Samsung is putting a focus on the health and well being of users of the Galaxy S4, introducing the S Health app as a part of the exhaustive feature set exhibited by the flagship device. The service monitors your daily intake of food and measures this against your exercise regime, letting you know if you should be looking after yourself a bit better.
Using the app, you will start off by entering your physical details such as height, weight and age so that it can tailor its results to suit. S Health also uses the Galaxy S4’s inbuilt barometer and temperature and humidity sensors to read your environment and work out how these conditions may be affecting your health and fitness levels.
The app’s main page is the Health Board, a simple interface which shows the calories you have both eaten and expended via exercise that day. A tap on the top left menu button brings up a set of links to other services within the app, namely the Walking Mate, Exercise Mate and Food Tracker.
Walking Mate’s function is simple; it uses the handset’s accelerometer to judge the number of paces you make each day and records this as exercise, adding up the number of calories you have burned. Just set it running and leave the phone in your pocket and it will read your movements all day long. However, it isn’t particularly accurate and results can be skewed by simply shaking the device around.
Exercise Mate is where the bulk of your workout details are entered. You can select from a wide range of activities from aerobics to yoga, and tell the app how long you have spent doing each one that day. Exercise Mate then calculates how many calories you have burned doing such activities and displays this as a percentage of the total amount it thinks you need to work off.
There is also something called Food Tracker, into which you can enter everything that you eat so the app can calculate how much exercise you need to do. Foods can be selected from an extensive (but not exhaustive list) and grouped together into meals, so you can see exactly how many calories you had for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
While certainly useful, the process of entering food data into Food Tracker is a laborious task that requires every part of a meal to be inputted individually. This is made worse by the fact that you can’t enter multiple units of one type of food – if you have two slices of toast for your breakfast you have to input them into Food Tracker individually.
Samsung has also included a feature that allows you to take a photo of a meal and have the app read its calorie content. The Korean firm claims this only works with recognisable foods such as a Big Mac but we didn’t manage to get it working with any accuracy at all.
S Health collates all of the data that you enter and displays its final results on the main Health Board screen, with the number of calories you have burned that day displayed above the number of calories you have consumed. If dieting and calorie counting are important to you then S Health offers a native service that is powerful and full of features, saving you the hassle of having to find a third party app that does all of this in one.