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3/1/2014
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Moov Vs. Fitbit: Fitness Faceoff

Wearable fitness devices take on personal trainers to track your workouts and improve them. Here's how Moov compares to early leader Fitbit.

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Meet Moov, a wearable fitness gadget that its founders say will revolutionize the way people work out. It not only tracks your activity, as many similar devices do, but also acts as a personal trainer to improve your movements.

Moov gives you real-time audio feedback to adjust your cadence, form, posture, precision, and rep counts for activities such as yoga, cycling, running, boxing, body weight movements, golf, and even swimming. Yes, it's waterproof. If you pound the pavement too hard when you run, for example, Moov may suggest you adjust your posture or running stride to minimize the landing impact. It could also tell you to "lean forward and land on the ball of your foot," or "try shortening your stride now," the company said.

The wristband, which was built by former Apple employee and HALO game engineer Nikola Hu with cofounders Meng Li and Tony Yuan, will ship in limited quantity this summer. The company set up a crowdfunding campaign to raise $40,000 for its initial shipment of 650 units at $59 each. After the first shipment, devices will cost $120.

Moov joins an already crowded market of wearable tech gadgets and gizmos including Fitbit, one of the most popular devices. Here's how their features and hardware compare.

Basic features and tracking

Both devices look sleek and minimal. Moov takes its design cues from a wristwatch with a round face, while the Fitbit Flex resembles a wristband. Moov is a versatile device: You wear it on the part of your body that you want to measure in your workout. For example, wear it on your ankle or shoe for running, or on your wrist while kickboxing or swimming. The device relays feedback in two ways: visually, through your mobile device, and through audio cues.

You can pick from five activities within Moov's mobile app: running, cycling, swimming, boxing, and body weight. In addition to tracking the frequency and duration of your workouts, the device also tracks how much time you're sedentary, the number of steps you take, and how many calories you burn. If you're inactive for too long, Moov may suggest you stretch or repeat sets of jumping squats, the company said.

The Fitbit Flex, which is always worn around the wrist, tracks the steps you take, the calories you burn, the distance you travel, and how many minutes you're active. While it doesn't critique your activity form, it does monitor the quality and length of time you sleep, and includes a silent alarm that wakes you by vibrating. Like Moov, this gadget reminds you to move if you're sedentary too long. Fitbit Flex lights squares up on its surface to indicate how close you are to achieving your fitness goals for the day. It also tracks your progress in its mobile app.

Both gadgets let you share your accomplishments with friends and compare your activity with others.

Hardware

Moov and Fitbit Flex share similar hardware and specs, with a few slight differences. Moov uses 9-axis motion sensors -- accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer -- to track your motion and evaluate your form. Its applications, the company said, provide data, voice analysis, and visual feedback based on "complex algorithms that understand both quantitative data and the quality of your movement."

Moov's battery lasts up to a week for low-to-medium activity tracking and 8 hours for high-frequency movement tracking, the company said. The device is waterproof up to 1 meter and comes in two colors: white and black.

Fitbit Flex uses a MEMS 3-axis accelerometer to measure your motion patterns, which determine calories burned, distance, steps, and sleep quality. Flex also contains a vibration motor for sleep alarms. Its battery lasts approximately five days and is water-resistant up to 10 meters. Flex comes in five colors.

Both devices connect to your mobile phone through Bluetooth. Moov syncs automatically with your mobile devices via Bluetooth when it is within close range (50 to 100 feet, unobstructed.) It pairs with the Moov app available for the iPhone 4S and above; the company expects Android compatibility in the fall. The Fitbit Flex automatically syncs your data to PCs, Macs, and a variety of iOS and Android phones within 20 feet of the dongle, which plugs into your PC's USB port.

We'd like to hear from you: Which fitness devices do you use today? Would you consider purchasing Moov over others?

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Kristin Burnham currently serves as InformationWeek.com's Senior Editor, covering social media, social business, IT leadership and IT careers. Prior to joining InformationWeek in July 2013, she served in a number of roles at CIO magazine and CIO.com, most recently as senior ... View Full Bio

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anon4217761154
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anon4217761154,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/25/2014 | 10:46:44 PM
Moov missing in action!
Received our two Moov devices. So far, my email inquiring as to why there's no Android support (really??) has gone un-answered. There's no literature with the product, and most 'features' are now officially described as "coming soon". If I can figure out how, I'll be returning our 2 soon! We were conned!

Stick with Fitbit!
FormerMTman
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FormerMTman,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/28/2014 | 1:16:54 AM
Re: Current FitBit user switching to Moov
Hi Alison - No, the color of my force is black, which is fine for me. The primary reason is the fitness coach that the mood offers, and the 9 axis movement sensor. I would highly recommend a fitness tracker if you have never used one.
depmodechick
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depmodechick,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/5/2014 | 5:14:24 PM
Re: Overanalysis
I received my FitBit Ultra as a gift in September of 2012 and I can say I've used it consistently since receiving it. I'm considering making the "Moov" to a wrist version of a pedometer but I think Moov offers much more than I need. Walking is the way I exercise, and I don't want a digital coach for that. I received a Fitbit Flex for Christmas and returned it so I could get the FitBit Force, but so many people complained they lost it because the wrist band didn't clasp properly... and like someone else mentioned, FitBit recently pulled it off the shelves due to a wrist irritation.
FormerMTman
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FormerMTman,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/5/2014 | 11:18:20 AM
Re: Current FitBit user switching to Moov
Kristin - The sleep monitor has to be set manually on the FitBit, so you have complete control over that.  What you do (on the Force) is press and hold the button for about two seconds (a stopwatch starts showing you that you are starting sleep mode) and when you wake up, you press and hold the button for about two seconds to turn sleep mode off.  My problem with this is that I have forgotton to turn it back on in the morning.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
3/4/2014 | 8:50:21 PM
Re: Current FitBit user switching to Moov
Your observation about cell phones and fitness gadgets is spot on. People debate the value of these devices all the time, but if they've helped you increase and monitor your activity, why not invest in one?
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
3/4/2014 | 8:45:47 PM
Re: Current FitBit user switching to Moov
I'm skeptical about the sleep monitors. I tried an app once that basically tracked your movement during the night and based on that, reported your sleep cycle. It also claimed to wake you up at the most opportune time in your sleep cycle to minimize grogginess, though I never found any of it particularly helpful.
FormerMTman
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FormerMTman,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/4/2014 | 2:31:12 PM
Re: Current FitBit user switching to Moov
Sorry @anon0631711623, my bad, I meant to say that I purchased the Fitbit Force (top end model) not the Fitbit Flex (the mid market offering).  Yes the flex does offer more color choices that the Force, but I liked the wireless sych of the Force (and you will too as the bank on either is a little hard to put on or take off).
FormerMTman
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FormerMTman,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/4/2014 | 2:27:03 PM
Re: Current FitBit user switching to Moov
Features I would like to see:  Blood pressure, heart rate, glucose monitoring would be very nice and could be incorporated easily.  
FormerMTman
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FormerMTman,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/4/2014 | 2:24:39 PM
Re: Current FitBit user switching to Moov
I would go for it!  Try it out and you'll see if you are moving as much as you think you are.  I had thought I was doing fine, could have improved but was still getting some exercise.   Man was I wrong!

 
FormerMTman
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FormerMTman,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/4/2014 | 2:21:53 PM
Re: Current FitBit user switching to Moov
I wouldn't say that I am a pro with these things, for me I purchased to FitBit because I wanted to know how much I was actually moving as my job is mostly sedentary.  Turns out that it is no mystery how I got fatter over the past year, I was only walking about a mile a day, sometimes a little more, but not more than 2 miles.  Using the monitoring functions, I am up to 4+ miles a day walking and 2 miles a day running.

My primary reason for upgrading to the Moov is that it incorporates 9 axis sensors (as opposed to Fitbit Force's 3 axis sensors), that allows the tracker to analyze your total body movement and compare it to different form models.  This comparison allows for real-time "coaching" in order to improve form and increase efficiency, thus making you better at what you are doing and reducing the risk of injury.  I really like the look of the Fitbit Force (and yes the FORCE model only comes in the two colors mentioned in my original post - I verified it, and only the Flex has more colors), and I can't say that I love the design or the color of the Moov, but the coaching is too good to resist INHO.

By the way, Fitbit has pulled sales of the Force right now due to complaints of skin irritation with the band, I haven't experienced any issues with my Force and have suffered no irritations.  I thought the trackers were kind of a novelty as well at first, but heck cell phones were a novelty at their introduction point.  I don't NEED to have a tracker, but once you get one (and use it) it provides some valuable data that will help you meet your goals. 
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