August 29, 2014

App Review: CardioTrainer

If you like to train, make sure to check out CardioTrainer for Android.  CardioTrainer is a free fitness app that tracks a variety of exercises, has a weight loss add-on, a race add-on, a game to compete against others around the world, and it will post your exercise activities to your Facebook profile if you so desire.  It really is a great little app.

I’ve been using CardioTrainer for about six months. The app and the paid add-ons ($2.99 each) were provided to me free of charge by the developer for this review. I used CardioTrainer with an HTC Hero (Sprint), a Nexus One, and an HTC EVO. CardioTrainer generally worked well on all three phones. There were a couple issues with both of the Sprint phones which I’ll explain in a bit.

CardioTrainer is fairly simple to use. The default settings work just fine if you are anxious to get your run on and can’t be bothered with customizing. The settings tab is quite extensive. It includes settings for miles or kilometers, voice output, GPS sensitivity, stride length, weight, music playback, etc. The app is very customizable. The only drawback to this is that the settings tab and sub-menus can be a bit confusing.

CardioTrainer can be used to track running, walking, skiing, hiking, and similar activities where one would have the phone in a holster or other device on the body. In addition to common outdoor activities, CardioTrainer can track swimming, and indoor treadmill and elliptical exercising. CardioTrainer has a pedometer function for indoor exercise or outside exercise in dense forest or the urban jungle. For swimming, CardioTrainer uses an algorithm to calculate calories burned based on the total exercise time and body weight. Exercises such as swimming are entered manually after the fact.

Scan to install CardioTrainer

The pedometer function only worked with the Nexus One. Both the Sprint Hero and the EVO would stop counting steps as soon as the screen turned off. I used CardioTrainer with OEM software on unrooted devices as well as with custom ROM’s. Even with a custom AOSP Android ROM, both Sprint phones would not count steps with the screen turned off. All three phones performed GPS tracking just fine with the screen turned off.

My only complaint with GPS tracking in this app is that it was not always accurate. CardioTrainer allows the user to see an overlay of the route on Google Maps. The route on the map would be accurate but the distance traveled didn’t always match. To test this I compared CardioTrainer’s distance to my Nike Plus distance and then actually drove the route in my car and used the odometer. Much to my surprise, the first time I compared Nike Plus pedometer distance with CardioTrainer GPS distance, CardioTrainer was seven tenths of a mile off! My car’s odometer verified that the Nike Plus was within a tenth of a mile of the actual distance. Now, this was the only time that CaridoTrainer was so far off. Other times it was about a tenth off.  Also, it should be noted that my route was with full view of the sky, so GPS signal wasn’t a problem.

The weight loss add-on is easy to set up. Once you put in your actual weight all you have to do is set how much you’d like to lose and set a timeframe. You set how many days a week you plan to exercise and the app will give you a gentle reminder on the mornings of your exercise days. This reminder can be cleared and will not come back until the next exercise day. Once a week the user is prompted to log their weight and the app calculates the weight loss, or gain.

Overall, I like CardioTrainer. It’s accurate enough for the majority of the time and is a good way to keep track of miles logged over weeks and months of use. CardioTrainer is good for those people who are “data geeks” as well as the runner or cyclist that just wants to use the hardware that they already have instead of buying dedicated gear. CardioTrainer is an incredibly capable app and has an amazing feature set for a free app.