Magic Measure iPhone app comes up a little short

Feb 3, 2011
Tech

Magic Measure is a 99-cent iPhone app that I hoped would incorporate some features of a very popular Google Maps-based pedometer website. I really wanted to like this app, but when I tested it, I found too many reasons not to like it. The idea behind the app is that it records the travel distance […]

Magic Measure is a 99-cent iPhone app that I hoped would incorporate some features of a very popular Google Maps-based pedometer website. I really wanted to like this app, but when I tested it, I found too many reasons not to like it.

The idea behind the app is that it records the travel distance between points A and B on your iPhone. You can use it by foot or by car.

One of the biggest drawbacks is battery depletion. “Breadcrumbs,” which allows you to record collection points at regular intervals, severely depletes battery life, even when it’s not open on your screen. It has a warning pop-up: “Warning: This setting allows your device to collect location points, even if the app is not in active use, and may run down the battery quicker than normal. It is advised to only use this setting for short periods of time or to connect your device to a power source while in use.” The latter seems a little nonsensical as the app description states that for best results, use outdoors.

“Breadcrumbs” is a nice feature, in principle, and I could see some good uses for it, but the fact that it significantly depletes the battery is the reason I can’t recommend this app. I used the app one night with Breadcrumbs on, and when I woke up, my battery percentage was down to 27 percent. The normal reading is 90 percent.

The other thing I didn’t like about it was that, let’s say, I didn’t use Breadcrumbs when I traveled between points A and B, the app will record the distance, but in a straight line, not in the actual path I traveled. So the measurement to me is not really accurate. There are some options that are nice in that you can measure your distance in both imperial and metric. It shows you three map settings: “Map,” “Satellite” and “Hybrid.” And you can choose your level of accuracy: “Good,” “Better” or “Best.” However, if you choose “Best,” you’ll once again compromise your battery life.

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This might be a good app if the only thing you use your iPhone for is measuring, but there are too many downsides to recommend it.

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