Hands on: Withings Move ECG review

A hybrid watch with an ECG monitor

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Early Verdict

The Move ECG is one of the first products to offer an electrocardiogram on a consumer wearable, and it has the benefit that it looks good at the same time. This looks like it may well be one of the most interesting hybrid smartwatches money can buy.

For

  • Easy to use ECG monitor
  • Good looking hybrid

Against

  • Limited design choices
  • No heart rate tracker

We’ve liked Withings hybrid smartwatches for a few years now even though they haven’t been the most innovative devices on the planet. The latest smartwatch from the company may change that though.

The Withings Move ECG takes a lot of what is great about the Withings Steel and brings in a new feature – you’ve guessed it, and ECG (electrocardiogram) monitor as well.

You may know of that technology, or heard that it’s included in the Apple Watch Series 4. The Withings option is a much more affordable watch, and while it isn’t as feature-rich it’s compatible with Android phones so it may be the perfect way to get an ECG reading for yourself.

Withings Move ECG release date and price

An exact release date for the Withings Move ECG is currently unclear, but the company has confirmed it plans to make it available during Q2 2019 and that means it’ll be between March and the end of July in the UK and US.

The company seems confident it will be able to get the right accreditation for the feature. That may mean it'll be available in the UK before the Apple Watch 4 gains approval to activate its ECG feature there.

It's set to cost $129.95 / £129.95 (about AU$230) and we’ve yet to have confirmation on whether you’ll be able to buy it in Australia.

Design

Although it's a good starting point to think of the Withings Steel when trying to work out the design of the Move ECG, it's also quite different. It doesn't feel as premium as it has a plastic design, but it's still an attractive piece of kit.

There are two different designs of the watch, unlike the (also new) Withings Move that’s customizable on the company's website and has over 3000 different possible combinations. 

Instead here you’ve just got two options below, one with a black watch face and silicone strap and another that has a white face and blue strap. It’s a good looking device, and you'll especially be interested if you don't want the impactful look of a full-screen smartwatch.

It’s thin, which means it's comfortable on your wrist plus the design is plain enough that it’s easy to read your stats.

Here you can read the time around the outside edge and the Withings logo hides on the left hand side of the clock. There’s also a small gauge in here too to give you your percentage reached of your step count each day, plus it's used when you're doing an ECG.

There’s a small button that at first glance looks to be a crown on the right hand edge of the watch, but it doesn’t rotate or change the time. This is, in fact, just to start a workout directly from the watch.

Tap it once and the workout features will begin working straight away, which can be useful if you don't want to pull your phone out of your pocket before starting a jog or walk.

There’s a thin metal bezel running around the outside of the Withings Move ECG, and while it may first look like this is just to improve the look of the device it’s actually there for the ECG monitor.

Specs and features

The biggest selling point of the Withings Move ECG is the fact you can do an electrocardiogram measurement from your wrist.

You don't have to start anything within the Withings app; you can just place your thumb and forefinger on the metal bezel around the watch and it'll start the reading.  You'll have to sit still for 20 seconds, but the step counter will activate and run down to show you how long is left on the reading.

We’ve tried an ECG on the watch and it was easy enough to setup and get going. You can’t move much for the duration of the test, and we found it to be as accurate as we could tell. Luckily it didn’t detect atrial fibrillation.

Withings app showing an ECG reading

Withings app showing an ECG reading

That’s an early sign of heart defects, so this can be a useful feature if your heart is feeling weak or you're concerned about your heart health. Having this directly on your watch so you can do it from wherever is a great feature that may help save lives.

Your data is then provided within the app where you can monitor it or even send it directly to your doctor. If your phone isn't nearby when you ran your last test, the watch will store the data and upload it when you've reconnected too.

Fitness

This watch isn’t a full-blown fitness device and instead it’s designed to track the odd workout and your daily step count too. It’ll automatically track your steps, and if you initiate a variety of workouts on the watch you’ll get your GPS data from your phone provided within the app.

There’s no heart rate monitor on this watch, which feels like an odd choice given it has enough high-end features to have an ECG monitor. This may be something you’ll feel is missing, but many hybrid watches don’t have heart rate monitors on them.

It can also track your sleep too, including duration and disturbances throughout the night. We've found this to work well on other Withings products, but we'll reserve judgement until we've had time to use the Move ECG properly in our full review.

The company also claims the battery will last up to a year on the Move ECG. It doesn't have a rechargeable battery and instead uses replaceable batteries, but that isn't an issue if it'll last for a year or so each time you put in a new one.

Early verdict

Including an ECG monitor on such a thin and affordable device is a great step from Withings, and it's on an attractive device that many will love wearing.

As with other Withings hybrid smartwatches, this isn't the most feature-rich device you can buy but if it can track your step count, as well as looking good and detect atrial fibrillation this is an impressive set up.

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What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.