Withings Move review

The Withings Move offers basic fitness tracking on a very tight budget

The colorful Withings Move fitness watch shows us affordable doesn't have to be boring or limiting.
The colorful Withings Move fitness watch shows us affordable doesn't have to be boring or limiting.
The colorful Withings Move fitness watch shows us affordable doesn't have to be boring or limiting.

Highs

  • 18-month battery life
  • Simple colorful band options
  • Waterproof up to 50-meters
  • Lightweight

Lows

  • No heart rate monitor
  • Plastic scratches easily

Withings latest crop of fitness wearables proves a watch doesn’t have to be big and rugged to track your fitness. Sometimes a compact watch like the Withings Move is all you need. New in 2019, the Move is a colorful watch on the outside and a competent fitness tracker on the inside. Couple these features with a low price tag and the $70 Move has become one of our favorite affordable fitness trackers.

Design: Light and compact

Withings is good at unisex watch design, and the Move is no exception. With a 38mm case and a universal band, the Move fits on a woman’s wrist as well as a man’s. The soft silicone strap is paired with a hard, plastic clasp that lies flat against the band. This low-profile fit hardly ever snagged on clothing, and it never irritated my skin. The Move has a minimal design. There is a single button on the side that is used both for pairing and to start an activity. Like most Withings watches, the Move is waterproof down to 50 meters so you can wear it while swimming or showering.

At 31 grams, the Move is lightweight. Unlike other larger fitness watches, I never felt weighed down by the Move. With a crystal clear plastic casing, the analog watch dial is easy to read. Numbers are printed around the dial, except for 9, which is replaced by “Withings.” I appreciate the sub-dial on the front that lets you track your step goal progress at a glance. The thermoplastic case and stainless steel back stand up well to daily use, but the plastic covering the watch face does not. Within a week, I had a scuff on the plastic covering.

The $70 Move is part of the “Basic Essentials” series. It is available in eight stock colors, or you can choose custom colors for the dial case, the activity hands, the casing, and the watchband. There are a variety of different colors and patterns, so you can create a genuinely unique watch. If you get tired of your color combination, you can change it up as the bands are replaceable. Withings also sells the Move in a “Timeless Chic” series that includes a steel casing and glass display cover but comes with a much higher price tag of $100 to $150.

Fitness tracking: Great for the casual athlete

Withings did an admirable job packing the Move with activity tracking while keeping the price down. The Move tracks your steps each day and automatically syncs your data when you open the app. Syncing is quick, taking about 10 seconds to transfer the data from the device to your phone. Sadly, there is no heart rate monitor, but it was understandably omitted to keep the price low.

Withings did an admirable job packing the Move with activity tracking while keeping the price down.

The Move automatically tracks running, walking, and swimming. It sometimes struggles to tell the difference between a slow run and a walk, but you can assign a different sport in the Health Mate app. There are approximately 30 different sports from which to choose. The Move records basic metrics such as steps, distance, calories when walking or running, and duration and calories while swimming. It’s just enough data to keep you on top of your fitness, but not so much that it is overwhelming.

To start or stop activities manually, you hold the watch button. It will start a timer on the watch and connect to the GPS on your phone to calculate distance, elevation, and to map your path. The Move doesn’t have a display, so you have to open the Withings app on your phone to view activity details such as duration, distance, and pace. You also can use the app to snap a selfie that’ll save along with your workout details.

My biggest gripe is how the watch behaves while exercising. When you start an activity, both the hour and minute watch hands circle to 12 and start timing your workout, unfortunately, this means you will not be able to tell the actual time.

Sleep Tracking: Could be better

I had zero issues wearing the Withings Move while sleeping. It is so lightweight and low profile that you hardly even notice it is on your wrist. There is no heart rate monitor, so the sleep overview is not as reliable or comprehensive as an HR-equipped smartwatch, but it is still useful to get a general idea of your overall sleep pattern.

Like most fitness trackers, the Withings Move automatically tracks your sleep each night, breaking it down to deep and light sleep phases, as well as detecting sleep interruptions. On most nights, the watch accurately detected when I went to bed and when I woke up, as long as I didn’t lounge around too much. Checking my phone before I fell asleep or hitting the snooze button a few times in the morning was counted as sleep.

withings move
Kelly Hodgkins/Digital Trends

The Move assigns a sleep score each morning that you can use to compare your sleep. I didn’t need a sleep score to tell me how I slept. I could feel it as soon as I stepped out of bed. Nonetheless, I liked the sleep score because it gave me a value I could look to improve.

Most mornings, I wake up when my body wakes me up. If you need an alarm, the Move has a silent vibrating alarm with a smart wake-up feature. The smart wake-up lets you choose a range of time you want to wake up and allows the watch to pick the optimal time based on your sleep pattern. I used it a few times when I had appointments, and it worked well. But it’s tough to assess it because I don’t know how I would have felt if I woke up without smart wake-up.

GPS and Navigation: Connected GPS only

The Withings Move does not have GPS and instead uses the GPS on your phone to track outdoors activity. This connected GPS requires you to connect your watch to your phone and to carry your phone while you work out. There is no navigation on the Withings Move.

Connectivity: More a fitness tracker than a smartwatch

The Withings Move connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth LE, sending fitness data to the Health Mate app. It does not support smartphone notifications.

Battery Life: Ticks away for 18-months

The Withings Move is powered by a coin watch battery, so you never have to charge it. It’s so refreshing to be able to throw away the charging cable and just wear a device 24/7. Withings claims the battery will last up to 18 months. When it dies, you can bring it to a watchmaker to have the battery replaced.

Withings Health Mate App: Pleasing interface online and on your phone

The Withings Move lacks a display, so you have to sync it to the Health Mate app to view and analyze your data. The Health Mate app is available for iOS, Android, or online. The Withings Move is focused on overall health, so you’ll see all the essential metrics like duration, distance, and pace, but not advanced ones like cadence. It’s perfect for the casual user who wants to track their health and wellness without being overwhelmed by performance data they don’t need.

It’s so refreshing to be able to throw away the charging cable and just wear a device 24/7.

Withings has a distinct advantage over its competition thanks to its broad product lineup. Not only does the company sell fitness watches, but it also sells scales, blood pressure monitors, and other health monitors. All these connected devices feed their results into the Health mate app. In one app, you can track your fitness, watch your weight, and monitor your blood pressure at the same time. This combined data provides a more complete summary of your overall health than competing trackers, which are focused more on performance. I’d love to see Withings do more with this data and bring the different pieces together to provide insight into your overall health.

Third-Party Support: Open API to share your data

Withings has an open API and supports over 100 different apps and platforms, including Runkeeper, MyFitnessPal, and more. Unfortunately, Strava is not on this list. iPhone owners can connect the HealthMate app to Apple Health, and Android owners can sync their data to Google Fit. This is a big deal because not all platforms — looking at you Fitbit — sync their data to these health repositories.

Warranty information

Withings offers a one-year limited warranty on all its digital health devices.

Our Take

Even to the most discerning eye, the Move looks like a watch. Most people are surprised to discover this innocent-looking watch is also a competent fitness tracker. It can track a variety of different activities with the push of a button and syncs its data to the user-friendly Withings app. I loved everything about the Move except for two things — the scratch-susceptible plastic display and the lack of a heart rate monitor. If you can live with those flaws, then you’ll appreciate the powerful simplicity of the Withings Move.

Is there a better alternative?

The Withings Move sets itself apart with 18-month battery life, colorful design, and respectable fitness tracking. It’s an excellent package for the casual athlete who doesn’t need a heart rate tracker. If you want to monitor your heart rate, then you should look at the $100 Fitbit Inspire HR. It doesn’t have the aesthetic appeal of the analog Move, but it does have a reliable heart-rate monitor, Fitbit’s signature sleep tracking, and robust fitness tracking.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

How long will it last?

The Withings Move is not a rugged adventure watch, so don’t expect it to stand up to a lot of abuse. The band and clasp held up well through our everyday activities, going from work to the gym and then a night on the town. We did scratch the display, which was disappointing. We’d recommend finding a screen protector or plan on replacing the watch around the 18-month mark when the battery wears out.

Withings does sell the Move with a stainless steel case and a glass display in its “Timeless Chic” series. This model may be more durable, but it costs up to twice as much as the plastic version.

Should you buy it?

Yes. People who want an everyday casual watch with some fitness tracking will be pleased with the performance of the Move. It nails that demographic perfectly. Just be sure to get a screen protector so you can avoid scratching the display.

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