Monday, September 3, 2012

MOTOACTV: My new running & cycling partner.

MOTOACTV GPS Sports Watch from Motorola
I am a big fan of the Nike+ running system.. That system is designed with the runner in mind. Since I started using the system more than 2 years ago, I have logged more than 3000 kilometers on the Nike+ website. The system helped me to stay motivated during running, and more importantly, stay in shape.

I initially started using the Nike+ system using just the shoe sensor and an iPod touch. I eventually upgraded that to iPhone 4. The iPhone gave me more flexibility to measure runs indoors as well as outdoors using GPS. In my opinion, the Nike+ system is the perfect companion for a dedicated runner.

Unfortunately, I had to give up my iPhone and move to the Android OS (The Samsung Galaxy Note to be exact). I love the Galaxy Note for my day to day tasks, but as a running companion, it just does not cut it. It is too big to hold in the hand or to keep in the pocket. Strapping it on the arm would make me look like a hipster.

When Nike announced their GPS Sports Watch, I thought it would be a good replacement, but held off the purchase because it does not have a MP3 player. Without a MP3 player, I would need to carry a separate device to play music during my runs.

I was casually searching for "gps sports watch and mp3" and the first result I got was the MOTOACTV GPS sports watch from Motorola. I had heard about this device when it was launched, but given its steep price ($249), it did not  fit my budget. However, it appears that Motorola decided to slash the price of the unit by $100, and suddenly it looked like a very attractive option.

Here are the key features of this device:
1. GPS Sports watch to keep track of your route, distance, calories burned, etc.
2. MP3 player that automatically recommends playlists based on your past history.
3. Accelerometer to track your runs indoors or on a treadmill.
4. Wi-fi enabled to upload your runs without the need for wires or connecting to a computer
5. ANT+ receivers to link heart rate monitors, bike speed and cadence sensors
6. Can be used for running or cycling (unlike Nike+ which is just for running).
7. Small size. You can wear it like a watch, or clip it to your clothing like iPod Nano.
8. Android based device. Can connect to Android phones for reading text messages, missed calls etc.
9. Being Android, the software can be easily updated. Since its release, Motorola has done a number of updates to the software to make it stable, as well as add many new features.

The amount of technology packed into this tiny device is just amazing. It fits all of my requirements and I am anxiously waiting for Amazon to ship my order. Once I get it, I will do a more detailed review.

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