Walkmeter for iPhone App Review

Walkmeter App for Walking Speed, Distance, Maps, and Sharing

Walkmeter. Credit: Courtesy of Abvio

Publisher's Site

The Walkmeter app for iPhone from Abvio has most of the features I want in a GPS speed and distance monitor. You can view your continuous walking time, distance, pace, calories burned and average pace. You can see your walking route on a map while you are walking, and it can post updates of your progress to Twitter, Facebook, and email. You can get voice updates for your time, distance, and Twitter. After your walk, you can see your stats and review workouts. It also integrates with websites and apps such as dailymile, Strava, and MyFitnessPal.

Walkmeter App

The Walkmeter app is available for GPS-capable iPhones and iOS devices. The basic version is free, with Elite upgrades and different voices for a small charge. Many of the advanced data features require the Elite upgrade. There are no additional membership fees required. To use the mapping feature, you need to be connected to wifi or 3G.

You can set it to display English or metric units. You need to set your weight to get a calorie count. To get started, you just go to the Stopwatch screen and press Start (or start it from an earphone remote with the Elite upgrade). Now it displays walk time, distance, current and average pace and calories burned. The display is customizable to show dozens of different items. I like the big, bright numbers on the display. I had no problem switching from the app to the music function as I have with some single-tasking apps.

The app can only be used outdoors and is best used where there is strong GPS signal reception. I had difficulty using it several times:

  • When I kept my iPhone in a pants pocket
  • When I walked next to a bluff that blocked the southern sky
  • On a hill

Based on my experience, it is best to have your iPhone mounted in an armband, so it gets the best GPS reception when using the Walkmeter app. I would not trust this as my only measuring device due to these weaknesses.

The app has automatic stop detection (with the Elite upgrade), so you can choose to pause it when you pause, or you can let it do that for itself. I had several instances when I forgot to turn it on or accidentally paused or stopped it. I've been taking more care to close the iPhone screen, so the Stop button doesn't get pressed accidentally.

Walkmeter App Measures Your Speed and Distance

No calibration is necessary because the app uses your cell phone's GPS function to determine distance and speed. However, if you have a loss of GPS signal, you may end up with flaky readings. On one walk, my distance and speed started doubling because of weak GPS signal. When you have a strong GPS signal, it can be a very helpful app.

You can choose what type of workout it is - walk, run, hike, skate, ski, cycle. The app displays your last selection so you don't have to answer 20 questions before you can get started each time.

I like the versatility of being able to choose what displays in the Stopwatch function. Some people may want to view pace (minutes per mile) while others want to see speed (miles per hour), for example. But those are just two of over 40 different functions you can display, including elevation, grade, split times, odometers, etc. It's everything a data junkie could want. You add notes about the route as well.

I especially love being able to switch to the map screen while still recording the walk. You see your route being drawn as you walk it, and you can also check the map to help keep yourself on course.

You can set Walkmeter to give you voice announcements at your choice of time intervals, distance intervals, and passing events. You can choose what it updates you with - time, distance, speed, pace, and comparison to other competitors.

It is easy to save your data after the workout and simple to reset. I found the operation to be extremely intuitive. After you stop and save a route, you can load it again in the future to walk the same route.

Sharing Your Workout

Walkmeter goes a long way towards being integrated with social media. You can send Facebook, Twitter, and email updates to post automatically based on events (start, stop, etc.), at set times, at set distances, etc.

With the Elite upgrade you get many more social features, including the following:

  • Your friends can send you encouraging replies, and you can choose whether the app will read these to you through a voice announcement, including choosing specific people to get them from. You can have updates sent to friends and family of your location and progress. This can be a great way to keep people updated without having to stop during your workout to do it yourself.
  • Do you need some virtual competition? They call this ghost racing, and you can compete against your own times or against imported competitors.
  • You can export your routes and workout data as CSV, GPX, or KML files.
  • You can import a route or virtual competitor by clicking on a GPX or KML link or file in Mail or Safari.

Bottom Line 

I give the functionality of the Walkmeter app 4.5 stars. It has almost everything I could want in a walking speedometer app, and many functions I didn't realize I loved until I saw them. It is worth the Elite upgrade to get the advanced training features.

But I would give it only three stars as a walking speedometer/distance monitor because of the poor performance I had in getting a reliable GPS signal. This is mostly a weakness of the GPS ability of the phone I was using.

Of note, since you need wifi or 3G reception to use the maps, don't take this off the beaten path expecting to use it as your sole source of maps. If you don't have a connection, you don't have maps, even though you may have a GPS signal.

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