There are several excellent iPhone apps available for cyclists. Abvio’s entrant into this category is called Cyclemeter, which turns your iPhone into a GPS-based cycling computer. The $4.99 app has been updated to allow multitasking and full iOS 4 integration.
In many ways, Cyclemeter is pretty similar to other apps such as B.iCycle or iMapMyRide. It offers full integration with Google maps and iCal. You can control your iPod from within the app. It can save your routes and post rides to your Twitter or Facebook accounts. And it will produce some pretty impressive charts and graphs to help analyze your performance. Battery consumption is also on par with that of other cycling apps.
However, it’s the outstanding UI that makes Cyclemeter stand out from the peloton. Cyclemeter is much more intuitive and has a much smoother feel than the others. The buttons are all where it feels like they should be and while they may look small in some cases, they’re very easy to find and select when you need to. This is very important when you’re trying to operate a touchscreen that’s vibrating slightly on your handlebars at 25 miles per hour.
When you compare a five dollar app to the cost of buying something like a Garmin 705 GPS Enabled cycling computer that costs a hundred times that, going with the app probably seems like a no brainer. And for the most part, I’d agree with choosing the app. You get a larger and vastly superior screen, social networking integration and much better navigation capabilities. However, a dedicated cycling GPS will get better battery life, ads features such as cadence and heart rate monitoring and is much better equipped for taking on the elements than your comparatively delicate phone is.
If you do decide to go with an app, Cyclemeter is one of the best you can buy. Landscape view for Google Maps would be a nice feature and at $4.99 it’s a bit pricer than some of it’s competition but those are just minor annoyances. Until someone creates an iPhone cycling app with full power meter and heart-rate monitor integration, Cyclemeter will be pretty hard to beat.