- Cheaper than most running apps
- Controls iPod from the display
- Lots of useful features
- Can't pause or stop music without stopping workout
- More data could be displayed on run detail page
The Nike+ GPS app (US$1.99) faces a lot of competition from excellent running apps like Runmeter GPS or RunKeeper Pro. Nike+ costs significantly less than these options, so I put it to the test to see how Nike+ stacks up against the leading running apps.
Read More: Best GPS Running Apps for the iPhone
Starting a run with Nike+ GPS
To start a run, you can choose from three options: a basic run with no set time or distance, a timed run against the clock, or a distance run for a set mileage. I used the basic run most often, since I never know when I might feel like going longer. Once you make this choice, it’s time to get going!
The numbers on the run detail page are easy to read, which is always a good thing when your iPhone is strapped to your arm. Mileage is displayed in the largest numbers, while minutes per mile and time are listed underneath in smaller font. The start button takes up most of the screen and seems overly large -- that space could be better used by adding more workout data (like calories) or enlarging the fonts for workout time and minutes per mile. The Runmeter app still has the best interface in my opinion, with large numbers for six different types of data.
The Nike+ GPS app integrates with your iPod, so you can play music or program multiple PowerSongs for when you need an extra boost of motivation. You can also control your music right from the app’s homepage, including skipping songs or playing your PowerSong. I was impressed with how seamless the iPod integration is, although you can’t pause or stop a song without also pausing your workout.
Keeping your running data accurate
Another thing I like about Nike+ is that you can calibrate your run to tweak the app’s accuracy. If you know the distance of your usual route, you can enter in the actual distance and it will automatically adjust your other workout data, including minutes per mile. That’s a nice feature to have if you live in an area where GPS reception can be finicky. Overall, I found the GPS highly accurate, but it really does depend on where you live. Large trees or buildings can easily obscure the signal and skew your data.
Voice alerts are another feature included in the Nike+ GPS app, and I like that they can be customized in different ways. You can determine whether or not you want the alerts at a set distance or time, and you can also choose between a male or female voice.
The history tab lists each of your runs so you can share them via Twitter or Facebook, send it to NikePlus.com, or see your route on a map. Under the records tab, you can see some combined totals, including farthest run, longest run, fastest 1K, and fastest mile.
The Bottom Line
Nike+ GPS has features to match more expensive running apps, including Facebook and Twitter integration, customized voice alerts, and iPod integration. I also love that you can control your music playlist right from the homepage. I still prefer the Runmeter app overall -- it has a nicer interface and unique features like email alerts and workout rankings -- but Nike+ GPS is certainly a worthy alternative. Overall rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
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