We’re brimming with devices designed to track and improve your health – fitness equipment, apps, digital scales, and even “smart” clothing. Of course, fitness bands have exploded because they are easily combined into your life, affordable, and provide the motivation to become more active. But which fitness band is right for you? And perhaps more importantly, they all measure the same things, in the same way?
For a month, I actually wore three straps at once to compare their performance: Motorola’s Moto 360 Sport, Moov Now, and Amazfit Arc.
First of all, I do not recommend wearing three exercise straps at once. I did this a lot during my trial and it felt like I was wearing handcuffs, which was not particularly comfortable. It doesn’t look very eye-catching. I think wearing multiple straps will give me an 80s Swatch feel, but they all look very different and don’t really work well together. Also, the look that I received from others told me that this fashion statement is like a Member-Only jacket.
But I’m lost. This is not about eye-catching looks, it’s about how these bands compare to each other. First, let’s break it down one by one.
Hello, Moto 360 Sport!
Of the three models tested, the Moto 360 Sport was an outstanding product and not just for $199. It costs so much because the Moto 360 Sport is far from the usual fitness tracker. It’s actually an Android Watch, which means it can track appointments, emails, Instagram posts, and more (and it works with both Android and iPhone). It can even lock your door if you integrate it with a smart front door lock like Kevo Smart Lock.
However, that also means it’s heavy. With a weight of about 2.5 ounces, the Moto 360 Sport has only one size, I find it a bit bulky. That weight doesn’t mean it has longer battery life. In fact, if you’re going to stay motivated, you should charge the Moto 360 Sport every day.
It will also motivate you. The Moto 360 Sport features GPS, timer and can also be customized with a variety of watch faces. I prefer the Sport side because it keeps the timer and statistics on steps, heart rate, and calories burned at my fingertips.
Despite its large numbers, the Moto 360 Sport is still attractive. The strap is sturdy (good, as it cannot be swapped). In addition, this model is rated IP67, so it is dust resistant and waterproof (in water no more than 3 feet for up to 30 minutes). Motorola warns not to use it while swimming or in any activity related to “pressure steam”. At this price, that means you don’t want to take it to the bath or shower.
Moov Now helps you move
The purpose of an activity tracker is to keep you motivated. However, Moov Now is designed for people who want to be really motivated.
The $59.95 tracker doesn’t really track the steps of the day, because Moov now wearers have received 10,000 on — and then some. Instead, this unit is designed to get you through that, offering new exercises, distance goals, coaching, etc.
With a weight of about 0.5 ounces, Moov Now’s interface is quite basic. It doesn’t have any kind of screen to help you track stats or even time. The most interesting thing about Moov Now is that it can be worn on the wrist or ankle. It also has no charger, instead of relying on a long-life CR2032 battery. This is a pity since I never seem to have those coin-style batteries when I need them. However, Moov promises about 6 months of use, depending on how active you are.
Moov Now is watertight. It is produced for swimming and excessive sweating, surrounded by batteries in a plastic circle, tucked into a black strip with a mesh design. This is good for bathing and swimming, but I have found myself regularly cleaning the lotion from it.
While the actual device doesn’t have any type of screen, the app is booming with the options of running, walking, cycling, swimming, and more. Each section is designed to improve your performance, challenging you on screen and in your ears. Yes, Moov Now has an in-app coach to help you focus through headphones, even through stored and streamed music. Of course, that also means that to be really effective, you need to keep your phone inside while working.
Amazfit Arc provides the essentials
For $69.99, the Amazfit Arc doesn’t include Google access, motivation speeches, or special exercises. It’s just a fitness tracker, but it works pretty well on the basics, tracking both steps and sleep patterns. However, it also offers a number of additional features, including information on calories burned and an optical heart rate sensor. It shows the time and vibration alarm to alert you when an incoming call or wake-up call is made.
At about 0.5 ounces, the Amazfit Arc is very thin. It actually looks a lot like a female watch, with a lock to attach it to your wrist. The front has a 0.42-inch OLED display that rotates over time, number of steps, distance, calories, heart rate, and battery life with a simple swipe. Like the Moto 360, this model can be charged via USB but for up to 20 days of use on a single charge. I noticed that quite accurately, as I only needed to charge the Amazfit Arc once during my 30-day trial. (And really, that’s because I don’t want to check the limits of the battery while I’m out.)
Similar to the Moto 360 Sport, the Amazfit Arc is water resistant, not waterproof. That means you don’t want to dive into the pool with it. However, it survived several downpours.
Amazfit paired this wearable with an easy-to-use and easy-to-read app. It displays pretty much everything on the actual device, but adds sleep and timeline data so you can keep track of your patterns.
Not easy to compare
Stitching these three models together proved much more difficult than we expected. First of all, Moov Now does not track steps daily, although it does count them in specific activities. Otherwise, it will record how much time you’re active.
And despite tracking almost everything in your life, the Moto 360 Sport doesn’t track sleep (while others do).
Good news: Consistent sleep monitoring
If that’s a concern, Moov Now and Amazfit Arc are both good choices. Both models tracked my movement throughout the night, noting the moment I had deep and not deep sleep. Even better, they are very consistent with each other.
Case in point: During the week, I sleep at the same time every night. And since I have a 17-year-old dog, I am often woken up at the same time at midnight. Both trackers recorded these ups and downs throughout the month.
Bad news: Track missed access steps
Even so, the number of steps varies quite a bit. As mentioned, Moov Now does not count the number of steps unless you are performing a specific activity. For example, on a normal day, I practiced treading for 15 minutes with my Moov Now, Amazfit Arc and 2-year-old Fitbit Flex. Moov Now reached 1,883 steps; Amazfit Arc shot 1,466 steps; Fitbit requires 1,485. Amazfit and Fitbit have had rough deals and Moov Now seems a bit high, but who can say which set of measurements is technically more accurate? Indeed, Moov is also attached to my ankle compared to my wrist – on the company’s recommendation to run/walk. It is impossible to believe that this produces more accurate data.
Overall, the Moto 360 seems inconsistent – and offensive. Some days, it is on par with the number tracked by the Amazfit Arc and Fitbit Flex. There were other days where it was hundreds of steps away.
One day I went for a walk with my dog with my Moto 360 Sport, Amazfit Arc and Fitbit Flex. In addition to relying on bands to perform their automation tracking, I tried to count the number of steps manually. The Amazfit Arc tracked 2,121 steps, while Fitbit registered 2,244. My personal “manually” number is about 2,100. In contrast, the Moto 360 Sport gave me a whopping 3,458 steps, obviously the exception.
Since my counting skills may have been gone, I walked shorter, about 500 steps at a time. The Amazfit Arc often comes close, with the Moto 360 Sport often more than doubling in number. One day I left home with the Moto 360 Sport listing 4,502 steps on the face. By the time I finished my 2,000-step walk, it had read 3,116 —and no, I didn’t walk backwards.
The little things become
Worse, the battery life caused the Moto 360 Sport to die when I least expected it. While the average battery life is about a day, high levels of activity can cost you a lot of battery life. This is something I don’t usually recognize until it’s too late.
Two of the three models have built-in heart rate monitoring, (Moov Now offers that feature as an additional option). I checked both for blood pressure machines at my home. The Amazfit Arc registers 78 bpm, while the machine is listed as 80. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty close. The Moto 360 Sport gives equally impressive reading results, clocking regularly within two points.
It is also worth noting that the Moto 360 Sport is regularly disconnected from my iPhone, losing the Internet access of my wrist. You don’t need to connect just to track your steps or heart rate, but having access online is what makes this higher-priced option worth the money. It will usually reconnect itself, but sometimes a little handy intervention is required.
In addition, despite the interesting features and appearance of the actual product, the Moto 360 Sport has the least interesting mobile app. It doesn’t provide access to Instagram, Google, or even a timer. Worst of all, it doesn’t store any of your exercise information. Instead, it’s really just a port to adjust the watch’s settings.
So which one works best?
After a month of combining, combining, and following, I realized that choosing a fitness band was a really personal experience. If you’re addicted to the web, the Moto 360 Sport will probably be your first choice. That said, it has so many quirks that even a web enthusiast like me can’t stand. On the other side, hard workout enthusiasts will probably prefer the motivation offered by Moov Now.
However, my definition of fitness tracker varies greatly. I consider the fitness tracker to be a step count—intervals. Anything above the icing on the cake. That puts the Amazfit Arc at the top of the list. It’s quite comfortable, with good battery life and an easy companion app. He also did what he had to do. If your main goal is to be a little more dynamic, this model can make that a reality at a really attractive price, adding some good privileges, including sleep and heart activity tracking features.