Nike+ vs Samsung miCoach: the verdict

 If you’ve accumulated some ‘winter padding’ or have a debilitating Jaffa Cake habit, now is a good time to start running. Not only is it Spring,

If you’ve accumulated some ‘winter padding’ or have a debilitating Jaffa Cake habit, now is a good time to start running. Not only is it Spring, which – theoretically – reduces the chances of having icy rain lashed into your face, Samsung and Adidas have just launched a rival to the massively successful Nike+ system called miCoach. I’ve now run many a mile with both. So, which one’s the best?Both are, broadly speaking, the same idea: a motivating running aide that collects stats from your runs and spurs you on with voice feedback and the ability to sync to a website. But while there’s an obvious difference between the two – Nike+ works only via an iPod Nano and Samsung miCoach via the new F110 mobile – there are also many subtle differences. There’s only one way to decide – a monstrous head-to-head:FeaturesThe miCoach system is, by some distance, the more advanced of the two. It uses a heart-rate monitor and a stride sensor, whereas Nike+ only uses the latter. This means it can give real-time voice feedback on whether you’re running at the right pace, and also create customised running plans. There are over 200 of these, and which one you’re prescribed depends on your initial ‘assessment run’ and what type of fitness you want to achieve. These are your options:

Samsung told me that gyms ‘are definitely one route it that we may choose to explore’ and miCoach has the one thing Nike+ could really do with – a heart-rate monitor. But I found the Adistar t-shirts – which have a hole for the F110 phone – a bit fiddly to use and choosing Nike or Adidas’ trainers again comes down to preference and fit, so it’s another draw.Winner: A drawOverallNike+ and miCoach are both great running buddies, and deciding which one’s best for you comes down to a few questions. Do you hate the idea of having a personal trainer, use iTunes and would rather use a Nano than a new phone? Then Nike+ is for you. If, on the other hand, you want the most advanced training system, like lots of voice feedback and prefer using Windows Media Player, miCoach is a better bet.For me, the big stumbling block for miCoach is the F110 phone. If it was integrated into a Bluetooth MP3 player like the Samsung P2 – which looks unlikely as Samsung told me ‘we expect that mobile will remain the main market for miCoach’ – I’d buy it in a shot. As it is, I’ll be sticking to my simple but slick Nike+ kit.