Get On Trac: Puma launches new running app

puma-pumtrac-iphone-app

Do you reckon you run faster on a sunny day? Or that Iron Maiden will always be champions of the definitive early morning run soundtrack? Perhaps you believe you’re at your physical peak during a full moon?

Well it’s time to put these theories to the test with Puma’s new free iPhone app Pumatrac. Thankfully, it’s a hell of a lot more useful than the brand’s previous app Puma Social. Launched almost exactly a year ago, Puma Social was a tool to help grease the wheels of post-game camaraderie, eschewing the brand’s more wholesome virtues in favour of booze-soaked social bandwagon jumpery. Yawn.

Mercifully Pumatrac sees the company go back to what they know best; sports. Running to be precise. And they’ve come up trumps. Like all running apps, the main premise is a training tool that tracks your distance, route and speed. However, here’s the interesting twist; it also takes other elements into account such as your soundtrack (as long as you’re listening to music from the same smart device) the weather, the altitude, the time, the season and even the moon cycle.

Sound gimmicky? Maybe a tiny bit, but they’ve utilised the functionality really well; all these additional elements and conditions are taken into account to provide you with new running stats other apps can’t give you. Such as which soundtrack helps you reach your top speeds. Or the days of the week you execute your best run. And yes, whether you’re at your physical peak best during full moon or not.

The idea is to help inspire you on those all-too-common rainy days when running seems like a bigger chore than doing your tax returns while doing the post Sunday roast dishes and the weekly ironing. As time goes by the app will learn your personal preferences and suggest training sessions that actually suit the conditions. Who knows? Perhaps you actually run faster and train more efficiently in the rain. In this sense it’s the app that keeps on giving; rather than spitting out the same old stats, it constantly evolves, providing you with insights about your training as you run through different seasons, times of the day and playlists.

Check out this promotional video from Puma which shows the product in a little more detail:

Egging you on with notifications that are cheery but not cheesy, it’s user-friendly and fully socialised. There’s also a neat option of adopting new running routes saved by other Pumatrac users. And, of course, a chance to shout about your stats on all the popular social platforms. Released just a week after Adidas and Nokia announced their forthcoming, intuitive miCoach app, it seems sports brands are rebooting their smart device presence with some really interesting solutions. It’s about time.

Firefly: The Sports Recovery Device

firefly

Exercise can leave you feeling amazing – crossing the finish line, beating a personal best or even just making it all the way around. But the side effects of exerting yourself more than your body is used to can be a surprising kick in the teeth. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness in particular is my least favourite thing about working out – a taster session in Chinese Pole (which I highly recommend) left me unable to raise my hands above my head for a solid week.

Firefly – a high-tech sports recovery tool for athletes – is here to to help. Firefly can reduced DOMS within 24 hours as it increases lower limb blood circulation, accelerating the removal of metabolic waste immediately after strenuous exercise.

Firefly is an alternative to “active recovery” techniques such as going for a light jog the day after or casual swimming. My boxing neighbour will go for a casual 10k run the day after a bout. I’m nothing if not impressed. In addition to DOMS, firefly claim to prevent venous thrombosis and oedema.

Out of the packet firefly looks like a pair of giant plasters. You simply strap the lightweight (16g) devices them behind each knee and they take over – mimicking the blood flow rate of walking while you flow over by the drinks tent. The last thing you want moments after a race/workout is to fiddle and firefly is fiddle free – there are no wires to set up, no smartphones to pair or even any settings to tweak. You simply rip them out of the packet, affix them to your legs (or the common peroneal nerve at the top of the fibula bone if you were curious) and feel the neuromusclar electro-stimulation.

Fitting instructions for the Firefly
Fitting instructions for the Firefly

Firefly is powered by a single wristwatch size battery, with one button control of the on-board software. The straps are unobtrusive and mould to the knee, although they do look a little weird. The adhesive water-based conductive hydrogel is quite secure – I tried a few kicks and cartwheels after application and everything stayed in place. After running 10k for an LGBT Pride event, I felt perfectly fine to teach a 2 hours capoeira class and cycle 10 miles across London. That may not be the most scientific test available but I certainly felt lighter. 

Firefly aren’t messing around – they have been actively targeting elite athletes for and had a number of Team GB, premiership footballers and rugby players as happy users. Mike Alsop – runner of 7 marathons in 7 days across 7 continents (and quite possibly world’s fittest man) is a big fan.

Each application lasts 24 hours, after which you simply throw the device away. This felt more than a little wasteful – especially when one pair will set you back £20-30. Then again if you are a serious amateur or pro level runner, these costs are minimal.

TomTom Launch Runner and Multisport Watches

tomtom-gps-watch

As previewed by Latest Gadgets in April, TomTom have finally launched their exciting Runner and Multi-Sport wrist-pieces. Boasting a GPS pedigree that’s second to none, and a tried and tested track record (literally) powering Nike’s Sportswatches, TomTom have clearly done plenty of legwork and timed their debut sole entrance into an already healthy market very well indeed.

From the basic/borderline budget models (Timex’s Marathon or Soleus’s GPS 1.0 Running Watch) to the big ticket professional sports mates (anything in Garmin’s extensive range) the running community are blessed with a bounty of wrist-bound tracking options. But whether you’re spending £50 or £300, one thing remains consistent: bulkiness.

So far the chunky size of sports watches has largely regarded as ‘par for the course’. Even by today’s standards watch technology that tracks your distance, your route, your heart rate, your speed and your calories while offering you ghost running buddies AND tells you the time simply must be on the chubby side, right?

Not any more… Both TomTom’s Runner and Multisport are 11.5mm thick, making them some of the skinniest running watches in town. And don’t worry; there are no concessions for functionality, either. In fact they’re both teaming with exciting functions for runners in all conditions outdoor and indoor as TomTom have included highly accurate sensors to allow complete indoor track mapping for treadmill running (just in case you think the treadmill’s own distance data function is fibbing!)

Other benefits shared across the two models include a distinctive, bold data display, multi-platform functionality with all running-based social media sites and, most interestingly, TomTom’s QuickGPSFix. Another bug-bear of all sportswatch users (even the really pricey ones) is waiting for the GPS to identify your location.

Sure, that time is best invested in stretching and warming up, but on a rainy day when you’re finding it hard to drum up the intestinal fortitude to get out there in the first place, waiting for your watch to find your location can be rather irksome. TomTom reckon their GLONASS technology will bid this mild running annoyance adieu.

Enjoy more than running? Then the TomTom Multi-Sport is for you. An ideal solution for any triathletes, its design lends itself to both cycling (outdoor and track) and swimming thanks to a cadence sensor, an altimeter and motion sensor. Go for the top of the range and you’ll even enable a SWOLF score that details your swimming efficiency.

Sounds great, right? Well, here’s the best bit… There’s only one button to access all of these functions. No fiddly touchscreen techniques, no multi-button combos like you’re back on Street Fighter on the SNES, TomTom have ensured a very simple way of reaching the information and data you need to enhance, record and share your sporting successes. Both weatherproof, waterproof and home to a 10 hour battery in GPS mode and sitting pretty at the middle of the market with a price tag between £149.99-£179.99, TomTom’s arrival in the sports watch world appears to be very impressive indeed.

Magellan Echo Running Watch: GPS + Bluetooth Join Forces

Magellan-Echo

Magellan are GPS experts so it’s nice to see that they have finally joined the smart running watch race. But rather than show up late to the party with your arms swinging (a lovely Nigerian expression for when you don’t bring any food or drink to a party), Magellan have a neat, and potentially game changing party trick – Bluetooth Smart connectivity.

Magellan have acknowledge the dominance of smartphones in the current tech landscape – I now sort of automatically expect any device I have to play nicely with my smartphones. This is especially useful when I’m doing something like running and don’t want to be distracted by fiddling with buttons in my pocket. Via the Echo you gain playback control over your music, and can input start, stop or lap controls – handy if you want to take a quick breather or if New Edition starts playing and you’re not in a New Jack Swing mood.

Echo-Running-Man

In what I consider to be a nice touch, the Echo wirelessly connects smartphone fitness apps like Strava, MapMyRun, Runtastic and RunKeeper to your wrist rather than making you upload utilise a bespoke app and related ecosystem. The data is displayed in real time and leverages the Wahoo API found in things like the RFLKT.

Echo-Water

If you’re a hardened running pro, you’ll be pleased to know that the Echo is just as tough as you and has a ruggedized, water-resistant design giving you no excuses not to fight your way through damp running conditions (other than “it’s cold and I don’t want to”, which is what normally stops me).

Magellan opted for a replaceable battery to avoid charging issues. I have a USB-powered sports watch that is sitting in need of a charge by the side of my bed so I can see the wisdom in this decision – but I do like the general idea of rechargeable batteries from an environmental perspective at least.

The exact UK release date is unknown but should be some time towards the end of this year. What is know is that the Echo will be out in three colours – Black, Cool Blue or Warm Red. US pricing is $149.99 or $199.99 with a Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate Monitor.

Wahoo RFLKT: Second Screening on Two Wheels

Wahoo-RLFKT

I’m an avid cyclist, so I’m constantly on the look out for great tech that can make my life better. We even published a handy guide. So I was delighted to get my hands on the RFLKT iPhone bike computer – a cycling computer that harnesses the power of your smartphone (provided your smartphone is an iPhone).

Slightly larger than a regular cycling computer (the case reminded me of a mini-DV), the Wahoo RFLKT is incredibly easy to set up as you just hit a button and it pairs with most cycling apps on your phone. It’s also very easy to install – either in an ostentatious fashion on your handlebars or in a discreet gentlemanly manner on your stem (using rubber bands!). Both are quick and effortless but if you live in an crime ridden city you’ll need to carry the metal removal key around with you. It’s hard to casually remove RFLKT without the key which should deter the casual thief, so gauge the motivation levels of your local larcenists as you park.

The RFLKT wirelessly receives all app data and ride information from the iPhone via low-power Bluetooth 4.0 technology. My iPhone battery is unreliable to the point where I don’t leave the house without back-up power and want to set the ring tone to “Why Does It Always Drain On Me?” but riding around all day with RFLKT (playing MGMT) didn’t have any significant impact on battery life. The RFLKT runs on a single coin-cell battery which should hold out for a year.

RFLKT reflects your iPhone screen so you can operate your favourite iPhone cycling app, switch between screens, start or stop intervals and even control iPhone functionality such as music playback, while your iPhone remains safely out of sight. There’s even a little light for when you’re riding at night.

I have a perennial problem with apps such as this in that I listen to music through Spotify or the Podcasting app so every time I hit the music playback album iTunes would kick in. That’s a minor gripe. And because I’m spoilt I really wanted this to be a touch screen – I kept swiping at the screen – even though many cyclists wear gloves making this a stupid idea. A clock face would have been nice – but not essential.

The app relies on your iPhone’s GPS for data, making it accurate overall but leading to wild jumps at times – the occasional glance at the screen will make it seem like you’re breaking the speed limit. You can plug RFLKT into Wahoo’s wider eco-system of accessories- they have a heart strap monitor and cadence sensor if you really want to drill down on data. But if you’re a little less hardcore the RFLKT is an excellent entry point into cycling metrics.

The Wahoo RFLKT is priced at £119.99 and is available from the end of June from the Apple store, and www.wahoofitness.com.

Top 5 Running Gadgets

Scosche-Rthm

It’s that time of year again. The sun is beginning to shine, the days are getting longer and everyone is proudly plastering social media channels with details on precisely how many miles they’ve run. But wait; there’s plenty more potential to running gadgets than showing off the distance you’ve wheezed your way around the local park. Plenty more. Latest Gadgets rounds up five of the best…

Scosche Rhythm

From: Scosche

Like to keep your finger on the pulse? Enjoy running? Then look no further… Scosche have just launched their simple Rhythm strap which, with the help of your smart phone, can provide all your essential pulse data, and plenty more.

Designed with simplicity in mind, the three button gadget straps onto your forearm and communicates to your smart device via Bluetooth. Not only does it record your pulse via integrated dual LED sensors, allowing you to closely monitor just how hard you’re pushing yourself, Rhythm also provides complete control of your music collection as well as generating other essential stats such as distance covered and calories burned.

It’s also compatible with myriad existing running apps such as iPower, Spinning, RunDouble C25K and many more. And yes, thanks to its social network flexibility, you can join the masses and tell the world just how good a runner you truly are.

Yours for $99.99

Running World: Zone Dome

From: Running World

For those who can’t rely on reasonable seasonable climes, Running World’s somewhat aspirational Zone Dome can whisk you away to a variety of desirable running locations in the world and you don’t even have to leave your home. As featured on Latest Gadgets in March, the 1.5 metre screen is compatible with most treadmills and offers the choice of 20 or 40 minute runs at speeds between 9-12 km/h.

With a choice of five lavish scenery settings, you can take your pick from Route 66 to Area 51 without a fear of rain, traffic, pollution or runner-hating neer-do-wells lurking around any corner. Providing you have your own treadmill and can honour the £3,940 price tag, the Zone Dome is ideal for running regardless of the unpredictable weather. File under luxury: there’s no surprise Zone Dome’s manufacturers are targeting the gym chains with this cinematic running gadget.

Yours for £3490

Misfit-Shine

Misfit Shine

Misfit Wearables

Looking like some sexy pendant or broach from the future, Misfit’s Shine is similar to Scosche’s Rhythm (and indeed a whole host of competing wrist-based running gadgets such as the Nike FuelBand, The Runalyser and the Fitbit One). What the Shine does that most other arm-based running gadgets do is look very cool.

Looking further afield than the standard rubber or plastic models, Shine is manufactured using hard-wearing but super-lightweight aluminium. With a smooth spherical finish and minimal controls (in fact none: Bluetooth all the way, baby) the Shine will be just at home hanging from your neck or sitting sweetly in your pocket.

Okay, so it looks great. What else does it do? Well it tracks every move you make and the ground you cover ensuring favour from all forms of exercise fans from runners to cyclists. Soon-to-be-launched over the States at $99, Shine has potential to impact the ever-growing exercise market.

Yours for $99

Swimming-Sports-Watch

TomTom GPS Sports Watches

From: TomTom

Satnav kings TomTom are no strangers to the running world, having worked closely with Nike on their sports watch ranges. Now sprinting into the market with their own unit, TomTom are taking things next level.

With a clear, simple-to-read high contrast display, one-button functionality, a whole range of training programs and built-in stride sensors, few activities can go un-checked by the TomTom Sports Watch. Naturally, GPS comes as standard and allows for upwards of 10 hours battery life. Impressed? Jog on over to Latest Gadget’s full review.

MileStone-Pod

Milestone Pod

From: Milestone

It’s all good and well knowing how far you’ve run, what your pulse is saying, how many calories you’ve burnt and just how many people you can tell about your achievements. But let’s not forget the most important ingredient in running… Your feet!

Appropriate footwear is essential for running. But once you’ve made that investment, how much lifespan do they have? The most common rule of thumb is approximately 400 miles. But unless you’re tracking that via some of the other gadgets in this list, how do you know when your trainers need a reboot? Change them too soon and you’ll waste valuable tread. Change them too late and you’ve got a one-way ticket to Injury Town.

Enter the Milestone Pod, a thumb-sized pedometer that attaches to your laces and records how much life is left in your faithful daps. What’s more, you can also save easily accessible essential personal data such as medical history and emergency contact details in case you suffer from an accident while out training. Launched as a Kickstarter project earlier this year, they failed to hit their target of $60,000 but they’re continuing their product roll-out with determination. See their website for details.

Top 5 Sunbathing Apps

Smartsun-Wristband

Okay so it might be a little premature to start reaching for the sun cream, in fact in the UK we can go the whole year without having so much as to open a bottle of sun protector, but if you are jetting off to sunnier climes this year you’d be extremely foolish if sun protection wasn’t an integral part of your suitcase.

Using the correct protection is a serious business and various companies have come up with gizmos which will allow you to sunbathe in a more controlled way.

The UV wristband

Intellego Technologies of Sweden have come up with this neat little aid to help with safer sunbathing. No bigger than the standard hospital wristband, this nifty device can alert the wearer when it is time to get out of the sun.

Basically the wristband changes colour and when it hits a certain shade you know it’s time to leave the beach. You can get different strength levels for different skin types.

Although it has to be said that this potentially lifesaving device is not particularly helpful those of us who have a tendency to fall asleep on our sun lounger!

http://intellego-technologies.com/en/

Sun-Alert-Lite

Sun Alert Lite

For those really serious about getting a comprehensive understanding of sunbathing and protection, Sun Alert Lite might be the app for you.

This useful tanning aid has three dials, one for skin type, one for the SPF rating of your sun cream and one of the weather conditions, enabling users to have an accurate understanding of what sun protection they should be using.

iTunes

Nevus

Nevus

Knowing when to reapply your sun lotion is always a bit of a bind and all too often can sunbathers forget and suffer with red-raw skin as a consequence. Thanks to Nevus forgetting to reapply are over as you simply set an alarm so that you know when to reapply the lotion.

The Nevus iPhone app also supplies the UV index as well as a “Sunscreen Visualiser” so that you know how much lotion to apply for optimum coverage.

A handy app for just £1.99!

iTunes

CopperTone-MyUV

Coppertone MyUVAlert

This free to download app by Coppertone enables users to look up the UV index for the location they are heading to. Users are then encouraged to set up a ‘Suncare profile,’ which has been accused totmataro.cat/comprar-kamagra.html totmataro.cat/cialis-20mg-precio.html of simply being a platform for Coppertone to sell its skincare products.

The UV index might be pretty handy though!

iTunes

SunTanWatcher

Suntan Watcher

Simply lock your phone, set your sun tan levels and catch those rays! The various settings monitor, how many minutes you should spend sunbathing before it is time to turn over, how long before sun cream is needed to be applied, and how long before it is time to stop sunbathing altogether.

As an alarm rings out perhaps this anti-sunburn gadget is more suited to those who can’t help but fall asleep on the beach – Not bad for a mere £0.69.

iTunes

Top 5 Cooking Apps

CookSchool-Fresh

Consider yourself a novice in the kitchen? Not convinced by the never-ending slew of expensive celebrity cook books? Don’t worry; all answers, recipes, measurements and cooking dilemmas can be found in your very pocket. Take a seat at the chef’s table and allow Latest Gadgets to round up five of the most interesting, informative and easy to use smartphone cooking apps…

Cook School Fresh

On Cook School Fresh

Backed by the Government’s Food For Life campaign, Cook School Fresh respects any level of knowledge and provides full instructions accordingly. With an emphasis on fresh ingredients (well, the clue is in the title), seasonal availability, age of the student and ingredients, this free app serves simple step-by-step instructions that will allow you to progress from water-burner to gourmet guru in a matter of meals.

Free and home to hundreds of healthy recipes, Cook School Fresh shouts louder than many standard recipe applications thanks to its emphasis on education. Setting you up to have the confidence to knock up perfect, low calorie, sustainably sourced grub on your own, the potential to totally ruin your phone with butter-smudged digits also ranks lower than other apps, too…

Yours for FREE

Culinary-Mathematics

Wolfram Culinary Mathematics

On iTunes

Cooking: it’s all fun and games until you mess up one of the measurements. Especially in the dark art of baking… Stumble on just one of the digits and your flan will end up a complete flop.

Luckily Wolfram’s Culinary Mathematics are here to help; allowing you to negotiate your way through the metric/imperial maze and adapt your portion sizes depending on the size of your dining party, it eases all possible cooking conundrums.

Wait; there’s more. Not only does Culinary Mathematics provide assistance with unit conversions, it’s also a very handy resource for nutritional information and even waste management and budgeting for the family shopping trip.

Numbers and noms: Culinary Mathematics has it all locked down.

Yours for £1.49

Matthew Kenney’s Raw Express

On iTunes

Goodbye cooker, hello healthy lifestyle! Not all recipes involve slaving over a hot stove, you know…

Raw-Express

Well established US chef Kenney is something of a raw food evangelist. Proving raw doesn’t just mean ‘knocking up a quick salad’, his Raw Express app offers 50 insightful meals that really push the fresh food and vegan mind set. Highlights abound but take  this first menu suggestion from us: the raw chilli with cashews and sour cream and Brazilian truffles are to die for!

Yours for £1.99

Knife-Skills

Knife Skills

On iTunes

For those who’ve picked up a few skills and feel a bit handy, say hello to Knife Skills, a comprehensive guide to becoming a proper chopper.

With 36 high definition video tutorials and detailed step-by-step guides, everything you could possibly know about knife work and cooking is right here for the reasonable sum of £6.99. From basic veg prep such as tear-free onion dicing to crafty butchery such as cutting up a whole chicken, this is a great way to literally sharpen your skills in the kitchen.

Yours for £6.99

Substitutions

Substitutions

On iTunes

It’s the moment all budding chefs dread… You’ve got the perfect menu planned, you think you’ve got all the ingredients ready then – horror! – you realise you’ve left one essential item off your list and the store is closed.

What do you do? Run away and cry in your shed? Is that what Gordon Ramsay would do? No siree… He’d look up the best substitution and crack on, which is exactly what you can do with this 69p app. Who knows? You might even create something better with this last minute ingredient switch.

With an added bonus of offering alternative ingredients for food allergies and gluten-free diets, you’ll soon find that not all recipes need to be adhered to as strictly as others…

Yours for 69p