With the release of the iPhone 5s (and the iPad Air), Apple added the M7 motion coprocessor. The M7 chip isolates the motion tracking functionality that used to be built in to the main chipset, this means that the motion tracking instruments — the accelerometers, gyroscopes, and compasses— now do not require the main chip to be powered on, thereby increasing device battery life. The ability to use this coprocessor requires your app to be updated, and one of the first apps to do so is the Argus Fitness Tracker app from Azumio.
With Argus, Azumio has created a nice way to monitor all physically activity and even adds a nice layer of motivation some of us desperately need. The benefits of the M7 can be seen immediately in the set up process. Once you allow access to you motion data — the information from the M7 — all of your information is back-filled. It makes for a comprehensive backlog that really shows off what the app is good for. It also allowed me to get a good feel for how the app will perform for me instantly. I am able to look through my past data to see if it is even worthwhile to keep the app. This app has proven its utility.
The design of the app is pretty interesting, the main screen — your so-called timeline — is a unique honeycomb grid showcasing your activity log. This log includes all kinds of data, your caloric intake and expenditure, daily step count, amount of water intake, current body weight, and even your sleep from the night before. This data is compiled from a variety of ways from both active — step count, calories burned — and passive — user inputs water intake and photographs food to determine calorie content — sources.
Some of the most interesting features are the hooks provided to all for data collection from other sources. These sources include a variety of Azumio developed sources, apps to measure heart rate and sleep, as well as tie ins with some major companies, such as Withings for current weight or the New Balance LifeTRNr+ system for heart rate. All of this data combined creates a very complete picture of how you’re progressing to your daily goals and how your overall health is trending.
That is not to say that this app is without fault.
The honeycomb grid, albeit interesting, is terribly organized. I also can’t tell how to alter the sleep counter and water intake information from the day before, as far as I can tell each days data is closed off as soon as that day is over, meaning if you didnt put in enough water for the prior day, you are out of luck. Another thing that bothered me is how long the pre-load process takes. I understand the developer put in a lot of work into getting a nice counter mechanism and proper transition animations, but man are they a waste of time. If you havent opened the app in a few days, the pre-load of info will take forever.
Argus is one of the first apps to use the M7 and provide some complex metrics, so I can only complain so much. The tie-ins with other fitness monitors is a great feature, although it is one that we can’t test due to lack of third-party monitors. The app is decent looking and does what it is supposed to, but I am looking forward to an alternative.