A while back I did a video comparing all the GPS lap timers I could find on Google Play. I wanted a lap timer that did the same thing as the lap timer you get on Gran Turismo
What does the Gran Turismo lap timer do?
It is very, very simple.
-You get a running count of the total time for your current lap.
-When you cross a split/sector, it tells you if you are plus or minus your fastest lap.
That is it. Very simple but it tells me everything I want to know when I’m on a hot one.
So I went onto Google Play on a mission to find a GPS based lap timer that did the same thing. Here is a video review of the lap timers that I found.
What did I find?
Track Addict GPS Lap Timer – Fail
Looks great, a bit of a faff to setup.
Why a fail? On the free version at least, you do not get live updates as you pass your splits, at least when I tried it.
RaceChrono GPS Lap Timer – Fail
A total ball breaker to set up. You have to use Google Maps through the app to set your start, finish, splits. This sounds awesome. The reality of this method is not awesone.
RaceChrono logged the route but I had no indication of the times on the app in real time, at least not every time.
Generally seemed a bit hit and miss, at least in my experience.
It fails because of the setup process, it fails because sometimes it showed the times on the app, other times it didn’t and generally it did not show the split times, at least for me.
CMS Lap Timer – Fail
A very interesting concept. You don’t need to add your coordinates it does it automatically. But when you stop or when it thinks you have stopped it will start a new lap.
Like I said, interesting concept but it does not do what I want it to do ie work like the lap timer in Gran Turismo
Motorcross GPS Lap Timer – Fail
It seems like you have to be at the track to set the start and finish points. Not what I want. When I go to the track I want to drive, not set up a lap timer.
What if I want to time myself over a long route says 20 miles plus?
I have to drive the route first to set my points up?
I don’t think so.
For that reason, I’m out.
“GPS Laps” GPS Lap Timer – Fail
Again, you have to choose your start and finish points through Google Maps on your phone/device.
I don’t want to do this.
It is easier to pull the GPS coordinates of Google Maps when you are using your desktop and manually enter them into the App.
Nice idea using Google Maps through the lap timing app, the reality is a nightmare.
It does count the lap but I saw zero evidence of it giving split updates as you go through the lap/route. That is a deal breaker for me.
GPS Lap Timer Summary
All in all a very frustrating experience. At the start of my quest I thought all the lap timers would do this basic function ie live updates as you pass splits but it turns out none of them do, at least not in the free versions.
Would I buy the permium versions of these GPS lap timers?
In a word no.
Because their interface may have looked nice and professional, actually using them was a very torturous process, at least in my opinion.
Combine that with the fact that I found some of apps being a bit hit and miss, ie sometimes registering start/finish points, other times not, I have no reason to believe that the premium app will perform any better. Free or not, if an app claims to be a GPS lap timer it needs to log the start and finish every time (or at least give you the option of altering the accuracy of the GPS to cater for phones/devices with different quality GPS hardware).
What are we going to do about it?
After failing to find something even remotely suitable we built our own GPS lap timer, MoviChip Time Trial.
The interface is nowhere near as flashy as some of the apps I reviewed, Track Addict for example but we believe the interface is a cinch to use, you don’t need to go through endless pages of options and the key data ie live current time for the lap and split updates and upfront and centre.