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Moov Now review:

A personal workout coach on your wrist

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Moov Now (stealth black)

(Part #: MOOVNOWBLK)
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The Good The Moov Now is small and comfortable workout tracker with a long battery life. It can be worn in the shower and the pool. The Android and iPhone app provides real-time audio coaching and feedback for a wide array of activities. It can track sleep, calories burned, and active minutes.

The Bad It's not a good option as an all-day activity tracker; the syncing process is a hassle; it requires you to have a smartphone with you for coaching feedback; its best feature -- the boxing workout -- requires two devices.

The Bottom Line The Moov Now helps beginners interested in working out take a step in the right direction, but you'll need to keep your smartphone handy to use it and overcome some quirks.

6.9 Overall
  • Design 7.0
  • Battery 8.0
  • Performance 6.0
  • Software 8.0
  • Features 6.0

It can be hard to get yourself to the gym. It can be even harder if you're a beginner and not really sure what workouts to do. There is the option of hiring a personal trainer, but that comes with an added expense many people may not be willing to pay.

The $100 (£65, AU$135) Moov Now is a workout tracker and coach for beginners that want to become more active and start working out, but don't know where to start. This little device, which is a follow-up to last year's Moov tracker, is like a personal trainer on your wrist. Workout programs and real-time audio coaching through the mobile app (for iPhones and Android phones) can help make you a better runner, a faster cyclist, a more efficient swimmer and -- most importantly -- can help you lose weight. You can even wear two to train for boxing, although that doubles the price.

The Moov Now is a small pod that is worn on your wrist or ankle. It measures your movements, while also tracking calories burned, active minutes and sleep. It's almost like the love child of a Wii remote and a Fitbit.

I've been wearing the Moov for the past few weeks. As an avid athlete, I may not be the target audience, but I enjoyed the feedback it provided. I also had a blast doing the boxing workouts. Ultimately, I'm not yet ready to give up my gym membership. But for a beginner who's ramping up a workout regimen and looking for a little digital encouragement, the Moov may be a better starting point than a more traditional fitness tracker like a Fitbit or Jawbone.

What is it?

The Moov is an activity tracker, but rather than counting metrics like steps and distance, the Moov tracks your sleep at night, calories burned throughout the day, and your active minutes. It also uses a traditional coin battery, which is said to last up to six months. It's nice never having to charge it, but you will need to eventually manually replace the battery. Fortunately, they're dirt cheap -- you can get a 10-pack at Amazon for under $7.

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It's a weird fitness tracker. As I said, it doesn't use standard measurements. And while it syncs with Apple's Health app, it doesn't included detailed information on sleep (deep, light or REM) and doesn't let you set personal activity goals.

It's also a pain to sync. Most fitness trackers automatically sync with your phone when you open the related app. The Moov requires a ridiculous six-step sync process: open the app, select the fitness option, click sync, press the Moov to enable sync mode, tap connect on your phone's screen, and then sync the data.

Editors' note (October 15, 2015): We tested an early build of the Moov app on an iPhone 6 Plus. A recent update to the app has now made activity syncing a one-step process. A single press on the Moov will initiate a sync, but connecting the device to the phone still requires the process outlined below. We will continue to test the Moov through the general release of the app on Android and iOS on October 19 and update our review with our experience.

This is only for syncing sleep and active minutes data. Workouts are synced automatically, but that's because that band is already connected to your phone. This process to connect to your phone is a little less tedious: open the app, select a workout, press the Moov to enter paring mode, tap connect on your phone's screen, and start the workout.

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So why should you even care about the Moov? Because, despite those issues, it's a pretty interesting basic personal trainer and workout tracker.

The Moov supports four coaching activities, with multiple workouts. There's one for running and walking, another for cycling, one for swimming, and one for at home coaching, which includes interval workouts you can do without weights and a boxing routine.

You wear the Moov on your wrist or ankle (it comes with two strap sizes), depending on the activity you are doing. For running and cycling, it's the ankle. Swimming, boxing, and interval training use the wrist.

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Running in Central Park

The Moov works on its own or can be used along with a Bluetooth heart-rate strap. Run and walk coaching includes workouts that help improve running efficiency and speed endurance. There are workouts for brisk walking, pace running, sprint intervals, distance running and open training. I paired it with my iPhone 6S Plus (it also works with Android phones) on a sunny day and went for a run toward Central Park.

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It wasn't long after I began my workout that I started to receive my first piece of coaching feedback. I was told to land lighter on my feet and lengthen my stride. The coaching will come through your phone's speakers, you can also use a pair of headphones. When I reached my first mile, I was told my pace and encouraged to keep it up. At one point the coaching even called me a "monster," which gave me a boost.

Beginners will like the motivation and coaching of the Moov, while more advanced runners will be more interested in the detailed information it provides. But as you continue to use the Moov, you too may find yourself obsessively analyzing the data, as I was.

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