Fitness apps are a dime a dozen. And most of them tend to be a bit on the complex side, telling you everything from calories burnt to distance traveled to your optimum diet plan based on your height and weight. But well, what of those of us lesser humans who do not exactly lurk around gyms and want nothing more than a basic account of how much we are walking? Well, for them there is the humble pedometer, a standard feature of most fitness apps, and in many cases, a standalone app in its own right, dedicated to counting the number of steps you are taking.
And one of the most elegant implementations of a pedometer we have seen in an app is undoubtedly Breeze, which appropriately comes from the heavy duty fitness app RunKeeper. Unlike that worthy, this one confines itself to counting the number of steps you take every day, using the M7 motion chip on the iPhone 5s (yep, that also means that it can work only on the iPhone 5s among all the iPhones). And well, as the M7 always keeps counting your steps anyway, the app has a ready database of movement to fall upon. It is a slightly stiffish 30 MB download but it is one of the few fitness apps that is ready to use with zero intervention from you from the word go. The app quickly races through your walking data over the past week, works out an ideal daily goal for you and then starts nudging you towards it every day.
Which brings us to the two core strengths of the app – the interface and notifications. The interface of Breeze is simple and yet elegant – launching the app brings you to a screen which shows you the number of steps you have taken so far in the day with a marker helpfully indicating how much you should have taken by this time. Turn on the notifications and you will get messages either congratulating you on being well ahead of your goal or playfully remind you of how far behind you are. You can check out the routes you have walked on maps included in messages, and look at the previous history of your walks as well. And the app also allots you a ‘spirit animal’ (we got an owl, courtesy our habit of after dinner strolls). Best of all, the interface is simple and graphically oriented, so while you will get a fair number of stats to look at, you will never quite feel overwhelmed by them. And yes, as the app uses the M7 chip for a lot of its tasks, it does not drain battery quite like some other fitness apps do. Neat.
Is Breeze perfect? No, it is not. We found it counting steps even when we were traveling by car (although it did not increase the count by too many – a 10 km drive upped the step count by about a hundred) and there seemed to be no option to ‘pause’ the counting. There will, of course, also be those who will point out that the app does little else apart from count steps – there is no calorie counting, distance covered stats, or even fitness advice flowing in from experts, and well, you cannot set any targets for yourself either. All of which is true, but on the flip side, Breeze is one of the most elegantly executed step counters that we have seen. We love its notifications and the fact that it does not ask much of us, and frankly, by keeping it simple, RunKeeper has managed to make it a whole lot less intimidating and overwhelming than most fitness apps. Which makes this pretty much a must download for those who are concerned about their fitness but are not obsessed by it. Heck, download it just to know if you are movin’ enough. Using it is, well, a Breeze!
Download from: iTunes App Store