Hands-on review: Xplora XMOVE Bluetooth activity tracker
Image credit: Xplora
Now that we're allowed out again, with daily exercise firmly on the agenda, you might fancy a smartwatch to track and trace your movements. Xplora has got you and your wrist covered.
We previously reviewed Xplora's XGO2 activity-tracking smartwatch, which is designed specifically for children to wear and parents to control. Noticeably chonky, the XGO2 was clearly designed to withstand the inevitable rough and tumble of our mini-mes' lives. With the XMOVE, Xplora now offers a sleeker, more stylish option for both the adults and the style-conscious teenager in the family.
Impressively, the XMOVE offers much of the basic appeal of a class-leading smartwatch, such as Apple's Watch, but comes in at under £50.
What you don't get is a SIM-card slot; voice calls; GPS; ECG or other cutting-edge healthcare sensors; an app store ecosystem and the inevitable world of delightful accessories, such as fashion-first straps.
What you do get is a Bluetooth (Low Energy 4.0) activity tracker that records your steps and calories burned; has a multi-sport mode for different types of exercise; that reminds you to stand up and to drink more water; that is IP68 waterproof up to 1.5m (i.e. surface sea swimming and regular pool depth); which checks your heart rate, pulse and oxygen saturation; reviews your sleep quality; handles incoming notifications from your iOS or Android smartphone; doubles as an alarm clock, timer and stopwatch; plays music remotely; offers remote camera control, and stores all your daily fitness data (limited though it is) in the dedicated app.
It also does all this while being very lightweight and comfortable to wear, in a body that is svelte to the point of being deliciously thin (just 10mm thick), and with a matching watch and strap colourway that is understated in its elegance. The 160mAh battery also lasts for days between charges, its endurance boosted by not having to cope with any GPS or SIM card drain or a high-res display. Recharging is done via the supplied magnetic cradle, which is a bespoke 'fugly but functional' proprietary design (like Apple's Watch charger), so you'd best not lose it.
Depending on your activity tracking needs, the XMOVE might well be more than enough for many people. If you're a keen runner or other outdoors sports enthusiast - e.g. someone who wants to keep a close eye on all aspects of their data and performance - you're probably going to be better served by a watch with higher tech spec and a more granular approach to fitness data.
For example, the XMOVE clocks distance using the accelerometer, rather than GPS, so it's not quite as accurate as a GPS smartwatch. The fitness data it captures also tends to be more 'topline' than deep dive. It's really a watch for those of us who know we should move around more than we do; who have a passing interest in beating yesterday's steps count etc, but are not necessarily obsessive about it, and would welcome a reminder to get up and out of our chair and generally be more active. All, preferably, without hammering our wallets too much. This is the XMOVE's sweet spot.
Sure, the 1.3” 240 x 240-pixel TFT display is not eye-searingly bright, although it is perfectly clear and legible in most light conditions. Only dazzlingly bright, direct sunlight will throw up any serious screen contrast issues. The watch is also occasionally laggy and not super-responsive to commands or user movement, so the raise-to-wake feature can be… somewhat capricious, shall we say. At least you can also tap to wake.
We also had some initial teething problems setting up the watch with the Xplora app on our iPhone. You have to pair the watch with the app on a phone, otherwise nothing works, but the process was complicated by the XMOVE not yet being listed as a product option in the app at the time we tested the watch. We simply chose the existing XGO2 instead, faking that this was the model we had, and everything connected as it should (they're essentially the same watch, in software terms). It wasn't a big deal and presumably an update to the app will add the brand-new XMOVE to the list, but it dented the 'frictionless' aspect of first-day ownership.
The XMOVE is also compatible with Xplora's Goplay online gamification and reward platform, which allows a wearer to collect points with their activity and compete for rewards both in the virtual sense and as actual physical goods. This is probably of more motivational appeal to children with the XGO2 watch, but adults are also welcome to step up and compete. There's no hard-sell or obligation to participate, though, so it's entirely up to the individual. A nice touch in the app is that families can compete amongst themselves, seeing each others' step counts, for a little friendly competition.
All in all, for less than £50, the XMOVE is something of a smartwatch bargain. It's a bit like buying a preloved first or second-generation Apple Watch, in terms of the basic functionality, only it's brand-new and working perfectly well with 2021's phones. Being waterproof is another big plus. The XMOVE on your wrist looks thoroughly modern and impressive and won't embarrass you or let you down. As long as your fitness tracking data requirements are as modest as the XMOVE's price tag, all you have to do is pick your favourite colour: black, petrol (our test watch: very nice), grey or pink.
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