Last Saturday, July 05, 2014 I was introduced to “the fitness phone” Nokia Lumia 630, Bing Health & Fitness, and Windows Phone 8.1 all at the same time, coinciding as well with Bing’s fifth anniversary. What does a “fitness phone” have over typical smart phones you ask?
Nokia Lumia 630 in a nutshell is a dual SIM 3G phone running on the Microsoft Windows Phone 8.1 platform. It has a 4.5 inch LCD display covered in Corning Gorilla Glass 3; 5 megapixel autofocus camera capable of 720p HD video recording; 8 GB of built-in storage, expandable via microSD up to 128 GB; and 512 MB RAM. It is powered by a Cortex-A7 Quad-core 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chip.
What sets Lumia 630 apart from competition is a new innovation called SensorCore which allows motion sensors to run as background tasks without wasting the battery. This means that the phone’s motion sensors can be used all the time, even during standby, without your battery suffering. And the first app to fully utilize this technology is the Bing Health & Fitness.
Bing Health & Fitness is simply the most comprehensive fitness app I’ve ever seen on any mobile platform. It brings together fitness, nutrition, and health content, along with trackers and other tools. For fitness, it uses a function similar to a pedometer, but much more as it detects if the steps are taken as walking or running and measures the “active time” aside from the usual calories, distance, and steps per minute. GPS can be used as well to provide more accurate distance and pace measurement for outdoor activities like biking and running.
For nutrition, Bing Health & Fitness has what it calls a Diet Tracker. Once you provide it with your information like sex, age, height, weight, etc. it will give you your daily caloric needs (mine is at 2,425 kCal). You just provide it a list of what you ate and it will do the counting for you. It has 300,000 food items in its database but you may still add one of your own in case the food you ate is not in the list. It also has a “Diets” section if you want to follow a diet plan.
There’s also the Workouts section which provides a great workout guide for those who do not know exactly what to do in the gym. It provides you the details of the workout, and it even shows you how to do each one with a video! How cool is that? And it’s not just limited to strength, Yoga and Pilates are also included!
The most interesting feature of Bing Health & Fitness app for me is probably its Symptom Checker. You tell it what your symptoms are and it gives you diagnosis, treatment, recovery, and other information you may need or want to know. This could save you a trip to the doctor and a great help for doing self-medications. Of course you should know better when this app or a doctor’s appointment is more appropriate!
In order for us to test the SensorCore and Bing Health & Fitness, we were brought into Fitness First Platinum, SM Aura Premier Branch. Here we were introduced to the phone and the app, and shortly afterwards we were inside a cycling class. I may have been a Fitness First member for a long time now, but this would be my first cycling class ever. And it was tough! My legs aren’t built for cycling—yet. Anyway, I was able to complete the entire class while wearing the Lumia 630 on my arms via an arm strap.
During the course of the class I was curious if it would register any “steps,” but it did. Not only did it captured the steps, it was also able to detect the fast ones and slow ones. And during that entire hour of monitoring, only 5% of the battery was spent. Compare that to 15% lost by my iPhone5 (on standby with cellular data off) in the same period.
As the first Windows Phone 8.1 device I’ve ever used, Lumia 630 gives me a great impression—despite not being a flagship device! I have used Android phones with at least twice the memory, storage, and all sorts of stuff but I didn’t experience such smooth experience. The screen is quite good and is practically all glass, and behind it is a colorful shell that you can easily replace to whatever suits your mood (sold separately of course). I’ll be providing a more detailed review of the Lumia 630 but if you can’t wait for that, here’s one from GSM Arena.
Bing Health & Fitness on the other hand is simply impressive. It’s a tracker, workout coach, nutritionist, and a doctor in one! I’ve never seen or heard an app as comprehensive as this one on any platform! I even think that you may even replace your fitness magazine subscription with this app! And it comes for free but is only available on the Windows Phone 8 platform.
If you’re into fitness and you find wearable fitness devices lacking then a smart phone is your best option. It is practically a personal computer wrapped in a very small package, and the cost solely depends on your hardware and brand preferences. Of course smart phones will not be smart without the apps that they have, and in terms of fitness I guess all platforms offer a decent selection (in terms of the number of apps). But who uses all those apps? Most of us would only use some of them, most likely the ones we thought of as the best for the task. Lumia 630 may be using the less popular Windows Phone 8.1 platform (compared to iOS or Android), but it has one “killer” fitness app in the form of Bing Health & Fitness. It uses Lumia 630’s built-in SensorCore so it can run in the background all the time without draining the battery. This innovation makes Lumia 630 and Bing Health & Fitness an excellent combination.
And what makes Lumia 630 that much more attractive is its price. With a local SRP of ₱7,990, Lumia 630 is just one of the most affordable smart phones in the market! It is even cheaper than some wearable fitness trackers out there! Being an iPhone5 and formerly Samsung Galaxy Note user I can say that I have pretty high standards when it comes to smart phones, but I really love the Lumia 630 despite its seemingly modest features. Specs-wise, I probably will not give it a second look, but with the SensorCore + Bing Health & Fitness combo, it’s just amazing! While I don’t see it replacing my main phone anytime soon, I do see it as my fitness buddy on the road, in the gym, while shopping for food, and when I have some not so serious symptoms needed looking at.
Lumia 630 comes in bright orange, bright yellow, and bright green, white, and black.