MOTOACTV- A Fun Way To Track Your Workouts


When the MOTOACTV first came out, I was excited by the prospect of using only one device for multiple activities and not having to completely replace all the sensors and other accessories I had already bought. I purchased the MOTOACTV with corresponding wristband, and have since used it to track all my workouts including running, cycling, hiking, and mountain biking.

The MOTOACTV acts very much like a mini-smartphone, with a touchscreen interface and simple menu structure. Four main screens let you easily swipe between your music, workout, general settings, and clock functions. With one simple button push, you start and stop your workouts. 

The MOTOACTV setup is pretty straightforward and simple. Plug the device into your computer, then you are prompted to setup your MotoCast ID, sync your music, enter your personal information, and associate the device with your home WiFi network so that all of your workouts are automatically uploaded as soon as you walk in the door. 

Pairing sensors is easy, as the MOTOACTV device works with all ANT+ sensors. I use the Motorola Heart Rate chest strap, along with foot pod, speed, and cadence sensors from Garmin. Each sensor is easily paired with your device from the settings screen, and automatically remembered for future workouts. 

To begin a new session, you simply swipe to the workout screen, choose your activity, press quick start, and away you go. One anomoly is the lack of hiking as an activity choice, forcing you to either select running or walking. Not a big deal, but I think the chosen activity affects the calorie count somehow. You will probably burn more calories hiking 5 miles than walking 5 miles and less than running 5 miles.

The MOTOACTV collects virtually the same type of data as other wrist-top or bike computers and iPhone apps. However, the integrated GPS means you don't have to wear a separate GPS unit on your arm or bike. I have historically been a Polar user and the biggest difference I have noticed in the performance data feedback is in the calorie count.


Comparing the exact same rides and hikes that I do quite regularly, the calorie count on the MOTOACTV is much lower. This is not such a big deal to me as I never take the calorie count literally. Instead, I use calories more as an indication of how hard I worked that session or indicative of how much exercise I got for the week.

For all you Strava junkies, it looks like the company is considering offering direct uploads from the MOTOACTV device. In the meantime, you can either bike and run with your phone running the Strava app, or create your own personal segments to follow on the MOTOACTV training portal by simply tapping the screen to start and end a lap. Rumor has it, that in the Motorola forums, instructions exist on how to convert the MOTOACTV data into Strava friendly data for manual upload. I haven't tried that yet. 

With connection to a Bluetooth wireless headset, you can get texts and calls delivered from your Motorola Android smartphone to your MOTOACTV device. You can also turn on the audio coach to help keep you moving on your run and ride with updates on your pace, split times, and more.

MOTOACTV learns what songs motivate you by measuring your performance against your music. On the training portal, song results are displayed for each type of activity. If you are looking for the optimum running playlist, Gizmodo just posted a great article on songs that will keep you in the 170-190 steps per minute pace rage. MOTOACTV also comes with a built-in FM radio, so you can listen to the news or local station during your run.

The one concern is battery life. You can probably get one long ride or two shorter workouts without having to charge the device. The battery life was worse until I upgraded my MOTOACTV to the latest software release, and now it is running better.

MOTOACTV Training Portal

On the MOTOACTV training portal, you can plan workouts, enter sitewide competitions, and set goals for yourself such as weight loss, mileage, or workout frequency. One detail I would love to see added to the workout statistics is overall elevation gain/loss instead of just high and low points. I like to keep track of cumulative feet or meters climbed when cycling or hiking. 

Bottom Line: I have been impressed with the sheer simplicity of use and advanced functionality of the MOTOACTV. Encompassing all possible performance data into one device, coupled with a MP3 player and even radio functionality, you won't need anything else to help you keep track of your outdoor activities.

The 8GB MOTOACTV retails for $250, with the 16GB MOTOACTV at $300. Be aware that you have to purchase the different mounts (including wristband), sensors, and other accessories separately. 

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