Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Monday, December 18, 2017

Step and Count pedometer logoSteps Pedometer & Steps Counter Track Walk

/☕☕☕☕☕

Free – not really if you want to use the advertised features.
Developer: ClipInMedia Apps

On the surface, this looks like a pretty decent little pedometer – turn it on, set your step goals and off you go. It counts each step, has a map to track your route and a calorie burning tracker all packaged in a simple, easy to understand layout. However, a number of serious issues make the app a nonstarter.  

I’ll start with the most egregious issue: It’s advertised as a free app.  Yes, it is free, kind of.  If you want to use any of the promised features, like the map or calorie counter, you have to buy the Pro version. Granted, it’s only $2.29 Cdn ($1.99 US), so price isn’t the issue. Nowhere on the store page does the developer mention the app needs upgrades to run correctly.  The store page actually misleads you into thinking the map is part of the off the shelf features.

Screen capture of Pedometer

All the screen captures offered are from the pro version, not the free one. There are no ads running along the bottom of any of the screens, so this is a bit of smoke and mirrors on the part of the developer. App developers need to tell people details like “map functionality does not work with the free version.  Upgrade to the pro version to add the feature”. Normally I’ll test an app in the free version and then go on to purchase any add ons or the full version to compare.  But the lack of real information irritated me enough to take a pass testing the full app, so you’re getting a review of the free version only.

The actual step count mechanics are occasionally a bit wobbly. When I tested the app, I noticed it had a habit of randomly adding a few steps while it was laying flat on the table. As well, when I picked up my phone anywhere from 5 to 8 steps were added to the over all count.  I doubt a few random steps will make a significant impact on the over all step count but it was a bit odd watching.  

The app did a decent job counting steps as long as the phone doesn’t go into lock screen mode. If you want a way of simply counting how many steps you took, and aren’t interested in mapping your route, then this app does a fairly good job.  Users will have to disable the lock screen mode or risk the app  randomly shutting down, which zeroes out the step count.  This glitch is a bit hit and miss, it doesn’t shut off all the time, but enough to make it unpredictable.  I found the app popped off 15 to 20 min after the lock screen mode started, but again, not every time.

Customisation offers a few basics. You can choose to turn location on/off, change from metric to imperial and disable when low battery. It’s pull on the battery is pretty minimal, unlike some memory sucking apps out there, so you should be able to go all day without a significant impact on your phone’s battery.  

Forget using the map or calorie tracking. As I stated in the opening salvo, this is available on the pro version only. It would have been nice if ClipInMedia mentioned this on their store page and directed customers to their pro version. Nothing pisses off a potential customer quicker than omitting crucial information.  Both apps have the same name, nothing distinguishes the ad version from the paid version except a price. If you go by the store page alone, the apps offer the same features.  Normally, app developers specify “Light” vs “Pro” version to make it easier for buyers. When I first looked at the apps, I assumed there would be features missing on the free version but was left guessing what the difference is. Any unsuspecting customer, who only saw the free version will be left confused. The page clearly states the mapping and calorie counter are included. The company cut and pasted the same description into both pages, which is misleading. Clicking on the link to their webpage for details was an exercise in futility by the way – the webpage is “under construction” with a countdown running. Sorry, I’m not coming back in 123 days to read a basic faq:

Screen capture of Clipnmedia webpage Now, about those ads. The app uses two types – a banner along the bottom and a big pop up ad that fills the screen. I can live with the first, it’s not a big deal. Developers need to make money some how. The second type, the screen filling ads are app killers as far as I’m concerned. They are difficult to clear away and come up so often, they make the app unusable.  Sometimes it took 8 tries to clear the ad away (oh yes, I count the attempts), other times, it popped away on the first attempt. What was truly maddening was the frequency they appeared.  Part of the issue is my complete and utter loathing of screen filling ads so I don’t have a lot of patience with them to start with.

When I'm no so irritated I'll give the paid version a whirl and get back to you with a review.  

One last note: If ClipinMedia is reading this, please fix your website. The typo can be ignored, the boilerplate remnant can’t.   

 “Subscibe[sic] to get latest notification and news about our website. Remember you can always edit this text and replace it with your words.”

Screen capture of Clipnmedia webpage

  

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#@!% app. Why isn't it working?

- Catpaw, 2016

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