Moves App vs. FitBit

Time for a good old, tech vs. tech smack-down.

Today I’m going to compare my experiences with two very different fitness trackers.

First up is the Moves app for IOS (Android version to be released ‘this summer’). A friend of mine showed me Moves recently as an example of a “NO-GUI” application, meaning it has an extremely minimal user interface. It was free, so I decided to give it a try.

What I like about Moves:

Moves runs as a background application on my iPhone 5. As long as it is running, it is tracking. It does not noticeably drain my battery life. This is great because there are times when I forget to slip my FitBit tracker into my pocket. My phone, I never forget. It is always with me, therefore always tracking movement. It has a very simple interface, and sends me a daily summary notification right on my iOS notification screen.

A typical day of activity tracked by Moves

A typical day of activity tracked by Moves

I also like that Moves is smart enough to know what type of activity I am doing based on how fast I’m moving. I really like this, since it gives me a grain that my other trackers do not. I have to tell RunKeeper that I’m starting a run or a hike. FitBit doesn’t care what I’m doing, everything is measured in steps. Take a look at this great feature here on a day when I was doing some very easy interval training with my daughter, trying to ease her back into fitness before Field Hockey starts:

Look how it visually broke down my run-walk-run pace. Nice, eh?

Look how it visually broke down my run-walk-run pace. Nice, eh?

I can also summarize my activity by week by a simple tap of the finger:

Here's what a week looks like

Here’s what a week looks like. This was the week I ran my first Half-Marathon.

So for a free app, you get some really nice features. But how well does it track? For that, I’m going to benchmark Moves against my tried-and-mostly-true FitBit. I say “mostly-true” because FitBit tends to measure me a little short on distance when I’m running. My hunch is that it was really designed with a walking algorithm, and drops some distance on me when I’m going faster than a brisk walk. But I’ll get to that in another coming comparison piece between FitBit and RunKeeper. For the sake of this comparison, I trust my FitBit implicitly. I’ve spent over a year with it, and am happy with its accuracy.

 What I don’t like about Moves:

My first and biggest peeve, is that running steps do not count at all as running steps, and are not added at all into the daily total. Take a look again at my first Moves screenshot above, which is a summary of Saturday, June 29th. It shows a daily total of 9,245 steps and 37 minutes running. Now look at the same day’s stats from my FitBit:

Big difference in the step count, eh?

Big difference in the step count, eh?

I could forgive a thousand, even 2 thousand step difference between the two, but nearly half? Not cool.

Another thing I’m not terribly fond of is that the mileage is not included in the summaries. On the daily summaries, you can tap on the individual walking or running activities in your timeline which will bring up a map and show you the mileage, but it doesn’t get added in the roll-up. Boo.

In Summary

Moves is great if you are not ready to commit to the cost of a dedicated fitness tracker like the FitBit or Nike Fuel Band. It can certainly whet your appetite for more, and I do REALLY like how it automatically knows what types of activities your are doing and you don’t have to manually start and stop it. You turn it on, let it run, and it works. I love the “NO-GUI”, minimalist interface. Bravo on keeping it simple. But if you are looking for a serious and accurate fitness tracker, Moves is not for you. Go with a dedicated device. Or a combination of devices, as I’m finding I need for myself.

Have you tried Moves? What do you think about it? Sound off in comments.

One thought on “Moves App vs. FitBit

  1. Jamie Oswald

    I think another big difference is that you can’t integrate your Moves data, or even archive it, with any other information. Makes trending hard and really scatters for your info to the four winds.


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