Reboot & Rally

By Chad Hollis, The Dartmouth Staff | 1/20/12 5:25pm

On Dec. 25, 2011, I was as excited as any sugar-crazed eight-year-old. I did some freelance database coding for Santa this year, so I knew for sure that I would be on the nice list. I even tracked him as he traveled around the world to make sure he flew over my house.

As I predicted, Mr. Claus left me a few great presents. Under my Christmas tree, I was delighted to find a Motorola MOTOACTV fitness tracker.


Courtesy Of Motorola

Calling the MOTOACTV a fitness tracker does the device a huge disservice. I wear my MOTOACTV like a watch (watchstrap not included in package), but the device does more than tell the time.

The MOTOACTV counts your every step, calculates the calories you burn and maps out every single running route you complete. The MOTOACTV even shouts encouraging words to you during your workout to try to encourage you to reach your fitness goals. I’m not joking — this device wants to be your personal trainer.

The MOTOACTV is a digital device that is roughly the same size as an iPod Nano. Like the Nano, the MOTOACTV plays music and counts your steps, but on a much more sophisticated level.

Before you start your workout, you can enter you daily goals. If you want to run x miles in x minutes, the MOTOACTV calculates how fast you need to run and warns you if you are currently off pace. If you just want to see how many calories you burn in a game of pong, the MOTOACTV can do that, as well — just don’t expect it to calculate how much extra calories you intake because of the beer.

My favorite two features are the MOTOACTV’s wireless notification system and its smart DJ feature. When you sync your MOTOACTV with your cellphone using Bluetooth, the MOTOACTV will alert you whenever your cellphone receives a text or a phone call. (This feature allows me to travel through the gym and run on the treadmill without carrying around my phone.) The smart DJ feature tracks what songs make you work harder. After using your MOTOACTV in several workouts, the device will make a playlist of the songs that cause you to move the most.

The major downside of the MOTOACTV is its steep price. The 8GB model is $250, not including the accessories. The watch strap is an additional $30, and the wireless Bluetooth headset will set you back a further $130. Prices are here.

Although you might not think the wireless headset is necessary, you will need to purchase it to enable the device's heart rate monitor. With a heart rate monitor attached, the MOTOACTV can provide you more accurate information about your workout.

If you are an absolute fitness nut and you want to get the most data out of the MOTOACTV, then I think this is the device for you.

Unfortunately, the device's steep price makes it hard to recommend to the average gym user. If you have a few extra dollars to throw around and you like new gadgets, then give the MOTOACTV a try. Otherwise, there are cheaper music players and much cheaper ways to time your jogging routes.

Chad Hollis, The Dartmouth Staff