Best mobile phone for running apps?

My mobile phone has just packed up so I will be buying another very soon. I only use a simple cheapo one because it is merely a way for people to contact me in an emergency. I have no need for all the gadgets, gizmos, bells and whistles!

I know the new phones can be used to monitor your runs and routes. What would you recommend from your experience of using them?

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19 Replies

  • I am using a blackberry with endomondo works well for me Pat

  • Thank you for the feedback. All this technology is brilliant - until it stops working, like my mobile!

  • I used to use the Nike+ running app, which is good, but I have recently bought a Garmin GPS watch, because I wanted my tracking to be more accurate. The problem with all running apps is that they are not as accurate as dedicated GPS watches. For example every time I ran a ParkRun (5km) the Nike+ app tracked it as 5.2km, which annoyed me because I like my stats to be as accurate as possible!

    A lot of people also use RunKeeper, so there are plenty of choices for running apps.

  • I guess that I should go for a phone + app because I still need a phone, to replace the old one which is broken, and the watches are not cheap are they?

    Thank you for the feedback.

  • You are right, the watches are not cheap at all. i spent £200 on a Garmin Forerunner 610 and I only bought it after I kept running for 6 weeks after graduation. I wasnt going to spend the money unless I was convinced that I would be using it!

  • I have the same problem with MapMyRun. The problem with phone apps is that they fix the position by triangulating from phone masts, rather than doing 'proper' GPS like a sat nav would. Inevitably it's less accurate.

  • Thank you for the feedback OldNed. I'm not too worried about accuracy although that may change as I gain more experience. It's just that to buy a Garmin would be nice but I still have to replace my phone as well. (I could always take the sat nav if the battery lasted long enough!) - only joking.

  • Have you run a Parkrun with the watch? Did it say 5k? I would still have expected some descrepancy.

  • I bought the watch last week and have not run with it yet. I will not be running for another 2 weeks because I am fasting during the Islamic month of Ramadan and will not be running in this heat while keeping an 18 hour fast! I will let you know how accurate the watch is when I run, but the feedback I got before I bought the watch was that it is a lot more accurate that the apps. My app measured the ParkRun as 5.25km and I have been told that people who use this watch have measured ParkRuns as 5.05km. So much more accurate.

  • Aftabs, let me know how it goes. When I run with my HTC phone, a quick look at the map (I use the Runkeeper app) tells me that it is far from accurate, with the route straying away from what I actually ran. It is also always shorter than what I actually run. I want to be very sure before I buy something as expensive as this :)

  • I use a BlackBerry with MapMyRun although now that it does a 3D fly-over-the-route facility so you can see where you've been I'm beginning to doubt it's accuracy. Several times it's taken me (apparently) through a boating lake, people's back gardens and through playing fields I know I haven't run through.

  • My phone died 2 years ago (Nokia 3310, quite a few years old), just wouldn't turn on one day; I had a blissful 6 months with no phone after deciding I didn't really want one but hubby got fed up with fielding school phone calls about the ratchild and bought me one for Christmas.

    Now though, I'm thinking of upgrading to one that will track. My Garmin watch is good and I will still use it for running but if we're going away in the tent for the weekend and I'm running first thing and then we go out for a bike ride, repeat again on Sunday, then the Forerunner 10's 5 hours of battery is pretty pathetic! So thinking about a new phone to track the bike rides and keeping my watch to track the runs. (I'd like an iPhone, it will be easy as it's the same as the mini iPad, but looking at the price is scary!)

  • You may find the iPhone battery an issue too. When I run for an hour with the GPS app and listening to podcasts I use about 30% battery, i use bluetooth headphones, so this does use more battery, but even with normal headphones I would use about 15% battery. So if you want to track a very long bike ride using an app you may run into similar problems. A solution is to buy an external battery pack but that would be more stuff to carry.

  • Hi Aftabs, Thank you for all the feedback. That's the beauty of this site - you get practical answers from those who know through experience!

  • Thanks, the bike rides are not particularly long, we were out for about 5 hours on saturday, about 3 of those actually pedalling, but the chance of recharging is not there if we're camping. The other 'issue' is the iPhones in my price range are the older ones which don't play nice with the newer apps, ios5.0 etc needed.

    So I shall make do with post ride computer mapping and see what's around (cycle Garmin-wise) that Santa may feel like bringing.

  • Hi Beads, thank you for the advice. I like the thought of being blissfully phone-less but I do need to be contactable. You're right, the prices are scary and as I no longer work I now have to be sensible!

  • I don't think I could cope being phone-less - although sometimes it might be a blessing.

    You don't need to have anything too fancy either - I've got a Samsung Galaxy Ace and yes I can hear you all laughing.

    But it works for what I need - and best of all Tesco mobile are offering them out on pay as you go at £89 - plus if you top up £15 credit they will triple it to £45, plus clubcard points too ....or it's just £10/month on a 24 month contract...

    Then I use the Endomondo app to track all of my runs - this one uses GPS to track your route (the little Samsung also has GPS buit in) and I've recently testing it along side a Garmin watch and they are just as accurate as each other..

  • Hi MatthewW. Thanks for the information. I shall look at it.

  • I've got a samsung galaxy note and I love it! the thing is that these smart phones aren't "phones" any more. Yes, it makes calls, but sooo much more. Jump in and get a smart phone, you won't regret it. I use the sports tracker app which is actually very accurate from what I can tell. You can play your own music, find your way home when you've run too far and got lost, show people how far you've gone and phone ahead for someone to get you a cold drink ready. What's not to love?

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