Withings refreshed its most affordable line of hybrid watches by bringing Move to life in 2018. Back at CES 2019, Withings updated the Move and gave the tracker the ability to measure one lead electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG), and thus became an occasional heart rate monitoring hybrid watch. It took some time for Withings to bring the Move ECG to the stores, which finally happened in September, so let us do the review of this affordable, but yet capable hybrid tracker.
We have been asking Withings for over two years to lend us a device for a review, and they finally answered our question and sent us a Move ECG. The box resembles the box of Nokia Steel HR I briefly used, but when you take the shiny white outer layer of the box, you quickly notice that Move ECG is the much affordable gadget than the Steel HR. The watch is folded in a cloth, and beneath it is a simple user guide printed on a recycled paper. Nothing else is there since Move ECG is powered by an exchangeable CR2430 battery that should last for a year.
Here is the unboxing video of a Withings Move ECG.
Even before the Withings was Nokia Health, its watches were exceptionally well designed, with elegant body lines and good quality materials used. The same design approach and build quality remained after Withings became independent once again.
The Move ECG is a sleek 38 mm watch, and its affordability can be seen in a plastic case with a minimalist design approach. We received a classic black model for a test, with shiny metal handles and a yellow step goal tracking handle. Even though Withings did make a more attractive white model, the black one should look nice on a man’s had, especially if it wears suites since its 13 mm thick but rounded body won’t get stuck on a shirty. The 18mm wristband is made of silicone, and Withings is offering it in 5 different colors. The best part of the wristband is that those can be removed with a simple leaver mechanism. The watch feels light on a hand, and while running, you won’t even sense it. Anyway, the buckle of Move’s wristband does provide and extra secureness, but the one keeper could have a tiny hook, like Huawei Watch GT/GT2 does, or be more rigid.
The Move ECG doesn’t have a bezel around the watch face, but the rounded glass is embedded in a metal ring that serves as one of three electrodes that Move requires to record an ECG. The ring connects to the plastic frame, or the case, that has one metal multifunctional pusher button on a right, and two portions for attaching wristbands. The back of the case is made of metal and hides a place for two additional ECG electrodes and an altimeter. Yes, Move ECG does have an altimeter, but you are not able to read its measurements trough the app as in other smartwatches, but Move ECG will tell you how high up you were while training.
The case of the Move ECG is waterproof, and up to 50 meters, which is a standard for the smart trackers currently available at the market. I am not sure if that will be preserved when you try to replace the battery though. The best would be to take your watch to a professional to do it in a vacuum. Maybe the metal back cover is meant to be popped up with a pin, like in Withings Steel, since there is a dedicated notch for that kind of action on the case. It would be useful if Withings could publish a How-to video, or just explain the battery replacement process.
Believe it or not, the Move ECG also shows the time, and it is quite precise since it syncs with your watch from time to time to check if the time is correct. I tried to use it without the sync for a day, and the watch wasn’t late or rushing. The handles are easily seen during the day, or during the night, but only if there is some street light or any kind of light source. If you are in a pitch dark, you won’t be able to tell the time. The users would appreciate if Withings could make the handles fluorescent what would make this problem disappear easily. Another problem is that the watch doesn’t show date, which can be useful from time to time, especially since it looks like a classic watch.
I like the thing that you can check the alarm time by shortly pressing the main button twice. With Pop, you could do this by tapping the glass of the watch. I don’t know why Withings didn’t use the same idea with Move ECG.
As its name suggests, The Move ECG is a watch capable of tracking your steps, sleep, run, swim and different other activities like powerlifting or even badminton. The swimming sessions and running activities will be recorded automatically, and that is cool since those activities are usually the ones that are people are doing the most. I do recommend starting the activity yourself by long-pressing the dedicated button on a watch for a more accurate measurement of the training duration. Funny thing is that the watch handles will start measuring the duration of the training, and move to 12 which is the start position for that kind of measurement. The big handle is timing the seconds, while the short one is measuring minutes of your training session.
Step tracking is pretty much precise, even though the Watch GT and GT2 showed a more precise number of steps in a short distance. But, on longer distances, the Move ECG does the tracking job as good as the previously mentioned trackers. The watch doesn’t come with a GPS chip, but it does offer a connected GPS feature. This means that you’ll need to take your phone with you while running or cycling if you want to check the route you took. The watch isn’t showing the steps you are doing in real-time on the phone since it is not connected with it the whole time, just on-demand which is power efficient. The watch is using Bluetooth Low Energy connection so it wouldn’t drain the battery so much if it would be connected with the phone while you are checking the app at least.
Move ECG is coming with the altimeter build it so you will know how many floors you climbed during the day, or during your training session. Unfortunately, this option can’t be read over the app, just shown as a score in the training description. This option is not the most precise one, but it does come close to the results gained by the Huawei Watch GT.
The sleep tracking is also a nice addition. The watch can track light and deep sleep cycles automatically, and even show if your sleep was interrupted. You can break down the sleep cycles in the app, but only the deep and light sleep cycles are shown. The app can’t show the REM phase of the sleep. After each night, the app will also give you the sleep score which is based on the quality of the sleep.
This watch will also be an occasional HR monitoring device since it can record a one-lead ECG. The main purpose of the ECG is the possible detection of AFib by monitoring the regularity of your heart’s sinus rhythm. The watch can detect a sinus rhythm of your heart through the three electrodes, and tell you if you have an abnormal rhythm right away in the app. You start the ECG measurement by shortly pressing the button. You are then required to touch the metal bezel with thumb and index finger, and stay calm for 30 minutes while the watch is recording the ECG. The recording is transmitted in real-time to your smartphone over the Health Mate app which is cool and can be downloaded from the watch later when you sync it. The ECG is quite precise, according to a friend of mine who is a cardiologist, but it can be used only to detect an anomaly of the sinus rhythm. You shouldn’t take this as a replacement for a proper ECG that is usually done in the local doctor’s office or hospital. Nice thing is that Health App is offering to share the ECG recording in PDF to your doctor over email.
While you are doing the ECG measurement, you can read the beats of your heart, and those are precise since the watch is monitoring electrical impulses that your sinus atrial node is emitting. The continuous HR monitoring is not available, probably because it would drain the battery quickly, so some fitness options are not included like the resting period or VO2 max. Well, Move ECG isn’t an HR monitoring watch, it is just a more advanced hybrid watch.
The battery of Move ECG should last for 12 months. Withings used CR2430 that should be easily replaced by a professional. If you would be using ECG recording frequently, there is a chance that the battery would last less than 12 months.
The Health Mate app
Withings is using its Health Mate app that was redesigned while the Nokia Health department was running things. It is quite simple to use, and you can download it from Google Play or App Store. Once you open it, it automatically searches for the BT signal of your watch and connects to it so the data could be synced. The only annoying thing I noticed when the app was connected is an always-on notification icon that shows the app activity in the background. This can be turned off in the settings of Android 9 phones.
The first page is a timeline when you see the data from the current and previous days. After the dashboard follows where all the various tracking data from numerous Withings devices are summed up. I have a Nokia Body scale, so the data of my weight is displayed there also. The fitness programs page follows the dashboard, and then you have the page where your connected devices are shown. There you can set the smart alarm, set up the time, also set the wrist you are using, and check some basic settings of the watch. The wrist setup is crucial so the ECG readings would be displayed correctly.
The last page is the profile page where you see all the achievements, total number of steps, total distance crossed, but also you can set the goal there or share the data with some other apps like Google Fit, RunKeeper and others.
Press the button once quickly to start measuring the ECG,
Longer press the button to start tracking the training, longer press it again to stop it,
Press the button shortly twice to check for the alarm,
Press the button and hold it for 30 seconds to reset the watch.
Withings Move ECG is a well-rounded, stylish hybrid watch that connects the past and the future of watchmaking. It does show the time, which is obviously important but does serve as a capable fitness tracker. The option to measure ECG makes it more desirable than the regular Move since it gives the user a possibility to measure the HR while the watch is checking your sinus rhythm. The Move ECG is currently the only hybrid watch available on the market to come with this feature and is the most affordable one too. The alternative is Apple smartwatch or Amazfit GTR ECG, but those are more expensive and have shorter battery life. Move ECG should be up and running for up to 12 months, or a bit less if you are using the watch main feature frequently. Anyways, some things are basic and for a bit more money one can have more options if decides to go for trackers with an AMOLED screen and a battery life of 20 days.
The watch is stylish, but the 38 mm case is currently not so trendy, so it could be perfect for the folks with smaller wrist sizes. Also, it cannot show the date, and sometimes its handles are not so visible during the night. The right question is who should be buying this watch?
Since it is intended for the people that have the heart rhythm disorder, especially ones that might be having an AFib, this watch could help check your sinus rhythm quickly, but also tell you how hard you are exercising your heart. Furthermore, the potential buyers of this watch should not be tech-savvy people, or just not some fitness enthusiasts that require constant HR monitoring while doing training. Since it is also water-resistant, occasional swimmers could benefit from it.
The price is set at € 129.95 and you can choose between the white and black versions. Do check it in Withings.com.
We would like to express our gratitude to Withings for sending us a review unit.