Withings Move Review: Like a Swatch Watch for Fitness

You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on a fitness activity tracking watch, especially when they come with an impressive app like the colorful 2019 Withings Move. Low priced, yet powerful, this could fast-become one of the most popular fitness products of the year and here's why.

The Good

  • Impressive app
  • 18 month battery life
  • Price
  • Water resistant
  • Retro design

The Bad

  • Plastic case
  • Minimal face

Entry-level goodness

What is the Withings Move?

Withings Move

The Apple Watch remains the most popular fitness band on the market. However, because of its price and abundance of features, it's not for everyone. Withing has introduced an all-new fitness band — the Move, which is a hybrid watch and fitness tracker. Best of all: it costs a fraction of what you'd pay for the Apple Watch. Better still, if you want to track your fitness (and sleep routine!) and use the Apple Health app, you're in luck since the watch is compatible.

The Move isn't the first wearable device Withings has introduced. However, it is the first one the French-based company has released since it was sold back to the original Withings owner, Éric Carreel, by Nokia Health (which had only purchased the brand in 2016). The Move's arrival comes a few weeks before that of the Move ECG, which is launching later this year. As the name suggests, that model will include a built-in ECG monitor.

Back to the Move; this wearable device, which I have been putting through its paces for a few days, is just the latest in a series of Withings fitness watches that include a traditional analog face. Unlike the Apple Watch, these types of fitness watches mostly function in the background (i.e., through a companion app) rather than on the watch face. In doing so, they are ideally suited for non-techies.

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ConnectivityiOS and Android
BluetoothBluetooth Low Energy
Walking and runningSteps, distance, calories
SwimmingSession duration, calories
SleepDeep and light sleep phases, sleep interruptions
Connected GPSdistance, pace & elevation
BatteryUp to 18 months (CR2430)
Storage & memoryFree and unlimited cloud data storage, 5 days of local storage between syncs
AppHealth Mate app for iOS and Android, Web dashboard

It's all about the app, folks

Withings Move: What I like

I've been using and testing Withings fitness-based watches for many years, going back to the now-discontinued Activité and Activité Pop, and current Steel and Steel HR. Each step of the way, while I have appreciated the minimalist hardware design of each watch, I found myself most in love with the Withings companion app, Health Mate.

While I have appreciated the minimalist hardware design of each (new Withings) watch, I found myself most in love with the Withings companion app, Health Mate.

Health Mate keeps track of every metric calculated by wearable or smart health products. In the case of the Withings Move, these measurements include your steps and exercise routines, and daily sleep information. With this information as a starting point, you can use the app to find wellness programs, and also to keep track of data collected from other Withings products including scales, blood pressure monitors, and sleep devices.

You can also access your Health Mate data through a web dashboard, which adds another layer of convenience.

Withings health mate app

For iPhone owners, the Health Mate app works with Apple Health. Because of this, everything that's tracked from the Move watch is kept in the Health record on your smartphone. This is a big deal as this type of compatibility isn't available through all non-Apple wearable devices. For example, market giant Fitbit still doesn't support Apple Health integration with its long list of fitness devices.

Back to the Move itself, you'll notice a no-nonsense analog display that tells the current time and also how far you've gone so far to reach your daily steps, which you initially set through the Health Mate app. The watch also includes a side button that, when long-pressed, launches a workout session. With the button pushed, the wristwatch activates a built-in chronograph (which replaces the time on your watch during the exercise routine) and connects to GPS to keep track of your duration, distance, elevation, and your path. Once the workout is finished and you push the side button again, your watch will once again show the time.

Workout tracking performs as expected on the Withings Move, but again, except for the chronograph, nothing displays on the physical device. Instead, the results show up on the Health Mate app, which syncs to the watch through Bluetooth. Whether the simplicity here is good or bad depends on what you want. If you're looking for an analog-based watch with fitness tools baked in, you're likely to be impressed. Otherwise, not so much, which in all likelihood means you're probably not reading this article anyway.

Withings Move

It's worth mentioning the many choices of colors for the Withings Move. At launch, you can buy the wearable device in black/yellow, white/blue, white/coral, black/green, and white/green. Later this year, you'll also be able to customize your Withings Move to match your tastes. In doing so, you'll be able to pick the colors for the dial, case, activity hand, and wristband.

Each Withings Move is water resistant up to 50 meters.

Two more positives stand out. First, is the price. Retailing for around $70, the Withings Move is one of the least expensive fitness trackers on the market. Second, the Withings Move comes with a CR2430 button cell battery which can last up to 18 months before it needs to be replacing. Let me repeat this; 18 months! You'll run into few fitness trackers that offer that much battery life.

Will it stand the test of time?

Withings Move: What I don't like

The only thing I don't like about the Withings Move is its plastic case, which I fear could break somewhat easily (but didn't after one week of use). Luckily, the watch also includes a stainless steel bottom case and silicone wristband, materials that tend to be much more durable. Given the wearable device's low price, however, it's probably not fair to complain about the use of plastic. If you're concerned, spend $50 more on a Withings Steel.

The bottom line: If you're looking for a low-cost fitness band, you can't go wrong with the Withings Move. No, it's not the most durable fitness band around. Despite this, it's well worth the price of admission because of the Health Mate app and web dashboard.

Entrypoint to Health Mate app

Withings Move

Health Mate is a terrific fitness, wellness, and sleep app for iOS and Android. Thanks to the entry-level Withings Move fitness product, the app's entry price has dropped considerably. If you're worried about durability, consider one of Withings more expensive watches.

Have any questions?

If you have any questions or concerns about the Withings Move or fitness bands in general, let us know below.

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.