So, over a month ago, I spotted the Motiv ring on Instagram. It marketed itself as an activity tracker – NOT a step counter – that’s more jewelry than giant black rubber band around your wrist. I was interested right away, but at $200 I wasn’t immediately sold.
A couple of years ago, I bought into the fitness tracker craze hard. I got a Jawbone for Christmas, and I was obsessed. I loved tracking my steps, my calories, my sleep, etc. What I didn’t like? Two things. 1. That it looked like a fitness tracker. (Why am I ruining my outfit to track the steps I’ll take to dinner tonight?) 2. That it was a barrage of information. It would send me app reminders constantly about what it was doing (or wasn’t doing), when to do this and that, when I should be going to bed, etc. Ugly and annoying? I’m done.
Fast forward a couple years, and I was ready to get back on the “tracker bandwagon.” Using my phone to track my steps wasn’t working, because I don’t carry it around all the time like many men do. I work from home a lot, doing plenty around the house, but meanwhile my phone was tracking zero activity. So, the Motiv seemed appealing. Sleek and not obvious, and the app touted itself as simple and straightforward.
I did some research, and after a week of not being able to stop thinking about it, I took the plunge. First, they send you a ring-sizer kit, you tell them what size you are, and your ring arrives a few days later. Simple enough so far.
My first impression: I loved the look and feel of it. At first I was worried it would be bulky for my finger, but it really isn’t. The “rose gold” is a little more “copper,” but I like it. I charge it up on one of the two convenient chargers (one comes on a keychain!), and in about an hour or so it’s ready to go. Right away, I love that in order to sync the ring, all you have to do (with Bluetooth on) is twist the ring around your finger while your finger is horizontal! Truthfully, this typically takes a few of tries, but it’s easy enough.
I bring up the app, it syncs, and there are my stats (well nothing at that point, because it was empty). It has my daily goals built in based off 150 recommended minutes of activity each week per the American Heart Association. It also has a place for sleep (which I hadn’t done yet). Of course, all I want to see immediately is my heart rate. This isn’t immediately apparent, which was a little frustrating (this is why I bought it, right?). In order to see your heart rate chart, you have to fake out the app and pretend to add activity, where you can see a little chart showing your heart rate pattern. Then you can just dismiss it if you haven’t been active.
I’ve had the Motiv just over a month now, and here are my pros and cons:
Pros: It’s sleek, not bulky, pretty enough, and easy to sync and charge. I love that it uses your heart rate combined with your steps to determine if you’re “being active” or not. Initially, I wondered if it would regard anxiety/scary movies/elevated heart rate for any other reason as “active minutes,” but the combo of steps and elevated heart rate pretty much eliminates this.
The sleep function is scarily accurate. Unlike Jawbone, you don’t have to “tell” the device when you’re sleeping. Even when you’re sitting, idle, at your desk or on the couch for hours, it doesn’t count this as sleep. I really don’t know how it does it. More to come on the negatives of the sleep function, however.
The app is very straightforward (a positive for me). At first, I loved the Jawbone app features, but after the honeymoon phase, I got tired of entering my calories/foods, telling it when I was going to sleep, telling it when I woke up, etc. The Motiv definitely tracks the basics and that’s all you get from the app, which I think is better in the long run.
I love that it tracks your resting heart beat while you sleep. This is a simple tech thing, but it’s a strong indicator of your overall health, and it’s difficult to measure accurately while you’re awake.
It’s waterproof! I hardly ever take it off – seriously.
Cons: There is no way that the steps/calories/mileage measurements can be correct. Well, maybe the mileage, but the others vary to a crazy degree. Here’s an example: Sunday, I sat around most of the day and went to a movie. I took 2,164 steps, and it told me I burned 1,420 calories. The next day, Monday, I took 6,803 steps, and it told me I burned 1,565 calories. Meanwhile, on Monday, I lifted legs at the gym. If you need more proof, Tuesday was 6,454 steps/1,938 cals, and Wednesday was 14,347 steps/ 1,696 cals.
Another con is that if your Motiv doesn’t track any sleep (like, for instance, it died), there’s no way to manually add it back in. While this isn’t a huge deal, your Motiv averages your sleep for the week, so if you miss one night of sleep your whole average is thrown off big time.
One thing I’ll have to modify is the pre-loaded 150 minutes of prescribed active minutes. Despite asking you for your age and weight, it doesn’t tailor the goals to anything other than this goal. Maybe this works for the average American, but for someone who already strives to be active, I usually reach this “goal” within the first couple days of the week. That’s like two workouts and a walk to and from the grocery store. I’ll likely double this goal and see if it has me pushing myself.
Also, if you do a lot of exercise that’s stationary (hello, lifting), then your Motiv will be confused about when it began and stopped. I might lift weights for an hour, but because my heart rate goes up and down, it has a hard time figuring it out. It’s not the end of the world, but it means you need to manually edit your activity and then categorize it quite often.
The battery isn’t the best. Granted it’s a tiny device, so I can’t complain that much, but you have to remember to charge it when you know you’ll be idle (at the office, while watching TV) so it’s not dying when you’re asleep or at the gym. I will add that I love the chargers. They go right into a USB port, and they work magnetically with color lights letting you know when it’s charged.
Finally, your Motiv will get scratched up. Like I said, I’ve had this bad boy for about a month, and mine is pretty scratched, which I’m guessing is mostly from lifting. It’s not really noticeable, but I’m guessing it would be if you had a black one.
Overall: I like it for my needs. Outside of buying an Apple iWatch, I can’t see something being so easy to wear that you almost forget about it while helping you stay on top of activity and sleep goals. The heart-rate tracking keeps you accountable for the intensity of your workouts, and it’s cool to see just how hard your body is working to do different activities.
I’d recommend it for anyone with similar fitness interests who doesn’t want to wear a bracelet around that screams “fitness tracker.” Hopefully, Motiv will improve the app so you can add missed nights of sleep and see your heart rate at any given time. Other than that, I think it’s a good, sleek option.