Tuesday, June 5, 2012

[WP7] Two Weight Watchers calculator apps

A year or two ago I was a member of Weight Watchers. As a member, you could access their web-tools online; food lists, calculators, trackers and more. There was also a pocket calculator that you could buy in case you didn’t sit around a computer all day or have a smart phone.

But, for most of that time, there was no native Windows Phone 7 app. There is now, but its tied to your active membership. If you stopped going, or had to quit due to finances, you might want another option. Two I’ve got right now are PlusPoints by HopNet Software and Diet Points Manager by johnmarkdyer. What are my impressions?


PlusPoints is a free, ad-supported app for Windows Phone 7. Upon startup, you’re taken right to the calculator. Enter the food’s data and add from there. Its very straightforward, very easy.

Scrolling over will be the current day’s totals; allowed points, used points, remaining points, and the weekly remaining points. Its rather nice, and you can add point from there. The following page is a tracker for the week.

There is not a food/favorites list that you can go back to readily at this time, although one is “coming soon.” Likewise, there’s nothing there for physical activity; nothing to calculate the value of exercise, nor to add points to your daily allowance after exercising. I feel the inclusion of these two things would be very worthwhile in terms of usability.

In the “new features” list, the creator does note  that he’s not sure if he gotten the new formula correct or not. As such, it could be off by a point. So long as you’re consistent using it, I’m not sure it’ll be much of a problem, and the creator says the app will be updated later when a better/more accurate formula is figured out.

There’s some other features such as sugar alcohol calculations, extra points for moms nursing, and you can change between standard and metric, all of which are nice and good to have. Nicely, the app does use WP7’s Live Tiles, displaying your current Points total.

The ads are on the bottom, just above the options. They’re unobtrusive, but there’s no option for a paid, ad-free version. Ads change each time you scroll to the side, so you won’t have the same thing each time.

Overall it’s a very good app, and I think its one I can recommend. Its relatively simple, easy to understand, and works well. If at some point they add a favorites list and an exercise tracker, I think it’ll be top-notch, easily.

Diet Points Manager

At $2.99, Diet Points Manager is an inexpensive app. While you begin at the calculator like PlusPoints, you are presented with more options from the get-go. You can load foods that you’ve saved, calculate items in a meal, or calculate an item on the assumption it stands alone (like a snack). Manual input is there if you know the point total of it.

Scrolling over, it tracks stats for your day with points used, current meal, total and unused points. You can see both the points of each as well as the percentage of your points used in them. Used points can be reset to 0, although I’m not sure why you’d do that except for correcting an error.
Scrolling past that will get you to a workout calculator. I found this to be a great addition, and you can figure out how many points you’ve earned via intensity or calories. Likewise, you can manually add points if you already know what something is worth.

The Allowance page does concern me a little. While it has all the required things to calculate your Points allowance, when I first entered my statistics it gave me a rather low total. Its been a while, but I’m moderately sure the given total was using the old Points system, not Points Plus.

Finally, the load/save page is probably the best feature of this app. As someone who had made use of logs to go back and remember what something was worth, having that ability again is tremendously helpful. While you enter the data into the calculator, you simply scroll to the left to load/save, enter a name, and there you go. Once entered, you can just choose it from the calculator later on.

There is a free trial, but at this time it restricts usage and features rather than serve up ads. There’s no Live Tile data shown, so that’s an area that could be improved on. Similarly, it only tracks your daily totals. If you wanted to track your week, then you’ll need to keep that separately in a tracker or something.

I’ll have to contact the creator later on to see if I’m right about the Points allowance being for Weight Watcher’s Momentum or for Points Plus. It could simply be an error I ran into. That aside it seems to be a very good app, and I love how full featured it is. It seems to be more of a day-by-day tracker, and at that I think it does a fantastic job.

Which is right for me?

Right now the strengths and weaknesses of the two apps actually mirror each other. Their cores are solid, so the questions you need to ask yourself are:
  • Am I willing to have ads in my app? Or am I willing to pay?
  • Do I need/want an exercise tracker?
  • Can I do without a favorite foods list for now?
  • Do I need this on a day-by-day basis? Or do I want a bit more history?
Either way you’ll get a good app. Once you answer those questions, I’m sure you’ll pick the right one to try. Or, really, try both!

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