Features & Use
Habitizer is a deceptively simple app. When you first install it, you are brought to a simple home screen menu, where you are presented with three basic areas: a ''Recommended Test'' page, where you can answer some simple questions about your current habits; Basic, where you can select habits from a list and learn more about them; and Custom, where you can create and edit your own specific goals and targets. There is no setup required other than taking the test to get started.
The recommended check box test simply provides a few obvious questions to establish your health and fitness levels, current habits and desires. For example, you will be asked if you smoke, how you feel about your drinking, what kinds of foods you eat, what physical qualities you think are important and your height and weight. From these answers, Habitizer forms a straightforward plan of attack to get your bad habits turned into good habits.
At first glance this might seem a little obvious. If you say you smoke, Habitizer tells you that you should quit or cut down. And if you say you like fast food and candy then... you get the idea. This is all stuff we already know and obviously don't pay attention to or we wouldn't need the app in the first place. So how does Habitizer plan to make you actually make the changes you haven't made already?
To answer that question: by letting you pick the habits you want to work on and then reminding you. Nobody can handle fixing everything at once, so Habitizer breaks it down into workable goals and reminders to make sure you actually achieve them one at a time. Or as a batch if you're feeling really motivated. So, say you don't get enough exercise, Habitizer will let you know (based on your answers) what type of exercise you should do. From here, you can select that as something you want to work on and add it to your Habits. Habitizer will then set a timeline for that activity and keep track of your progress.
The more bad habits you have, the longer the list of things for you to change. I have a pretty healthy lifestyle already, so for me the list was quite short. But if you're a smoker, hard drinker, stress monkey or good old lazy type who loves their salty food and candy, then you'll have a nice assortment of suggestions, activities and guidelines to help you wean yourself off the bad stuff and onto the good stuff. The best part is the more you do the shorter the list becomes!
You can also set your own habits, goals and benchmarks for success, so if your specific bad habits aren't already on the list you can add them yourself and create your own goals, timelines and reminders to help you specifically with the things you want to improve upon. But despite the good idea, Habitizer didn't really convince me in the way I had hoped it would. I found it far too easy to ignore the reminders and fall behind, just like we always do with health tasks. So the real problem is with motivation. And therein lies the problem: if you had the motivation you wouldn't really need the app. Perhaps that is the fault of the user and not the app, but unfortunately this is exactly what the app is claiming to do: help you get better habits.
Habitizer is therefore a good tool for those who are already committed to making changes who simply need to keep track of their progress or get reminders on when to exercise. But it certainly won't help you find motivation. Perhaps some game elements would help make it more enticing, or a spicier user interface? The app experience was a little dry and boring for me, and didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know. So while it is a good idea and provides a handy tool if you're committed, those same results can be achieved on your own without the app if you already have the inspiration. In the health and fitness game, simply telling people what they should do is not enough.
Screen & Controls
Habitizer is a simply laid-out app. Navigation is not super-intuitive, but easy enough to get around. There's a slide out navigation drawer on the left and contextual controls in the different areas. The ''back'' software button often closed the app though rather than just backing up a level, which took a while to get used to. As far as this kind of app goes, the look and feel of Habitizer is standard but not exceptional. Some nicer visuals might add to the experience.
Speed & Stability
During the test period the app ran quickly and smoothly, on both a Nexus 4 running KitKat and an old Iconia Tab on Android 4.0.3. There were a couple of crashes but nothing especially out of the ordinary, but the app on the tablet had a few graphical glitches that are most likely thanks to the old hardware and firmware. Generally speaking though the app performed as expected.
Habitizer is free and features no ads. Taking something you already know you should do and turning it into an app that gently encourages you to improve your lifestyle choices is a simple idea that has the possibility to work well if you're committed. Why pay for a lifestyle coach or personal trainer when you can have Habitizer in your pocket for free? Whether Habitizer is enough to make you change your bad habits is entirely up to you though - so its success comes down to your own will to change. For me, I found it a little too easy to ignore and the app experience itself didn't really inspire me either.
We all know we should do certain things to improve our health and fitness. But quite often it is easier to ignore what you know you should do in the pursuit of what you like to do. Habitizer helps you confront your bad habits, select the ones you want to work on at any one time and set goals and timelines to evaluate your progress. Gentle reminders help you stay on track and the more you do the shorter your list of bad habits gets. Watching your bad habits slowly turn into good ones is a great feeling, and knowing what isn't really acceptable is part of the process of living better. Habitizer simply guides you towards a place you already know you should be. For a free app, it certainly can't hurt. But points are lost for the relative obviousness of what the app offers, it's unexciting interface and lack of compelling motivational features. If you're already motivated, I'd give it four stars, but if you're like most people, it's a good start that's missing the necessary spark.