Review: SenseMe app

Review: SenseMe app

If I were ever to be stalked and I had the opportunity to confront the sweaty reprobate behind the binoculars, I imagine I would experience the same emotions as I did while using the SenseMe app. As the stalker lays out damning pictures of me alongside a log of my every movement, recorded with NSA rigour, I would probably think both: “That’s really scary,” and, “That’s kind of impressive”.

So it is with SenseMe, one of the most popular health apps on the German Google play store. It knows exactly how long I’ve slept without my having to engage a sleep mode. It identifies when I’m at the gym, presumably deducing from the kind of repetitive movements I am making that I am either at a fitness establishment or feverishly directing traffic.

. It also magically knows when I am riding my bike, as opposed to using another mode of transport, and it credits me for the calories burned. All very impressive… and a little scary.

The app is based on a little-known, though irrefutable, law of weight loss: if you want to shed kilograms all you need to do is make sure that you are burning more calories than you consume. The app can’t help you input side, it focuses instead on the burning part of the equation by recording your movements.

It depicts every day’s score on a graph so that you can see how your consumption is going over time, with average readings to boot. SenseMe is big on graphs. Unfortunately it is not so big on explanations. It displays your daily goals in MET, for instance, which is a measurement of the energy it costs to do an activity. That measurement is not really explained within the app though, nor are the meanings of many of the beautifully designed pie charts that pop up periodically. So although they are pretty, I would probably get the same health benefit from looking at an aging rocker’s tattooed bicep. I consider myself relatively smartphone literate, I know for instance that tapping on a colourful element usually leads to some kind of explanation or at least a link to more information. This was often not the case with SenseMe, leaving me clawing at the screen like bear at a bee hive.

Also, the eerie strength that SenseMe has in being able to record all my movements is also part of its drawback. Many of the readings are imprecise. As my grandmother always used to say: “If you’re going to be a stalker, be the best stalker you can be.” The app sloppily perceives any jolt of the phone as a step, so theoretically it could say you have walked thousands of kilometers when in fact you were playing an impassioned game of Candy Crush.

The app has a very nifty heart rate monitor. You just press your finger up against the camera and it measures your pulse within 15 seconds. The feature also works consistently, which is not a given with these kinds of apps, so you could even use it when your movements are most vigorous, like on the treadmill.

There is a fitness section that captures information about various exercise categories such as treadmill training, cycling or jogging. Unfortunately it does not contain a section for weight training which means that the protein-shake-powered session I had at the gym did not count. That’s right, I endured the weight section for nothing, among men who walk around like matadors and who seemingly are constantly forgetting what they look like, requiring them to look into the mirror every 30 seconds.

SenseMe is a solid app that is worth a try. Yes, it keeps track of your movements with a degree of accuracy that you might expect from a C student from the stalker academy, but hey, you cannot improve something unless you measure it. This app is a great starting point.

You can download the App here – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.wearablelab.fitnessmate&hl=de

THE AUTHOR

T L Andrews

Journalist

TL Andrews is a multi-media journalist based in Berlin. He produces features for radio, television and print outlets with a focus on German and European issues.

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COMMENTS

  • Ty Harris

    Your Grandma was very wise. ” If you are going to be a stalker, be the best stalker you can be.” I just installed this thing. Nice review.