Moov and so you should! Fitness it a big part of life these days and everyone should aim to be getting in their daily exercise! With many of the population struggling to get active and an increasing obesity looming, I have been looking to find something to keep me active...
I have looked at Smart watches and fitness trackers but the Moov sports coach is something different!
Let's start with the design. Moov has been shrunk to a third of its original size and feels much more manageable then the previous models.
It still packs an accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer – the trio of movement sensors that enables it to provide so many coaching stats – yet it doesn't feel as unwieldy as before, especially on the wrist.
The strap itself is also a triumph. Holding the sensor has proved to be difficult for some brands but Moov's new strap is a stroke of design genius. It's a silicon band with a tight pouch that the sensor slips into.
You get two straps in the box – large and small – which is helpful as you do need to position the Moov Now around your ankle for running and cycling tracking.
The other big change is the battery. Moov Now switches to a watch battery rather than a rechargeable lithium, so it offer six months of battery on a single charge. With the addition of daily fitness tracking this is a great move, and it's nice to have your Moov ready for a training session when you are.
Moov Now: Activity tracking
In terms of features, the Moov Now carries all the same sports as before – but now in one app, rather than the six individual apps from the previous device.
In the same app as the sports tracking, Moov will track activity in the day and keep a tab of your active minutes during the day, and sleep at night. You can see these on the home screen of the app (below).
It's slightly basic – and that's a little disappointing. It certainly doesn't hold a candle to the likes of Jawbone, Fitbit or even the Apple Watch, and that's a shame. You can't dive into advanced stats on your sleep or stats, just scroll through time on a less than useful graph and see totals displayed.
Moov also isn't that great at logging your sleep time. If you're still, it assumes you're asleep, so our sleep time was often logged as the entire time we were in bed. And if you forget to wear Moov, then it logs that as a mega long sleep time, which then messes up your averages.
It's useful feature for offering a more three dimensional picture of your fitness life, but it feels half-hearted, and that's a bit of a shame.
Moov Now: Sports coaching
Where Moov has always excelled is sports, and it's important to emphasise the coaching element. A running watch is not a coach; it will not make you a better runner.
Running and cycling get the most coaching, while swimming and boxing sessions are tracked and reported. Finally the app will guide you and count reps for 7 Minute workouts, helping you progress from level to level as you get stronger.
Moov features a host of training plans designed to help you achieve goals and then uses a voice coach to affect your performance in real time. And in this regard, it's the leader out of a handful of similar products.
When you go out for a run, you can choose training plans from running efficiency, intervals and open training. These are given clear and beneficial names such as 'help me run farther and easier', 'improve my pace and distance' and 'push me to the limit.' It's the stuff hardcore runners want, and presented in a way that's not scary for newbies. It's a great selection of training plans, for all levels of ability.
When you head out for a run, the voice coach will explain what you're trying to do, and then keep tabs on the metrics and tell you when you're getting it right – and more importantly, how you can do it better.
Running efficiency is a personal favourite, where the coach urges you to keep a high cadence over a series of intervals. Tips include "swing arms faster" and "take shorter strides", but will also jump in if you're hitting the ground with too much force ("be lighter on your feet") or it notices your posture degrading ("shoulders back" and "don't clench your fists").
When cycling, Moov Now will urge you to "change gear for an optimum cadence."
It works in a similar way for sprint intervals and speed endurance programmes, with the coach's voice giving you tips as you go, based on real time stats. And it's these stats that make Moov so unique. As well as stealing GPS from your phone for all the usual pace, distance and time stats it also tracks range of motion in your legs, g-force through your foot and cadence.
And that's just for running. It will detect and count your swimming strokes, show your cycling cadence and power (only accessible through very expensive kit before) and even the power of your punches on the boxing bag. All from one sensor. It's in a league of its own and highly impressive.
Read this: How gamification can get you fit
Each of the programs has around 40 difficulty levels, which you can switch between even in mid-session. And it doesn't hold any prisoners. We consider ourselves to be fairly competent runners, but even level 4 training plans pushed us hard. It's a real tool for improvers.
The only bugbear is that the indoor cycling metrics we were promised from Moov haven't showed up yet, but the company has proven its committed to adding new features, so we still hold out hope.
The 7 Minute workout was also, on the whole, excellent. We've seen some coaching devices recently, like the Jabra Sport Coach, that claim to take you through the training but won't count reps. Moov Now gets things right, and will track your arm position to tick off press ups, squats, sit ups and more – as long as you copy the form of the coach within the app.
It's not perfect. We'd like to see a better variety of exercises here – burpees and squat jumps are notable absentees on the workout list, and forget weights in the gym – but the program is easy to follow and enjoyable to do. Apart from some issues with sit ups taking a while to register our starting position, the 7 Minute workout segment is a triumph – and the progression through the levels actually adds an element of addictive gamification.
That is potentially something that's missing from Moov in general – there's no social elements to make friends with other users and challenge each other. Something that's done well within the Jawbone ecosystem.
Moov Now: Downsides
Well, despite all the great additions to Moov, there are some big caveats.
Firstly, Moov needs your phone for coaching and GPS tracking and that's a real pain. Phones are massive now and strapping one on is starting to be a real drag. But Moov needs it because it takes the GPS data and plays the audio coaching through the phone app – so for this generation, you're stuck with it.