[HEALTH TECH] MOOV Now REVIEW

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Within the first few hours of testing the MOOV Now we came to realise that there is a new contender for the best functional and ‘value for money’ fitness tracker on the market as long as you are happy for all feedback to be via your mobile phone. This said, we also came to realise that the MOOV Now is not a mobile tracker, but is a mobile fitness coach training you to perform better and more economically.

Build and Appearance

The first thing we noticed on opening the packaging was that, unlike many other trackers, the MOOV Now tracker unit is all plastic with no display. The only forms of direct interaction are a compressible front cover, used as a push button to initiate synchronisation and a single red LED used to indicate that the button press has been detected by the tracker.

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The MOOV Now comes with two straps. The first is for your wrist (the standard wearing location) and the second is for your ankle, to be used during specific tracked activities. The strap is historically only available in black, but now you can mix and match a black, blue, orange or pink strap with a black, cyan, red or white tracker unit which they call the ‘core’.

The ‘core’ mounts into the strap from the inside/rear to minimise the chance of it becoming dislodged and lost, although during testing the strap flexed sufficiently for the ‘core’ to partially dislodge a small number of times. Once installed, we found the strap and core to be the lightest tracker we have tested yet and with its hyper flexible rubber strap it is also the most comfortable, hardly feeling that you are wearing it at all.

Like the Misfit tracker options, the MOOV Now houses a coin cell battery to provide up to 6-months of operation between battery replacements, removing the frequent (weekly) recharge necessity encountered with rechargeable trackers like the Fitbit range.

Functionality

Despite its impressively low price tag, the MOOV Now incorporates a number of features we have hoped for from other, much more expensive, trackers. Synchronisation is not automatic with the Bluetooth connection be initiated by pressing on the front cover of the tracker unit whilst accompanying mobile app on Android and iOS is open. This means that there is no constant-on Bluetooth connection to worry about from the ‘core’/tracker unit.

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In addition to standard movement and sleep tracking, provided by competing trackers, the MOOV Now introduces live coaching and post analysis via the mobile app. Although there were originally a number of separate activity specific mobile apps, a few months ago they were merged into a single app on Android and iOS with the following activity tracking focuses:

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Running

When tracking running, the ‘core’ is worn on the ankle, providing cadence information along with the range of motion/swing of the foot and the g-loading of foot impact. In addition to ‘core’ based tracking, the GPS position information from the mobile app is used to track the distance, route and speed of the run. A recent update to the mobile app also added integration with third party chest mount Bluetooth HRM trackers, like the Polar H7, to provide heart rate logging association with the run data. As well as post run analysis the mobile app provides live voice feedback and coaching advice for five running/walking programs:

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  • Run farther and easier (Running Efficiency) – Spend less time aching and more time running. Transform the way you run with Moov’s low impact, energy-saving technique training. Eliminate injury causing habits as you reach set cadence goals and ideal range of motion. This training program has 16 levels and can be followed inside or outside with GPS being optional.
  • Speed endurance (Speed Endurance) – Run faster for longer by using strategic pace intervals with rests for recovery. See results in increased stamina, lean muscle development and new personal records. The program has 69 levels and only works outside as GPS is required.
  • Walk to sweat (Brisk Walking) – High cadence intervals are no walk in the park. This sweat inducing workout is designed to improve flexibility and tone your calves and glutes with each step without putting your joints through high impact. Choose hills for maximum results. This training program has 66 levels and can be followed inside or outside with GPS being optional.
  • Push the limit (Sprint Intervals) – Quick explosions to achieve high cadence goals will push your legs to the limit, activating your core and scorching fat. The burn you feel as you gain strength will only add to the satisfaction of each sweat inducing workout. This training program has 46 levels and can be followed inside or outside with GPS being optional.
  • Run my own way (Open Training) – Clear your mind with a running program that gives you the freedom to set your own pace. Run as far and as fast as you choose while Moov updates and corrects your form when you need it most. This training program has no levels and can be followed inside or outside with GPS being optional.

Cycling

As with running tracking, cycling tracking requires the ‘core’ to be worn on the ankle in order to provide cadence measurement and alongside the GPS tracking provided by the mobile app. Again, this data is used to provide live voice coaching from the mobile app.

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  • Ride outdoors (Outdoor Cycling) – A workout with a view! Feel the rush as you increase cardiovascular strength and sculpt your legs and glutes. Moov coaches you to tackle your ride with advanced feedback on your distance, cadence, route and more. This program has no levels and, as its title implies, is for outdoor cycling only requiring GPS access via the mobile app.
  • Record and analyse a ride indoors (Indoor Cycling) – You are in control of this challenge. Push your resistance higher and pedal harder to maximise metabolic burn and muscle tone. Regular updates from Moov mean there’s no excuse not to push yourself to a new personal best. Again, there are no levels in the program, and as its title implies, it is designed for indoor use with no need for GPS.

We have found this indoor cycling workout VERY useful during spin classes as the mobile app displays your cadence clearly throughout the workout.

Swimming

Swim tracking has a single program requiring a connection to the mobile app before and after the workout. Unlike the other workouts, the tracker does not need to be within Bluetooth range of the mobile app during the workout. Prior to training, the ‘core’/tracker syncs all saved data to the app providing maximum memory for data recording during the workout. On completion of the workout the ‘core’/tracker syncs with the mobile app to upload the recorded data for post processing and analysis in the mobile app. Below is the in app description of the program:

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  • Record and analyse a swim (Lap Swim) – Moov Omni Motion™ sensors analyse each stroke to generate a comprehensive report of your stroke style and lap details. Let Moov keep count so you can focus on pulling harder, kicking stronger and improving endurance.

This is where the MOOV Now has amazed us the most with its ability to detect the specific stroke and changes in stroke along with strokes per minute, distance per stroke and count lengths. Stroke rate measurements are calculated based on arm movement, detection of turning at the end of each length and a user defined length of the pool. We tried front crawl, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly and even switched strokes mid-length and errors were minimal.

We have been advised of the intention to expand functionality to support wearing a second ‘core’ on the ankle in addition to the current wrist worn ‘core’. This will enable kick analysis alongside the arm/stroke analysis.

Our only negative observation about swim tracking with the MOOV Now is the lack of live length counting meaning that, although you can check how many lengths you swam, you can’t set a target distance and have the ‘core’ inform you of when this is reached. What can we say. You give us the moon and we ask for the stars.

Cardio Boxing

Boxing tracking uses either one or two ‘core’ units worn on one or both wrists although we have only been able to test the single ‘core’ option, but the difference is quite obvious.

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  • Have fun burning calories (Cardio Boxing) – Getting into the rhythm is so much fun you’ll forget you’re working out. Master the speed and agility of the perfect punch in this fast-paced cardio workout. Engage your entire body to tone muscle and stimulate your mind for improved hand-eye coordination. This program has 16 levels and has no GPS requirements.

The cardio boxing training uses a GUI within the mobile app, looking a functioning somewhat like Guitar Hero, but with different punches instead. This is in the form of different punches and changes in stance. Whether one or two ‘cores’ are being used, the training uses both fists although only one can be tracked if a single ‘core’ is being used. Again, as well as tracking the punches, post analysis provides power and speed of punch data.

7+ Minute Workout

The 7+ minute workout uses the ‘core’ wrist mount alongside the mobile app to provide live exercise tracking and progress countdown with the exercises limited to star jumps, squats, lunges, press-ups, crunches and plank.

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  • Get toned with circuit training (7 Minute+) – Lose weight, gain strength and tone muscle using nothing but your own body weight. In just a few minutes of high intensity intervals, this total body plan works you out as hard as a long run. This plan is listed as having 99+ levels and has no GPS requirements.

As yet, we have attained level 76 and that is no easy feat as it includes over 1000 reps and three 90 second+ planks.

Most programs are level based getting harder and harder as your abilities increase. The higher levels are not for the week hearted, requiring VERY high levels of fitness and technique.

History

Once your workouts are completed you can see your previous training history in the ‘History’ section.

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My Progress

In addition to being able to see your traing history, you can also see overall progess information in the ‘My Progress’ section giving overall stats and trainging levels acheived.

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Online Service

screenshot_20161106-150446One major limitation of the Moov service is the lack of an online service, although ‘find and compete with friends’ functionality was added to the mobile app earlier this year. This is a welcome functional expansion, with weekly activity and workout top ten scoreboards between you and your friends.

Sadly, in order to add friends, you need to know their name/e-mail , with no option to search for people with similar athletic ability or workout performance history to compete with instead.

Another expansion on this would be to be able to live compete on runs or to add ghost runs like that provided in Sports Tacker.

Other than the mobile and PC apps, there is currently no online service.

Conclusions

The MOOV Now is, by far, the best value for money tracker on the market due to the game changing coaching functionality with its ability to discern your strokes when swimming among other things through multiple activity types.

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Pros

  • Coaches instead of simple tracking
  • Able to identify strokes when swimming, let alone being waterproof
  • Most comfortable tracker we’vet ested
  • Excellent coached 7+ minute workout
  • Bluetooth only on for manual sync and workout tracking

Cons

  • No tracker based user feedback
  • No watch functionality
  • No online service
  • All plastic ‘core’/tracker outer
  • NONE

Score: **** [4/5]

Build & Appearance: [4/5]

The all plastic ‘core’/tracker makes the MOOV Now appear low end, but the styling of the tracker band has an appealing look and feel.

Functionality: [5/5]

The tracking/coaching functionality of the MOOV Now is second to none as we have not found another tracker with the coaching ability of the MOOV Now. The only negatives are the lack of tracker based user interface and online service.

Affordability [5/5]

Although the plastic appearance of the ‘core’/tracker and lack of tracker based user interface aligns the MOOV Now to sub £50 trackers, the coaching functionality exceeds that provided by trackers priced at c.£200 and above.

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