Instant: A must-have app for people who live for life logging (review)

Instant-banner

As smartphones become smarter, they are able to track more and more of our day. While some of us might start breaking out the tinfoil hats, worried about Big Brother tracking our every move, others are embracing all of the life logging that our pocket partners can offer.

In comes Emberify’s Instant, a life log app with more trackers than you can shake a stick at. If you’re at all interested in logging your daily activities or phone use, you need to give Instant a try.

Setup

Instant is quick to get up and running, only requiring a few permissions to be able to access phone app usage and location, and it can be connected to Google Fit for some additional access to workout data. No further login is required; just a few taps you’ll be on your way.

Overview

Instant-homescrrenInstant starts off with tracking your phone usage. It records how long you use your phone for, how long you use specific apps for, and even the number of times you’ve unlocked your phone.

There’s also an alert you can set for total phone usage time. The default is 4 hours of use a day, at which time it will send you a push notification to let you know you have reached your limit. This is great for people looking to limit their daily usage.

All of this was especially useful for me because I’m constantly using my phone for work, which can digress to me flipping through Flipbook to see what’s new, or scrolling through my Twitter feed. Now, I know how long I’m using work and non-work apps for, which helps me know what apps to avoid in the middle of my day so I can stay on track. This is also neat to see what apps you really need and what’s just taking up space.

I am a self-proclaimed app pack-rat. If an app does something cool or unique, I download it — even if I’m not going to use it besides to show off to others. Thanks to Instant, I’ve managed to trim down a few apps after seeing a breakdown of the apps that I actually do use.

Instant also keeps track of a number of things right from your pocket. Steps taken, walking duration, and running duration are pretty standard in apps that track fitness, but Instant takes it a step further to include things such as the amount of time you’ve slept, and even time spent traveling to work.

If you set up your home and work location, it can even log how much time you spend at each location, useful for those who are looking to manage a good work/life balance. In my experience, location tracking is good for a general area but isn’t entirely reliable. I went to the gym this week and it listed that I spent time the next block over. It’s close, but not 100%. The app description says that it also has cycling integration, but unfortunately I was unable to try out this feature.

Instant makes charts and graphs even more fun by adding in interesting facts about your stats
Instant makes charts and graphs even more fun by adding in interesting facts about your stats

The last feature of this app is the virtual Coach that’s. It provides you with a daily stat breakdown, and you can ask it for information about what you did on certain days or info about usage about previous weeks.

It works well for those specific things, but in my tests, it doesn’t seem to be all that intelligent. If I ask for things like last week’s phone data, it works, but even if I ask something like “What can you do?” to get a list of features, it answers back that it doesn’t understand. It’s still a work in progress and will surely get better with time, but for right now seems a little limited.

To get the most out of Instant, you will need a subscription to its service. Without one, you still have access to a large number of features, such as phone unlocks, total phone usage time, top three apps and usage, and basic fitness history for the day. Additional stats, such as what day you used your phone the most, your most used app of the week, travel time for the week, and how you slept all week are only available to paid subscriptions.

The current subscription price is only $2 per month, so for all the content you’re getting, it is really a great value. Features are also constantly being added, which is great. I would love to see some sort of meal tracker added, or integration with S Health, which is where I log my sleep and meals.

Conclusion

I promise, I was only using Facebook for work!
I promise I was only using Facebook for work!

All in all, Instant is a fantastic app. It’s easy to use with beautiful animated charts and graphs that track daily and weekly phone use and activities such as walking, exercise, traveling, and even cool things like the amount of time spent places.

The small subscription fee is totally worth the amount of information you’re getting access to. I didn’t fancy myself much of a lifelogger before Instant, but after trying Instant out, I’m completely fascinated by all the details it provides about my life. This goes especially in areas I wouldn’t even think twice about normally. If you are at all interested in personal stats and lifelogging, this is the app you can not pass up.