Moov Now Fitness Wearable Stands Out In Crowded Field Dominated by Apple Watch, Fitbit

Jul 17, 2015 06:49 PM EDT

The market for fitness-based wearables is a highly competitive one, dominated by the Apple Watch and Fitbit products. However, Moov has introduced an activity-tracking wearable known as the Moov Now, which has the potential to disrupt the market when it is officially released this fall.

According to Jon Phillips of PCWorld, the Moov Now is a step up from the original Moov wearable; it can now do step tracking and sleep tracking. It also contains "real-time coaching feedback in a wide variety of exercise programs."

"The wearable's motion sensors track the position of your feet in real-time, allowing Moov Now to deliver data you just won't get from competing fitness bands," Phillips wrote about the Moov Now's Run & Walk program. "And not only does it coach you on pace, it also tries to correct bad form."

Phillips pointed out that Moov Now can go "beyond simple bipedal motion." He tested the "Cardio Boxing workout" feature, which simulates training from a gym coach.

"Much like how Guitar Hero displays visual cues for playing specific chords, the Moov app displays icons for specific punches: jab, jab, uppercut, hook, jab," Phillips wrote. "If you punch accurately and quickly enough-remember, the motion sensors are tracking your wrist movement in 3D space-you'll earn a high score."

Phillips added that one can wear two Moov Nows during the Cardio Boxing workout "for a more complete experience." He pointed out that the wearable also had programs for cycling, bodyweight training, and swimming.

"The Moov Now is waterproof down to three meters, so you can wear it in the pool," Phillips wrote. "The Swim program doesn't provide real-time coaching, but once you're out of the pool, you can check data on lap times, flip-turn times, and stroke rate."

According to Phillips, the Moov Now doesn't deviate too much from the original Moov. However, he pointed out that it now relies on "a standard CR2032 watch battery" for power, which has increased the battery life from 24 hours to up to six months.

"There's also a new processor that's twice as fast, and will deliver better Bluetooth performance," Phillips wrote. "But the most forward-facing difference is a new physical design. The updated band is lighter and slimmer, and has holes for 'breathability.'"

Phillips then tried on the Moov Now, which allows some degree of personalization; the pod comes in blue, red, white and black.

"I tried on a few models, and they strapped on reasonably easily," Phillips wrote. "But if you're wearing anything approaching a traditional-looking wristwatch, the blatant sportiness of the Moov Now just doesn't accessorize nicely."

Based on his experience, Phillips thought the Moov Now could be "borderline disruptive" to the fitness wearables market, taking on the likes of Apple Watch and Fitbit.

"The Moov Now is freakishly cheap too-but it does a lot," Phillips wrote. "And it does so without going down the problematic rabbit hole of heart-rate tracking, and at a price point anyone can explore."

Christine Magee of TechCrunch also reviewed the Moov Now. She found that it was different from typical fitness wearables.

"Rather than steps, Moov measures movement within a 3D space," Magee wrote. "The hardware is composed of an accelerometer, a gyroscope to detect rotation, and a magnetometer that detects direction of movement."

Moov co-founder Meng Li explained why the company decided not to measure steps in their wearable.

"Steps [don't] really mean working out if I want to get fit," Li said. "The minutes of moderate exercise matter more to me than the number of steps."

According to Magee, a voice coach sends out instructions during workouts and makes suggestions on making improvements to form. Li noted that the coach had to be toned down somewhat in terms of intensity for the Moov Now.

"When we first launched the running coach she was very demanding and some of our users asked if she could be nicer occasionally," Li said. "So we evolved this coach personality-wise, and gave her different modes so that people can reduce coaching when they're not in a good mood."

Li also elaborated on how Moov Now could potentially change the landscape.

"Five years from now the default way of working out will be to have a personal coach with you," Li said. "Now when I drive I need a personal turn-by-turn assistant, and soon it will be the same with working out."

According to Moov's website, the Moov Now regularly sells for $99. However, it can be preordered via an early bird special now for $59.99, and two of them will cost $99.98.