I've been using Sports Tracker for quite a few years now and I can honestly say that without it, my physical health would be much worse than it is. It's the app which gives me motivation needed to exercise. Since I hate exercising with a passion, I really do need a lot of motivation to get out from my comfy bed and use some of those dormant muscles I possess. Sport Tracker allows me to do more than just sweat and stink. It gives me actual numbers that mean something instead of just muscle and bone ache. So when I heard about the Nokia N9 version of Sports Tracker, I was naturally quite excited about it. But how does it compare to the more mature Symbian version? Read on to find out.
Sports Tracker is arguably one of the greatest, and one of the first, products to ever come out from Nokia Beta Labs. It was originally a Symbian only app, the first of its kind for mobile phones in general, to track and analyze the user's workouts, such as cycling and running. Sport Tracker, currently by Sports Tracking Technologies Ltd, is one of the most downloaded app in Nokia Store, with millions of downloads from more than 200 countries. It has been available also for iPhone and Android for a while now. In November 2011 Sports Tracker was released for Nokia N9.
If you have used the Symbian version of Sports Tracker before, the first thing you may notice when launching Sports Tracker for Nokia N9 is the simplified look. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Actually the new clean look fits quite well with Nokia N9's remove all the unnecessary clutter design philosophy. The most important things are there, clearly visible in the home screen, like some basic statistics of all your workouts and you latest workout. It's all very clear and intuitive.
While the look is different compared to the Symbian version of Sports Tracker, functionality of the Nokia N9 version is basically the same. You start a new workout and select the appropriate activity. Most of the common activities are already there, but if you miss any there are six "other" activities you may use for some more unusual workout routines, like pushing your car to the next petrol station. If you haven't connected a Bluetooth heart rate monitor, you will get an ad of Sports Tracker Hear Rate Monitor. This the easiest way to see if the Bluetooth pairing has failed or the battery of the HRM has run out.
While Sports Tracker for Nokia N9 works without a heart rate monitor, I personally feel only by using one can you get the full benefit of this superb application. I've used it with Polar WearLink+ transmitter with Bluetooth and Sports Tracker Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor. Both work well, although the initial pairing was much easier with Sports Tracker Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor. Also, since the Nokia N9 version of Sports Tracker does not seem to give any indications of remaining battery life, the Polar WearLink could be tricky, since the batter may run out during a workout routine. Then again, the same could happen with Sports Tracker Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor too, but at least you can always charge that beforehand.
During the actual workout Sports Tracker for Nokia N9 presents you with some vital data. This data includes a map with your current location and the path you've taken. It also shows you the usual stuff like duration, distance and speed. What I was missing was the calories I've burned. I thought it was quite annoying that I could only see this after I finish a workout and not during. But I was wrong. It turns out all you have to do is to swipe to the left and you will get another screen without the map, but more data in it, including calories. I found this screen to be much more useful during an indoor activity.
Now the biggest difference of Sports Tracker for Nokia N9 compared to the Symbian version is the amount of data presented after the workout or in the workout diary. In the Symbian version you had multiple screens with graphs and all. Not so in Nokia N9. All you see a summary of your workout with is just some basic statistics. But fear not. If you want to see some really cool maps, graphs and statistics of your workouts, all you have to do is to register to sports-tracker.com and save your workouts there. You may also share them with others and also in Facebook and Twitter too, but this is not needed to use those cool features in the website.
After using Sports Tracker for Nokia N9 for over a month now, I found only two issues that annoy me. To begin with, I really miss some indications of the remaining battery life of my heart rate monitor. Nothing is more annoying than exercising like a mad man and then when you want to see how many calories you've burned, you find out that your heart rate was not recorded because the battery was dead. Secondly, I find it really annoying that I have to press my sharing options every time I save my work out. My fingers are quite large and after my workout I'm rather tired, so hitting those small check boxes often proves to be quite an ordeal.
To conclude this review, I'm a huge fan of Sports Tracker and the Nokia N9 version did not let me down. Yes, it may not have as many features in the workout diary like the Symbian version, but I prefer the sports-tracker.com website for that anyway, so I don't see that as a problem. But all the main features are there and they work great. The two issues I have are fairly minor, which could easily be fixed in a future update. Furthermore, Nokia N9 is much cooler than any Symbian device, so already that alone is a great reason to use Sports Tracker for Nokia N9. If you do, get Sports Tracker Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor too. Believe me, Sports Tracker so much better with it. This is also the reason why I'm a bit worried about the Windows Phone version of Sports Tracker.