I’ve got about twenty posts I want to make, but this one’s timely and short so it’s going up first!
I’ve been evaluating a FitBit Zip for the past four months, and I’m pretty happy with it- a few days ago I was told about the “moves” application for the iPhone, since then I’ve been using the two alongside each other.
I had quite a long journey today, so I decided to take this opportunity to post a quick comparison between the two tracking systems, as shown in the following screenshot:
(also, this is the first time I’ve broken 30,000 steps in one day on the Fitbit- pretty pleased with that!)
Now, those numbers are impressively similar (especially considering the Fitbit uses additional hardware- a posh £50 Bluetooth 4 accelerometer and Moves mostly relies upon GPS), and whats more impressive is the additional information moves provides- there’s a list of the places I’ve visited, a breakdown of the different transport methods (walking, running, bicycle and, for now, “other”) and a breadcrumb trail of my route. In my testing so far I’ve found there to be very little effect on the battery life of my phone too, which is a relief as it’s rather awful already (I must go and see Apple about that)!
There are, of course, a couple of limitations. The application needs to be running all the time, which obviously does have some effect on battery life. It also of course only tracks activity when you’ve got the phone on you, and now when you’ve left it charging on your desk… and it doesn’t count activity that consists of less than 50 steps. This probably accounts for the difference between the two counts, and in my opinion makes the lack of discrepancy between the two all the more impressive.
As you can probably tell, I’m very impressed, and especially so for a fairly early iteration of the application (it was originally released in September and has had a number of fairly small updates since). Whilst it currently misses most of the encouragement and intervention techniques offered by the Fitbit and alternatives it also offers additional functionality missing from all of these, and best of all, it’s free!
As my particular research interest is more in sustainable transport methods than physical activity I’m especially interested in Moves. I’m sure that motivational techniques will be added soon, the developers have also stated that there’s an API coming, so I’m watching very closely to see how I might be able to make use of this in my PhD research.