Garmin Fit Review [iOS]

A couple of weeks earlier, we review the Nike+ GPS app for the iPhone here on DailyAppBlogger. Today, we look at another similar app, the Garmin Fit.

Whilst Nike is said to be the worldwide leader in the sports industry, Garmin is the undoubted king when it comes to mapping, avionics and global positioning systems (GPS). They have products which include consumer, aviation and marine-based positioning systems, and has more recently ventured into the personal fitness market as well (more on that in a bit). The company, whilst may not be a household name like Nike, is still a large multinational, with several subsidiaries and companies operating worldwide. Its annual revenue and sales figures are well into the billions.

A few years back, Garmin ventured into the fitness industry, and the Garmin Fit is the product of those efforts. Garmin Fit, in a nutshell, is an all-in-one fitness app for the iPhone, and has its merits and demerits when compared to Nike+ GPS, as we shall soon find out.

Where Garmin Fit’s real strength lies, is its ability to allow the user to change activity types – you have the option of running, cycling, walking or any other activity. And you are presented with the option to choose the activity type upon tapping ‘Start New Activity’. This menu, like the Nike app, also gives you the option to set your music, toggle location between outdoors or indoors, and access any sensors (heart rate monitor, foot pod or a speed sensor) that you might have attached or paired with the app.

Even if you haven’t attached a sensor, you can use the app to track your runs, including lap times (something that I noted was missing in the Nike+ GPS app), total distance travelled, speed and of course, calories burnt. In order for Garmin Fit to make accurate calculations about the calories you burn, make sure you configure your profile (height, weight, age, etc) in the options from the homescreen, prior to starting your runs.

The app tracks your route, using Google Maps, provided you granted it permission to access your location. During the run, it displays this information on two separate screens – one for map information and another for pace, distance other data – and the user can switch between both by simply swiping left or right.

Garmin Fit works very well as a personal fitness app, and it works without the need of any extra addons or sensors. That is the whole point of having a fitness app on your iPhone – doing away with all those wires and extra accessories. It had the ability to track laps, something which its competitors lacked. Plus it provided accurate information about my runs, all calculations were precise, and the app acquired GPS lock very quickly – something that Garmin will be proud of, since it is their forte.

The menu looks nothing like the brilliant UI of Nike+ GPS, and is actually quite ‘plain’ to look at. Which in a way could also be a good thing, since it’s not overly complicated and simple to operate. The top displays stats such as total time, distance and total calories burnt across all your workouts, and swiping sideways reveals weekly and monthly statistics. Personally, I find Nike’s interface to be much more attractive and user-friendly.

You can also view all your activity history from the main menu, with each run or workout listed individually. If you’ve signed up for a Garmin account, you can sync your activities easily from this menu.

Garmin Fit, all things considered, is a good app, not great, but simply good at what it promises to do. There are were no crashes during testing (unlike Nike+ GPS), there is the ability to track laps (unlike Nike+ GPS), and change activity to cycling as well (unlike Nike+ GPS once again), with the latter providing Garmin Fit the access to a large market of cyclists. Garmin Fit has the potential to be an even more powerful ‘personal health and training’ suite, if used with the wide array of sensors which can be purchased separately from the Garmin store.

Its available for $0.99 on the Apple App Store and can be purchased using the link below.

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