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Hands-on Review: Xplore XMOVE Bluetooth Activity Tracker

Now that we’re back outside, with daily exercise firmly on the agenda, you might want a smartwatch to track and track your movements. Xplora has you and your wrist covered.

We previously reviewed Xplora’s XGO2 activity-tracking smartwatch, which is specifically designed for kids to wear and parents to operate. The XGO2 is remarkably thick and clearly designed to withstand the inevitable rough life of our mini blades. With the XMOVE, Xplora now offers a sleeker, more stylish option for both the grown-ups and the style-conscious teen in the family.

Impressively, the XMOVE offers much of the basic appeal of a leading smartwatch, such as Apple’s Watch, but costs less than £50.

What you don’t get is a SIM card slot; voice calls; GPS; EKG or other advanced healthcare sensors; an app store ecosystem and the inevitable world of delicious accessories, such as fashion-first straps.

What you do get is a Bluetooth (Low Energy 4.0) activity tracker that records your steps and calories burned; has a multi-sport mode for different types of exercises; reminding you to get up and drink more water; that is IP68 waterproof to 1.5m (i.e. surface swimming in sea and normal pool depth); which monitors your heart rate, pulse, and oxygen saturation; assess your sleep quality; handles incoming notifications from your iOS or Android smartphone; doubles as an alarm clock, timer, and stopwatch; plays music remotely; offers remote camera control and stores all your daily fitness data (however limited) in the dedicated app.

It does all this while being very light and comfortable to wear, in a body that’s slim to the point of being wonderfully thin (just 10mm thick), and with a matching watch and strap colorway that’s understated elegance. The 160mAh battery also lasts for days between charges, endurance is improved by not having to handle a GPS or SIM card drain or a high-resolution screen. Charging is via the included magnetic holder, a custom ‘fugly but functional’ proprietary design (like Apple’s Watch charger), so you better not lose it.

smart watch and phone

Depending on your activity tracking needs, the XMOVE may be more than enough for many people. If you are an avid runner or any other outdoor sports enthusiast – e.g. someone who wants to keep a close eye on all aspects of their data and performance – you’ll probably be better served by a watch with higher-tech specs and a more granular approach to fitness data.

For example, the XMOVE clocks distance using the accelerometer instead of GPS, so it’s not as accurate as a GPS smartwatch. The fitness data it records also tend to be more “topline” than deep dive. It really is a watch for those of us who know we need to move more than we do; who have a passing interest in beating yesterday’s steps, counting, etc, but are not necessarily obsessive about it, and would like a reminder to get up and get out of our seats and generally be more active to be. All preferably without straining our wallets too much. This is the sweet spot of the XMOVE.

Sure, the 1.3-inch 240 x 240-pixel TFT display isn’t dazzlingly bright, although it’s perfectly clear and readable in most lighting conditions. Only dazzlingly bright, direct sunlight will cause serious screen contrast issues. The watch is also occasionally laggy and doesn’t respond super fast to commands or user gestures, so the wake-up feature can be… slightly erratic, shall we say. In any case, you can also tap to wake up.

We also had some teething problems setting up the watch with the Xplora app on our iPhone. You have to pair the watch with the app on a phone or nothing will work, but the process was complicated because the XMOVE wasn’t listed as a product option in the app when we tested the watch. We instead just opted for the existing XGO2 and pretended it was the model we had, and everything hooked up as it should (they’re essentially the same watch, in software terms). It wasn’t a big deal and presumably, an update to the app will add the brand new XMOVE to the list, but it dents the “frictionless” aspect of the first-day ownership.

smart watch and phone

The XMOVE is also compatible with Xplora’s Go play online gamification and rewards platform, which allows a wearer to accumulate points with their activity and compete for rewards, both in a virtual sense and as actual physical goods. This is probably a more motivating draw for kids with the XGO2 watch, but adults are welcome to perform and join in too. However, there is no hard-sell or obligation to participate, so it is entirely up to the individual. A nice perk in the app is that families can compete among themselves, seeing each other’s steps count, for a little friendly competition.

All in all, at under £50, the XMOVE is something of a smartwatch bargain. It’s a bit like buying a much-loved first or second-generation Apple Watch, in terms of the basic functionality, except its brand new and works perfectly with the 2021 phones. Being waterproof is another big plus. The XMOVE on your wrist looks thoroughly modern and impressive and won’t embarrass or disappoint you. As long as your fitness tracking data requirements are as modest as the XMOVE’s price tag, all you need to do is pick your favorite color: black, petrol (our test watch: very nice), gray, or pink.