Runtastic 5.0 does everything but run for you

Runtastic main

We love running. For some people it’s a monotonous and exhausting task, but there’s always this sweet spot in the middle of a run where your breathing is perfect; your legs are moving effortlessly; and the world is melting away as you carry on. Getting to that sweet spot is a challenge, especially during the winter where the only real option for stretching one’s legs is on a treadmill. But winter is slowly receding and spring is coming. (It is, believe us.) Cold or not, we’ve spent the last week taking the popular fitness tracker Runtastic, which launches version 5.0 today, out for test run after test run.

The fitness app section of the various app marketplaces are getting crowded, but the Runtastic brand is a familiar one, currently celebrating 70 million downloads. Its flagship app is Runtastic Pro, which records just about everything imaginable about your run. It takes down all relevant information, from your distance traveled and run speed to your heart rate (if you have a connected monitor) and mood. A lot more happens to your body over the course of a run than your feet repetitively hitting the pavement, and Runtastic records it all.

The latest version even includes hydration information for after the run and provided us with suggestions on how to recover based on activity details, personal stats, and local weather. Sometimes it seemed like its suggested amount of water, provided in milliliters, seemed high, but we’re not the experts here. Runtastic 5.0 is like strapping on a trainer and coach, just far more practical and considerably less heavy.

Previous users of Runtastic will notice a new interface, which is essentially unified over iPhone/iPad and Android with slight visual tweaks to fit the given platform. Drawer navigation now rules the day for Runtastic, which makes navigating the app and its ever-increasing amount of features much easier. One thing that bugged us about this new design for Android, though, was the menu button to get to the drawer is a bit small. When running, our fingers aren’t exactly precise and it took a few presses after summoning all our coordination to get into the options drawer. 

The main screen has changed visually as well. It’s now a more customizable and clear menu. Depending on what you want to focus on during your run – be it duration, pace, distance, or heart rate – you can pull that information to the forefront of the menu. Combined with the ability to set specific goals and track progress during the run, this was a great feature to help us reach our running goals. The pace map has also changed, tracing peaks in speed or heart rate in color across a map. This should be handy for interval trainers. 

For Android users, some new features have been added. Training sessions can be purchased in-app to teach users how to reach running goals, like weight loss or completing a marathon. The prices for these sessions seem a little high to us – between $15-$20 without a gold membership – especially for the Pro version of the app which users already pay for on Google Play. That seems to be the catch with most additional features within Runtastic, though. Story running, which crafts a narrative around your run, cost $1 a piece and seem like one time use as far as entertainment value goes.

Runtastic has moved its Music Player from Pro to the free version of the app, though, and Android users can use Google Play Music or other streaming services to get their tunes. We’d love to see Audible or something similar added to this list, because Runtastic didn’t play nice when we tried running it at the same time as our audiobook player. Live tracking and cheering, which broadcasts your run and allows others to cheer you on via Runtastic, has also moved to the free version. 

Runtastic is still one of the best options for tracking your runs – or really any activity, since it works with bike rides, walks, hikes, etc. – and version 5.0 only solidifies its lead over other apps. There’s a wealth of information gathered and stored within the app about your activities, some of which we’re not even sure what to do with, but we’re glad it’s there in case we ever figure it out. We’d like to see Runtastic loosen up on some of its pricing, and moving some features to the free version is a good step. But for those who don’t need the add-ons and can get use out of what’s there, Runtastic 5.0 is a fitness favorite.

(Runtastic 5.0 is available for iOS and Android. The Pro version is also available for iOS and Android and costs $5.)

Smart Home

Amazon has an even dozen new smart devices. Here’s how to order

Amazon's hardware announcement meant a whole bunch of new Amazon Alexa gadgets. From a microwave to stereo equipment, here is the complete list of devices that were announced, as well as reviews for some.
Mobile

Keep your new Google phone pixel perfect with the best Pixel 3 cases

If you want your new Google phone to stay pixel perfect, then you should snag one of the best Pixel 3 cases. We've scoped out some of your best options so far based on different styles, levels of protection, and budgets.
Deals

Are flat pillows a pain in your neck? Here are the best pillows for side-sleepers

If you've tried doubling up on pillows or buying larger ones to no avail, then it might just be time for a new pillow – one made for sleeping on your side. We've rounded up the best pillows for side sleepers that give neck and head…
Mobile

Huawei Mate 20 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Flagship fight

When it comes to stunning flagships, Samsung and Huawei are often the first names the come to mind. And the new Huawei Mate 20 Pro is no exception. So how does it compare to the Samsung Galaxy Note 9? We put the two to the test to find out.
Mobile

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks of the best portable chargers.
Mobile

Which new iPhone is the best? iPhone XS vs. iPhone XS Max vs. iPhone XR

Apple has three new iPhone models to choose from this year, making the choice a little harder than usual. What's the difference between the iPhone XS, the iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone XR, and which is best?
Product Review

Huawei’s monster Mate 20 X makes the Galaxy Note 9 look small

The Huawei Mate 20 X has a 7.2-inch screen, but is surprisingly manageable to hold, yet still a little too big to carry around. Huawei’s pushing the phone’s ability as a mobile gaming handheld, challenging the Nintendo Switch.
Mobile

Google may charge up to $40 per Android device for app suite following EU ruling

Google announced that it will be charging Android device manufacturers in Europe a licensing fee to use its apps and services. The announcement is part of an effort to comply with new European Commission regulations.
Mobile

Need a do-over? Here's how to factory reset an iPhone, from XS on down

Resetting an iPhone can alleviate all sorts of software woes, and wipe away personal data should you sell your device or give it to someone else. Here's how to factory reset an iPhone from within iOS or iTunes.
Mobile

How to sell your old Google Pixel or Pixel 2 for the most money

So, it's time for a expensive new smartphone, and you'd like to partially fund the purchase by selling your old Google Pixel. Find all the information you need to get as much money as possible for your Pixel or Pixel 2 here in our guide.
Mobile

The OnePlus 6T is coming a day earlier, event moved to October 29

According to a recent report, the launch of the OnePlus 6T could be different from any other OnePlus launch in history. How? It could have the backing of a major U.S. carrier. Here's everything we know about the OnePlus 6T.
Mobile

Sprint now lets you add Hulu's Live TV service to your unlimited plan

Sprint recently introduced three new data plans to its roster -- Unlimited Basic , Unlimited Plus, and Unlimited Premium. Here, we break down your options to help you decide which one is best for you and your family.
Photography

Camera shootout! Testing the latest Pixel, iPhone, and Galaxy Note in real life

Which takes the best photos, the Pixel 3 XL, iPhone XS Max, Galaxy Note 9, or Pixel 2 XL? We put the cameras on all these top-notch phones through their paces to see which performs best in the real world, from low light to portrait mode…
Mobile

Sams's Club offers $100 gift cards for iPhone XR pre-orders

After months of rumors and speculation, Apple has finally taken the wraps off of the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Now that the phones are out, you might be wondering how you can get them for yourself.