[App Fridays] Breathe, walk, earn rewards with desi fitness app Nandoo
What if you could simply walk and win an iPhone XS or Alexa Echo Dot? We review fitness app Nandoo, focussing on the Hinglish-speaking millennials of India, helping them stay fit and win rewards for it.Rashi Varshney
Remember the days when you would hit the gym for five days and treat yourself to a sinful dessert on the sixth? Well, what if you could walk 500,000 steps and gift yourself an iPhone XS for free?
Today, health and fitness apps have become very popular with more and more people becoming health conscious. Both Apple App Store and Google Play Store have an exhaustive list of health and fitness apps ranging from ones that can read menu cards and count your calorie intake to AI-based apps that help you reach your goal weight.
And homegrown app Nandoo (sabka bandhoo) has hit the nail on its head, incentivising fitness with simple activities like walking and breathing. The name seems to be inspired by a dialogue from a Govinda movie Nandoo - Sabka Bandhoo (bandhoo meaning friend in Hindi).
The app, focussing on the ‘desi’, describes itself as “slightly (actually very) hatke (unique) because our MAIN focus is FUN”. Released in September 2018 according to the Play Store, Nandoo not only allows users to earn redeemable awards based on number of steps walked, but also has informative content. It has already garnered more than 100,000 downloads, with a rating of 4.3 stars.
We reviewed the app to find out if it is really hatke. here is our impressions:
To start using the app, you need to sign up using details like name, phone number, email, birthday, height, and weight. There is no sign-up option via a social media account unlike many other apps in this segment.
The app has three key aspects: walking, breathing, and engaging content. The homepage of the app has four menu options - walk, ‘gyaan’ (content), rewards, and profile.
The app opens to the ‘Breathe’ feature that is fairly simple. All you have to do is tap the ‘Breathe’ button and the app begins to instruct using a soothing bubble in a pattern. However, there is no audio if you wanted to do this with your eyes closed. Other than breathing, it also gives you small pieces of trivia every day.
The ‘Walk’ section counts the steps, which can be converted into rewards.
Other than that, there are bigger prizes like the iPhone XS and Amazon Echo Dot. But here’s the catch - the app only counts your steps for 10 minutes in one day.
We tried walking at a normal speed and at a quicker pace, and the steps varied accordingly. The time limit not only ensures that a user maintains a daily habit to get these rewards, but also that the rewards are not exploited all at once.
It is worth noting that since we used the app only for a couple of days, we cannot say if the walking time limits increase over time.
The ‘Gyaan’ section is most impressive and smart - divided into ‘Aaj Ka Gyaan’ (today’s knowledge) and ‘Aaj Ke B’days!’ (Today’s birthdays).
The former breaks down what’s going on in the world with a fresh, easy, and fun take. The content changes every day, you can find information from "How the Syrian War went from peaceful to one of the deadliest Civil Wars", to “Why we can’t hear Cardi B on Spotify”, or “Why Norway is both the cleanest & dirtiest country in the world”.
The quality and range of content is remarkable. Not only does Nandoo make a topic easy to understand, but also presents succinct information. This is bound to keep more users hooked onto the app for longer. A user can also share this Gyaan on WhatsApp.
The birthday section has a cute birthday message with the names of the users whose birthday it is.
The reward section is simple - divided into ‘Featured’, which has the rewards in spotlight, and ‘Your codes’ for any redeemed rewards. The app has rewards from several companies including OYO, Amazon, Uber Eats, Swiggy, Insider.In, Raw Pressery, The Tea Shelf, BookMyShow, The Man Company, etc.
Last but not least, you can compare your performance with others on the app’s ‘Leaderboard’.
There aren’t nagging alerts or prompts or too many options on the app. It is simple, with only a daily breathing reminder. We also liked that there are no photos of perfectly toned or in-shape bodies to give us unattainable goals. The app is actually quite sassy, which makes it refreshing and fun.
The only complaint we had is that it does not support offline steps counting. A user needs a good and steady internet connection for this app to function. Also, Nandoo counts steps only when you switch on the walk mode. It does not have a provision to count your steps throughout the day, like a pedometer or allow you to walk more than 10 minutes without them being counted for the rewards.
Also, once you start your step count, you cannot pause and start it again, which may limit its usage.
Nonetheless, Nandoo is very Indian and extremely easy to use. If you are too busy to go to a gym or do some yoga, we would recommended you use this app for some quick breathing exercise and a 10-minute daily walk whenever you can.
Just remember to have at least 10 minutes at hand if you don’t want to lose out on those steps!