When Timex asked me to review the iQ+ Move, I experienced a brief flash of panic. You see, this watch is a fitness tracker and I have no fitness to track. The Time Bum leads a notoriously sedentary existence. I go from sitting in my car, to sitting at a desk, to sitting on a couch. I have not seen the inside of a gym in years. I am perhaps the worst possible reviewer for a device that records exercise. I wondered if I would even register on this thing. It wasn't going to make me run or anything, would it? On the other hand, the Move is a watch, and I may not know fitness, but I do know watches. I accepted the challenge and Timex sent me this black and green model for review.
The first thing you notice about the Move is that it is, by all appearances, a legitimate watch, not a garish plastic digital or a blocky rubber ring. It's conventionally styled, 38mm brass case has proper hands and even a signed crown, although they operate in a rather unconventional manner. Its angled chapter ring is notched around printed baton markers. The Move's fitness function is betrayed only by the presence of an "Activity" subdial at 5:00. It is rated for 50m water resistance.
The Move sells for $149 on Timex.com, which puts it in competition with dozens of other trackers; however, the closest in terms of style and philosophy is the Withings Activité Steel ($129-229 depending on model). I have not reviewed one myself, but from what I have seen, they share a similar dial layout, track similar functions, and employ similar control apps. The two watches may use different movements, but the commonalities are such that I wonder if the same chipset might be at work.
My review sample was one the sportiest in the line, featuring a matte black brass case and a black dial with gray printed markers and chartreuse/lime green hands for an eye-catching pop. The 20mm strap is soft black silicone with a textured green backing, which is a fitting choice given that this is a watch intended for an active lifestyle, but it is a bit of a lint magnet. Timex also offers the Move in a bright silver tone case, white dial, and different accent colors as well as wide selection of leather and nylon straps.
A Timex wouldn't be a Timex without Indiglo illumination. Press the crown and the whole face lights up in a strong blue glow.
Overall, the Move is a handsome unit that could easily be your only watch. Unlike some fitness watches, like the ubiquitous Fitbit or Timex's own Ironman series, you can choose to dress it up or down as you like and it won't look silly with a suit. This is essential because an activity tracker does you no good if it is sitting on your dresser for 10 hours a day. The curved lugs and 13mm height sat well on my 6.5" wrist and made it easy to wear under a buttoned shirt cuff. This would be a perfectly nice watch even if it merely told the time, but of course, it does a bit more than that.
The watch uses the Timex proprietary iQ+ movement with Bluetooth connectivity that links to an app on your Apple or Android smartphone and allows you to program activity goals, either by selecting one their three pre-sets or by tailoring your own by number of steps, distance walked, calories burned, and hours of sleep. You download and open the app, fill in some basic identifying information, and then press and hold the crown for a few seconds until it beeps to initiate pairing and set up. The first time takes several minutes. Subsequent syncs are well under a minute.
The process unfolds as a little dance on the dial as the hands rotate to center position and then move to the correct time and date. It is a little odd to set your analog display watch through your phone, but it is kind if cool too. (If you ever wanted to forgo the app, you could set the time the old fashioned way too.) Once the basic set up is complete, you are printed to enter your daily goals, either a user-entered number or from one of three pre-set suggestions: Less Active, Active, and More Active. My general level of activity is most charitably described as "merely ambulatory" so I chose the "Less Active" default. I was pleased to discover that I am not as big a slug as I thought (at least in Timex's eyes) and soon bumped it up to the "More Active" but still quite attainable goals of 10,000 steps, 5 miles, 3500 calories, and 8 hours sleep. I did not check my steps or mileage for accuracy, but if either is off you can fine tune the watch' sensors through the app.
One of the more curious quirks is the selectable second hand function. Through the app, you can opt to have it display your steps, distance, date, or boring old seconds. I didn't feel the second hand provided the most useful display of activity totals, so I generally kept it on the "Perfect Date" function indicated on the chapter ring, which is marked with the numbers 1 and 31 in their corresponding minutes positions. I found it to be rather clever and intuitive. The fact that it automatically adjusts for local time, daylight savings time, leap year, 30-day months, etc. is also a plus. Subdial function is also selectable, displaying your steps or distance as a percentage of your daily goal. This worked well for me as it was easy to visualize and I must admit that I felt a flush of accomplishment when it hit 100% and sounded a brief victory chime.
I was worried the the Move's Bluetooth connection would rapidly drain my battery, but such was not the case. The watch will hold 7 days of data so there is no need for frequent transfers. Once a day should suffice unless you want to review your totals throughout the day. Regardless, the watch connects and releases each time. Unlike most other fitness devices, the Timex relies on regular disposable watch battery that is good for a year. This means you can wear the watch all the time without missing data while it sits on a charger instead of your wrist. Of course, this brings up the problem all watch collectors have with fitness watches; they are only useful if you wear them all the time. Those of us who frequently switch watches will not get the most from a data logger unless we wear both watches at once. I know people who double-wrist for this very reason, but they are a tiny minority.
This was my first and only experience with a fitness watch, so I have no real frame of reference for most of its data logging functions. Perhaps that is not a bad thing. Die-hard health nuts will likely want a more sophisticated device like the Apple Watch, whereas I suspect the average Move buyer will have a more casual approach to fitness tracking. I really appreciated being able to set up and master the iQ+ software in a matter of minutes and was satisfied with the data it logged. If you just want an attractive watch to gather some basic health data, and you don't want to spend a small fortune for it, the Move will be perfect. ⬩