7/28/2011

Nexercise: Not Worth The Bother

By Laura Moncur @ 3:40 pm — Filed under:

Update 08-14-2011: Please read the comment from Benjamin Young, the CEO of Nexercise, below. The reason the app doesn’t multitask (and allow you to lock your screen) is because Apple doesn’t allow it with the current OS.

The new update of the app DOES allow unverified time, but it has crashed so many times on me that I’ve stopped using it. Perhaps the next update will fix those crashes.

I did win a $5 Amazon gift card while testing the app. That was a nice surprise and made me want to use Nexercise more, despite the bother it is to use it.

Update 08-31-2011: I’ve continued to try Nexercise with my workouts and I stand by my review. They do allow unverified time and it only beeps at me if I click away to take a picture or see my Runkeeper stats. The crashes, however, make it not worth the while. Just today, I had a 53 minute walk that failed to be submitted. It just sat there spinning, failed and then disappeared from my calendar.

NOT WORTH THE BOTHER.


I’ve been trying a free app on my iPhone called Nexercise. The premise is brilliant. It logs your physical activity and for every fifteen minutes you exercise, you get a chance to win prizes and badges.

Unfortunately, the execution isn’t as brilliant.

It’s easy enough to run the program and it doesn’t suck down my battery while it’s running, but it does NOT multitask. It’s kind enough to go into “sleep” mode so exercising with it doesn’t turn it off, but pushing the normal sleep button will pause the program.

Additionally, if I answer a call, it pauses the program. If I take a picture of something beautiful on my walk, it pauses the program. If I don’t run Runkeeper BEFORE I start Nexercise, it pauses the program. What is this? 2009? iPhones have been able to multitask for a while. Why doesn’t Nexercise?!

The lack of multitasking is irritating enough, but Nexercise also has the additional problem of pausing itself because it thinks you’re not moving enough.

I wouldn’t be bothered by this problem if it didn’t happen about once or twice each walk. Sometimes it’s because I have stopped to scoop doggie poo, but rather than waiting for me to let my dog do her business, it beeps me with an annoying sound with a reprimand.

Other times, it thinks I’m not moving enough for no reason whatsoever. Maybe I don’t jiggle enough when I walk or they’ve set the sensitivity wrong, but there have been times when it has paused for inactivity in the middle of a walk when I haven’t stopped moving. It’s the same irritating problem that Nike+ had without the benefits of tracking that Nike gave me.

Worst of all, when it has paused and I didn’t notice, sometimes it won’t give me any credit for my walk at all because it didn’t log fifteen minutes of activity while I was walking. Sure, my walk was an hour long, but the stupid thing paused itself and I didn’t happen to hear the irritating beeps.

To be fair, I’ve had a couple of walks with no pausing, but the added problem of loading up an additional app and dealing with the lack of multitasking just makes Nexercise not worth it.

As far as those rewards go, I haven’t won one. I HAVE earned a couple of badges and I have to tell you that it felt good to earn them.

Are the badges and the promise of gift cards worth the extra hassle? No, they’re not. If they get multitasking to work or if they change the sensitivity of the app so that it won’t pause itself, maybe Nexercise will be worth it. Until then, I’m not going to bother with it.

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One Response to “Nexercise: Not Worth The Bother”

  1. Benjamin Young Says:

    Hi Laura,

    First off I want to thank you for taking your time out to express your feelings about our app through this blog post.

    I totally, agree with you that the way Nexercise multitasks is definitely NOT IDEAL. Please let me explain how we made this decision. Unfortunately the way the Apple multitasking works is quite limited. You can only use limited services while in the background. One of the key ways Nexercise validates that people are doing real physical activity is to use the motion of your device. This uses fancy sensors called accelerometers and gyroscopes to pattern match the movements. Unfortunately this capability is not possible to access while in the background. Apple limits background tasks to limited items such as Music, Voice over IP services, GPS, and File transfer. They somehow missed my memo that we need to detect the device orientation in the background ;)

    That being said we are on your side! We think it’s absolutely ridiculous that we can’t access this data, so we have decided to make a concession with our next release of the app that’s coming out soon. We will allow people to fully multitask with Nexercise and even place the app on the treadmill tray, floor, etc and still track your activity. This works really great if you don’t have pockets or find the phone cumbersome. I quickly learned from our women users that pockets are quite rare and armbands aren’t that widespread. So here’s how it works- We are basing points off of “validated exercise time” and just plain time tracking exercise time. “Validated exercise time” is time the device is moving and we can match that movement to our existing patterns of data. For “validated exercise time” you get full points. For exercise time we can’t prove that you’ve truly exercised we will give partial credit. This way we feel it keeps the integrity of the game but allows people the flexibility to snap pictures while walking, go to the gym without pockets, and basically just Nexercise with less hassle!

    So you are probably wondering… When is this going to be available? Currently we are having some bumps with our latest submission to Apple, because for some strange reason their software is rejecting our app for the use of “Private APIs”…. I’m really confused about that because we don’t. Unfortunately they are dragging their behinds to give us more actionable details. But don’t worry, we will muster through this and get our new version out. It also includes some really cool features such as a calendar to view your activity history, and a much cleaner look and feel. However, if you are impatient we welcome you to be a tester where you can access the latest and greatest (and sometimes buggy :) future versions of Nexercise. We would love to have your opinions.

    If you are interested please send us an email to support@nexercise.com and our awesome team will get you up and running.

    Best, Benjamin Young CEO, Nexercise.

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