Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5
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Overly complex running apps, full of options and the need to set up various accounts, are sometimes fine. Sometimes one wants all those features and to share their content with others at regular points. Other times though, wouldn't it be handy to just press start and go? That's the ethos behind Runr, an app that cuts back on the waffle and focuses on the user experience. It's not without its issues, but it certainly has its merits.
Setup really is just a matter of loading up the app and pressing 'start a run'. That's an immediately positive sign, saving so much hassle. My first time around using it did have its problems though. I tend to jog or run while listening to music. Runr offers voice cues which, when played, stopped my playlist from playing and didn't auto-resume. While Runr offers a button to switch to music, it takes users to the stock music app rather than offering built-in controls. It's possible to turn off voice cues but it still seems odd that interruptions occur with them switched on.
The actual running process works quite well. Keeping track of one's route, Runr is streamlined but effective enough. With no connections to other networks, there are no concerns about sharing one's route elsewhere by accident, either. Runr tracks runs thereby offering plenty of statistics on the distance run each week, month, or overall, as well as one's average pace. The app also hooks up to Game Center, offering achievements and leaderboards as well as the choice to hook up for a race against others from around the world. It's a neat touch in providing motivation, although I'm not convinced that competitive races will take off as well as they could.
In other niggling issues, Runr went a little crazy with the reminders to run on the first day of use. It settled down after that but with a reminder popping up a few minutes after using the app, and then a few times afterwards, it does detract from the potential user friendliness of the app.
There's no denying that Runr is a great idea, streamlining an increasingly bloated line of running apps and repositioning privacy at the forefront of such activities. It could do with some adjustments though, to make it a true must-buy. Fixing music issues in particular should make this quite the appealing prospect. Its foundations are certainly solid.