REVIEW: Moov Fitness Device

Update Feb ’15: There’s a new app they released for a 7 minute workout which I’m testing right now. In the meantime you can read more about it here.

What is Moov?

Moov is a fitness gadget worn on the wrist or the ankle that tracks data about your practice of a particular sport.

Moov Black

What sets it apart from the other fitness gadgets in the market is its versatility – the hardware has the capacity to track meaningful data on most types of physical activity. The variety of sports for which you can use the device is simply down to the apps Moov develop to process the data. This means that even though you can currently use the device to track walking/running, swimming and boxing only – in the future you should be able to track more types of activity without having to purchase additional devices, assuming you purchased the recommended two.

Cycling and body-weight workouts are the next apps due for release. Once these are out, I’m really hoping for tennis and yoga – but you can make your own suggestions for next apps to be built here! They will also be releasing an SDK to developers to create gesture-based apps to play games or control household devices, like lights.

One of its other defining features is that it’s not a passive tracker. Moov is sort of a personal trainer – and the training can be quite intense not just in terms of the rigour, but also how frequently you’re given feedback. This is particularly the case with the running app and as of now there isn’t a lever to choose how much coaching you get throughout your session – expect verbal or “ding” type feedback every couple of seconds. I suspect this would put off quite a few people and that Moov would be addressing this soon to give users more flexibility. This style of coaching does not apply to the swimming app – perhaps because the data isn’t processed until it’s synced with your phone post-swim or because most people don’t have swim-safe headphones. Or both.

What Does a Typical Session Look Like?

Moov is not currently designed to be an “always on” fitness tracker – all tracking is exercise session specific:

  • Walk/Run – interval training sessions
  • Swimming – records a single swim session of up to 9o mins
  • Boxing – Guitar Hero type interval sessions

Walk/Run

Moov on the Ankle

Put your Moov on the ankle for the house arrest look (great for runs in dodgy areas), enable bluetooth on your mobile device and pop in your headphones. Choose one of the four coaching sessions and you’re good to go! The coaching sessions are:

  • Brisk walking – high cadence intervals for walking
  • Running efficiency – trains you to run further for the energy you expend and turn you into more efficient runner. Made for those who want to run long distance.
  • Sprint intervals – high speed, high cadence intervals. This program is for those looking to get the most out of a quick workout when time is limited.
  • Speed endurance – intervals that challenge you to sustain a target pace. This program is for those looking to increase their personal running records in marathons, triathlons and other races.

All of the above is done via interval training – it doesn’t currently have the functionality of “just run”.

The type of feedback you can expect is on performance versus goal for that session and stuff like:

Your average cadence is 170 steps per minute. Imagine running on hot ground to make smaller steps.

Your average cadence is too low. Swing arms faster to increase your cadence.

Swing your legs to increase your range of motion.

The device can be used on the treadmill for all but the Speed Endurance session as it requires GPS.

Here’s a list of metrics you get a report on after each session:

  • Your level – the levels go from total beginner to world record so knowing where you are on the larger scale gives you a more objective idea of your own fitness level
  • Total time spent walking/running
  • Steps taken
  • Calories burned
  • Distance
  • Cadence
  • Impact
  • Range of motion = stride length
  • Pace
  • Elevation
  • Your performance versus goal for that level

Moov Run Moov Run Moov Run Moov Run Moov Run Moov Run Moov Run

Swim

Put your Moov on your wrist, enable bluetooth on your mobile device and click “rec swim”. You don’t need to bring your mobile with you all the way to the pool – you can just leave it in the locker and when it comes to processing the data it will just ditch whatever was recorded of you walking to the pool and back.

There is currently no serious coaching on the swimming app, although it does explain what you should aim for with the two key metrics (stroke rate and distance per stroke, see below) and gives you a tip at the end of the session report:

Moov SwimMoov Swim

Bear in mind the device is not suitable for open water swims (can’t handle salty water) and also doesn’t split your metrics by swim style. So if in a single session you swim in more than one style you get the metrics all combined together.

The swim app tracks the following:

  • Total time spent swimming
  • Laps
  • Calories
  • Distance
  • Avg. Stroke rate
  • Avg. Distance per stroke
  • Fastest 100 (metres or yards)
  • Longest continuous swim
  • Lap breakdown by lap pace, lap turn time and how many strokes it took to complete the lap plus comparison against average lap of a 200m olympic gold medal swim

Moov Swim  Moov Swim Moov Swim

Boxing

This is where it’s best if you have two Moovs so you can wear one on each wrist – the app is designed to work with two. You can still use it if you only have one but that means it can only track your performance on one side of the routine.

 I’d also recommend doing this session using a tablet so you can see better, but mobile works too.

There are four types of sessions:

  • Basic training  – coaches basic boxing punches, footwork, and combos
  • Light – great for warm-ups or new boxers
  • Semi-Pro – more challenging combos
  • Champion – highest level combos

The boxing app tracks the following:

  • Total time spent boxing
  • Rounds
  • Calories
  • Targets Hit
  • Difficulty
  • Hit Rate
  • Combos
  • Score
  • Velocity
  • Power
  • Technique
  • Timing
  • Duration

Moov Boxing Moov Boxing Moov Boxing

 

To Summarise

… What I Like

  • Versatility – it’s capable of collecting data for all kinds of activities, as long as apps are being built to process that data. I like how I can use the same device for running and swimming. When they build something for cycling I’ll be even happier! And then tennis, yoga, etc…
  • I’ve tried a few cardio boxing classes at the gym and didn’t like them at all. But the Guitar Hero approach with Moov is so much fun!
  • Very light and comfortable to wear on both the wrist and the ankle – I can hardly feel it on
  • Makes training fun and playful. The game aspect makes it easier to push yourself harder.
  • Sense of progress when you beat levels = extra motivation.
  • Clear idea of goals and what you should do next time (i.e. try to beat next level)
  • Feedback on running as you’re running – especially when it’s on cadence, stride and impact
  • A purpose driven device with actionable feedback

…What I Dislike

  • I made one of my friends get Moov so we can compete a little but there doesn’t seem to be any in-app social connectivity
  • Slow release on Android – all apps are coming out on iOS first
  • No “just run” mode – all running training is in intervals. Sometimes I just want to go for a run and for Moov to check me in on my cadence if it falls below a certain level for an extended amount of time
  • No “race day” mode – this would be an awesome feature! Moov pacing you through a race to help you beat your PB and minimising the risk of early burn-out. OH YES.
  • No way to set your own targets or import your own training plans (swimming/running)
  • No way to control how intrusive the lady coach is during interval training
  • I’d like a male voice please. 
  • Would be nice if the apps were all merged into one big Moov app
  • Doesn’t recognise voice command – to go a level up/down, pause etc. Would love this in the running app.
  • The “ding” sound notifying I’m on target. Too frequent.
  • For swimming there is no information on real time progress -  it could use lights to indicate whether I’ve swum a target distance yet or no
  • Requires smartphone – doesn’t work on its own at all
  • Doesn’t seem to differentiate between swim strokes when breaking down a swim session
  • If someone has two devices they can currently use them both for boxing only. The run & swim apps aren’t designed to work with two devices – but I think they totally should.
  • Doesn’t record outdoor swims
  • There isn’t a way to pause an interval (if you need to wait at a red light for example)

There may be more points on the dislike list than on the like list, but I must say I do believe it has good potential and that a lot of the dislikes are probably shared by many users and would soon be addressed. Can’t wait to see where this device goes next!

Bonus Details

Moov comes in two colours – black and white. I have one of each. Can’t decide which one I prefer.

The device comes with two straps – shorter for the wrist and longer for the ankle. I find both very comfortable and I like the “clasp” a lot. The straps have a rubbery/silicon feel.

Moov has an 8h battery life – it takes 15mins to charge for a workout, 40mins total charging time. It’s charged via USB.

I use iOS so can’t say much about the Android experience. Only one of the apps (run/walk) has recently been rolled out on Android. More details here on device compatibility and app release timeline on Android.

Standard price is $120 but they seem to have a deal on right now for $89, or $79 each if you buy two. As an early backer I have a referral link – feel free to use it. Although I already have two devices so not sure how I’d use up the referral credit – but anyway, here it goes:

https://moov.cc/getmoov/4603FEC51D

I paid £17 duty tax to get it shipped to the UK :(

Main competitors are atlas, amiigo, and flyfit but I’ve not had a chance to try any of these yet.

A short video by Moov on how it works:

And… it’s a wrap.

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