I have been running several activity trackers on my iPhone 6 with iOS 8 including Argus, Nike+ Move and Human. They are all great apps and a lot of fun, but they do require quite a lot of battery power because they run in the background and three is just too much. One is all you need and all you can afford unless you want to charge your phone twice a day.

These are apps all automatically tracker track your activity throughout the day and you don’t need to start and stop them as with a dedicated running or cycling app. They operate in the background and automatically detect when you move, recording walking, running, cycling and even transport like cars, buses and trains.

I have covered Argus before and it is a great app, so I won’t go into it again here. Let’s look at Human first. This is visually attractive and it features a great photo background that changes from day to day. Occasionally though, some of the text on the screen cannot be read because it is the same colour as the background. It also offers words of encouragement to get you to be more active with notifications and messages.

The app aims to get you moving for 30 minutes a day, then 60 minutes and 90 minutes. As long as it is running in the background, it will automatically detect movement and classify it as walking, running, cycling or miscellaneous activity.

Human app  .  Human activity tracker

It stores you activities each day in a history and you can view each day’s activities. There are totals at the top and breakdown of activities showing when you did what and for how long. You can view the activities in minutes, kilometres or calories. With each activity you can view the location it took place or the route taken on a map.

The app can sync with the iOS 8 Health app and you can export all of the data and receive it as an email.

If you set Argus into fully automatic mode where it can tell the difference between running, walking and cycling, it uses more batter power than Human and it is a bit of a battery hog. Human appears to do the same on less battery power. However, Argus can be switched into a low power mode that is more efficient than Human, but you need to tell it when you run or cycle.

So Human is better if you want to set and forget an activity tracker, but Argus is better if you want to track walking and don’t mind going into the settings and flipping a switch to track a run, bike ride or other activity. Argus is more of a general purpose app too, and it tracks more than just activity. For example, you can manually add gym workouts, water drunk, weight, your heart rate (another free app, Instant Heart Rate, from the same company integrates perfectly with Argus), and more.

There isn’t really a best app here and it depends on what you want. For pure automatic activity tracking, I prefer Human.

Nike+ Move is functionally similar, but visually very different. It has a lovely design that is very simple and easy to use, and it looks great. There are six screens that you swipe through and each one shows different information related to activity.

The first screen shows Nikefuel. This is basically a score and it is calculated from the activity you do. The more active you are, the more Nikefuel points you earn. The next screen shows a chart with today’s activity and yesterday’s. It shows how active you were throughout the day and a peak at a specific time shows when you went for a run, for example.

Nike+ Move  .  Nike+ Move for iPhone

The third screen shows the time spent running, walking and general activity, with Nikefuel points for each one. It logs where you moved and shows a map and points earned at each location. Your history is recorded on a simple bar chart and you can browse this week, last week and the week before that. Red bars show days where you were less active than the average and green bars are more active than average.

The final screen shows a leaderboard with the most active people at the top. I’m the 358th most active person so far this this week. Maybe if I go out for a few runs I can climb the leaderboard. It is a nice feature that inspires you to be more active.

As far as battery usage goes, Nike+ Move is way down at the bottom of the list below all the other apps and this is brilliant. It manages to track activity without impacting battery life. Nike+ Move does not record as much detail as Argus or Human, but I just found it more fun. I like the graphics, the chunky charts and the leaderboard.

Out of Argus, Human and Nike+ Move, it is Nike+ Move that I think I will keep. It’s fun and light on battery use. It doesn’t record the same degree of detailed information, but I can live with that. This is a personal choice of course, and some people may prefer Human.