Motorola Motoactv Android-powered sports multi-tracker launched
One watch-sized device combines GPS, heart rate monitoring and smart music playlists
Motorola has released its first Android-based fitness monitor, the Motoactv. Measuring just 46x46mm square and 10mm thick, you can clip it to a wrist strap, bike mount, or on to clothing and it's designed to do almost everything you need while training, particularly if you're into endurance sports such as running and cycling.
The interface behind its 176x220 toughened glass touchscreen isn't dissimilar to an Android smartphone or MP3 player, but it's the highly customised applications and features that'll do the most to convince fitness fanatics to put the Motoactv on their wishlist.
It combines GPS with a three-dimensional accelerometer for highly accurate distance measurements even indoors - the accelerometer also allows the Motoactv to count your strides, making it effective even if you're trapped indoors on a treadmill. Motorola also uses a combination of open maps and Google maps to produce the most accurate GPS mapping and route planning possible.
Over the coming weeks, Motorola will release compatible cycle cadence and heart rate sensors. The device supports the Ant+ and BLE standards, so can be linked to any compatible HRM strap or cadence monitor. The HRM features are particularly vital, particularly if you're into Heart Zone training or just want a good estimate of how many calories you're burning during your workouts.
The Motoactv will track your training and, thanks to its accelerometer, is even accurate in doors
You can track your training and create training schedules via a web interface - your data will be uploaded whenever the device connects to the internet. The system can also help you build new training routines based on legendary endurance coach Chris Charmichael's system.
The Motoactv can play your music, too. It has 8GB of storage and you can connect either wired or wireless Bluetooth A2DP headphones to it. It'll also track how you perform when each track plays, and in time develop a recommended playlist to spur you on to reach your goals. Further encouragement is available in the form of optional vocal cues and challenges.
The Motoactv is available now for £250 - pretty expensive for a non-phone Android device, but not at all unreasonable for sports GPS hardware. Our biggest concern is the Motoactv's battery life. Android devices are notoriously power-hungry. Motorola's quoted figures estimate 20 hours' battery life if all you do is play music, 10 hours if you're training indoors with the GPS disabled and 5 hours for outdoor training with GPS. We'll be taking a close look at whether the Motoactv can last the distance when we put it through its paces in the coming weeks.
Also giving the Motoactv a whirl is Iwan Thomas, former Olympic athlete and British record holding 400m runner. He'll be using it to train for his forthcoming Sport Relief challenge which will see him run, row and cycle around the UK.
Iwan Thomas will be using the Motoactv to train for the Sport Relief challenge.