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Lifewire / Yoona Wagener
Comfortable even for sleeping
Great for small wrists
No charging required
No screen to interact with
Sleep-tracking feature is buggy
No heart-rate monitor
The Withings Move is an understated hybrid smartwatch suited for analog watch fans who want a little extra.
If you’re considering leveling up to a wristwatch that can do more than tell time, but want the look and feel of a typical watch, you may be interested in a hybrid smartwatch. The Withings Move falls right into this group of devices that have more capability than a regular watch and still look like a classic timepiece. It offers fitness tracking but doesn’t require you to be plugged in at all times like most smartwatches.
We tested the Withings Move to see how comfortable it is for everyday use and explore the extent of its smartwatch characteristics.
We don’t typically think of smartwatches as being nearly weightless, but the Withings Move is just that. Weighing in at just a little over one ounce, this watch is almost undetectable on the wrist.
That’s because there’s nothing really heavy in the construction of the device. The back of the face is made of stainless steel, but the case protecting the face is plastic. The lack of weight is nice, but the plastic coupled with the somewhat-flimsy silicone band gives the watch a less refined feel. An added boost to the slim profile is the water-resistance of up to 50 meters, but that seems like a contradiction given the lack of ruggedness in the design.
Weighing in at just a little over one ounce, this watch is almost undetectable on the wrist.
At first glance, it looks like your average sporty analog watch. But it’s easy to spot the hint that this device has more functionality. In addition to the usual time and second hands, the Withings Move also features a smaller subdial. This section is labeled from 0-100, and this is where your step goal progress is measured (by percent of completion).
As far as buttons go, there’s only one, and it’s in the usual spot on the right side of the watch face. It’s not used for winding, though. This is the button you’ll rely on for shutting off the alarm function and starting/stopping a workout session.
Depending on the category you fall into, the lack of a touchscreen could be the largest benefit or drawback of the design. Users who want the look of a regular analog watch will be pleased by the lack of a typical smartwatch screen on their wrist.
Given such a simple and clean design, it’s natural to expect the setup process to be the same. We found that to be the case.
The Withings Move comes with no chargers, cables, or ports of any kind, so there’s no charging required out of the box. All the work is done through the complementary Health Mate app, which we downloaded from the App Store.
The first thing we had to do was sign up for an account in order to move forward with the installation. After we did that, most of the steps took just a few seconds or up to a minute at the longest.
First, we paired the Withings Move with our phone via Bluetooth, which was instantaneous. Next, we provided profile information for better activity metrics, downloaded an update, made sure the watch dials were working and the time was set correctly, and we were good to go.
Some watches can feel heavy by the end of the day, but we didn’t encounter that weighed-down feeling with the Withings Move. The watch is really lightweight and the band is soft, flexible, and slim, which made sleeping with it a non-issue. It was also easy to achieve a good fit—especially for smaller wrists—thanks to the plentiful notches and the tab to keep the band in place.
The Withings Move is not a flashy device with lots of buttons. The button on the side is only used to silence the alarm you set through the app or to initiate an activity session. Because of the comfort and the sleek look, it’s definitely versatile enough to wear on a daily basis. It doesn’t scream “sport watch,” but it’s also not overly decorative, offering an appealing mid-way point between sporty and dressy.
We did notice that both the front and back of the watch face scratched easily over the course of a week, and suspect this could be a bigger issue for those who are harder on their accessories.
While hybrid smartwatches like the Withings Move offer ease of use and versatility with your wardrobe and daily wear, they’re limited when it comes to tracking performance. Some activities are automatically recorded: walking, running, hiking, and swimming. With outdoor exercising, you can also track distance and elevation with the connected GPS feature.
There’s also support for all kinds of other general fitness activities like indoor cycling, weight training, and pilates. All you have to do to log these exercises is to wear the device and launch a workout session by holding the button on the watch for a second or two until it vibrates. That’s the same action for stopping the workout, too.
It offers fitness tracking but doesn’t require you to be plugged in at all times like most smartwatches.
Most activities allow you to track your speed, activity length and type, steps taken, and calories burned. You won’t be able to monitor active heart rate for any activity, though. And swimming is even more limited: you can only track how long you’ve swum and the calories exerted. The big bottom line to remember, however, is for any distance-based activity you want to log, you’ll need your smartphone.
We took the Withings Move (and our smartphone) on a run and a walk, and just like it says it will, the watch automatically detected our activity. When we compared it with our usual step trackers, a Garmin 35 and the iHealth app, steps were comparable. For running activity, we were pleasantly surprised to see that the pace was pretty much spot on. But we missed having information about overall pace, cadence, active heart rate, and distance indicators on the watch face itself.
We also tested the water-resistance while washing dishes and in the shower. The Withings Move is water-resistant up to 50 meters, which, according to the manufacturer, makes it acceptable for lap swimming, splashing, and dishwashing. Even though we didn’t put it to the depth test, it held up to submersion in soapy water and never missed a beat.
The Withings Move is reported to have a battery life of up to 18 months, and we really enjoyed that aspect over the week we tested it. Unlike typical smartwatches, we didn’t have to worry about draining the battery and recharging. The internal battery is a typical replaceable watch battery, and the user guide offers directions for removal and replacement when the time comes.
Though activity data is somewhat limited, the Withings Move does offer some other more in-depth insights. Sleep activity, for example, is automatically detected and doesn’t require any other action besides wearing the watch while sleeping. When you wake in the morning, you’ll be able to view your quality of sleep for the previous night based on the number of interruptions, duration, and even depth of sleep. There is a hiccup with this feature, though—we noticed when we took it off at our desk one morning, it seemed to think we had fallen back asleep and continued reading our sleep quality.
Another tracking perk is the resting heart rate measuring feature. This requires that you give the Health Mate app permission to access your phone camera, but if you do this, simply placing your finger in front of your camera lens enables the app to sense your pulse and turn out a resting heart rate reading. The reading could be quite slow if we didn’t remain entirely still, which is almost impossible to achieve completely.
But that quirk aside, the heart rate feature is an appealing addition to a device that offers few flourishes. It obviously does require your smartphone, but all activity (which can also be viewed on the web through your Withings account) is closely tethered to your device.
Despite the lack of a touchscreen or dashboard interface on the watch, it was never difficult to sync data with the Health Mate app or view metrics. It’s easy and uncomplicated to use for recording or launching activities—including tracking food with the MyFitnessPal integration. Since the app is really what provides the “smart” qualities of the device, we hoped it would deliver on that, and it did.
There are also a number of other supplemental programs you can sign up for through the Health Connect app in order to up your general wellness. Most of these programs, which are free to join, require a specific type of Withings device, but others, like a meditation and pregnancy tracking program, don’t need any additional equipment.
The Withings Move retails for $69.95, which is an attractive and affordable price for a hybrid smartwatch—most competitors tend to be well above $100. While these other models, like the Fossil Harper and Fossil Q Commuter, typically come with more functionality like music storage or streaming, notifications, or taking a picture from your phone, there’s also a bigger price associated with those features.
Those looking for a dressier and more substantial watch may find these Fossil models to be better alternatives. Other devices that are comparable in price, like the Fitbit Inspire Fitness Tracker, lack the analog watch qualities and look like designated activity trackers. The Withings Move splits the difference at a modest price.
The Misfit Phase is another hybrid smartwatch with a classic wristwatch look, maybe even more so than the Withings Move. Priced at around $175, the Misfit Phase is more expensive, but also comes with a few bonuses that the Withings Move lacks, like text notifications, playing and pausing music on your phone, and also taking selfies.
On the other hand, the Misfit Phase’s battery life is less impressive (up to six months) and it’s considerably heavier at nearly seven ounces. It also lacks the subdial feature. If you want more impressive looks and some flashier details, you may be happier paying extra for the Misfit Phase. But if you’re a fan of less equipment on your wrist, the Withings Move could satisfy your hybrid smartwatch wishes.
Are you interested in weighing other hybrid and smartwatch options? Take a look at our roundup of the best smartwatches for women and the best cheap smartwatches.
Best for those who prefer the analog experience.
The Withings Move is a strong entry-level fitness tracker for the person who wants to track activities without going all-in on a smartwatch. It’s inexpensive, sporty, and subtle, which makes it compelling for those who don’t want to be distracted by notifications and all the hands-on features smartwatches bring to the table.
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