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Argus for iOS review: The fitness app that nearly does it all

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The Good Argus is a well-designed, free app with a ton of useful features for tracking your physical activity, and even integrates with devices outside the Apple ecosystem.

The Bad Since Argus requires that you carry your phone, it's not great for tracking intense physical sports.

The Bottom Line Argus is a great option for getting a general idea of how active you are each day, offering features you won't find on other fitness trackers.


8.0 Overall
  • Setup 8
  • Features 8
  • Interface 8
  • Performance 8

Review Sections

Editors' note, June 26, 2014: After more testing we upgraded our rating to reflect the app's performance.

Among fitness tracker solutions, Argus stands apart. It helps you track your general health by delivering many more features than competing apps and it comes at no cost to you. And by integrating with other wearable devices that don't run Apple's operating system, it's also a bit unusual as iOS apps go.

Argus does a pretty good job of fulfilling its promise to help you live a healthier lifestyle. The extra features are useful and the ability to collect information like your heartbeat or weight from other sources makes for a well-rounded experience.

Setting up

After installing Argus, you'll get a brief walkthrough of the data that is tracked in the app. After swiping through the brief description pages, you're then asked to activate Argus by walking roughly 30 steps.

With my iPhone 5S, I actually ended up taking about 60 steps before the app recognized I was walking, which is confusing because the 5S has a dedicated activity-tracking M7 chip. (On a regular iPhone 5 it seemed to recognize I was walking after fewer than 15 steps). After the app activates, you can then set your daily step goal (it defaults to 8,000).

During the account creation process, be sure to complete your profile with your age, sex, height, and weight. Doing so will yield more accurate activity tracking and better recommendation results. But instead of simply setting up your profile and letting the app start tracking you, I suggest going into the Devices and Apps section of the menu. Once there, you can connect any third-party services you currently use, which will in turn bring more information into the app. The more information available, the easier it is to identify trends and patterns.

For example, I own a Fitbit Scale, and Argus integrates with Fitbit's API. Once connected, my daily weight was automatically imported into the app on each day I weighed myself. This eliminated the need for me to go back and fill in my weight manually, thus eliminating a pain point of similar apps. The biggest issue I've had with a fitness tracking app is actually taking the time to fill in information.

The same process can be used for the likes of Runkeeper, Fitbit Flex, and other activity monitoring devices.

Get healthy with hexagons

The main user interface of Argus consists of your data laid out with hexagons in a honeycomb-like pattern. Each hexagon holds a data point, such as your current weight, step count, sleep pattern, or calorie count. A plus sign at the top lets you track additional activities, such as adding sleep time, a meal, a yoga session, or any other activity that isn't automatically tracked. You can enter anything from a shot of alcohol to your blood pressure. Again, some of this information can be aggregated automatically on your behalf if you connect to a supported device, but some content will still have to be manually entered.

Interacting with the hexagons can be done in two ways. Simply tapping on one will reveal stats for the respective data point. Tapping on your step count will display a graph of the day's activity, showing you when you were actually up and moving, and when you remained still.

The second way requires a press-and-hold on a hexagon, and gives you three options displayed next to the item. The options vary based on what the respective hexagon represents, but in general there's an option to delete the data, view current trends for the data, or filter the display to view only a particular data point.

Overall, the interface feels modern and intuitive. I experienced no issues when navigating throughout the app, although it did take me a few days to figure out the correct technique to filter activity results.

The color-coded hexagons are easily identifiable and provide the most important information at a glance. Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

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