Features & Use
The operating principle of Runtastic Heart Rate is as easy as it is intelligent. The camera of the smartphone measures your pulse by placing your finger lightly over the flash. This works very similar to a pulse oximeter where the light absorption of the skin reveals your hemoglobin levels. The trick here is that the pulse can be measured in relative precision with nothing more than your smartphone.
But at this point it should be noted that Runtastic Heart Rate is a nice toy and to a certain extent can provide useful values, but the application certainly does not replace a professional pulse measurement. This is quite simply due to the limitations of the measurement method.
Thus, for example, irregular beats – extra or skipped beats of the heart – which can occur quite normally in humans, falsify the measurements. Take for example a cardiac systole, where the app creates a so-called "pulse deficit." Here, the central heart beats more frequently than the measurement suggests (based on the fingertips) and so you get a measurement error. However, other aspects such as poor circulation can lead to measurement errors as well.
When measuring your pulse in the early morning or just as a little fun, Runtastic Heart Rate is great. The application can, in healthy users, give a good overview of the resting pulse – with precise application. The app indicates an ideal pulse as <60 beats per minute. This statement may be true for many people, but the individual risk profile and personal fitness is completely neglected in such a sweeping statement.
Runtastic Heart rate is an interesting application in order to measure your heart rate and keep tabs on the normal range of your pulse. Here, however, the variability of the heart rate should always be kept in mind – the heart is a complicated organ! The maximum heart rate differs greatly between healthy subjects of the same age so it's hard to say what's normal. And this is not an app you would seriously rely on for extreme exercise programs or training needs.
Unfortunately, the free version of the application has to deal with some limitations, like it is only possible to measure the pulse three times a day. If you want to spend a few dollars for the Pro Version you can get more options, but whether it is worth it for a less than perfect app is up to personal opinion.
Screen & Controls
As with all applications from Runtastic, the graphical presentation is more than successful in Runtastic Heart Rate. In the free version, however, the advertising is somewhat annoying and takes away from the overall presentation.
Speed & Stability
Runtastic Heart Rate crashed a single time during the test period and was otherwise consistently stable.
Runtastic Heart Rate is free in the Play Store. The very "lively" advertising and the trimmed back functionality of the application is the price you pay for a free app.