502

    mhoutman

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    Feb 8, 2016
    #25
    To be honest I bought a Pebble Time to use with iSR exclusively. It was due to an advise from the developer I know for quite a while. Indeed my PT is a better companion to iSR than my AW.

    My iSR data is synced to RunKeeper and I also use rubiTrack OS X to see RunKeeper data on my Mac :)
     

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