Looking to track your fitness regime? The MOTOACTV may be just what you have been looking for. Announced late in 2011 the MOTOACTV is a lightweight, wearable fitness performance tracker and smart music player in one.
There are two types of sports people I think this product is gunning for. At one end of the scale, you have the hobbyists, like me, that go running a couple of times a week and maybe enjoy a spot of cycling and the pretence of being a triathlete. Having a training aid, whether that's an app on your phone or iPod can be a real help to keep the motivation going. I've personally been using Endomondo on my BlackBerry for a couple of months now and find it's a real help in pushing me to run that little faster as the kms clock by. I have however been thinking I might upgrade so something a little more technical. Here, MOTOACTV looks to be offering a step up from the mobile app to include the possibility for heart rate monitoring and easy to upload training cycles.
At the other end of the scale you have the purists for which only the best product will do. They need measurable stats for heart rate, performance, lap times, optimum speeds and so on. The MOTOACTV here is looking to offer this functionality whilst adding the more friendly benefits of an mp3 player to boot.
- 8GB or 16GB of storage for endless playlists
- Sports a 1.6" full-color touch-screen display that is sweat-proof, rain-resistant and scratch-resistant Corning® Gorilla® Glass that auto-adjusts for indoor or outdoor lighting
- Option to sync with the latest Android-powered smartphone to receive incoming calls and texts
- FM radio capabilities for more song variety
- Up to five hours of battery life for outdoor workouts, 10 hours indoors, and nearly two weeks on standby
- Supports both Bluetooth® 4.0 and ANT+ wireless connectivity for your existing fitness sensors and your future ones
- Size: 46mm x 46mm x 9.6 mm
- Weight: 35g
At first glance, it's not a bad package. The hardware is solid, reminiscent of a slightly more bulky iPod Nano albeit without quite the glamour of the aforementioned iDevice. It's when you get it out of the box that the appeal starts to fall apart for me. By the time you've got it clicked into the accompanying wrist strap you have quite a chunky device; certainly significantly larger than purist sports watches such as those made by Polar. This might be fine for some people but looks pretty ridiculous on me. It's also not super comfortable to wear and has a major flaw when it comes to music playback. I know there are other ways to wear the device but trying to run with a headphone cord flailing about from your wrist is not an approach I would recommend to anyone.
I can't really complain about the UI. It's pretty simple to use, if not a totally joyful experience. You simply swipe across to change though the screens like on most smartphones. It feels somehow a little dated compared to the experience most of us expect from a connected device, certainly not matching the screen quality, brightness and colours of its bigger brother Android smartphones.
You'd expect the tiny screen to be a little fiddly but actually it's very easy to use. Motorola has done a decent job of keeping the menus and options nice and simple and any techno-idiot can manage the basic set-up.
Much the same as the UI. It's got a fair range of functionality. There are a few training modes which can be extended by buying extras such as the heart-rate monitor. I think it's a bit cheeky they aren't included out of the box actually but I know how this game works.
The accompanying web companion allows you to set up your own personalised training programmes and to analyse your training performance is pretty cool and could replace the need for a personal trainer on your shoulder were you so inclined.
What I haven't used:
I haven't tried out the Smartphone pairing. It's a bit disappointing that it's only officially for Motorola devices but on the whole it seems if you were using MOTOACTV AND had a Droid, AND wanted to carry both devices with you on your run, then it would add some useful functionality but frankly I'm not sure it really needs it. If you're going to be checking your texts whilst out on a run, you're not trying hard enough in my opinion.
I also haven't tried out the heart rate monitor functionality as you'd have to purchase that as an additional accessory which is a shame. But I assume it works.
Basically, I've not come to any conclusions yet. I can't quite decide if the MOTOAVTV is just not for me or if it's really not that great a product or indeed if I just haven't been using it to it's full potential. I think the crux of it lies in the feeling that this device is trying to be all things to all men yet doesn't really hit the target for anyone.
So what to do? To be honest, I've found myself reaching for Endomondo as I leave the house. I know I have access to my phone, maps, music and so on and can still get the basic training info I need to keep me going plus considering it's totally free it makes a bit of a mockery of the price of the AVTV. I'm considering trying out something a little more purist such as the Polar FT80 but not in any hurry.
For more info on the device check out motoavtv.com
Reviewed by: Tom