Moov Now review

A brilliant all-round fitness tracker

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I’ve just had my rear end handed to me by the Moov Now system, where I've only this second picked myself up off the floor and I’m dripping with sweat all over my keyboard.

I didn’t even mean for this to happen.

I thought I was ready for day three. I warmed up with a few miles on a slow run to work with a chum, and then got straight into the Cardio Boxing app.

But I'm going to reverse the diary today and tell you what just happened. I took on the sprint repeats workout, firing up the program in the app and strapping the Moov Now to my ankle. So far, so good.

The first question I was asked was simple: 'Can you run at top speed for a minute?' 'No problem!' I answered, my ego telling me that I could probably run at top speed for over an hour but I don't because I'm TOO HUMBLE.

The Moov app recommended I start at level 19 - which required me to run for a minute and a half with a range of motion of 108 degrees. I had no idea what the second thing was about, and it sounded like a really, really long time to be sprinting... so decided to start at level one.

Just run for 30 seconds five times? Simple.

I took to the virtual start line and began. The cues during the short sprints were good 'Lift your knees / stride longer / kick your heels more' but I only just managed the workout.

But I mostly completed it, so decided I should push harder, moving up to level six and 42 seconds of pain for the final four efforts.

I don't know whether it was because all I'd eaten this morning was a delicious, delicious home-baked M&M's brownie by TechRadar's own Emma Boyle (seriously, if I could review THAT I'd have to come up with a new star rating) or just that I wasn't good enough - but by the third repetition of the sprint training I was spent.

And the annoying thing was I hadn't even properly completed one interval yet - I was going to need to 'pass' five to complete the level. 

By the fourth session, I was quitting before the interval ended. By the fifth, where I pushed myself as hard as I could to try and pass the interval, I was done, stopping a full 10 seconds before the end of the phase. 

It was awful - I felt sick and angry and frustrated that I couldn't push any further.

While I really don't want to blame the Moov Now app for my failure (as it was mostly due to early complacency), I do think that the 'range of motion' metric could be better explained. 

As far as I can tell, this is stride length monitored by the Now disc strapped on my ankle - but that information is never really fully outlined so it was hard to know what I really did wrong. Was it just form, or fitness? 

I have no idea how someone could do this program at level 19, let alone the higher echelons. I'm going back to level one and working my way up.

Boxing stupid

Let's roll back in time to a time when I wasn't lying on the floor wishing I was dead - approximately an hour ago. I tried out the Cardio Boxing feature of the Moov Now - it's meant to be the 'fun' workout on the app.

And it really is. It's like Guitar Hero with your hands flailing around (so... exactly like Guitar Hero in my house) but giving you a jolly good workout.

You jab, punch, cross, hook and uppercut when instructed to by the app - and you get bonus multipliers for completing sets.

While this is the most fun activity in the Moov Now platform, Cardio Boxing does have some massive limitations. 

Firstly, you really need to play it on a large screen that's at eye level, which is incredibly hard to do - if you can even find a tablet (and there's no iPad app for Moov) putting it at eye level isn't easy, and there's no Chromecast or AppleTV support.

The punch recognition system is excellent though, with the Moov Now detecting movement in your wrist and knowing vaguely if you're doing an action correctly.

But despite the fact you can do Cardio Boxing with a single Moov Now, you really need two to get the most out of it and punch with both arms at once - and you wouldn't buy another tracker just for this game.

The middle grab shows the Moov Now Cardio Boxing missing when you've only got one tracker on

The middle grab shows the Moov Now Cardio Boxing missing when you've only got one tracker on

The boxing gameplay itself is fun, but the Moov system flicks you through the levels too quickly. 

Soon you're being bombarded with multiple punch styles to hit in quick succession, and you're supposed to be moving your feet in a certain way too.

It's too easy to get lost in the action, and just flicking your wrist at the screen will log a 'successful' punch as you try to keep up. 

Form goes out of the window in a desperate attempt to comprehend what your eyes are seeing, and you're less pro-boxer and more 'cat trying to escape a field of bees', such is the limb-flinging.

You do get a good workout, but Moov has put too much emphasis on progressing through and not enough on mastering the punch styles - it needs to be much harsher here and fail incorrect actions to encourage good form.

Still, Cardio Boxing is fun and a great workout (my shoulders ache already, and I know they'll be a mess tomorrow) - it's just too expensive to buy the let's-be-honest-necessary second Moov Now and quickly gets too complicated to follow.

Now I'm going to spend the rest of the afternoon trying not to pass out on my keyboard...

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.